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How to Overcome Blogger’s Block

June 28, 2010

I’ve been suffering from a bout of a blogger’s block recently. I try to show some SEM Booty love every Monday, but last Monday there was a big fat nothing of a post sitting there staring disappointedly at me. It’s not that I’m short of topics to write about – I have a bunch of half written drafts sitting in my queue, but the challenge is how to make them that little bit more interesting, and how not to be repetitive of topics others have covered to death.

So with Monday already fast approaching again, I decided to sit down and try to figure out how to pull myself out from this rut and come up with a string of solid topics. Here’s what I came up with.

1. Listen to the word on the street

One good way to get ideas for blog posts is to figure out what topics are rattling people’s cages “right now”. Monitoring what conversations are taking place on Twitter has helped inspire a number of blog posts for me. For example, the recent outcry over Facebook privacy led me to write about Facebook Community Pages, whilst news of Google’s three column results page was an easy lead in about what Google’s new design means for search marketers – both of which turned out to be pretty popular posts as far as my stats go. However, big or interesting news topics like this don’t happen all the time, so what else can you do?

2. Learn from your popular posts of the past

Sometimes if you look back at past posts and look at which posts have been the most read, or the most commented, or the most shared… a pattern will often start to emerge in terms of popular topic areas. For me, posts on the intersection between search and social, tips on searcher intent, as well as other ways to integrate search marketing always seem to do pretty well. This will at least give you a starting point in terms of a topic area to focus on.

3. Use real-life lessons

I spend way too much time at work. Even when I’m not at work I spend too much time thinking about work. A good way to come up with a string of posts is to consider what projects you are working on, and what issues and lessons you’ve had to deal with and overcome. If you had to do it again, how would you have done it differently? What lessons or advice can you share that others can also relate to? Most of us spend over half of our life at work so there should be plenty of blog potential screaming to get out… unless, of course, you sit around in your cube playing Farmville all day.

4. Provide a different perspective on posts that have already been written

As a relatively new blogger I like to spend time reading and learning from other bloggers. There’s a ton of great information out there and writers to be inspired by. Amongst my favourite bloggers right now are Lisa Barone, Danny Sullivan, Rand Fishkin, Mike Moran, Drayton Bird, Keith Hann, Jenny Lawson… the list goes on.

If you’re struggling to come up with topics then take a look at all the good content that’s already been created. Maybe you’ve read a post and can provide a different opinion on the matter (never steal though, especially without acknowledging the writer… stealing is bad. You know who you are!). There’s also a good opportunity to go back to your own past posts and provide updates or changes in perspective since the event, or go even deeper into a particular area that you only touched upon in a previous post.

5. Ask people what they want to know

If all else fails, then just ask. Ask the readers of your blog, your colleagues, friends, contacts on your social networks… Blogger’s block can happen to the best of us at one time or another. I’ve seen some of the best writers sending out a wee cry of help on Twitter on more than one occasion.

And finally, what do you know. The best part of going through this process? I’m off the hook for another week 😉

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