What inspires you to come up with content that delights, engages and expresses the essence of your brand in different and effective ways?
Creativity doesn’t, after all, just happen. It needs inspiration in one form or another as the starting point, the springboard and sometimes the enabler of creativity.
Leaving yourself open to inspiration is the trick. There are a lot of possible places to find creativity. A smart and charismatic presenter at a TED conference. Award-winning work across the content spectrum, through the organizations and sites that showcase it. Ideas, thinking and visual and auditory cues curated by old hands as well as the next generation that’s shaping the content community.
Here are some of Imagination’s creative staff’s favorite go-tos for a muse.
Following strategic and creative marketing leaders
The thought leadership out there on content and strategy is helpful from the perspective of applying the latest trends and issues to what your own projects.
You can’t go wrong with TED Talks. I’m not the only one at Imagination who periodically goes back to certain TED presentations to get a dose of inspiration for the job ahead. One of the most powerful (and popular) discussions, for example, is Sir Ken Robinson’s on whether schools kill creativity. In addressing the question, he moves us to embrace our creative potential. Another one that always gets me thinking (and that I recommend often to clients) is Seth Godin’s “How to get your ideas to spread.”
We also regularly visit sites like Creativity, Reddit and LinkedIn Pulse to check out who’s saying what, or what’s new or different to help fuel our thinking. But two sites we’ve recently found worthy of repeat visits are Medium and Music.Mic.
Medium bills itself as “a community of readers and writers offering unique perspectives on ideas large and small.” It aims to “reimagine” your daily news — not from the perspective of the mainstream media, but from that of people making the news and living it every day. It’s inspirational storytelling at its best.
Music.Mic is a similar play, but for music — making a case for music the relationship between marketing and musicians matter. It’s the place where significant developments in the music community are discussed, notably by the young people who are making a difference.
Showcasing visual creativity
Visual cues can inspire creative marketing ideas about content, and a favorite place among many of our folks on this front is Pinterest. It’s not just that you can see what’s sparking friends’ and peers’ creative fires, but there’s a huge variety of content and ideas — from videos to images to memes — to spark your own.
Another is Behance, which shares some amazing work across a wide range of fields. You can find inspiration in its curated galleries (collections of work in such categories as architecture, product design and game design), or take a look at work that’s most appreciated (with likes), most viewed and most discussed.
We also like Gratisography, a collection of free, high-resolution downloadable photography that’s not just fun to browse, but categorized in a way (whimsical, nature, animals) that makes it easy to find great attention-grabbers for the blog post, digital book or whatever content efforts you’re working on.
Winning creative marketing ideas
Our team also keeps an eye on who’s winning awards in the content field. The creativity it takes to stand out and the outcomes achieved by our industry’s best and brightest are a huge source of inspiration. This is particularly true of website development. It’s such a dynamic space that if you don’t notice who’s stretching the limits, you may be challenged to stretch them yourself.
To that end, we’ve bookmarked two sites in particular that showcase standout web design: Awwwards and The Webby Awards. Awwwards is designed as a place for inspiration, debate, knowledge sharing and helpful critiques. It highlights a different site daily, each chosen by a multidisciplinary jury of experts from around the world. And The Webby Awards, established in 1996, honor excellence across five major media types, including web, mobile and social sites and apps.
Other creative inspiration resources we like
Sometimes you’re not searching for muses or inspiration. You’re just looking for information, but you stumble upon cool stuff and bookmark it as content you want to revisit. It’s often just serendipity, isn’t it?
Check out Rainy Mood, a collection of mixes that will soothe you to sleep or (more to the point) drown out the office sounds around you so you can work creatively. And we love the Longform podcasts — hearing conversations with great nonfiction writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Malcolm Gladwell and Susan Orlean on how they approach their craft inspires us all.
Creativity in every form is all around us. Be open to it. You never know where the next inspirational spark might come from.