For the past couple of years, we haven’t been able to escape the phrase “Content is King”. This phrase conveys the demand that content marketers face when it comes to the quality and quantity of blogs, articles, and press releases.
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So what happens when these content marketers are struck with a bought of writer’s block? Unlike freelancers or fiction writers, the challenge of the average content marketer is unique in that they can’t take off to a yoga class before returning to their work three days later. There are deadlines to meet and plenty of capable writers willing to meet them if you can’t. Well, how do you go about shaking off writer’s block when you’re confined to the four walls of your office? It’s not easy, but here are seven tips that may give you inspiration.
1. Do the groundwork the night before
Wherever possible, I try and make sure I find ideas and research for content the afternoon or evening before I plan to write it. There are two benefits to this. One, it gives me something productive, yet not writing based, to do towards the end of the day. Secondly, I find it much easier to get in the swing of writing something when an idea has already been fleshed out. This way, I try and get as much done as possible in advance, which can include the overall topic, research, statistics, and even the title. This prior research will help fuel tomorrow’s words.
2. Seek quotes from authoritative individuals
Reaching out to contacts (or non-contacts if you’re feeling ambitious), who are authoritative in the particular area you are writing on, not only adds weight to your argument and exposure for your contact, but it gives you a starting point. An unusual fact or opinion on your topic can spark all kinds of ideas that were previously buried and provide you with a fresh new angle for your piece. It may also widen you up to a larger audience.
3. Get everything else out of the way
Everyone is different, but personally, I find that the only way I can fully concentrate on what I’m writing- and therefore, produce the most creative work- is by making sure I’ve got all my small niggling tasks out the way first. If my mind is full of emails I need to reply to, I will never be able to devote myself completely to the piece.
4. Shut down your emails
Not for the whole day because such a luxury may not go down well with clients and colleagues after all. However, I find closing my email inbox for the first 20 or 30 minutes allows to focus with minimal distractions. Similarly, I always try and get my most challenging piece written at the start of the day, before everyone else gets into the office.
5. Write with a pen and paper
It might be a unique recommendation coming from the CEO of a digital marketing agency, but stepping away from the computer and use paper and pen can definitely help me to loosen up. Writing on paper encourages you to be less precious with your writing, as well as adopt a more natural tone. When you’re typing up your content, you can treat it as the editing phase.
6. Break the routine
Admittedly difficult in an office environment, but anything you can do to break the monotony will be worth it. Write for a different client, sit at another desk, and even try something new for lunch. If you get an official lunch break, try and make sure you get outside for a brief moment. Fresh air and a change of scenery works wonders when you’re faced with a blank page.
7. Edit your colleagues’ work
If all else fails and you really can’t shift the block, offer to edit your colleagues’ writing for the afternoon. You’ll still be doing something productive (whilst earning yourself a future favour) and it may spark up new ideas for your own content.