Hearing writers talk about their struggles with writer’s block has always been a mystifying experience. Paying the bills as a professional freelance writer – especially one for the web – often means producing around 2,000 pieces of content per year.
At $25 to $30 per blog post, that would earn you between $50, and $60,000 annually, which is close to the $55,940 median reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Want to earn more? You’ll probably have to produce more.
To call on one of the great Internet memes of our time, “ain’t nobody got time” for writer’s block at that pace.
Thankfully, writer’s block is a fictitious problem – one created in the writer’s imagination and something he or she can overcome with these easy tips.
Tip 1: Get on a Media Diet.
There is an old adage that great writers are first great readers. This is a point that the Scottish writer A.L. Kennedy brought home in a recent “rules of writing” piece for the Guardian.
“Read,” Kennedy said. “As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won’t need to take notes.”
If you’re a content marketer looking for ideas, this advice can easily be translated into idea generation.
Find great news sites and blogs that command your interest and read as much as you can. But don’t stop there.
Listen to great podcasts in your subject area. Follow influencers on YouTube. Consume video. Every great piece – whether text-based or audio and video – can awaken your unique viewpoint and lead to great original content.
Tip 2: Fill the Gaps.
Go to the Amazon website and search Books. Do a few keyword searches in your interest area. Filter by bestsellers. From there, go into the product pages of each book and home in on two- and three-star reviews.
The reason you should focus on these middle-of-the-road reactions? Because right or wrong, they’re often the most honest, and they highlight gaps the content failed to fill for that particular reader.
Being able to “pull out” these problems with existing content and then creating posts to address those issues can help you establish authority and build readership.
Tip 3: Continually Build Your Keyword Cloud.
If you are entering a niche you already know something about, take a moment to sit down with pen-and-paper and jot down a list of keywords and phrases important to the category.
Be exhaustive. These terms can be highly valuable because you can set up content alerts around them through Google or social media trackers like BuzzSumo, thus keeping your content freshly linked to timely issues and topics.
(NOTE: BuzzSumo isn’t the only show in town for ranking the most-shared content on social media, and it does cost a monthly fee, so do your research before making sure it’s a good fit.)
Once you’re comfortable with your list, consider building a permanent list in an app like Wunderlist or Evernote. Add to this list as current events and breaking developments dictate.
The more you can tie your content to the latest buzz, the more interesting and “shareable” it will be for an audience.
For more help on developing your content strategy, drop by our Content Marketing Academy. While there you can learn more about generating great ideas, creating solid content, and promoting it to the right audience.
Aric Mitchell is a business, marketing, and education writer who has authored thousands of articles and eBooks for clients that include TalkBusiness, 4Tests.com, Inquisitr, and McClain Concepts.