Content marketing is hard. There’s no two ways about it.

Our own research found that two-thirds of content marketers wish they had more resources to throw at content creation. So, it’s not all that surprising people need some help every now and then coming up with a direction for their content strategies. Sometimes the inspirational well runs dry and the best ideas you can conjure up are – at best – retreads of messages or approaches that worked in the past.

We’ve gathered some of the most inspirational content creation quotes out there to help you break out of the inevitable dry spell. Everyone’s been in the same position one time or another, and by following the advice of the brightest marketing influencers, you can bust out of your creative slump and get back to the business of creating engaging content.

Here are 9 content creation quotes:

  1. Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them. – Doug Kessler
  2. When creating content, be the best answer on the internet. – Andy Crestodina
  3. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. – Craig Davis
  4. Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date. – David Beebe
  5. Useful & Enjoyable & Inspired = Innovative Content. – Ann Handley
  6. More content is not better. What’s the worst-case scenario if we slow ourselves down and do some analysis? – Kristina Halvorson
  7. When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this? – Ann Handley
  8. What helps people, helps business. – Leo Burnett
  9. It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best promoted content that wins. – Andy Crestodina

Let’s take a closer look at each of these quotes – enjoy:

1. Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them. – Doug Kessler

Has anyone in the history of the world enjoyed sitting through a sales pitch?

We all know consumers and B2B customers hate being sold to, and yet so much content online reads like a barely concealed sales pitch. To be fair, working your brand messaging and vision into anything you create without coming across as too promotional can be challenging. After all, how will site visitors know your company is awesome if you don’t tell them directly and frequently?

Rather than try to sell people on your business with overwrought, salesy assets, create content that speaks to them:

  • What are they most concerned about?
  • What are their biggest headaches day in and day out?
  • What would make their lives easier?

Now, find where those pain points dovetail with your own services and develop messages around that. Make it about your customers, not about you.

Try actually having a dialogue with your customers and site visitors. Encourage them to comment on your blog posts and videos, respond to your social media posts and share their own experiences with you. You’ll build engagement, develop your online presence and, in all likelihood, get some good inspiration for new content ideas.

2. When creating content, be the best answer on the internet. – Andy Crestodina

Knowledge is power, and that goes double for upping your search rankings.

If you want to get on the first page and land in the top three of any SERP, you need to be more informative than the competition.

Content that comprehensively answers a question will outpace your competitors, improving your search ranking and visibility. You also increase your chances of landing a Featured Snippet on Google, which is the cherry on top.

Need help figuring out what ground to cover to address a subject or question as completely as possible? Content creation tools like MarketMuse can help identify topics to flesh out on any given keyword to make your content stand out from the crowd.

Having that information at hand makes the content creation process a whole lot easier for your team. You can generate more insightful and impactful material than ever before without even breaking a sweat.

3. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. – Craig Davis

Now, to be fair, this is more in reference to advertising – banner ads, specifically – than marketing. The underlying message is still pretty darn relevant to content marketers, though, especially when you apply it to search.

Everyone wants to take the top spot on search engine results pages (SERP) for their most relevant keywords and queries. And that means competing head-to-head with industry leaders and oftentimes Google itself.

As Google packs more content into the top of SERPs with Knowledge Cards, Featured Snippets, Related Questions etc., people are more likely to find what they’re looking for before even casting an eye at organic search results.

If you’re not ranking in the top three places on a given SERP, the odds of someone actually clicking on your content drops dramatically.

CTR Chart

You have two options: Crack the top three (working your way into the Featured Snippet wouldn’t hurt, either) or concede defeat for that particular keyword or search phrase. Use a tool like Moz’s Keyword Explorer to review a term’s organic click-through and get a sense of how realistic it is to not just rank for that search query, but also pick up traffic from it.

4. Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date. – David Beebe

It can never be said too many times: Stop making your content all about you.

Users who land on your site want solutions to their problems or expert-level insight into a topic of interest. What they don’t want is to hear a company glorify itself. It’s why case studies make such terrible top-of-funnel assets.

If you make it all about yourself, people will leave your site in droves. Focus on your audience and what they care about, rather than come on too strong with your value propositions.

This could mean highlighting other brands, companies and players in your space (shudder, we know).

Our own Content Marketing Weekly series rounds up the latest news and insights in our little corner of the marketing world, which means citing people who could be considered competitors.

But good content curation involves giving your audience the most relevant and useful information possible, regardless of where it came from.

5. Useful & Enjoyable & Inspired = Innovative Content. – Ann Handley

content creation quotes - ann handley

Creating impactful content may be hard, but it’s not necessarily complicated. In theory, anyway. There is a pretty reliable formula for success: Make it useful to your audience, make it enjoyable to read or view and make it passionate.

Your audience is as engrossed with the subject matter of your content as you are, regardless of your industry. Just about anyone can crank out blog posts on dry subjects like industrial ethernet cables or telecom billing, but it takes true inspiration to create interesting and engaging content around those topics.

If you’re just going through the motions and creating something to fill in a spot on your content calendar, the odds of the final product actually resonating with audiences are pretty slim.

Speaking of which …

6. More content is not better. What’s the worst-case scenario if we slow ourselves down and do some analysis? – Kristina Halvorson

Each piece of content needs to serve a purpose and have both a specific goal and audience in mind before putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. There are so many data-driven content creation tools available today, it would be a shame to not take advantage of them.

Some content creation tools we’re big fans of:

  • SEMrush.
  • MarketMuse.
  • Moz.
  • Ahrefs.
  • Google Trends.
  • …and many more.

And for this type of analysis, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch.

Take a look at content that’s already performing pretty well – ie, lower first page of Google SERPs, bringing in some good organic traffic, etc – and see where there are opportunities to improve it further.

Just by re-optimizing older articles, one of our clients saw a 219% increase in organic traffic to those pages. The best part? Those results materialized within three months. With content marketing and SEO, you’re playing the long game, where tangible results usually don’t come around for months or sometimes even years. Content re-optimization is the closest thing there is to a quick win or shortcut.

Going back and re-optimizing old content is also a good way to give your brain a break when you’re struggling to find inspiration for new material. Just because there are no topics in the pipeline, that doesn’t mean your content strategy has to grind to a halt.

7. When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this? – Ann Handley

content creation quotes - ann handley

We always talk about making content that’s valuable to our audience, but how do we actually quantify that?

Handley’s advice here is the best kind: simple and straightforward to follow.

Anytime you’re planning out content, stop and ask yourself if your target audience will find it useful. Really be honest with yourself. Will readers come away with new knowledge they can apply to their own businesses, jobs or daily lives?

Consider how impactful a piece of content would have to be to actually inspire website visitors to reach out and thank you for it? It would have to be pretty profound, right? That’s the high bar you should be shooting for every time.

Of course, having a clear understanding of your audience and what matters to them gives you a big head start. That’s why we always recommend developing buyer personas so you can get a good sense of what makes your customers tick.

Know your audience first, and you can craft more meaningful content that resonates with them. You may even get a few thank-yous for your trouble.

8. What helps people, helps business. – Leo Burnett

Some classics are classics for a reason.

Even though advertising icon Leo Burnett died nearly 50 years ago, his wisdom still resonates throughout the marketing world today. Like so many other bits of advice we’ve covered here, the focus is on the customer and what they need.

If you can help them with a problem, you will become more credible in their eyes. Make a difference in the day-to-day life of your audience and they’ll begin to trust your brand.

So much of content marketing is driven by data, as it should be. But never lose sight of the people those numbers represent.

Remember, you’re trying to reach real people with real concerns. Your content needs to speak directly to them or it’ll land with a thud. Make any interaction between your brand and a potential customer count for something.

9. It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best promoted content that wins. – Andy Crestodina

We close out this list with another gem of a marketing quote courtesy of Andy Crestodina (seriously, is there anything this guy doesn’t know about content marketing?).

Content shouldn’t just sit on your site waiting for visitors to come and find it.

Think of how much time and energy it takes to create a single video for your brand. That’s a pretty big investment, and while it will find an audience through organic search (provided you have a good strategy in place), that doesn’t have to be the only way for your video to get views.

Additional ways to promote said video:

  1. Share it on social.
  2. Send it out via email.
  3. Feature it in a weekly newsletter.
  4. Embed it within a relevant blog article.

If you want to get the most out of your content, you have to promote the fruits of that labor. Bring your message to the people.

Doing so will spread awareness about all the great content you’re creating, generate more site traffic and help you cast a wider net when catching qualified leads.

If nothing else, these marketing quotes highlight the fact that everyone struggles executing on some facet of their content strategy, whether it’s content creation, publication or promotion.

Content marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, but at least there’s a whole community of experts and industry veterans who are ready and willing to spread their knowledge and lend a hand.

Are you inspired yet?

Jeff Keleher is a writer and editor at Brafton. A man of simple tastes, he enjoys playing guitar, playing video games and playing with his dog - sometimes all at once. He still hasn't gotten over Illinois' loss in the 2005 NCAA National Championship game, and he probably never will.