Generating ideas for visual content
I wish inspiration and ideas were something you could just buy or even better – pluck out of thin air as and when you need them! For me, great ideas and motivation seem to come to me when I’m on my travels or on holiday – it’s sad I know. But if you’re a budding entrepreneur or businessperson to the core, you’ll understand where I’m coming from and why it’s so hard to get work off the brain.
We all have those days where any inspiration or motivation has been sucked out of you from within (probably when you’ve been dealing with spreadsheets and invoices) – but you’ve got a business to run, and this isn’t the time to be running out of fresh ideas! So, when you need inspiration and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel – take a step back and walk through the suggestions below to get those creative juices flowing.
What has worked previously?
Before you move forward it’s always good to reflect on the past. Take a scroll through your social media statistics (Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Instagram Insights etc.) and see what content, in particular, has worked well in the past. As well as looking at what has worked well, it’s good to see what definitely didn’t work so well, so you can scratch it off your list and not make that mistake again.
So, back to what did work well… jot them all down. If you don’t have a giant whiteboard to scribble on, start putting pen to paper. Most social media platforms allow you to see how particular pieces of content are performing, and stats won’t lie to you. This may take some time to get down but it’s worth knowing and recording.
Also, check out other businesses within your industry and take a look at what has worked previously for them as well. Is there anything that they’ve done which you could improve on?
You know your business better than anyone. Begin jotting down some keywords that you think represent your business and where you envision it going. Can’t think of any? Look through your website, ask friends, ask colleagues, look through reviews from customers and start picking out words that tend to pop up frequently.
Still stuck? Take a look at your competition or a company that you aspire to be like. What keywords come to mind when you look at their content? What haven’t they done that you think would be good to see or know?
If you want your business to be successful you need to keep looking forward. I know I just said to reflect on the past but don’t get stuck there for too long! You need to know your customers so well that you know what they want before they even realise they want it. And if I’m right, in some ways you are your own customer, and the reason you started your business was because you felt there was a gap in the market that was unfulfilled, which you and your business could satisfy.
What do you think your customers are looking for in the next year? Where is your industry going? What type of content do you like to consume? What things do you need to know?
If you’re still unsure, then look to someone within your industry whom you aspire to be like and just ask. My aunt always told me “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. If you have a business mentor then ask them these questions too, and if you don’t have a business mentor then simply get in touch with someone within your network.
You’ll find that there are lots of people within your network willing to be your business mentor. There are lots of brilliant ones out there but there are two business mentors in particular that I know get great results, and ones that I can personally recommend - Tamsin Acheson and Robin Waite.
Ensure you are following key thought leaders within your industry and are constantly reviewing articles/blogs that are relevant to your business – they can also be full of inspiration.
Sorting process & generation of visual ideas
By now you should hopefully have a lot of words on paper. This should then be the easier part – linking the above together and begin generating ideas if you haven’t already during the process.
Take these ideas and rank them whichever way works for you. If you like, colour-code them red (not very good), orange (okay), and green (great). You don’t have to think of just great ideas - no idea is off limits. Off-load and write down the bad ideas so that you have more room for more okay and great ideas.
Now you’ve got a couple of good and great ideas, but how can you turn these ideas into something more visual? I feel like this could be a whole blog post in itself (keep your eyes peeled) and so I won’t go into tonnes of detail, but here are a few quick ideas:
Use infographics, social media tools, blog graphics and/or eBooks – Canva is a great tool for creating social media content/assets and for creating infographics. You can optimise them for different social platforms which are a huge bonus!
Story telling photography – Visuable offer brand photo-shoots to create unique imagery for your business giving you tonnes of visual content to utilise for your website, blogs and social media.
Join the Visuable 52 weeks to #visualbrandimpact Facebook group where we support small business owners on improving their visual marketing skills over the course of the year. You get a reminder every week giving you ideas for visual content and suggested hashtags. This group is great if you are ever stuck for ideas or lacking inspiration!