By Lou Cimaglia at Social Media Today:
The agony of a blank page and a deadline.
Content marketers know this frustration all too well. For each great moment of inspiration, there are countless moments of frustration and lack of direction.
Here are seven practical, actionable tips that you can use next time you find yourself in a rut.
1. CHRONICLE INCOMPLETE THOUGHTS
The beauty of having a content management system is its inherent organizational benefit. One habit I have developed over the years is not allowing any ideas – no matter how fleeting – to go undocumented. Generally, I take an idea, even the most unfinished or unpolished of ideas, and throw them into a draft on WordPress. On days when writer’s block sets in, it is helpful to have a dozen or so unfinished ideas that you may be able to combine, or to spur a new idea.
2. TALK ABOUT SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNRELATED
I love content marketing. But there’s a lot of it out there. And a lot of it has already been done. (I’m sure there are hundreds of blogs that talk about beating writer’s block.) Consider your blog or publication holistically. Scrolling through the posts, there is bound to be overlap and thematic redundancies. Think about cleansing the palette with a human interest story, multimedia content, or something that is only intended to make a reader feel good.
3. QUOTE, QUOTE, QUOTE
So many people are averse to allowing others to take the spotlight. In content marketing, there are mounds of articles that revolve around the same topic you’re hawking. Take a recent article from another publication, dissect it as an industry expert, and write about it. It’s okay to let different viewpoints in. And your subject will appreciate the link back.
4. CHECK YOUR DATA
I am a firm believer in writing for human beings, not for search engines.
With that being said, are you fully aware of what your strongest performing keywords are? Find out what consumers are searching for, and create more content around that specific topic. This reactive content creation process will take less pressure off of you to be creative. Let the customers dictate the workflow.
5. SPREAD THE WEALTH
There aren’t many publications out there that have been successful simply by the efforts of one person. Make no mistake, those blogs exist (ie, Seth Godin) but it is a Herculean task to expect yourself to write something new every single day.
Let your coworkers help you out. They may completely despise writing, but they can at least be a springboard for new ideas.
6. BETTER YOURSELF
As a content creator, your audience looks to you as an authority on the subject. Consume as much news and opinions as you can from other writers and experts.
And be sure to switch up your news sources. Read something that you have no previous knowledge of. Straying as far away as possible from your comfort zone will exercise different areas of your brain and accelerate creativity. Staying stagnant will only lead you to that proverbial brick wall faster.
7. THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE
We aren’t writing for the sake of seeing how smart we are. Content marketing should be - has to be - about providing utility to our readers. It’s just that simple.
If you have built a loyal readership, reach out to them. Ask them what types of content they enjoy consuming. Content should foster an interactive community. Immerse yourself in your people, and their loyalty will grow.