As marketers and content creators, we’re under pressure.

It’s our job to dream up that next awesome campaign or turn a client’s musings into a profound message—as if a stream of clever copy rolls continuously through our minds.

But in reality, generating ace ideas for each new project is hard work—and some days, it’s just not happening. We’re human, after all, and no matter how easy Don Draper makes it look, brilliance doesn’t always strike when needed.

So how do you avoid panic when you’re out of inspiration? Here are a few tools I use at Bethel when I need to get the job done but can’t seem to cook up something fresh.


When I’m stuck, I head back to the original strategy. Who’s my audience? What are their needs, goals, and priorities? Why should they care about this?

By articulating who I’m writing for and why, I can often reenter the project with a new perspective that’s grounded in the basics of what my writing should accomplish.


After defining my audience and what I need to say, I can then worry about how to say it. But if you have a good brand, this should be less of a chore.

A good brand sets the voice and personality for your writing. And a good branding guide helps you to get lost in your university’s culture—the language, life, and energy that’s unique to your campus—and infuse that culture into your words.

Your brand should also provide a solid vision for who you are and where you’re headed. It defines the characteristics that make your university stand apart, helping you tell a story that’s consistent and true.


In my struggle to craft the right message, I sometimes getting sucked into marketing speak and away from authenticity.

To get back to genuine conversation, I write down what I know and believe about Bethel. And when I write what I know, it tends to come from the heart. I know that sounds trite. But, for me, creative energy—and authenticity—begins to flow when I answer these questions:

  • Why do I work here?
  • What keeps me coming back each day?
  • What do I love about this place?


When cycles are slammed or I’m hustling to wrap up a chaotic week, I don’t have the luxury of deliberating over just the right phrase. Instead, all I have time to focus on is delivering a clear message.

If I make clarity my priority, I can at least ensure my message is understood, even if it doesn’t tug at the emotions.

In your work as a content creator or marketer, may you find a bit of peace amidst the stress knowing that you’re not alone. The pressure to come up with great ideas is draining—and you won’t be at your best every day. So when you’re feeling the weight, get back to your strategy, focus on your brand, and write something clear from the heart. It might not win you any awards, but it will help you do more than just get the job done.