Writer’s block: These two words constitute the shortest horror story ever written which sends shivers down the spine of any content marketer out there. And still, all of us have to deliver content on a weekly, or even daily, basis. With or without writer’s block.
But not just any content. Creative, compelling, and most importantly, engaging content which will attract the right crowd of visitors and transform them into subscribers or paying customers.
You’re most certainly familiar with that feeling of panic and dread when you stare at a blank page which is waiting to be filled with meaningful sentences while the clock is ticking on your deadline.
It’s true that you can’t force creativity, but there are tips to give your inner, sleeping muse a nudge and get your creative juices flowing regularly.
Train Your Brain
Many people picture creativity as a messy process during which all of a sudden a flash of lightning turns us into artistic powerhouses.
But, in reality, we can’t talk about isolated and unexpected moments of inspiration which come and go without any warning in terms of being responsible for somebody’s magnum opus.
It’s hard to imagine that successful content marketers, writers, or any other professionals for that matter, rely on elusive Eureka moments in their daily routines.
Instead of that, all their achievements and accomplishments are the result of a persistent, organized, and consistent working schedule.
For example, a recent research study has pointed out that people are most productive in the morning, while their performance peaks around 11 a.m. There’s also a big slump somewhere around noon, after which it’s hard to get back on track at full speed again.
So, try to schedule your efforts and train your brain to write and perform other demanding tasks in the morning, while your mind is rested and agile. And make a habit out of it.
The practice of putting off until tomorrow what we can finish today is one of the biggest productivity killers, and it’s very hard to establish a creative flow when you’re constantly chasing deadlines.
The price we pay for procrastination is high. People tend to spend a quarter of their working day procrastinating, which costs their employers somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000 per employee annually.
The fear of failure and not knowing where and how to start are among the top procrastination triggers.
This self-limiting behavior can be overcome, though, so make sure to do the following:
- Start small and set milestones. Once you manage to knock over these obstacles, it will be much easier for you to tackle bigger challenges.
- Schedule your procrastination time. If you’re prone to killing time and putting off your important work, allow yourself do to so within a set period of time during the day. This will ease the pressure and let you focus on your tasks.
- Set a timer. Sometimes the only way to get things done is by shutting down your phone and setting a time limit within which you expect that you can finish your task. Tapping into the time tracking benefits of a reliable time management tool can help you minimize distractions, zero in on the current task, and estimate the amount of time it requires for future reference.
Write Down Your Ideas
Every time you don’t write down a content idea, an interesting phrase, or a statistic that you’ve just read, you’re wasting your resources.
Always carry a notebook with you so that you can scribble things that come to your mind at odd times.
These notes will come in handy once you get down to work, as simply browsing through them might help you shape a paragraph or a whole concept of your new blog post.
You can also use some of the digital apps for capturing your ideas, such as Evernote or Google Keep, while a voice recorder can be useful while you’re driving.
Don’t Polish Your First Draft
Many of us are compelled to perfect every paragraph while we’re still composing the first version of our blog post or any other piece of content.
That’s not exactly the best approach, because paying attention to minuscule details such as the exact wording, style, tone, or even grammar will only hinder your creativity.
Save all these interventions for the moment when you start editing and putting finishing touches.
Besides, you need to distance from your work and sleep on it, because this pause will allow you to see things from a new angle. If it’s possible, let your piece of writing sit for at least 24 hours before you revisit and improve it.
Recycle Your Evergreen Content
Good artists borrow, great artists steal.
This quote attributed to different great minds of literature and art, including Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, and Igor Stravinsky, proves that by adding a fresh perspective and a new twist to your old, popular content, you can actually take the value you provide to your audience to the next level.
So, repurposing can in a way give your creativity a boost which means that you can make the most of a certain topic without having to start everything from scratch.
Besides, this tactic also allows you to reinforce your message which is crucial for improving your conversion rates.
According to the Rule of Seven, a concept by Dr. Jeffrey Lant, your prospects need to hear your message seven times before it penetrates their consciousness and influences them to buy from you.
Maybe it seems at odds to talk about hitting quota in a discussion about creativity, but ultimately, all the former heavily depends on the latter in marketing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Rules
It’s a good idea to walk off the beaten path and bend a couple of rules every now and then.
There are tons of tips on how to optimize your content and make it appealing to both search engines and your readers, and all these tips contain a lot of numbers.
1,900 words – that’s the average word count of Google’s page 1 results.
Infographics are apparently liked and shared 3 times more than any other content type on social media channels.
Articles with an image per every 75-100 words get twice as much social media shares as articles with fewer images.
Naturally, every savvy marketer will rush to follow all these rules, and that’s absolutely OK.
But, if you really want to cut through the noise and differentiate yourself, you need to find your own unique voice and expression, and that means that you should try publishing a 900-word blog post with a single image and test its performance. At least from time to time.
Sometimes it’s enough to get to the point and share your genuine experiences which will resonate with your readers, instead of doing what’s expected.
As you can see, being creative and original isn’t something beyond your reach. By implementing these tips, you can learn how to maintain your creative flow and produce great and unique content.