What Jerry Seinfeld Can Teach You About Generating Creative Content and Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

Share & Comment

Jerry Seinfeld

I once read that Jerry Seinfeld writes a new joke every single day. He has a big calendar to record whether he wrote a new joke that day or not. While I can’t verify if he still does this since Jerry stopped returning my calls after the Noodle Incident. Regardless, the lesson is the same, doing something every day is very hard, and even someone as polished and experienced as Jerry Seinfeld needs a big calendar and process for pushing himself to write daily.

I was recently offered a great opportunity to write a regular marketing column on a popular website.  An opportunity that I should have jumped on but instead almost missed out on because I was afraid.

Afraid I wouldn’t be able to come up with great content ideas and marketing strategies on a regular basis.

This is the 150th post on my blog, which is roughly two years old. This means that I average about one post every 5 days, even though my original goal was to write a new post every day. The truth is, writing blog posts consistently is more a product of habit than anything else. Someone once asked the prolific blogger Rand Fishkin how he managed to write new blog posts every single day and if my memory serves me correctly, he said, “It was hard at first. I forced myself to write every single day and after about 30 days it became habit and second nature to me.” While I can’t find the source of that quote which I most likely embellished, I can vouch for the point, when I get into a habitual mode of blogging, ideas flow much easier and when I step away from blogging for a couple days it gets much harder to sit down and write. This is the first post I have written in a week, and it took me two days to actually sit down and start writing.

That’s Actually The Secret: Get Started Writing. The First Step is Always The Hardest. Just Get Started, and Everything Gets Easier From There!

So, how did I manage to fall into a cycle where I am writing only one fifth of my goal?

What happened? I Simply Ran Out of Ideas!

homer-ideas

Well, after 20-30 posts I started running out of ideas, but I pushed myself, but now, at 150, they are hard to come by. Especially because I get exposed to so much content online, and I ideally want to be as original as possible. After all, being unique and original is the surest way to be noticed.

The hardest part of getting started is coming up with creative ideas for your content in the first place.

So, I turned to the one person who knows everything… Google. I searched for ways to come up with content ideas and low and behold there are millions of blog posts and articles on the topic. This is interesting because if they have all those strategies for brainstorming ideas…How come they wrote on such an unoriginal topic?!

I can’t speak for all of them, but I can speak for one of them and I can speak for myself. For starters, my excuse is that I am running out of ideas of what to write about, but more importantly, this one author wrote such an amazing, mind-blowing post that I was forced to share her content with you.

This is really not just a lesson in coming up with ideas, but in how someone can differentiate themselves from the pact so well, on such a well covered topic that is not only valuable to readers, but so compelling to me I felt forced to share it with you. Just goes to show, you don’t need an original idea, you just need a unique twist.

Most of the blogposts I came across about generating content ideas say roughly the same thing. Look at Google Trends, setup alerts, monitor what others in your industry are writing about, get creative with different content formats, ask your readers, curate other peoples content, etc… all great ideas, but they really don’t help me come up with content ideas. They just tell me things I can do to come up with ideas. News Flash, I already am doing that. I googled How to come up with content ideas 🙂

This one post took a different angle and instead of focusing on those strategies it focused on ways to inspire content ideas. Visual ideas you can look at that will trigger your creative juices. Tools that can show you correlations between topics you never knew existed. All the other post gave me generic ideas, this one gave me the tools to overcome writers block once and for all.

This Amazing Post, Written by: Arienne Holland titled, “15 Free Tools for Instant Content Ideas (and 2 Paid Ones)” Has literally Saved The Day For Me!

The post starts off with, “Listen to this short clip, then say aloud the first word that comes to mind: Click here to listen.

What word did you think first? Stinky? Yellow? Cheddar? Shredded? Nachos?

All five words are related to “cheese,” and yet all five are related in completely different ways. Stinky: how cheese smells. Yellow: how cheese looks. Cheddar: a flavor of cheese. Shredded: a form of cheese. Nachos: a way that cheese is used.

And those words can generate all sorts of ideas related to cheese, like “Where does the color of cheese come from? Why does shredded cheese melt faster? Who invented nacho cheese?”

The truth is, the first word that came to my mind was Picture, which of course could turn into a post about why photographers tell us to say cheese.

The post goes on to list amazing tools for word associations, and word relationship tools. These visually show you lots of related words mapped together. Want to know how valuable this relationship data is?

I have a childhood friend who owns a hedge fund that invests in hidden relationships between industries.

They call it statistical arbitrage models, but basically they will try to find two markets that move in different ways but seem to be correlated. For example, if there is a downturn in the housing market, Home Depot’s stock might go down, or if It’s an especially cold winter, natural gas might go up. Those are obvious relationships, they use fancy tools to uncover hidden relationships that would never be intuitive to us, or are even a few steps removed, for example, if Home Depot’s stock drops, maybe power tool manufacturers will feel ripple effects. Regardless, once they uncover a hidden relationship, they run an algorithm against the last 100 years of the market to see if it would be a profitable trade or not, and each statistical arbitrage model they find can work for several years, and can make them billions of dollars.

Now that you are sold on the value of these visual word relationship tools, here are my favorite tools in her list.

My personal favorite is Solo Sonar by Bottlenose labs. I ran a search on their site for content ideas and this is what it generated.


From Bottlenose Labs

Pretty nifty, Huh!

She than goes on to drop a brilliant idea which is to search for your keywords on Istock Photos or other stock photo websites, and you’ll visually see images that are related to each other and that can inspire new relationships and ideas. This is so clever, and something we often do with google image search without knowing what we are looking for, just for ideas.

The best part about this post on Raven Tools blog is the author also gives you instructions on how to best use each tool. There are so many blog posts with lists of tools, adding the element of a few sentences explaining how to use it is an easy win, and a great content idea to turn an unoriginal idea or post into a unique and value added post.

For example, here are the authors instructions for using Solo Sonar, the tool mentioned above.

“How to use it: Type in any word. Sonar instantly displays, bicycle-spoke style, all currently trending terms related to that word. The larger the related term, the more popular it is. If it’s quickly rising in popularity, it’s highlighted in orange. Red and green dots indicate sentiment. You can include/exclude hashtags and people in results, as well as scroll through a list of popular Tweets that include the word you searched.”

If you want to learn more about these great tools, go check out the post at http://raventools.com/blog/tools-instant-content-ideas/

Share & Comment

The Most Valuable Traffic Strategy Revealed!

Get my step by step guide to feeding off other people's popularity to grow your traffic.

About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

Speak Your Mind

*