Content marketing is all the rage these days.  Marketing experts are quick to highlight the importance of blogs, newsletters, articles, podcasts, books, or any longer format where you can inform, entertain, or educate.  But it takes time and thought to generate content.  Business owners have a lot of things to do in a day, and many of you probably have a fear that you will become a slave to creating content.  Fear that having to sit down every week or every month – FOREVER – isn’t possible.  Fear that the ideas will dry up, and writer’s block will prevent you from being consistent.  Don’t worry.  Today, we are going to address 7 ways to overcome writer’s block.

I’ll start with a confession.  I used to have that fear.  Years ago, before writing these tips of the week, I had that fear.  When my web designer started developing my web site, she asked if I wanted a blog page.  “Heck no!!” I said.  “I don’t want to be forced to write blogs all the time!”  She let it go.  A short while later, I started doing little tips of the week on my Facebook page.  Fast forward a few months.  My web designer asked me again about adding a blog page to the website.  “Heck no!” I said…..and she interrupted me. “You’re already doing a blog.  You’re calling it a tip of the week.  You’re putting it directly on Facebook and losing all the benefit of it.  Please do this on your website!”

Content comes in all kinds of formats. #marketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #business #smb Click To Tweet

Content comes in all kinds of formats.  You can find any format of content marketing that is right for you and your audience.  Once you lean into the format, yes, you have to create the content.  You have to come up with topics.  But it doesn’t have to be scary.

You can find any format of content #marketing that is right for you and your audience. #smb Click To Tweet

If you are worried that you are going to succumb to writer’s block, you are not alone.  To prevent writer’s block, start generating ideas in advance so you have some in the bank.  Here are 7 ways to overcome writer’s block and start generating those ideas:

To prevent writer's block, start generating ideas in advance. #smallbiz #smb #marketing Click To Tweet
  • Freewriting (or speaking)

Set a timer for five minutes.  Ask yourself what kind of questions someone might have about your industry.  Once the timer starts, write or speak (into a voice recorder) non-stop, asking as many questions as you think people might have.  As the first ideas dry up, keep writing or speaking to see what is under that pre-loaded layer.  This is an exercise you can repeat as many times as you want, whenever you want a burst of ideas for later.

  • Categorized Listing

On paper or in a document, list all of your offerings or types of offerings as headings.  Use those headings to spark your ideas.  List any subtopics, how to topics, or FAQs you can think of under each one.  Spend time with each heading, exhausting all of your ideas before moving onto the next.

  • Idea Mapping

For visual learners!  Write down a main topic or a main offering at the center of a page and circle it.  That’s your starting point.  Think of a topic that relates to that subject, write it down, and draw a line connecting to your main topic.  Can you think of anything that relates to that related topic?  Write those down and draw the connecting lines.  This process helps you visually build the connections until you can’t think of anything else that relates.

  • Conversation

Have a conversation with someone.  Record a presentation you give, a session with a client, or just have a friend sit down with you and ask you all about your business.  Always ask first before you record.  Later, you can go back to the recording and summarize in bullet points all of the topics that could be standalone content.  It will amaze you how much could come from one half hour conversation.

  • Client questions

Go back through emails or correspondence from clients and see what questions they have already asked you.  You’ll probably find some juicy subjects for content right there!

  • Source Material

Look up other people’s articles, blogs, podcasts, etc.  Find a bunch that are interesting to you and in some way related to your business.  Use them as source material.  You can create an entire piece of original content from reviewing, rebutting, or analyzing someone else’s content.  Always attribute their content, and chances are that they will be glad to have someone making their content fresh again.

  • Crowdsource

Really struggling?  Ask your clients!  Ask them what they want to know about and find out what subjects are relevant to them.  This is a great way to keep your clients engaged and a chance for you to generate material without having to think too hard about it.

You don’t have to let the idea of content marketing overwhelm you.  There is so much you can say about your business.  I never would have thought that I would have enough content to write a marketing tip of the week every Wednesday for over TWO YEARS!  And yet, it keeps coming…and I have quite a library to show for it.  Check it out here.

You can create this for your business.  Start banking the ideas now!

 

Want more thoughts about how to use content marketing online to advance your business? Check out A Crash Course in Online Marketing here for a full breakdown of how to make blogs, newsletters, and social media work for you.