by Guest Author on March 22, 2013
As writers, we’ve all been there at one point or another. We stare at a blank Word document or the WordPress dashboard and… nothing. It happens. We’re human. Sometimes leaving the computer and doing something else fixes the problem, but other times we fall victim to the dreaded writers block. As scary as writers block sounds, it’s a made up condition for the un-informed. In a day and age where the Internet produces more content than all of the newspapers in the world – combined, we really can’t use writers block as excuse for not producing great content.
Fear not, content producing friends. For I am here to show you how to get those two words – writers block – out of your vocabulary and find inspiration on even the most un-inspiring days.
Quora is a godsend for content producers. In its essence, it’s a list of questions asked by normal folks such as you and me on any number of topics ranging from internet marketing to dog training. Users sign up for an account, and ask a question or view questions asked by others as well as answers from some of the top experts in the niche of their choosing. There’s quite a bit of fluff, and oftentimes people don’t give very detailed answers, but I can often create entire posts just using the answers I’mfinding on Quora.
To use Quora, just sign up for an account and start following topics, or people, that interest you. The rest is merely a matter of checking in from time to time.
The top minds in the content production industry all agree that the best blog posts are those that answer questions. There is simply no better way to find out what questions people are asking than taking a quick look at Quora.
The top writers are also the biggest readers. In the world of Internet marketing, things change, and fast. The only way to retain “expert” status is by staying on top of trends in the industry. Luckily for you this also happens to be a great way to find content to write about.
Did Google change something? Write about it. Give your take on the change and how it affects the SEO community. Facebook introduces Graph Search? Tell business owners how to optimize their pages to get the most from it.
Besides the inspiration aspect, following industry leaders in your chosen profession is the fastest and easiest way to become a true expert in your niche. Rather than recycling the recycled, why not take thoughts from industry leaders and make them into something that can help your clients? Start at the top and work your way down in order to produce great content. We’re not all visionaries, but you can certainly listen to the visionaries and discuss their thoughts and opinions on your own blog, right?
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are all great sources of inspiration. In fact, Pinterest was originally created and launched as a place to “pin” inspiring thoughts and ideas.
Besides following brands and people of interest and discussing their ideas, blog posts and comments, one of the easiest and most effective tools for social media come from their inherent ability to produce instant case studies for your blog. Oreo is blowing up over their news-jacking (more on this next) of the power outage at the Super Bowl and their creative social media usage after it. This is a great example of something that is blog-worthy. This one idea is enough for an entire blog post, but you could certainly do a list post on “x” ingenious marketing ideas derived from brands, or something similar.
What’s even better is the instant feedback you can use in a case study. Brand “x” posted something on Facebook and received “x” amount of likes, shares, comments, etc. within “x” time period. This is data that can easily be turned into a case study. Content junkies love case studies.
Above, I mentioned Oreo and their creative use of a news-worthy event.
When the lights went out at the Super Bowl, a very smart content marketer decided to post this picture on the Oreo Facebook and Twitter pages. The good news is, this is easily replicated by any company, brand or marketer with a little foresight and some creativity.
A celebrity gets pulled over for DUI? Great… you know that attorney that you have on your client roster that you never seem to be able to produce enough content for? This is a great time to use the news to create a piece of content. The best part about news-jacking is; not only are you findinginspiration for content, you’re also likely to get some of the traffic that is searching for this type of news story. People search for news-worth events and Google aims to pull relevant results. With proper crafting of the content, you’ll pull in organic search results, Google news results, and you’ll come to find that news-jacking content is some of the most shared content online.
Be creative and STEAL!
One More Tip
Content inspiration doesn’t necessarily come when you need it. Be prepared for inspiration by using Evernote, a spreadsheet or even having a running list of content ideas on a Word document. These lists are great for a rainy day when inspiration is simply not there for you. With a list of backup content ideas, you’ll always have something worth writing about.
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s how we produce great content here at Spread Effect. Give it a look!
Content is everywhere, you just have to learn how to look.
About the Author:
Chris Warden is a seasoned entrepreneur and CEO. Starting his entrepreneurial career at age 19, he has performed in numerous capacities owning and managing both offline and online companies. Chris now serves as CEO of Spread Effect, a leading content marketing and publishing company. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and often writes on topics of content marketing, SEO, and business development. He’s passionate about building and mentoring world-class teams and loves to chat with like-minded individuals. You can connect with Chris via Linkedin, Twitter - @ChrisWarden_SE, or Google+.