It happens to us all; you know that you should be keeping up with regular content creation, inspiring posts, ground-breaking industry tips, engaging visuals or pithy observations, but when it comes time to make a post, you sit there gazing desperately at your screen, scraping for the inspiration to get started. What can you do and where can you go? Here are a few ideas to try to get those fingers closer to hitting the ‘post’ button…
1. Set your ‘go-to’ places for the latest from your industry
Use an RSS aggregator such as Feedly, NewsBlur or the newly integrated LinkedIn Pulse (available on Android and iTunes) to set up your preferences and follow the latest news in your industry. Alternatively, check out sites such as Alltop.com which collect trending news items and split them into topics. This gives you a good basis to collect material which you can form your own opinion on for your blog. The articles you gather are also great to share on your social media accounts with your own comments added.
2. Hack your way to a great headline
If you want your content to attract an audience, you need a great headline! It turns out only one in every five people who hit your site are going to read beyond the headline, so where do you turn if all you are getting is a persistent dial tone in your head? There are some great resources out there to give you a hand; Jon Morrow’s 57 Headline Hacks is a handy (and free!) guide, so is Copyblogger’s ‘Magnetic Headlines’ series. You could also try checking out how the magazines at your local newsstand are doing it, or look at the most viewed headlines in your online news site.
3. Go visual
Humans are very visual in our preferences anyway. Could you put together a ‘how to’ type post using step-by-step photos? Or could you use a video you have created? Instead of struggling to write 1000 words or whatever you usually do, change it up a little. You could also create your own infographic and use that as a post. Here are a few tools you could use;
- Picmonkey – free tool to create cool photo collages and add text, overlays and effects (check out the different layouts available, you can even use it to create Facebook cover photos).
- Infographic Templates – free tool from Hubspot with an explanation of how to put your own infographic together.
- Animoto – edit your own videos. This is subscription based and starts at a basic free version, or pay monthly to get more space and features.
Do you have lengthier content that could be broken down? Perhaps you have done a video, podcast or webinar? Break down large sources of information into smaller chunks and turn these into blog posts. You could even use bite-sized chunks or quotes from the lengthy content as the basis for social media posts.
5. Use a content calendar
It can be maddening when you are trying to come up with something at the last minute and its just not coming through. Devise a content calendar that plans out the subjects of your posts at least a month ahead. This way you can come up with your ideas while you are in the right headspace and simply stick to the plan when it comes time to writing.
6. Utilize guest posts
By no means are we suggesting that guest posts are just a stop-gap when you can’t come up with anything yourself; on the contrary, guest content can add a lot of value to your site by leveraging the valuable knowledge of your expert guest. Guest posts are great for keeping your content fresh, relevant and interesting. Look around for people who provide engaging content within your industry and see if you can book some to write for your site.
Our friends over at FirstGuideSite.com have written a great post on “How to Write and Create Great Blog Content”. In this post they cover all the different pages that you need to write great content for and they break it down nice and simply for you. The biggest takeaway from their article is …
“If you want your blog to thrive and grow, then creating quality content is the answer. Focus on quality over quantity, even if you have to sacrifice frequency and consistency. Your readers will appreciate you for it.”
What do you do when you need some content creation inspiration? Please comment below…