“Content is king.”
That is a saying that holds true for the online operations for any industry, whether it is a blog or a social media platform. What makes a blog different is that a 140-character sentence or a single picture doesn’t cut it as a post. Since most blogs are focused a particular niche, industry or hobby, it limits the amounts of things a blogger can write about. I doubt I have to say it, but a marketing blog posting a review on “Despicable Me 2” would raise some eyebrows and probably open the exit door for some of the blog’s followers.
Readers also like regularly posted material, which is where the problems arise. Some bloggers post every other week, while others post every other day. No matter how often you post, you eventually will sit down at your desk and find no “great ideas” in your head.
When it happens (and it will), there is no reason to panic or decide to not write a post that day. There are many tactics I have seen work time and time again. All of them are incredibly simple and I’m sure one will help you fight that pesky writer’s block!
Talk to your friends and family
Your goal is to get more followers, while giving your current fan base good content to read. You will probably be writing for the average person more than a professional in your field. For this reason, you need to know what the average person wants to know about your topic. That information could be what pulls an interested reader in.
I don’t know about you, but my mom doesn’t know anything about social media. My brother, while being able to fix airplanes, does not know anything about public relations. These are perfect people for me to have a conversation with to figure out what they don’t know about my topic. You could be a banker or a maker of hang-gliders. I guarantee you have family or friends that you can talk to about your topic to figure out what they don’t know. Every single question they have can be a blog post in itself. If not, you can compile them together to make a bigger post.
Many of you see or talk to these people every day. Utilize them! Also, more than likely, they will actually want to know more about what you do anyways because they care about you. When you answer their questions in your blog, go ahead and send them the link. They will appreciate it.
Search through social media platforms
If you are blogging professionally, you should be connected with other similar professionals. I personally follow hundreds of other social media marketers and PR pros on Twitter, Google+ and other platforms. They post great content daily and you should be looking at it. You can also use any of the social media platforms’ search functions to search what it is you write about. You will quickly find content about your field.
Before you accuse me of anything, no, I am not telling you to plagiarize or copy anyone’s idea. However, maybe a blog post you read was missing a key piece of information that your brain caught. Maybe reading about your topic caused your brain to think of something entirely new. Maybe you want to write about what someone made a post about, but you have an entirely different view on it. It is much easier to think of blog ideas when your brain is thinking about your niche rather than staring at a white screen. Once again, please do not steal anyone’s work or ideas. You would hate it if someone did it to you, so don’t add to that horrible practice.
Social media is filled with thousands of people just like you and all of them are posting content every minute. It may take some searching, but you will find something to spark your creativity.
Respond to comments on your blog posts
You haven’t been ignoring those, have you? I personally try to respond to every comment in some way. Sometimes it takes a while for me to find time, but it is something I strive to do. Every comment has the capability to become a small conversation. It is shocking how much insight readers will put into their comments if they like your post enough. I’ve had comments so long and truthful, they could be their own blog posts! I appreciate every comment and it is fascinating to see the views of other people.
Well, fortunately, reading the views of other people gives you valuable information. What do your readers think of your industry? What are they right about and what are their misconceptions? Are there common themes or questions that repeat from reader to reader? What do your readers want to see more and less of?
Your readers are who you are catering to. You shouldn’t bend over backward, but you should definitely heed their warnings and advice. Chances are if most of your readers like something, most people in general like it. Swim through the information you receive from comments and you can probably fill a whole page out with blog ideas.
Go on a walk or do a workout
That is stupid. I can sense you thinking it. However, stupid it is not! I have utilized this for years during my journalism curriculum and it has almost always helped me. Physical activity causes blood to pump through your body. Not only does this process wake you up, but it causes more blood to go to your brain, which promotes creative thinking. It is the same reason people swear energy drinks and coffee make them think better. Caffeine, taurine and ginseng all promote blood flow, which do the same thing. Exercising is healthy, however, and can be done in the same room as the computer.
I literally have a pair of 30-pound dumbbells feet away from my desk. When my mind gets groggy, I pick them up. I’ll alternate what muscle I work out since dumbbells are pretty versatile. With the 30-pound weights, I find that I can do three sets of 15 curls with each arm if I want to workout my biceps. After 90 curls, I feel like my mind is at its peak and my writing follows suit.
If it is daytime, a nice walk out in the sun can have the same results. Jogging in place or a jump-rope are other indoor ways to get your blood pumping.
Find your place of inner peace
While physical activity helps when your brain is running slow and you feel tired, sometimes you will encounter the complete opposite problem. Sometimes you have too much on your mind and you can’t make sense of it. Maybe your blog post ended up going three different directions and you didn’t want it to. When this happens, you have to relax!
Everyone has a place of zen. Mine is walking while listening to my iPod. I just let my mind wander as I either walk around the neighborhood or in a circle around my living room. I let my mind daydream about whatever I want and when I’m done, I sit down at the computer with a completely fresh start. It’s almost like hitting the reset button on your creativity. Every computer starts to get slow if you don’t reset it after a while. Your creativity is the same way.
Your place of zen might be laying out in the sun for a tan. It might be logging into Pandora Internet Radio and closing your eyes. It might be a bike ride or a nap. Maybe it’s meditation or yoga. I don’t know what it is, but finding your place of inner peace can do wonders for your writing.
Think about what is popular now
Celebrities and sports stars are always doing and saying things that get them in the news. TV shows and movies are constantly rising to prominence and disappearing shortly after. People are murdered and others say controversial things. Trends shoot upward and downward. It is how life works.
These trends hold opportunities for bloggers. Using keywords that correlate to popular trends can bring more traffic into your site. It is also challenging to do and undoubtedly makes the writer have to think about the topic in a different way. It breaks the monotony of writing the same educational posts every couple days. In all honesty, it is fun and it helps you remember the joy you have in blogging.
I personally love trying to mix pop culture with my blogs. I recently found a way to link Justin Bieber song lyrics to public relations in an older blog post here. These kind of posts should not be done too often, but I think everyone appreciates them. Pick and choose your topics, however. Just because things are popular doesn’t mean you should write about them. Sometimes it’s not good to trivialize big issues that the nation is passionate about.
I hope one of these tips helps you if you find yourself without a blog idea. All six of these have worked for me at different times and I hope you have the same success I did!
Do you have any other tips? Do you have any comments on my tips or the subject in general? I’d love to read them! Comment below!
-Marty F. Nemec.