So you’ve developed your themes, categories, and editorial calendar and now it’s time to sit down and write great blog content. The only problem is, you feel… stuck.
I’ve been there. The struggle can be very real when it comes to knowing what to say and how to say it to your audience. There is a lot of pressure to create new, compelling blog content on a regular basis without sounding like a broken record. Here are some tricks to reduce writer’s block, get inspired and create value-add content your readers will appreciate.
Take Time to Really Listen
Unless you’re just getting started, chances are someone in the universe is reading your blog posts. What better way to get inspired than by getting to know who they are and what interests them? Start by simply listening.
Unless they’re a bot, if a reader has taken the time to leave a comment on your blog or social media, it’s likely meaningful and represents how they feel about you and what you’re producing. Keep your eyes peeled for encouraging reactions to the content you’ve already put out there, and do more of that!
Additionally, instead of just waiting for comments to appear, you can prompt your readers for feedback within a blog or social media post. When they respond, fully digest what they have to say (and don’t let it hurt your feelings). If someone leaves negative feedback, take that seriously too. Of course, avoid taking negative or overly critical comments directly to heart – after all, this is your blog, not your reader’s – but always keep their opinions and preferences in mind to inform your future content strategy. Do this especially if you continue to see similar feedback from multiple readers.
Not just about SEO
Make sure you’re optimizing your content not just for search, but for humans too. In fact, writing for humans should be your priority. Google has caught on to keyword stuffing, it won’t earn you quality readership and could damage your credibility. Speaking your audience’s language will increase your exposure to broader networks. No matter if your content is thought provoking, emotional, controversial, etc., make sure it’s conversational and personable, giving your readers a reason to tell their family, friends, and coworkers about what they read on your blog this week.
Heavily rely on data
Listening would never be complete without comprehensive data to back up your anecdotal observations. Use Google Analytics to evaluate your blog’s performance, better define the makeup of your audience, and identify the content that resonates best. Data better equips you to understand the psychology of your readers, enabling you to create future content that will resonate best with target audiences.
Remember: History Repeats Itself
If something was successful in the past, there is a good chance it will breed success again. Take a trip down memory lane to evaluate your best performing content, and analyze what worked and why. Do this by reviewing your social media post engagement (an increased number of likes and comments) and most successful past blogs (number of views, positive reactions via comments, and shares).
Remember there’s nothing wrong with repurposing content that performs particularly well. You can take a topic or concept and repackage it, or take it from social media and add it to your blog. For instance, if you created an excellent video or infographic for Facebook, add it to your blog. Share a new perspective on how or why it was created, and take advantage of the long form content space to share more interesting details with your readers.
Source Inspiration from Everywhere
When you’re ready to create brand new or refurbished content, put a plan in motion to get your creative juices flowing. Sometimes all it takes is an environmental prompt to get you over the writer’s block hump.
Take a look at what’s current and timely
Read the news and find topics and articles that pertain to your industry and audience. Write posts referencing current events and add your own spin to it. Staying on top of current events helps content creators stay on trend, remain culturally relevant and insert the brand voice into an existing conversation. Not all of your content has to be organic and uniquely created by you. Sometimes your unique point of view is what makes for an engaging piece.
Consider adding product reviews
In addition to talking about the news, you can also review a product and share your transparent opinions. If you own a fitness studio and regularly buy merchandise to sell in store, profile the brand and what makes the pieces unique. Your readers will walk away with a better understanding of why you decided to sell the items in your studios.
Take cues from your competition
You can’t get ahead if you don’t know where the bar is set. No one likes a copycat. However, reading and subscribing to competitor content can be immensely insightful. Not only is it a great way to see how your competitors are engaging with your target audiences, but will likely spark inspiration for new content on your platforms. Using competitive social analytics software, like Rival IQ, allows you to track, analyze and take action to improve your content strategy using your competitor’s social posts.
Step outside the box
In addition to direct competitors, read blogs that interest you. Period. A blog doesn’t have to cover the same topics or industry as your brand to spark inspiration. Whether DIY, travel, food or more, pick a topic, find something you like, and check out what they have to say.
Interview A Subject Matter Expert
When you are at a loss for what to write about, the greatest gift is to ask someone else to come up with what to say. Interviewing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create a high-quality blog post. Plus, you shift the onus for interesting content is on the interviewee. Best of all, audiences will benefit from your interviewee’s expertise, and remember your brand as a helpful resource to find the information they care about most.
An even better alternative to interviewing is to invite guest post appearances on your blog. When a subject matter expert or influencer writes a post about a relevant topic and publishes and promotes it via your brand blog, it creates a win-win. You have fresh content to publish, and the influencer’s fans and followers are likely to visit your site, driving traffic to your website with new visitors. This concept isn’t new but certainly continues to gain traction as a powerful marketing-savvy strategy.
Have you ever heard people say that their best ideas come to them in the shower? It could be because they’re relaxed. So, the next time you’re on a hike, run or a walk in the park put your phone down and look up. Breathe deeply and take in the scenery. Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you’re not trying so hard. In addition to spending time in the great outdoors, you can:
- Listen to a podcast.
- Grab a drink or snack and enjoy it outside during great patio weather.
- Watch your favorite movie.
- Go to lunch with an old friend.
- Take a group exercise class or meditate.
Your time is better spent reconnecting with the world instead of fighting with a blog draft when you’re all out of creative motivation.
Don’t forget that guest blogging benefits both parties, creating content for you and generating exposure for the guest. It also helps to establish credibility as the affiliation alone demonstrates a substantial relationship between a brand and influencer, someone that a lot of people trust.
How do you stay inspired to write fresh content, week after week? We’d love it if you’d share your tips with us in the comments