Creating great content that resonates with your target audience is no simple feat. And unfortunately there’s not an easy button for content marketing. It requires consistent, quality content creation.
Anyone tasked with creating content for content marketing has undoubtedly experienced writer’s block from time to time. When you’re staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor, what can you do to get things rolling? Here are some thoughts on conquering this common issue.
1. Have a content calendar
In many cases, writer’s block is less a function of the ability to write and more a function of not knowing what to write about in the first place. While this may seem obvious, one of the best ways to avoid writer’s block with your content marketing efforts is to have a plan in place that identifies the audience and the topic. When you sit down to develop a blog post, you shouldn’t be thinking about what to write. Instead, it should be planned in advance and documented with a content calendar.
2. Revisit your buyer personas and topic parking lot
Sometimes, even with a content calendar, you’re just not all that inspired by the topic that you’re scheduled to write about. Or perhaps what’s on the calendar, for one reason or another, just doesn’t work as well in the present as it did when you originally planned it. Either way, it’s always helpful to keep a “parking lot” of ideas that don’t make the final content calendar, but still may be viable topics for your buyer personas, or at least will spur other ideas that may work better.
3. Brainstorm with a colleague
Spending even just a few minutes with a colleague to brainstorm ideas when you’ve hit a wall can not only save you valuable time, but also help you end up with much better content. If you’ve started down a path but not sure whether it’s the right way to go, seek out a co-worker for their viewpoint. If you don’t even know where to begin, sometimes even a brief conversation around what ideas you have can prove to be incredibly fruitful. Your colleagues can be a goldmine of insight and inspiration.
4. Dive deeper on a previous topic
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. Just because you’ve covered a topic before doesn’t mean you can’t cover it again; you just have to add to the conversation. There’s almost always more that you can say (and should say) about a topic, but you can’t possibly say it all in one piece of content. So take one tip, tactic or point and expand upon that all on its own. Diving deeper on a previous topic is not only helpful for getting started, but also adds additional value to your readers.
5. Draw from what you’re reading
Every content writer should be spending a fair amount of time reading and consuming other people’s content. Whether in the form of industry publications, blogs, local or national news, or even what the competition is writing, you should be reading what your target personas are reading. This not only keeps you informed, but it can also provide you with inspiration and help you identify gaps that your content can plug.
6. Skip the introduction
Starting out writing the introduction can be a good way to form the thesis for your content. But it can also cause you to spin your wheels and focus too much energy early on by trying to wordsmith a description of your content when you’re still working out the details. Instead, try starting with the middle and getting out the ideas you have and seeing where that takes you. Let your writing dictate the introduction and not the other way around.
7. Break from your normal routine
Occasionally, you may have the right topic, the right angle and all the ideas in the world, but the words still won’t come out. At that point, the best thing you can do to overcome writer’s block is to change up your normal content writing routine. Here are just a few ideas that you can try:
- Change your location — Ditch your desk (or the office altogether) and find someplace quiet or try a coffee shop.
- Change your time — You might typically be best in the morning, but try the afternoon or vice versa.
- Work in sprints — Don’t always feel the need to complete your work in one sitting, try writing in chunks instead.
- Take a break — Even if you’re on a deadline, a brief pause might be rewarding.
Just get something on paper (or the screen)
While these are some of the ways you can overcome content writer’s block, it’s also important to know that it’s okay to write a rough draft—and they’re called “rough” drafts for a reason. In other words, don’t make the mistake of trying to wordsmith or edit as you write. Get your ideas on paper first and then take a look at how they’re organized and worded. When you’re struggling to get the ideas flowing, being overly concerned with structure or grammar can your stifle creativity and content creation efforts.