Experiencing Blogging Block? Then You Need These 6 Tips and Tools
Consistency is both the most important part of being successful in blogging, and the most difficult. It often starts with passion but then it needs to become a habit.
At first, you have a fountain of never ending topics that you can tackle. You jump in with both feet and probably start writing once a day, or at least several times a week. But it doesn’t take long to begin feeling burnt out, which is where the hard part begins.
How are you supposed to continue blogging on a regular basis, and still keep your posts interesting, relevant, and high quality? There are only so many times you can rehash the same information before it becomes stale, and your chosen niche might not change often or drastically enough to provide you with fresh content outside of the standard.
Here are a few useful tips to make sure you get past blogging block and remain awesome while still blogging a lot.
1. Write every time you have a good idea
I write my best content when I feel inspired. I feel inspired when an idea just came to my mind and also when I have had enough coffee!
Don’t just write on certain days. If you have a good idea, you should expand on it as soon as possible. Then that post can go into draft and await a day when you either think it would be best to release it, or for one of the many times you don’t feel like you have the juice to write more.
Having a handful of posts prepared in advance and always at the ready is important. Whether you get sick, are burned out, or out on vacation, it ensures there is something that just needs to be scheduled to publish without any work on your part. By writing these posts every time an idea enters your head, you will make sure you have fresh content at the ready, and on an interesting topic you won’t forget about if you put it off.
Tool for this tip:
I use Google Docs to write my articles down for a few reasons.
I really like their iPad app which allows me to write articles while on the go while being sure they are all stored in one place
I love the variety of free addons that allow me to easily add collaborators (editors) to my doc. For that, I love the free addon called Workflows which makes it easy to manage editing statuses.
2. When brainstorming, don’t multi-task
If you want to come up with ideas, you need to spend some time just focusing on the task. That means eliminating distractions, and only putting your mind to brainstorming ideas for the coming week.
More often than not, when I start brainstorming and go deeper into the subject, I have 2-5 article ideas instead of one at the end – just because I take time to get really focused when expanding on my initial idea.
Overall, I love multi-tasking (and I usually do) but not when I brainstorm. Scaling your news and trend tracking process is a huge help for getting productive with brainstorming.
Tool for this tip:
I find myself much more productive when I curate social media updates and collect ideas within Cyfe dashboard. You can archive lots of data through Cyfe: Twitter search results, Google Alerts, Google Plus search results, etc.
3. Learn the value of re-packaging
When was the last time you went through your old posts and found out how much of it was still relevant? If the answer is “ages” or “never”, it is time to take a peek at that old content. See if anything has changed in recent months that would impact how that information is presented. If so, it is time to revisit the topic with a brand new post.
Take a post you wrote, and start thinking of different media forms you could use to express the same information. Some popular options are Slideshare presentations, infographics, videos, voice overs, podcasts, charts, and comics. You may ever want to gather several posts, and offer up a case study.
Re-packaging content will attract a new kind of a reader using the same posts you have written before. After all, not everyone likes to read; some are visual or audio learners. Here’s a well-organized list of what types of content and in which formats you can create for your blog to diversify your content and re-package old content.
Tools for this tip:
My favorite two tools to create media are (1) Haiku Deck for creating awesome-looking Slideshare presentations and (2) Animoto for creating videos. Both are affordable, fast and great tools that allow you to re-use any article visuals to put together high-quality media content.
4. Set times for writing every week, and stick to it
Sometimes you just have to use some good old fashioned force to get yourself to work. Set times that you will absolutely write your blog posts, and don’t allow yourself to skip it. Turn off all distractions, and focus 100% on the work ahead. Only search the Internet for related information, or potential topics.
Having a firm idea of when you want to write will push you to find something interesting to talk about, and in an interesting way. A lot of your creative block might just be procrastination in disguise.
Tools for this tip:
This one is obvious for most people but I use Google Calendar for recurring commitments. It syncs with my iPhone (which syncs to my Mac) ensuring I’ll get the scheduled notification to different devices.
5. Collect expert opinions and quotes
There’s the reason why group expert interviews have become so popular with bloggers: You get your content partially written by those providing quotes. Plus, you get those experts on board to promote the final piece. Connect to people and ask them share their opinion or experience on what you are going to write on. You’ll find your article half-written down the road!
Tool for this tip:
MyBlogU helps you get experts’ quotes on your specified topic. Create a project, describe your question and ask users to send you their case studies, tools and stories. Here’s how the tool boosted my blogging productivity. MyBlogU WordPress plugin allows you to collect ideas right within your WordPress dashboard.
6. Do a theme day
I am a very productive and motivated: I probably write more than most people in my industry, yet I do have trouble with blogging regularly. One thing I realized recently: To commit to blogging on schedule, you need to create traditions your readers would look forward to (One thing I CANNOT afford to do is to fail to meet my readers’ expectations!)
I’ve done this with Twitter chats. I have promised VCB members to run a weekly Twitter chat. Since my whole community knows that, I never let them down. Since a weekly Twitter chat requires quite some effort, I re-package it into our blog content (to make the most of my time). This way I am positive every Tuesday our official blog is sure to have a fresh expert article on the topic that interests our community. There’s no way around that schedule!
Having a theme day is a great way to always know what you are going to be writing about. Many bloggers will have multiple theme days a week, sometimes a theme for every single day of the week. Since followers will always know what is coming they can be a great help. Ask them to contribute for these days, such as sending in reader stories, and take part in creating your content. They will be more likely to engage, that way.
Tool for this tip:
Trello is the best free solution when it comes to planning your future columns/theme days out. You have lots of options to organize your boards, invite contributors and / or editors, set up deadlines, etc.