Legends say there is a great fire-breathing dragon who has amassed countless riches and hoards its wealth in a tower. It is the valiant knight’s quest to vanquish the serpent and claim the treasure for his kingdom. For creatives, that dragon’s name is Writer’s Block, and the treasure it guards is Great Content.
For content marketers, the writer’s block dragon is a slightly different breed. It keeps us from knowing what content to create by suppressing fresh, informative, and audience-relevant topics. But fear not, noble marketer: Writer’s block can be conquered — the very fact this blog exists is proof of that.
After encountering countless of my own periods of creative stagnation, here are five strategies I have found work best for overcoming writer’s block.
5 Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block
1. Forecast Your Content
Building a robust editorial calendar is a preemptive strike against writer’s block, and it’s a crucial step to avoid the struggle of thinking up last-minute topics. If content is mapped out weeks (or months) in advance, that gives you weeks (or months) to plan the next wave. It also helps you keep track of topics you’ve covered recently and which business areas or audience personas could use some attention next.
2. Tend Toward the Trends
When I’ve hit a wall in content ideation, one of the greatest wellsprings of inspiration is the consumer. Luckily, data can often tell us what the consumer wants. For an editor, access to commonly searched keywords is like access to the Muses themselves. Did you know that roughly 600 people per month Googled “mango guacamole” last year? Neither did I, but when I found out, I took advantage of that popularity to produce a piece of content I knew would be relevant to one of my client’s audiences.
3. Expose Your Culture
When was the last time your content demonstrated the culture of your brand? We try to write about D Custom’s culture every month. Culture content, when done right, is simultaneously entertaining and valuable — and more people are interested in reading it than you might imagine. Topics about your brand’s culture might include introducing new team members or writing personal thoughts about teamwork, office culture, and the importance of workplace empathy. Some of my favorite culture content includes insights from a variety of voices on our team — like this one we wrote about how we overcome writer’s block.
4. Conduct a Content Audit
A self-audit can reveal content that needs revitalization as well as gaps in your messaging. Recycling content gives you a chance to give breathe new life into old stories in the form of updated brand messaging, voicing, or data.
A competitive analysis of your competitors’ content can also be fruitful. Are they addressing questions that you aren’t? Are there glaring gaps in their content strategy that you could capitalize on? Knowing what your opponents are (or aren’t) up to can be a great source of inspiration.
5. Lean on Your Team
Brain not working right? Take 30 minutes to use someone else’s. But before you call Igor, try organizing a brainstorming session with your teammates. While a conference room is a great place to huddle up and spitball ideas, don’t limit yourself to the office. Get some fresh air, grab a cup of coffee, or take a longer lunch with one or two coworkers.
Pro tip: This strategy for overcoming writer’s block is effective even while remote. When you’re especially stuck on a piece of content or having trouble fleshing out a topic, shoot an email to your closest creative colleagues requesting inspiration. Even if only one of the six people you asked replies, that’s one step in the right direction — and one spear closer to bringing down the dragon.
With these five strategies, you’re equipped to slay the writer’s block dragon whenever he rears his ugly head. Long live great content!
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