Seth Godin is often quoted as saying Content Marketing is the only marketing left. The real truth is this. Useful marketing is the only marketing people will tolerate and content marketing can be very, very useful.
However, even when you have the time to produce the content, that doesn’t always mean your mind is right there with you. Anybody who produces content has fallen into a writer’s rut or mental block with the direction they want to take (ironically, I had that issue with this post).
So, how do you overcome this? Below I’ve listed some advice on overcoming writer’s block as well as how to develop additional content ideas once you’ve done so.
Removing writer’s block
Take a break and go outside
Seems simple enough, right? Stand up, walk away from your desk, and get away from your computer for a bit. Do this even if you’re on a tight deadline. There’s no point in just staring at your computer if it’s getting you nowhere. Getting some fresh air will help get your creative juices flowing and will make you feel refreshed so that you can return to your desk and conquer a stellar piece of content.
I get that this may be easier said than done, but it’s imperative that you try.
The easiest way to remove distractions is to know what they are ahead of time and remove them before you try diving into your content (maybe having the TV on for background noise isn’t the best idea).
An easy distraction to eliminate immediately is to turn your email notifications off and close the tab on your computer. It’s so easy to check email consistently throughout the day, but it’s a huge distraction. You’ll find you can get a lot more done if you aren’t constantly looking at it.
Using tools like RescueTime can help you eliminate digital distraction across the board mindlessly.
Mix it up
This can apply to background noise, location, and so on. I’m all for routine, but when it comes to writing, sometimes it’s helpful to change things up. It may take some trial and error, but once you figure it out, stick with it for future writing endeavors.
Write an outline
Remember in grade school when your teacher would make you turn in an outline before you turned in your paper? At the time it seemed like such a daunting task. As an adult, however, you come to realize how incredibly useful this is. It helps to put structure to your writing.
It gives you a plan that you can follow so that when you sit down to crank it out, you have a clear direction which will help make the time needed to write go a lot faster.
Developing content ideas
Once my creative juices are in working order, I often like to take advantage of this time to come up with ideas for future content as well. Although you may still experience some writer’s block when you actually begin developing the content, having an editorial calendar in place will definitely make the process seem easier.
Have a brainstorming session
You know your audience (or at least you should), so brainstorm the types of content they might like to consume. The ideas you come up with can be a great starting point as you dive into the other tactics below.
Conduct keyword research
Keyword research is a necessity that can be used to drive your content strategy. The power of keyword research is that it gives you the ability to understand the exact phrases people use to search for the products and services you provide.
When you’re aware of what those phrases are, you can address the topics through your content and blog posts.
Great keyword research informs your editorial calendar and that’s why you should never stop doing it.
Look at industry/topic related forums
In forums, people will often say exactly what they are looking for and what they are having a hard time finding. If you spend enough time on these platforms it becomes a great way to pick up on trends.
Rely on tools
The tools below can be extremely beneficial in coming up with topic ideas because they’ll provide you with real data and insight about your target audience.
- BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a search engine that ranks content by how often an article is shared. After I have my list of keyword phrases, I use this tool to see what types of content people are writing and sharing for my list of search terms.
- Keywordtool.io – I use Keywordtool.io because it turns up actual questions people ask about specific terms. I think this is one of the best ways to find intent in a search phrase.
- Answer the Public – I should warn you, the homepage is not what you think it’s going to be, but it’s a fantastic tool for discovering content ideas!
- Quora – Quora is “a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.”
Look through emails and chat with your team
Go through your email and search for questions your customers have asked, how they talk about their issues, what they like and don’t like, and so on. The information you can gather here is priceless and can give you amazing content ideas.
If you don’t personally answer a lot of external emails, ask your team members who do. Anybody on your team who interacts with your customers, whether in-person or digitally, can be a wealth of information and a great resource for developing impactful content.
What recommendations would you add for overcoming writer’s block and developing content ideas?
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.