Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? While the best digital and content marketers don’t steal ideas from others, they keep their pulse on trends, best practices, and industry standards and adeptly apply them to their marketing initiatives. It’s important for anyone in the industry to maintain an awareness of what’s in and what’s working in the content marketing world to inform their own strategies.
That’s why we’ve compiled 11 entirely free resources that will help you spot trends and effective strategies to inspire creativity in your own marketing.
Design, branding, and content marketing inspiration
1. Vibe with your aesthetic with Dribbble
With millions of users, Dribbble serves as a digital portfolio for the world’s best designers. Scroll through best-in-class designs across multiple categories including animation, branding, product design, and web design for inspiration at your fingertips.
2. Up your newsletter game with Milled
Milled is a powerful and dynamic email newsletter search engine that provides users with access to enticing deals, retail sales, and discount codes from thousands of brands and retailers. As a free resource, Milled is an invaluable tool for anyone looking for inspiration for their email newsletter design, copy, or layouts. With Milled, users can easily compare email newsletters to see what’s working in their vertical and discover new trends industry-wide to inform your own newsletters.
3. Get inspired by the best brand bibles with Branding Style Guides
Experts know that a strong brand identity helps businesses establish a unique personality, build trust with customers, and ultimately, drive sales. By perusing The Branding Style Guidelines Archive of different brands’ style and branding guides, marketers can gain valuable insights into the inner workings of successful brands and apply those insights to their own organization. Some of the world’s most renowned brands have contributed to the archive, including McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Starbucks. Yet the archive also features standout resources from lesser known brands, so organizations of all sizes can find inspiration tailored to their unique needs.
Tools for creative thinking and problem solving
4. Access idea templates with Untools
Untools is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to enhance their problem-solving and decision-making skills in both business and life. The platform offers an array of thinking tools and frameworks designed to help users think and communicate more effectively.
With the platform’s user-friendly templates, users can easily communicate and visualize their ideas, leading to more successful outcomes. Untools’ focus on communication, systems thinking, and conflict resolution ensures that users are equipped with the necessary skills to generate innovative ideas and solve complex problems.
5. Dive into generative AI with Snack Prompt
Snack Prompt offers an extensive collection of AI prompts specifically designed for ChatGPT & Bard, allowing users to explore and discover new ideas and perspectives.
With its community-driven approach, Snack Prompt provides a collaborative environment for users to share and upvote the best AI prompts, making it easy to stay up to date with the latest trends and ideas. By following topics and creating customized prompts, anyone can tailor their AI system to their specific needs, providing a powerful tool for boosting creativity and productivity in digital and content marketing.
6. Discover new and trending tech with Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a community-driven hub for discovering and sharing the latest tech and product innovations. With daily updates and front page timelines showcasing the best new products, you’ll never miss a beat in the fast-paced world of tech.
Product Hunt’s interface allows you to explore new products by top trending, a range of topics, or through site search. It’s almost as enlightening to scroll through what the trending topics are as it is to see the new technological innovation happening within these umbrella categories. The savvy marketer will recognize Product Hunt as not just a marketplace for new products and tools, but also a space to feel the pulse of successful new tech as a whole.
Digital, TV, and Campaign Ads Libraries, Round-Ups, and Search Engines
7. Explore Facebook and Instagram ads currently live on The Meta Ads Library
The Meta Ads Library provides an extensive collection of ads that are currently running across Meta’s technologies, searchable by brand or keyword. Filter your results by media type, platform, or date. You can also see all creative versions of an ad so you’ll be able to dissect brands’ testing and optimization strategies.
The library contains more extensive information about political ads and ads about social issues, due to transparency regulations. These ads are archived for seven years, and will show you robust details including total spend, total impressions, and targeting data. You can also export these ads to a CSV if there’s an issue you want to track over time.
8. Broaden your cultural horizons with Campaigns of the World
Campaigns of the World is a great place to find creative inspiration for your next marketing campaign.The site offers a wide range of comprehensive and insightful coverage of advertising and marketing campaigns from all over the world.
Campaigns of the World scours the web for the latest and greatest ad campaigns using all of the best practices you’ve heard of – and many you haven’t. Search for examples of what you’re looking for, or simply enjoy the scroll as you’re guaranteed to come across something to get your creative juices flowing.
9. Browse the best of digital display with Moat
As a top-notch tool for gaining insight into digital display ads, Moat shows you all of the ads a brand is currently running, their dimensions, the device they’re being displayed on, and how long they’ve been in circulation.
Not only does Moat provide a wealth of knowledge on industry trends and competitors, but it’s also a treasure trove of creative inspiration for your next campaign.
10. Get lower-funnel inspiration with SpyFu
SpyFu offers a breadth of data allowing you to peek into your competitors’ SEO and PPC strategies, giving you the ability to optimize your own campaigns. SpyFy provides access to data on over 7 billion search results and 109 million domains, so you can unlock insights into your competitors’ strategies and see what’s working (and what’s not) in your specific industry.
11. Watch TV commercials of today and yesterday on iSpot.tv
See where the big brands are spending their most precious ad dollars on iSpot.tv. On iSpot.tv, users can browse through present and past TV commercials by brand, keyword, industry, most watched, and top spenders. While most companies can’t afford to produce video or run ads at this scale, it’s always eye-opening to see what is trending in enterprise. Even organizations with the smallest budgets can implement learnings from messaging and storytelling tactics of these major players.
iSpot.tv also offers feature pages from major sporting events where TV ads take center stage. This includes, of course, the Super Bowl, as well as the World Cup, the Olympics, and the NFL. With brands often spending upwards of $1m for these spots, you are guaranteed to be served the best of the best when exploring these round-up resources and learning from their aesthetics and strategies.
Making inspiration actionable
Bookmark these digital and content marketing resources, scroll through them during down time, and consult them when you’re seeking new ideas. Also, share them with colleagues to spark up conversation and inspiration!
Creativity can show up at any time, and often does without intervention. To get the most out of these inspirational resources, make sure you are utilizing them both when you’re actively looking for ideas, as well as the times you just want to discover.
While you of course never want to copy someone else’s work, gaining inspiration from content that was executed flawlessly can help you tap into those spaces in your own mind. Explore, create, and help those beautiful ideas take shape so you can unleash them onto the world!