Plenty of business owners understand why a blog is so important: it builds community; amplifies your voice in the market; establishes you as an expert or a provider of unique products or services; and strengthens relationships with colleagues, partners and the press. But what happens if all that awareness leads to a whole lot of nothing when it comes time to sit down and write?
The first step to resolving the writer’s block that threatens to render your blog dormant (a kiss of death for that important relationship building function of a business blog), is to admit that writer’s block is not something that happens only to novelists and other “real writers.”
As a business owner, you are rightly focused on building your business, meeting client demands, and handling the day-to-day management of finances, workflow and other operations. It is no wonder that it becomes difficult to stop in the middle of all that work to sit down and write about it.
This is hard enough to do if you are working with an in-house or freelance communications professional who manages and edits your blog. If you have someone like that on your team, you should be receiving formal blog content calendars and communicating regularly about updates and ideas that help to build newsworthy, relevant content for your business blog. If you are trying to make a go of writing, editing and managing your blog on your own, the task can feel almost impossible. And some days, it is.
To overcome writer’s block and to create the kind of rich content that keeps your blog fresh, interesting and valuable for your business, give these tips a try, whether you are working with a communications professional or on your own.
Build Content Calendars and Post Outlines
Draft up timely, topical content calendars for your blog that promote your brand, connect with your production cycle and news cycle, and generate audience engagement.
Planning out blog posts in advance and synching them to your master calendar helps to make sure that topical content is published in a timely manner. It also enables you to break down content creation into more manageable increments.
When drafting your content calendar, include a timeline with due dates for every piece of each post (copy, images, and relevant approvals) to guarantee that they are prepared in time to meet your publication date. Having the post topics and individual post talking points mapped out before you sit down to write makes the content creation process faster and easier and helps to ward off writer’s block.
When you are working on your content calendar, come up with a list of post categories that your content should fit. This makes it easier to come up with individual post ideas. It also enables you to align your blog content to your marketing objectives and sales cycles.
Post categories can and should include higher level topics like industry insight and standards and practices related to your business and the market or markets in which you operate. Categories should also include straightforward call to action posts that push event registration, product purchase and mailing list sign ups.
Be aware of your own news cycle – when you are releasing products or running promotions, when you are scheduled to attend or speak at an event, and when you want to announce new hires or share other newsworthy information. Your business blog is the perfect platform to share this type of content. And because you likely already have copy created that relates to the content, preparing a blog post becomes even easier.
Do remember to tailor your message to your blog and your blog audience, and to time the blog posts so that they complement your other communications and media initiatives related to releasing your news.
Create a Blog Series
If you are writing about a favorite topic, particularly something that is important to your industry and to your blog audience, it is likely that you have a good amount of valuable, interesting information and experience to share. You do not have to fit all of that into one post.
Consider creating a series of posts built around a relevant topic that highlights your expertise and your unique perspective. Not only will the serialized style help to engage and grow your audience, it also will allow you to make one topic work harder for you by feeding multiple posts.
This does not mean that you have to parse out your writing time the same way you parse out your posts. If it feels natural and the ideas are flowing smoothly, write until you have put down everything that you want your blog readers to know. Then go back, ideally with the help of your communications consultant or a member of your marketing and communications team, and break up the content into individual posts. Then add in teasers that keep the audience engaged with the series and interested in your topic and your blog.
Write Whenever You Can, However You Can
For many blog writers, especially business owners who write their own blogs, one of the most significant challenges is finding the time to sit down and write in the midst of competing priorities. To shake off writer’s block and to meet the blog deadlines dictated by your content calendar, make it as easy as possible to get your ideas from your head to the screen.
Are blog ideas swirling around your head after you leave a big meeting? Jot down those ideas – or an entire post – on the train ride back to your office. Use business travel and downtime to clear your head and draft up outlines or full text posts.
Do not limit yourself to drafting blog posts in one place or on one platform exclusively. In fact, if you are experiencing writer’s block, make an effort to shake things up. Try writing directly on your smartphone, using an app like Evernote, or dictating your ideas into your smartphone or voice recorder, then pass along the file to your communications professional or a member of your support staff who can prepare it for you to review.
Call for Help
Calling for help to overcome writer’s block and get your business blog back on track can take a number of forms, from dialing a friend for a quick brainstorming session, to hiring a communications consultant, to enlisting guest bloggers from among your clients, partners, colleagues and team members.
Sharing your ideas as you are creating post content and inviting others to share their ideas in your space enriches your business blog. It also enriches your blog writing experience.
As much as the blog is a necessary tool to help meet communications and marketing goals, it also can be a useful source for maintaining the energy and inspiration you need to keep your business thriving.