I know that for Insiders the issue of coming up with great content and what to write comes up a lot. Have you ever found yourself sat in front of the screen and thought “I’ve got 2 hours to come up with the content here, why can’t I think of anything?”
“I only need to think of the name for this and I can crack on, why won’t my brain work!”
“Aaaaa I haven’t got a single good idea in my head!”
If you have faced any of these scenarios you will know how frustrating it is. You’ve made some space in your mega busy diary to get creative and move your business forward but your brain won’t help and before you know it you’ve commented on someone’s Facebook video of a cute dog and not wrote a single word!
But you know that right? And so you end up getting more and more frustrated, staring at the minutes wasted away and worry some more. So how can you overcome writers’ block and come up with the great ideas?
- Stop panicking and looking at the clock and worrying about how much time you’ve wasted. It makes you worry more. It clags up your busy brain with negative emotions which further shut down your brain to be able to think productively. If you have been at it for more than 10 minutes and achieved nothing, walk away from the location you are in for 10 minutes. Do some filing (you know you never get round to it!) phone that person you were going to just email, check your to do list for the day/week. Get your brain concentrating on something else, and let it do that for at least 10 minutes. Studies show that working on something else creates mental space. Basically your brain is shouting “I know you need the answers, give me 10 minutes and I will keep hunting okay!” Have you ever struggled to remember someone’s name only for it to come to you in the middle of the night or randomly when you are doing something else? Your brain doesn’t stop looking for the answers you want, but it does need the time to process the request.
- Grab a pen and paper (this is ideal for the way it makes your brain work) and list every possible idea you have already come up with. They can be the obvious ones that you have dismissed, the stupid ones, the unrealistic ones, the unaffordable ones. Write them all down. If you have 2 pages of A4 paper filled then you are letting your mind think freely. It’s highly likely the first few that you come up with you will dismiss but the longer you write the more likely you are to come up with content you know your readers will love!
- Don’t dismiss anything, write it all down. And not just ideas. Random words. Random thoughts that you have no idea how it could become an article or a series of posts. Just get it down. We so often dismiss thoughts without fully exploring the answers they are trying to provide.
- Not one for lists? Draw a picture, use a mind map, cut pictures out of a magazine and create a mood board. Allow your creative juices to flow in a way that works for you, but keep it visual. This in itself could make a great article. Remember not all content is the written word, it could be a short video of you sharing how you come up with your ideas and what you will be talking about in the coming months thanks to your mood board.
- Ask others. Friends and relatives are not the best people to ask for ideas from. They love and adore you and have their own agenda and viewpoint already. As I always say your Nan loves you so whatever you come up with she will say “That’s nice darling.” So ask yourself who would be good to ask? Get along to a network like The Business Womans Network. Share your thoughts on social media groups where you feel you will get useful feedback. Ask us, Insiders. Create a focus group – that’s basically a neutral place where you invite some people along to share their views. I tend to give a free half hour session to say thank you, make sure there are goodies in the middle of the room and lots of beverages! Takes up about 2 hours.
- Think of one client. The one that said “xxx” how were they feeling, what were the issues they told you about? How did they find you? What were they scared of? What were they looking forward to? Thinking of one client can create enough ideas for the list in Top tip 2 for months!
- Research online, don’t steal other people’s ideas and creativity, however, it’s a great way to see what other people do and to helps you understand your creative needs.
- What worked in the past? This won’t be the first time you have felt stuck. What helped in the past? How could you recreate that environment to get the results you want?
- CTA. Call to Action. Ask people what do they want you to write about. Make sure they know they can ask you confidentially and you will let them get access to it and that no one will ever know you wrote that just for them.
- Years ago everyone wanted short blogs. Now I’m asked to write longer and longer blogs. In fact the one that had 40,000 views in less than a month was 1800 words! I would still say that at the start if you have no audience keep them short, keep them top tip format, short and snappy and easy to read. As you gain a following them write longer articles and more in depth content.
- Structure – A bit like the essay’s we hated as students! You want to explain what you are going to cover, why you are covering it, what you can expect if you don’t do it and if you do the results you could get. Then layout in easy short paragraphs the top tips and finish with a recap and a this is what you should see conclusion. A call to action like “let me know how you get on” or “what would you like me to cover next?” can get the conversation going. And remember your blogs are there forever, keep it relevant. I get people sending me messages to work with me from blog articles that are 5 years old.
It’s commendable to sit at your desk for hours looking to get your business seen and loved. But with some things in life it’s better to lean on others and find experts to help you get where you want to go. Just because you know what your dentist is doing you wouldn’t start sticking appliances in your mouth and doing it yourself, would you?
Sometimes it’s a good idea to outsource what is really challenging you. If you are finding this is consuming your precious time, it’s time to ask yourself how can I get the results I need faster? But remember even if you outsource it you are still going to have to tell that VA, PR company, copywriter or marketing company the following;
Who am I speaking to?
What do I want them to do?
What results do I want to get?
What do I want them to learn?
What matters to my target audience (s)?
How often do they want to hear from me?
Hope this helps. This is a confidential article for Insiders only. Please do not share this content. However please do share on the Insiders Facebook page how it helps, what you need next and your articles for us to read and review too.