Here I am, staring at a blank screen, willing myself to come up with an article idea. And then I saw this great quote: “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski
According to WordPress, over 409 million people view more than 22.2 billion blog pages each month. 36% of the Fortune 500 are using their blogs for thought leadership, product promotion and engagement, up from 23% in 2010.
If you’re a B2B organization, the statistics around content generation and content marketing are staggering. 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson. Buyers are most willing to register for and share information about themselves in exchange for white papers (76%), eBooks (63%), webinars (79%), case studies (57%) and third-party/analyst reports (66%). (source: DemandGen Report)
The need for content continues to grow. So does the need for transparency in your organization and the ability for customers to develop a relationship with you and your brand. It’s an expectation of today’s business buyers. In the article: Plot a course for sales success with a marketing message that matters to millennials, I look at the changes reflected in today’s consumer buying habits, and how they’re impacting the way businesses research and purchase equipment, technology and print. This includes how and what content is being consumed and shared and their approach to companies and brands.
Your ability to deliver compelling communications, whether in the form of an email, a presentation, a speech, a brochure, or a tweet, means you have to put on your writer’s hat more than ever.
Although there are those out there with seemingly limitless ideas, for many of us the thought of putting “pen to paper” (or finger to keyboard) is a daunting task, often resulting in our productivity coming to a grinding halt, particularly when up against a deadline.
Writer’s block happens for a number of reasons:
Regardless the reason, the need for content doesn’t go away. At some point in time you need to face that dreaded screen. When the deadline looms and you’ve run out of options for NOT writing, here are 10 tips to get the creative juices flowing and conquer writer’s block:
1. Schedule time in your calendar to get it done. And don’t bump it!
2. If you already have a topic, write whatever random thoughts come to mind…in no particular order. The more you capture, the more the ideas will flow. Google the topic for inspiration. Once you have all your ideas down, open up a clean doc and then start cutting, pasting, re-arranging, and filling in the blanks. *Tip: I often start with my last paragraph and work my way backwards.
3. Need a topic idea? Check out some of your LinkedIn groups for inspiration. Or the news. Or industry publications. *Tip: Don’t turn on the TV or get sucked into YouTube videos. Unless of course your topic is “How to get lost in YouTube videos” (hmmmmmmm…I sense a new article in the works!)
4. Repurpose and/or refresh something you’ve already written. It’s amazing what you can find when you go back through your old emails, blogs, proposals, etc.
5. Get rid of distractions. If shutting down email is not an option then turn off your alerts and set your phone to vibrate. (Imagine you’re in a client meeting). Shut your door.
6. Go for a walk and clear your head. Let your thoughts wander. Write down all of your to-dos so that they don’t become distractions. (see #5)
7. Change the scenery. I know countless people who do their best writing at Starbucks. Free wi-fi and copious amounts of caffeine. ‘Nuff said.
8. Doodle. Studies have shown that doodling enhances creativity and improves focus and concentration!
9. Brainstorm with a colleague. Hit the boardroom, use the whiteboard and just start throwing out ideas.
10. Start writing! Anything. Everything. And if your thoughts begin to stray, write them down. Who knows… you may end up with so much content that you won’t need to write anything new for months!