What do you write about when you don’t know what to write about? Today’s internet marketing tips will help you answer this question. In fact, it’s helping me write my blog today. Yep, I’m asking the same question, what should I write about?
All writers feel uninspired sometimes and suffer from writer's block. With so much content available online these days it’s easy to think things like, “It’s been done before” or “I have nothing of value to add.” Believe it or not, if you’re thinking these things all you have to do is think of them with a different perspective and you’ll see it’s okay if it’s “been done before” because you can gain insight from other resources, plus your target audience might not have heard it yet. You can make it valuable by writing your point of view. Following are some ways to break through the writer's block and find the right stuff to write about.
1. Your Deadline Will Help Determine Your Content
Before you begin writing you have to answer two questions:
- What type of article are you writing?
- When is it due?
You can knock out a blog post that was due yesterday in 30 minutes or less if you have to, but you might need to nix watching Letterman tonight to write that ebook. This will help you determine how much time you have to devote to your research, which in turn will point you to the resources to use. For example, if you’re planning on newsjacking then you need to understand the story you are actually newsjacking which might require some extra reading time; however if you’re writing an internet marketing blog providing tips on what makes a good website then you can easily get ideas from other sources you trust.
2. Use Your Go-To List of Resources
Having a go-to list of blogs and websites specific to your industry that you like, trust and think have relevant information is a must! When you don’t know what to write visit your top three sites and just browse. Some headline will trigger and idea, or make you click to read more, which will help trigger something in your brain that you want to talk about. My three go-to internet marketing sites are:
Important note: I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I do – don’t plagiarize! Not only is it unethical, which is reason enough, but it’s bad for SEO and just plain rude. If you like what people have to say about a particular topic then give them credit. It’s as simple as saying “according to AOL & Nielsen (2012) 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.” Plus, you’re sharing some link love which will make your website look good and the site you’re linking too feel good. This day and age people aren’t so possessive of their content. They like to be recognized and seen as valuable. We’re all in this internet marketing thing together.
When you don’t know what to write about, write about what’s in the news. David Meerman Scott defines newsjacking as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” It doesn’t necessarily have to always be breaking news. Holidays work too. I wrote a blog that published the week before Mother’s Day titled Internet Marketing Tips: Mom-isms You Can Use in Social Media to try and get some of the traffic related to Mother’s Day. Check the news and trends going on in your industry and write your opinion on a specific topic or inform your customers of a major announcement. We try to do this any time Google makes a change to its algorithm. You do want to be considerate when newsjacking though. In most cases you wouldn’t want to try and capitalize on someone’s death or a major tragedy.
4. Write About a Personal Learning Experience
Sometimes telling a personal story from your own life or using a customer as a case study can be really helpful and insightful for people. Many of the best ideas and most impactful articles come from real-life. Writing about something you want to know more about can get you writing and learning. Answering questions that people are asking also make great blog posts. For example, Facebook recently announced the use of hashtags. A lot of my Facebook friends were asking about what the heck the purpose of a hashtag was. I thought, “hey that would be a great blog post!” So, I provided some internet marketing tips about how to use a hashtag. The purpose of that blog actually turned out to be threefold:
- I answered questions people were asking
- I newsjacked because Facebook had recently made the announcement
- I learned more about hashtags and how to use them from my trusted list of resources
People love to hear a real-life story. They don’t mind fairy tales or metaphors sometimes too, but just make sure it applies. Sometimes metaphors can be tricky.
5. Write Just For Fun!
There’s something called the 70/20/10 rule for writing internet marketing content:
- 70% of content should be focused, standard information related to your industry.
- 20% of content should relate to the 70% but can take more chances.
- 10% of content should be completely random and innovative.
So sometimes it’s alright to just write about whatever you want. Take chances. Be creative. Take Tom Cruise here for example.
So when the conditions are just right – you’re sitting down at your computer, your favorite beverage and snack of choice within arm’s reach, music playing if you choose, a block of time scheduled just for writing – but you have writer’s block, break down that wall with some of the internet marketing tips above. You’ll find the right stuff to write about in no time because it will be your point of view related to your industry and therefore valuable to your customers.
How do you break through writer's block?