Do you ever feel like the act of writing content for your business website is worse than tooth decay? Try these five tips to get inspired and find your writing mojo.
Writing content for your business website isn’t easy. Oh, it might seem simple at first … you have a list of wonderful topics, and your brain is filled with confidence and dazzling inspiration. But then you sit down in front of that keyboard, and all of a sudden absolutely nothing makes sense, your brow is covered in sweat, and you decide you’d rather endure a root canal than write a single, lonesome post for your site.
We feel your pain. Many of our clients go through the same thing, and it’s at this point when we usually get a phone call that begins with something like this: “Please help! I’m stuck.”
Whether you’re trying to pound out a blog or new online content, even the most prolific of us gets writer’s block now and then. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to get unstuck, including the suggestions we have for you right here. So relax, take a deep breath, and consider the following:
Set up Google Alerts. Drawing inspiration from current trends or news items is one of the fastest ways to get fresh ideas. By setting up Google Alerts, you’ll have a daily feed at your fingertips. Just go to Google Alerts, and enter a keyword for your industry, business, or area of interest into the ‘Search Query,’ For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you might type in “fitness,” or “health news.”
You can then choose to receive alerts at regular intervals – even once a day or more – and you’ll see the latest and greatest in research, posts and news related specifically to your profession. Set aside some time in your schedule to review your alerts (which will come to your inbox), and then save any links that generate content ideas. Keep them in a file, adding personal notes for future reference. When it’s time to produce a new post, you’ll have potential topics just sitting there, waiting for your magic touch.
Engage in Social Media Groups. While social media, in general, can be overwhelming when it comes to gathering information, by narrowing down your engagement, you can strike it rich in terms of blogging ideas. Specifically, check out LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, Twitter Lists or special MeetUp groups in your area. You’ll have instant access to industry hot topics, which can help get your ideas flowing.
The best way to find your niche, whether it’s on LinkedIn or another site, is by just searching for a group from within that site using the keyword(s) from your business. You might experiment with several different descriptions to see which results fit your business the best. Next, narrow down your focus by targeting active groups with lively discussions, and preferably, with a large number of participants. Most of the time, you can simply view some of the discussions or recent posts in order to find inspiration. However, you might have to actually sign up with a group or two to monitor conversations or event descriptions, but really, that’s a good networking practice anyway, right? Besides gathering ideas for your posts, you’ll be making new connections within your business community, and that never hurts.
Pay Attention to Customer Feedback. One of the best sources of inspiration for content is your very own customers. What makes them happy? What are the most common questions they ask? What are their frustrations, their concerns or their areas of need?
You probably already have some sort of system in place to track customer comments or feedback. Whether it’s from your customer service staff or your sales force out in the field, collect that information to also use for topic ideas, paying special attention to any recurring themes or subjects.
And what about those customer success stories? Ask permission to profile an individual, group or company that has good things to say about you. Simply email your contact with specific questions, and then take their answers and shape them into a post. Here are some examples of where you might start:
- What were some of the challenges or problems you (or your business) were facing when you sought our help?
- Please describe how our products/services helped you or made a difference in your life/career?
- What are some tangible benefits you or your company have experienced as a result of our products/services?
Try to capture as many specifics as possible. Did your customer or client increase sales? Did they perform better as an individual or professional, and what were the rewards they experienced as a result of your help? While you share their story, you’ll also be giving your client some good exposure, and they’ll most likely feel flattered that you thought to include them.
Tap Into Your Creativity. Writing is a creative process, no doubt about it. And sometimes those creative juices just aren’t flowing, no matter how hard you try. That’s when it’s time to get up and do something different. In fact, the simple act of going for a walk can do wonders for your creativity. A recent study at Stanford University showed that walking alone can actually increase a person’s creative output by as much as 60 percent.
Sometimes the simple act of doing something new, breaking up your routine or looking at things from a different perspective can also help snap yourself out of a writing rut (or any other kind of rut, for that matter).
So besides taking a walk, what are some other things you can do to expand your creativity? Productivity junkie Kim Roach offers up some great tips, including:
- Keep a pencil and notebook handy at all times. This allows you to immediately capture your ideas, whenever they come.
- Ask questions – they fuel our creative fire.
- Be a voracious reader. Books offer new worlds and diverse perspectives that can only help generate new ideas.
- Seek out new experiences. Learning new skills, hobbies or activities can get your mind working outside its regular boundaries.
- Become a whole-brain thinker. You don’t have to be just a left- or right-brained person. Exercise both sides to awaken your creativity.
- Engage in imaginary dialogue. It might take some getting used to, but this technique can be a powerful tool for inspiration and productivity.
Get Help. Sometimes you just have to know when to give up the battle in order to win the war. Or in this case, to use your time for better purposes. As an SEO and online marketing firm, we provide writing services for most of our clients, but it doesn’t always start out that way. One client, in particular, was adamant about writing his own content – and it was a most excellent idea! Robert is an engaging, creative and vibrant business owner who is savvy and incredibly successful. He also happens to be a good writer.
In the beginning, he managed to crank out some wonderful posts, averaging one per week! But he also had a business to run, and well … those once-a-week posts became twice-a-month, and then those turned into whenever-I-can-get-it-done posts, and you probably know the rest of the story.
The problem wasn’t so much generating new ideas for content, as it was a simple lack of time! Robert was busy in sales meetings, generating leads and managing a staff! While he was more than willing and able to write his own blogs, Robert soon realized that it was impossible to “do it all.” What started out as an enjoyable task turned into one that he dreaded, serving only to cause stress and regret. And that’s when he called and asked us for help.
If the thought of writing your own content is causing anxiety and worry, or you simply can’t seem to get it done, then it’s probably time to hire someone else to do it. The relief you feel (and the number of blogs you actually post) will far outweigh the cost involved.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Do you get frustrated when it comes to generating content for your business website? Have you discovered some handy tricks to overcome writer’s block? What works for you, and what doesn’t? We’d love to hear your ideas – leave them in the comments section below.