One of the most daunting things a writer faces is a blank page. Have you ever poured your coffee, sat down at your computer with a new document open and just….sat there watching the cursor blink? Yeah, in case you’re one of the lucky one’s who always knows what to write about, let me tell you that it is no fun.
When you are constantly creating content and posting new pieces regularly, it can feel like you have nothing to say. Or perhaps it’s just already been said. Well, it takes some digging but, I assure you, there is always something to say, you just have to find it. Sure, sometimes the words come flowing out of you and the creativity is just running rampant but for the times when you struggle to even come up with a topic, here’s what to do.
Here are my tips and tricks for when you are having trouble figuring out what to write about:
1. Keep close watch on your industry. Subscribe to competitors’ blogs and other popular bloggers in your field.
RSS feeds, while less used now than they used to be, are well-known and super useful. I personally like www.feedly.com and use it on a daily basis as I think it’s one of the best RSS readers out there. The basic free level lets you manage various RSS feeds from websites you have followed. (My top five? HubSpor, fastCompany, TechCrunch, Digiday, and Moz.) I still get a slew of emails from individual sites every morning because I made the mistake of subscribing to their newsletters/daily recaps but more often than not I delete those and just check Feedly. If you’re looking for unique content, try out Feedly’s hashtag search. All you have to do is type a word into the search bar and choose from a list of suggested topics. The results are a great way for discovering new content and providing blog inspiration.
2. Check out Reddit. The plethora of subreddits will ensure you always have new information at our fingertips.
Reddit’s users discover and vote on what content is valuable so it’s a great site for discovery. Subreddits are specialized threads that focus on a single topic and are the ultimate place to monitor links you might use in a blog and one of the best ways for anyone to stay on top of any news, events and information.
For digital marketing, I like the following:
Check out the full list of subreddits for more inspiration.
3. Write about a trending topic. Is everyone on the interwebs (in your field) talking about some important news story? Chime in!
Offer your perspective – maybe it’s slightly different than all the other voices. You could dive into why or why not you agree with everyone’s opinions. Don’t forget to link to the other articles you reference! Responding and reacting to news will help place you in the forefront of your field and position your brand as thought leaders.
4. Get a guest! Bloggers are pretty nice people, maybe it’s time to partner up with someone.
Reach out to fellow bloggers that you might be able to team up with. You could write exchanging guest posts for each other or write a piece together, or combine efforts for a series of posts. A mutually beneficial partnership that will help both content and traffic? Yes, please!
5. Explain mistakes. What mistakes have you made in the past?
Everyone has made mistakes but it’s what you learned from them that is important. And worth sharing in a blog post. Relating a personal experience is a great way to humanize your brand. Plus, ‘write what you know,’ right?
6. Answer questions. Are there any unanswered (or poorly answered) questions that relate to your field that your audience is already asking?
Research your audience and come up with topics you know you could provide great answers to. You can discover pre-existing questions through reader surveys, in -person meetings, emails, or even short interviews. Keyword research is another great way to find out what people are searching for around your topic. Can you cover it well? Is there good content to be made? If “Yes!” then stop reading this and get to writing!
7. Present your stand-out content. Does your company have unique types of assets?
This might include research, data, or other insights. Entertaining your audience is great but occasionally you might want to offer value through showcasing some of your assets. Maybe you had to compile a bunch of stats and prepare data on the market for your Q2 reporting. If you can get permission to share some of that work, your readers will eat it up!
8. Get out there. I mean more than go take a walk outside. Go to a conference, tradeshow, or meeting. Participate in a webinar! (The last is a fave of mine and although not technically ‘getting out there,’ a great way to hear from people without great effort.)
These are lovely ways to get the creative juices going and to meet interesting people with great stories. When you return (or while you’re there) write about what you learned, what you heard, who you spoke to, what new tech you discovered….you get the idea!
9. Create a series of blogs! You know what’s great about writing, once you get started often you discover a bunch of sub-topics that are worthy of their own post.
Coming up with one topic and being able to expand it into more? Woohoo! Not only will you get more posts but your readers will appreciate the information being broken up into a more readable way.
10. Plan ahead. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention writing ahead.
Make a schedule and don’t stray from it. Having deadlines helps me. When inspiration hits, take advantage and write until your pen dries up (or, if you start the process on a computer, type until your hands cramp.) Save all the extras for future blogs! Having a little ‘blog bank’ helps when, down the road, you’re experiencing writers’ block.
BONUS TIP: Still staring down a blank page? Take a break. Back away from the computer and walk around. Go engage in some mindless activity that gets your mind off blogging. I bet your brain will come up with a great solution once there is less pressure to do so.
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Happy blogging! I hope these techniques will help keep the ideas and creativity flowing to ensure consistent traffic, leads, and conversions.