One of the biggest challenges of staying on top of a content marketing strategy is actually creating the content that you want to market.
Why? Because writer’s block is real!
There are lots of blog posts online about how writer’s block is a myth that writers use to cover up procrastination, but in reality, writer’s block stems from the very real inability to come up with a relevant topic and from the fear that whatever topic you do come up with will not be interesting to your audience.
The combination of these two things (exhausted topic list and fear of inadequate writing ability) can make it impossible to keep up with a regular blogging schedule.
However, there are ways to beat writer’s block before it seriously derails you.
Here are just a few tips to help you come up with topics and avoid the fear that your content will not be useful to your readers.
1. Talk it out.
While you might think it will make you look crazy (and it very well might), there’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself, especially when you are alone in your office—otherwise it might disturb the others trying to work in your space.
Speaking aloud, even just rambling about a topic, is a good way to allow your brain to free associate, make connections, and develop new ideas.
If you feel that you’ve examined every aspect of a certain topic, talk to a family member or friend who knows very little about that topic.
They will likely ask for clarification about or more information on something that you thought you’d fully explained—giving you a topic you can use.
2. Go offline.
You will obviously have to type up your post at some point, but if you are stuck for ideas or are just stymied whenever you try to start writing, it’s time to switch mediums.
If you only type when you write, it’s time to shut the laptop, clear off your desk, and use an old-fashioned pencil and paper.
This change is often enough to switch your mindset and prevent you from feeling like you are blocked.
3. Get out.
If you’ve been sitting at your computer for an hour, trying to come up with a topic, it’s time to take a break.
Go for a walk around your neighborhood.
Try to draw a connection between your business and the things that you see.
How does a tree represent the structure of your business?
How do flowers represent your customers?
It sounds silly, but creating even a silly metaphor can be both entertaining for your readers and valuable for communicating information.
4. Read what someone else has written about a topic.
One of the best ways to find topics is to read lots of blogs and articles about your industry.
This doesn’t mean that you should directly lift topics and opinions from those other writers, just that reading helps you to form your own ideas and opinions about a topic.
Especially if there is a controversial issue in your industry, reading someone’s article that you vehemently disagree with is a good way to spur yourself into writing a dissenting opinion on your own blog or social media account.
5. Change your schedule.
If you always write in the afternoon and are no longer finding that writing in the afternoon works for you, it’s time to change your schedule.
This goes against the wisdom given by most famous writers (who say that if you write at the same time every day, you can train your creativity to show up during that time).
However, if your creativity or muse is no longer showing up when she’s supposed to, you might try to catch her unawares by adjusting your schedule so you can write in the morning or later at night.
6. Find a new place to work.
That doesn’t mean abandon your business—it just means that maybe you need to take your laptop to your local Starbucks and sit and work in a different environment for a few hours.
The change of scenery can get your creative juices flowing.
Professional writers sometimes prefer working in noisy environments, as the little snippets of conversation you overhear or the location itself can be a source of great inspiration.
Unless you have trouble focusing when there are too many other noises around you, don’t discount the power of a coffee shop.
7. Stop editing as you write.
This is advice often handed out to novelists, but is just as relevant for those who are trying stay on top of a demanding content marketing schedule.
If you are spending too much time going back over and re-reading what you’ve just written, and tweaking it so it is just perfect, you are going to spend hours making changes and not really making progress.
While the entire piece should be edited before it is uploaded, force yourself to stop reworking every sentence as soon as you’re done typing it.
8. Revisit your favorite posts.
You probably have a list of posts that you either really enjoyed writing or performed exceptionally well (or both).
If you’re stuck for topics or are just not motivated to write, revisiting those posts is a great way to both come up with something to write about and get the drive to put fingers to keys.
9. Try something different.
If you always just write long, numbered posts (like this one), and find that just isn’t working for you today, why not make an infographic instead?
What about a series of quote-pics with just short captions underneath?
How about a very short post, instead of the usual long ones?
Mix it up—doing something different can pry you out your rut and make it easier to get back on track after a bout with writer’s block.
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