A stark white screen…
…barren all but for the ominous, maddening blink of the cursor. Blink…Blink…BLINK! It happened. You thought you’d hit a pretty good stride with your blog over the past few weeks, words flowing from your fingertips like water from a tap. But now…nothing. Nothing but the soft, unrelenting tick of the cursor. The challenge is this: What to blog about when there’s nothing to blog about?
Can’t Find Your Muse? Stop Looking.
The inspiration for a good blog post could come from anywhere. A news article, a comment overheard from a stranger, a random thought that comes to you while you’re out walking the dog. Sometimes finding a subject to write about isn’t the problem. You may be bursting with ideas for blog posts but when it gets down to writing them you stall. Why is that? The key is that any subject you approach, whatever it may be, has to mean something to you in the moment. You have to have something to say about it. Topical relevance is only a part of the equation. Yes, you have to blog about subjects that your followers want to read, but you also have to write the post that you would want to read. When your approach to writing that blog post is forced, disinterested and shallow, your readers can tell.
If it’s not working, stop trying. Like a word that is on the tip of your tongue, creativity often doesn’t come to you until you stop trying to draw it forth. If it’s right, if it’s going to be a good one, you’ll know. It’ll just work. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t push it.
Writer’s Block? Pfft.
You see, there really isn’t any such thing as writer’s block. It doesn’t exist. It’s more superstition than substance. Once you convince yourself that you’re suffering from writer’s block it’s much more difficult to shake it. What you need is an inspiration overhaul, and maybe to broaden your horizons a bit.
Narrow Your Focus…But Zoom Out A Bit
I’m all for getting specific, knowing your niche, focusing sharply on your audience and getting inside their heads. Think about the type of content your audience is looking for. Is your scope too narrow? Perhaps you should try branching out into other subjects. Don’t stray too far away from your core though. Would it be a good idea for a car dealership’s blog to start doing movie reviews? Eh…I don’t know about that. But what about a mommy blogger? Sure! Her readers would probably appreciate reviews on family friendly films. What about a social media blogger doing coffee reviews? Nah, that would just be stupid. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
Never make assumptions about what your core audience wants to read, or for that matter who they are, without testing the waters a bit. The range of topics you cover may be lacking diversity, and diversity might just be the thing to replenish your stores of creativity.
Be Provocative, But Don’t Alienate
Have you ever stalled when writing a piece because you just didn’t feel safe approaching it from one angle or another?
With business blogs, there is a fine line between being provocative and committing online suicide. Certain subjects, those in the political spectrum especially, are simply too taboo, but where is that line for you? Those blogging anonymously have the pick of the litter when it comes to blogging topics, but those who have their personal reputation or the reputation of their company on the line have to be a bit more careful. Still, one shouldn’t be afraid to give one’s audience a gentle prodding every once in a while.
How do you measure the success of any given blog post? Is it the sheer number of visits? Is it the frequency of social media shares, or do you measure it by the amount of interaction in the comments? Hotbed topics obviously get more action, but how does one approach these issues without alienating portions of one’s audience?
Tread lightly here, but don’t be afraid to take a stance as long as it isn’t an offensive or divisive one. Many companies are so afraid to express an opinion or a moral stance on any given issue that at times they come off as hollow and disingenuous. Making a statement can be the thing that sets you apart from the competition.
Test the waters a bit and see how your audience reacts, rather than diving headlong into it with a heavily polarizing opinion piece. You audience might appreciate your honesty and the personal touch you bring to recent headline news stories. Stand out over others that cover them in a boring, sterilized evening news fashion.
Don’t Know What To Write About? Just Ask.
Having trouble coming up with topics to write about? Why don’t you ask your readers what they want to read more about? Show your readers that you value their input and solicit them for ideas with each blog post you write. Ask your social media followers! You could even setup a suggestions page/contact forum/forum on your website specifically to accept ideas from your readers. It’s one more way to encourage engagement with your posts.
Start Another Blog, Just For Fun!
Do you have another venue for your writing? Are you trying to return to writing after a hiatus?
Part of the reason you may have trouble writing is the pressure. Setting up another blog, just for fun, to write about hobbies, interests, or whatever comes to mind is a great way to get yourself writing. No pressure, no commitments, and it gives you an excuse to write on a regular basis. It’s easier to keep writing great content if you’re writing all the time. Try it! Even if you do it anonymously, or only distribute the blog to friends and family, it might end up being the thing you need to get the ball rolling again.
Thanks for reading. Do you think you have the cure for writer’s block? What works for you? Where do you find your inspiration for blogging topics? Head down to the comments section and share!