Lessons from the Inktober Drawing Challenge
Challenge Yourself to Improve Your Content Creation
Every October, artists from around the world put pen to paper to create drawings for a daily challenge called Inktober. They can follow a list of official prompts or one of several spin offs. Or, they can just wing it. The only “rules” are to draw every day and post on line with #Inktober.
What’s great about this challenge is that it pushes participants to be creative and come up with things they wouldn’t have otherwise. The daily deadline forces them to be disciplined and create something they might have pushed off or never gotten to. This is what we need to do with our online marketing programs.
I don’t know of an Inktober equivalent for marketing, but you can create your own version and get the same benefits. Here are some useful guidelines:
1. Set a specific schedule.
A big part of success in marketing is simply getting to it. It can help to break down the big program into components so you can work on one at a time. Pick what you want to focus on such as a weekly blog, Facebook posts, or articles for LinkedIn.
2. Define what you want to do.
The more specific you are, the easier it will be. Make it clear and set regular times. For instance, one hour a week on planning. 15 minutes a day on posting or 10 posts in 10 days. It should be a stretch but doable.
3. Have a set time.
The reason Inktober works is that it’s just one month. There is an end in sight. Having an eye on the finish line makes it easier to keep going when the going gets tough. And it will. The reason you haven’t done what you are planning to do is that it’s difficult. It’s hard to find the time or the ideas. You will have to overcome some hurdles.
4. Recognize the hurdles.
I don’t draw every day because I don’t have time. I had to figure out when it was going to get done to make it happen. And honestly, it usually happened at 11 p.m. or later. I had to make it a priority over other things like reading, watching TV and sleeping. Identify what stands in your way so you can make decisions about how to get it out of your way.
5. Let the challenge push your creativity.
Initially, I found the Inktober prompts annoying, but ultimately I appreciated them. They were random words like “united” and “found.” My personal added guideline was that I didn’t want to be too serious or obvious. The hardest part wasn’t the drawing, it was coming up with the ideas. But because I stuck to the prompt list, I came up with unexpected ideas. It’s the same thing with generating content for marketing. You can’t wait for inspiration to get started. Get started and then inspiration will come.
6. Let your mind wander and ponder.
There is a game I play with my kids. The first person says a word and the next person responds with the first related word that comes to mind. Bats – belfry or bats – baseball. One thing leads to another. This is a good exercise for coming up with content for social media posts, blogs and newsletters. Find a starting point and then explore it with your target reader in mind. Start with a news story or a photo or another blog post and see what it makes you think of. Keep pushing the thought around until it forms into a concept that you can use.
7. Have fun.