Last week we wrote about the importance, as 2022 draws to a close, of thinking about our content marketing strategy for 2023.
In thinking about our strategy for 2023, it is easy to get caught up in what we want to tell our clients or customers in the new year. Yet an effective strategy starts not with information so much as a question that we asked in 2022 and now ask again.
Our customers and clients seek more than information; they seek an experience when they connect to our brand. Before they can connect, clients must be able to recall our brand from the thousands of ads they see daily.
Creating a memorable experience for clients requires creativity.
Providing content is the easy part. We know our brand and the strength of the product we supply. We know the problem or problems we provide solutions to. Conveying this information to clients and potential clients is usually not an issue for most companies. The challenge for many businesses and brands is;
How to convey content and information in a way that establishes authority and provides an experience for clients?
This requires creativity.
As the year draws to a close, creativity is often in short supply. The spark of creativity is hidden by fatigue and stress as we cope with the usual end-of-year flurry of activities.
While we may not feel very creative, it is crucial when planning our content strategy for 2023 to leave room for creativity.
Back in early 2022, we wrote the following:
Too much discipline can stifle and suffocate our creativity. There is another element that is essential for creativity to occur. It is the space we create in our lives for the randomness of creativity to bubble through the fabric of our daily lives.
It can seem a contradiction to writing about thinking and planning our content marketing strategy for 2023 in one week and then writing about creating space so we can be creative. Besides, how do we create space in our lives?
We all have random moments of space throughout our day. Two examples are waiting for the barista to make our morning coffee and being stuck in traffic. There are other times throughout the day when we have moments of space. The challenge with these random moments of space is that we do not notice them.
We do not notice these random moments of space because we are not present in the moment when space is created.
Usually, we are engaged with our thoughts, thinking about the meeting we had and the meeting we will have or thinking about what we should have said, could have said or would have liked to say. Because we are not present in the moment, we miss these random moments.
The challenge for many of us is remembering to be present in the moment so we can notice the random moments of space that occur in our days.
What we do not notice, we do not have control over.
Discipline is part of creativity, requiring discipline to notice these random moments. If we don’t see these moments, then we lose them. In noticing them, we have a choice as to how we will use them.
When we have moments of space throughout our days, many of us use that time to scroll through our phones, catching on our Facebook feed, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram. Studies have shown the impact scrolling through our social media feeds can have on our mental health. Often it feels relaxing at the time; however, the dopamine effect of scrolling through social media does, over time, cause re-wiring in the brain to crave social media. Of course, it is not just social media that creates this dopamine hit. Other pleasurable activities, such as exercise and sex, have a similar effect. However, it is the ease and accessibility of our social media feeds that can create the problem, particularly as we often spend longer and longer scrolling to get the same hit of dopamine.
Perhaps rather than filling these random moments with things, we could “sit in the space of these moments” and allow our minds to ruminate and ponder things. In these moments of contemplation and consideration, the inspiration for creativity comes to us.
There are random moments of space that come to all of us, which, if we notice, we can use for creativity.
However, there are also moments we can create throughout the day. Choosing to walk around the block and find something we haven’t noticed before. Playing a favourite piece of music that takes us out of our current frame of mind.
When we think about creating space for creativity, we think we must block out a couple of hours, and the majority of us do not have a couple of spare hours, particularly at the end of the year as we are trying to wrap things up.
All that is needed is four or five minutes repeated a few times throughout the day to create a space where creative ideas can begin to grow.
Creativity is the juxtaposition of discipline and space.
It is the discipline to notice those random moments of space we all have throughout the day.
It is the discipline to use these moments of space for creativity rather than filling them with things that produce short-term benefits but no lasting creativity.
It is also the discipline to intentionally create moments of space throughout the day.
There is one final aspect I want to touch on. To allow creativity to flow, we must have the discipline to endure the discomfort that space can cause.
We often become uncomfortable when there is space. We want to fill the silence with noise because it distracts us from our thoughts. Sitting still and noticing how we feel and think makes us uncomfortable.
Yet, if we are to allow room for creativity, we must endure and learn to enjoy the discomfort of space.
In this creative space, we can begin to create an experience for our clients—an experience that resonates with them and the challenges they are facing. When we are creative, it isn’t simply the information we share; we connect with and to our clients and create memories for them.