“Take a break, re-read, re-write and relax. These are just a few of the Zen techniques we’re going to use to reignite your slumbering synapses. Congratulations. And welcome to Busting Writer’s Block…”
The world of marketing has dramatically changed in the digital age and along with SEO, social media and digital marketing you will have no doubt heard the term ‘content marketing’ thrown around too.
Content marketing is “the creation and distribution of relevant and consistent online content to attract your target audience”… and of course, to encourage social media shares.
In other words, get your blog on!
And no, it’s not all for a laugh – creating relevant, consistent content for your site will aid a boost in website traffic and help make you relevant when it comes to SEO.
But content marketing isn’t as easy as some companies manage to make it look – as well as having to find a writer or expert, you have to research what drives your audience to share, make it interesting and unique, make it look pretty and then do it all again next week – twice over!
And along with anything you do consistently comes the inevitable creative block.
I’ve had an awful case of writer’s block for the last couple of weeks that no amount of tea making, window staring or turning to female pop-rock icons for inspiration could cure. It occurred to me that, now content marketing is in full swing, this must be a re-occurring problem. So the good news is, I’m not alone!
Now that we know the importance of content marketing and want to start making our newsfeeds more than just the obligatory ‘Welcome to Our New Site!’ message, where do you begin? Or if, like me, you suddenly become stuck, lost for content and listening to the same Gwen Stefani album on repeat (arrrgh!)…how can you begin to dig yourself out?
If you’re just starting with content marketing, the best advice I can give is…just do it! The more you put it off, the longer your blog feed will stay empty. Jump in at the deep end – I double dare you. Every creative process involves the ‘everything I do is absolute garbage and the whole world would be better off if I just stayed in bed today’ stage! But it’s usually these projects that surprise you in the end.
But if you really ARE putting it off it’s usually down to one of these problems – you’re an expert in your field, but you’re not a writer…or you have a writer, but they’re not an expert in your field. So here’s a couple of ways you can begin to tackle your blog:
4 Ways to Make a Start On Your Blog
#1 To Outsource?
If you don’t have a writer in the team, then it’s maybe time to look at outsourcing your articles. Sites like people per hour are great for finding copywriters at a good price, but make sure you get examples first. The last thing you want is to have to spend hours proof reading and re-wording someone who’s spinning articles out for ten a penny.
Keep in mind too that, even if you pay more for a professional copywriter you may not capture the essence of your business as well as someone working with you and your products or service on a daily basis. For example, you may want to write about a special event that went on within your company and stories or reviews like this are usually better straight from the horse’s mouth.
#2 Keeping it in the Family
If you decide to keep your content marketing in house, maybe you already have a copywriter for instance; by all means assign the main writing duties to them. However, don’t rely solely on one person – each expert in your business will have something to say about their particular field that they may not even realise is beneficial to your audience. A change of style or opinion is a great way to vary your news feed, especially if you’re writing a couple of times a week.
Involving other team members means you can pool your resources too – have a photographer? Pictures please! Designers? Meme me up!!
#3 Define Your Style
Do some research and see what style of writing best suits your audience and what will encourage them to share. For example, a charity organisation may want to share success stories, a restaurant may want to share recipes or cooking tips including videos, a bakery may share very image heavy stories or tutorials, a travel site may want to list ‘Top 5’ style places to visit etc etc.
The style your blog is written in is really make or break to it’s success. My personal favourite blog style is from cracked.com – their simple ‘list’ style titling (it’s hard not to click things like ‘The 35 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Children’s Products’ or the ‘9 Famous Thinkers Who Were Total Hypocrites’) and a crack team of amusing writers focussing on anything and everything means I could procrastinate on their site all day long…
#4 Make it Look Pretty
Whether we like it or not, looks are very important. So don’t think the work is over when the writing’s finished. It has to look the part too. Try not to use too much block text: this is avoided with a list style format, but if not, don’t be afraid to use the return key. 500 words is usually the average blog length but there’s no harm in going over this if you keep it interesting. Videos, images, infographics or interactive quiz’s all help to make your blog engaging too.
If you want to include some more advanced formatting, brushing up on some basic html coding or CSS styling will be beneficial. Your web designer should be more than willing to give you a hand, or failing that, there are a whole host of online guides. Spending a bit of time on the formatting will be well worth the results.
Okay, so your blogs up and running and everybody’s laughing. And then you hit the wall. It’s such a hard thing to dig yourself out of, especially if you’re not a company that can get away with writing about writer’s block…
So! Let’s get over that wall you’re hitting your head against!
4 Ways to Dig Yourself Out of Writer’s Block:
#1 Involve the Family…Again
I always look to my lovely team mates to help me out. It’s easy to get sick and tired of your own field so take some inspiration from what your workmates do and even if they don’t have the time to join you in writing duties, maybe ask them to just throw over 5 bullet points of information on a particular subject to get you inspired.
Not just your workmates, your friends and family are always a surprising source of inspiration – some of my most inspired blog posts are influenced by what goes on around me on a daily basis (you might have noticed…)
#2 Call in Guest Writers
When you become more established, it’s possible to get some of the hard work done for you. When your site becomes big, you’ll find that (especially with things like reviews) people may start to scramble for your web space free of charge, which will give you a well-deserved break from writing duties!
#3 Look at What’s #Trending
Have a look at what’s hot in your industry, what people are talking about. The best way to do this is via your social sites – Twitter and Facebook trends will keep you bang up to date with the latest industry news. However, if you can’t find anything topical that’s relevant to your field, it’s best to have some of your favourite websites bookmarked – research your industry to see which sites are hot, topical and up to date.
#4 Look Around You
Remember that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…a homicidal dull boy! The best creativity is always inspired from sources you least expect it. You can’t be inspired by sitting in the same place every day doing the same old thing. Going for a walk, catching up with friends or calling your Mum may be just what you need to get your brain working again. And when you do finally feel inspired – no matter how big or small – make a note of it. Even if it looks naff later on, make sure to keep a record of each idea – it could turn into something brilliant.
So step away from the computer/laptop/type-writer/put down the quill…and go and let the world (beyond the window) inspire you.