How to Overcome Writer’s Block and Get the Content Ideas Flowing
Have you ever found yourself struggling with writer’s block? It comes for a majority of content creators sooner or later, and these are not just writers that can be affected by it. I’ve heard even Adele suffered from it!
Being a member of quite a few online marketing communities like GrowthHackers or Inbound.org (sadly in a process of being closed down), I’ve come across this term on a number of occasions. Simply putting that phrase in to a search bar on the aforementioned websites will give you an idea of how many pieces of content regarding this topic are already out there.
So, how to overcome writer’s block?
I tend to get stuck with content ideas as well. Sometimes the well runs dry and none of ideas that come to my head seem good enough. If you let this feeling take you over, you might end up with a blank page for weeks. Luckily, I have a few solutions that keep me inspired that I’d love to share with you!
Look for content marketing ideas on Reddit
I think the majority of you guys already know how huge of a website Reddit is. For those of you who don’t, according to SimilarWeb, Reddit is the 13th biggest website in the US and 37th globally. What’s even more impressive is the number of visits it regularly gets. Have a look at the traffic in the last 6 months:
I was going to say it consisted of thousands of different sub-forums known as subreddits, but I just double-checked, and there are over a million subreddits out there. Some of them are probably dead, but a number of 1,160,061 is huge! Out of all of them, you should focus on a few of them that you’d naturally engage based on your interest. At least that’s what I do, and apart from work-related topics, you can see some of those related to my topics of interest, too (hello there, /r/FIFA and /r/soccer!):
You can find a word cloud like this on metareddit.com.
Anyway, if you’re a digital marketer like myself, the image above might guide you towards a few subreddits you could join in search of creative marketing ideas. /r/startups, /r/content_marketing, /r/PPC, they are all out there for you.
You might think, ok man, how do I get the ideas from there?
It’s fairly simple. Each subreddit gives you the option to sort submissions from other people based on how they perform:
As you can see, you can filter the posts according to a time frame and their performance like Hot, Rising, Top, and so on. And the Top category is the one that should give you the most valuable content ideas.
When you choose Top and combine it with All Time, you’ll see the best performing submissions that have ever been posted to a given subreddit. Many of them should give you ideas on what kind of content you could create, but also how this kind of content resonates with the Reddit audience, in case you consider promoting your content there at some point. That’s a topic for a different discussion but you could certainly give it a try.
While the screenshot above might not spark content ideas instantly, it perfectly represents what kind of content other people find interesting and what you could try to replicate and give your own twist to, as long as it would be valuable to your target audience.
Based on the number of upvotes and comments, you can see that posts providing data, numbers, and percentages generate high engagement and interest. Headlines like:
Last year we invested $70K in content marketing. We’ve just crossed $500K in revenue from this channel. Here’s the breakdown of what we did
make you want to click on them instantly. Regardless of what’s the focus of your marketing tactics, there sure are success stories you could share with other people and describe in details with all the numbers and how they changed over time. It’s also not a bad idea to share your mistakes and failures, what you learned from them, and how they helped you improve.
These are not just the Top submissions that you should have a look at in search of inspiration. With thousands of subscribers (/r/marketing itself has over a hundred thousand of them, let alone other subreddits), so much content is posted there daily that I bet you’ll find something that appeals to you and get your ideas flowing.
Q&A’s could be your best friends
If you haven’t used Quora yet, it’s high time you started! You don’t have to answer questions, but there’s so much you can benefit from by simply browsing the platform.
While it’s not as big as Reddit, Quora still boasts 602 million visits over the last six months.
It can make you dizzy when you realise how many questions are answers are there!
While it’s impossible to filter the most popular questions in respective categories, there’s still plenty to be done in terms of finding content marketing ideas.
The most basic thing you could do is to simply type any keyword into the search bar and find the questions people ask in relation to it.
Those questions could make for a blog post titles themselves, and it holds true for many other keywords you’d search for too.
What you also need to know is that Quora consists of many different topics, much like Reddit consists of subreddits. The similarities don’t end here as you can also subscribe to your topics of interest, same as you subscribe to the subreddits you like.
What’s a good idea apart from choosing the most inspiring questions from the feed of a given topic is to have a look at the Most Viewed Writers. It’s a place where you’ll find which questions exactly generated thousands of views for a given author.
You can see that Brendon Lemon who landed on the first position gained over a hundred thousand views on his answers in the Marketing category. It took him 10 answers to get to this point, and if you click on the link under his name, Quora will take you exactly to those 10 questions. Chances are that the reason for high engagement those question got is simply because they are well-thought ideas you could also describe on your blog.
On top of that, Quora positions exceptionally well in Google. You can check which questions rank high for given keywords and build some of your future posts around those keywords.
That’s precisely what we did at some point. Through engagement with Quora community, we figured out which phrases work for us most effectively. The next stop was creating content around those phrases.
You can see a question on Quora that we engaged quite a while ago alongside a few other, but the blog post related to monitoring hashtag performance on our blog managed to get even above the Quora link!
How about media monitoring?
That’s another solution that could help you overcome your writer’s block. Monitoring keywords that are relevant to your business and your target audience at the same time will help you uncover thousands of conversations about them both on the social and traditional web.
We’re a media monitoring tool, and we keep track of a variety of keywords related to our industry. That includes social media monitoring, social listening, brand monitoring, and so on.
Conversations spread across many different sources and obviously, not all of them will be of use to you.
Still, you can find discussions on social media that could spark some ideas, as well as blog posts that could inspire you to present your point of view with a twist resulting from your own experiences, or a different perspective.
The final piece of advice
Don’t let the blank page syndrome consume you! Write down even the simplest ideas that come to your mind. Even if you don’t create the content around them instantly, it can build up in your head over time, and you’ll put it to paper (or computer screen, I should say) at some point. The key is to create even when you feel stuck, and the ideas above will hopefully reduce those uninspired moments to the minimum.