6 Quick-and-Dirty Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
A severe case of writer’s block could lead you to rethink how often you publish.
But here’s the thing: Publishing regularly gives you a chance to be an authority in your field by consistently providing value to your audience. It gives you a chance to engage them in the comments, social media, and email. Most importantly, it lets you create a relationship with your audience.
Instead of battling your writer’s block by publishing less, combat it by finding muses that help you deliver relevant content to your audience. Here are six tips.
10 No-Cost Tools to Help You Conquer Writer’s Block
1. Look for inspiration in keywords
Keywords serve as an indicator to search engines what your topic is about. Keyword research can help you find and connect with your audience more effectively.
By noting the most popular keywords in your niche, you can tell the type of content your target audience is looking for. Then you can move forward and create that content.
Several keyword research tools can help – Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, and Keyword Tool.
You can also use Ubersuggest, which gives you a list of keyword ideas based on Google suggestions in the search box. When you start typing in the search box, Ubersuggest gives long-tail keywords in alphabetical order.
Serpstat works in a similar way as Ubersuggest, but also includes a “Question” tab. It gives you questions based on your search.
TIP: A word of caution – overusing this tactic to beat writer’s block could easily distract you.
A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research
2. Use headline generators
Sometimes, all you need is someone to suggest a topic and you’re good to go.
A headline generator could be a real savior. Looking at suggested headlines is an easier way to find inspiration than being stuck in your head.
A headline generator is a good way to solve writer’s block, says @AlexJasin.
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Tweak Your Biz Title Generator is one of those tools. Enter a topic or keyword to see results sorted into different headline category types – how to, list, question, motivation, etc.
Portent takes this a notch higher by giving some personality to the topics. To get even more headline options, refresh the results page. No, it doesn’t give you perfect headlines. Some of them won’t make sense. But by looking at the different suggestions, you can even come up with your own.
Want to know what headlines have been used for a certain keyword? ContentIdeator can tell you. You can use this to get a glimpse of what’s hot and what has been exhausted.
Increase Content Marketing Success With Helpful Headline Tips & Tools
3. Research what your audience is asking
If you know your audience well, then you know where they like to hang out online. You know their influencers, the communities they visit, and the forums they frequent. Those areas can be a great source for blog post ideas. Look through the discussions to see the type of questions and concerns that keep coming up.
Quora is a great place to find inspiration. Search for topics in your niche on the question-and-answer platform to see what people want to know and put together a blog post (s) addressing those issues. Yahoo Answers and Stack Exchange are other Q&A sites to look through.
Need a content idea? Search for your topic on Q&A community platforms, says @AlexJasin.
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Reddit is another gold mine. Head over to find a subreddit (a sub-category of your topic) relevant to your audience. For instance, if you’re trying to help businesses succeed with social media, you can look around r/socialmedia. Since this is a broad topic, search further in the subreddit to make your target more specific. You can search for “how do you …” or “what …” to bring up posts from people trying to learn something in your niche.
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4. Talk to your audience
You know who really knows what your audience wants to read about? Your audience.
Sometimes you just need to ask your readers directly what they want to read. Start this dialogue by encouraging and responding promptly to comments on your posts and social media channels.
You can also post questions about the type of content they would like to read or what they would like to improve about your service or product. Analyze the responses and come up with a content publishing plan to address any issues.
By talking to your audience, you not only get topics to talk about but also improve your relationship with them, boost your credibility, and ultimately, build a loyal customer base.
TIP: Don’t use do-not-reply addresses in your emails as this only shuts down your subscribers from talking with you.
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5. Repackage content
Reframe your existing content so it fits into another format. For instance, turn a piece of long-form content into a 10-minute video. Or transform an epic podcast interview into an informative blog post. You could expand an original e-book or update sections based on new information.
However, don’t re-purpose your content just for the sake of inspiration. You must first see if it fits to your overall content marketing strategy. You need to have a plan to make sure the new format is valuable to your audience.
How to Atomize 1 Killer Piece of Content Into 10
6. Consume great content
You can’t expect to create ideas and write great content if you don’t read great content. You have to keep up with your industry to provide real value to your audience. As you read books and blogs, listen to podcasts, and more, you can find inspiration for new blog post ideas.
You can’t create great ideas if you don’t read great content, says @AlexJasin.
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By using feed readers like Feedly, Flipboard, and Inoreader, you can subscribe to your favorite blogs, news sites, and other publications so you’re always in the know.
Practice makes perfect
Maintaining a blog that lives up to the promise on your About Us section takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to be hard. On The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine, James Altucher says the best way to come up with ideas (not just blog post ideas) is to exercise your idea muscle. The more you practice, the more naturally ideas will come to you.
The best way to come up with ideas is to exercise your idea muscle, says @jaltucher.
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How do you manage to maintain your blog posting schedule? Do you have difficulties coming up with fresh and workable blog post ideas? Let’s talk in the comments.
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
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