All content writers are familiar with the helpless feeling of being out of ideas. The lonely feeling of staring into the blank, white abyss of your word processor, the blinking caret lulling you slowly into self-doubt.
Your self-doubt grows further when you remember the much-repeated stat that about 2 million blog posts are publishing each day, yet here you are, with no idea what to write about for your B2B client.
Don’t worry; we’ve all been there at some point in time. But it’s time to stop bellyaching and get some writing done. Content writers don’t have the luxury of spending much time not writing, so it’s time to get out of your head and figure out what you’re going to write about.
No matter what type of B2B client you’re writing for or how long you’ve been writing content for them, there’s always something meaningful to blog about.
Get out of your head.
1. Take a 5-10-minute walk.
Years ago, I worked at a Best Buy retail store. When frustrated customers would come in with a malfunctioning cell phone or laptop, the first thing we would suggest is to turn off the device and restart it.
Did this cause us to occasionally come off as supercilious snobs? Possibly. Can one use the adjective supercilious without themselves coming off sounding supercilious? Less possibly. But you’d be surprised how often the simple step of powering off the device fixed the issue.
Like a faulty electronic device, sometimes your brain just needs to be flushed.
Stop staring at your computer screen and get away from your desk for a while. Taking a short walk is a great way to restart your system. Either pace around your office or take a tour of the parking lot. The latter provides you the opportunity to mutter expletives and kick rocks, which can also help flush your brain.
After 5-10 minutes, return to your desk and approach your task with a freshly restarted brain.
2. Read something.
If your walk didn’t do the trick, find something to read. No, this isn’t the appropriate time for you to start thumbing through your unread, eleven-hundred-page copy of Infinite Jest. Find a quick unread article in your Pocket app or a blog post related to your assignment.
Perhaps by reading this post you’re already observing this helpful tip!
Reading to writers is like cardio for basketball players. Does cardio training directly lead to making jump shots? No. But having the foundation of a strong cardio helps them muster that little extra when their competition is growing tired late in a game.
You won’t magically pen the perfect blog post directly because you read something. But you can give your creative juices a kickstart by reading.
Deploy some technical tools.
3. Find out what your audience is talking about.
If a client has been in your book for a while, you’ll inevitably feel like there is nothing left to write about. This is especially true with clients that occupy a niche space.
A great tip for fighting through a dearth of ideas is to explore what your reading audience is asking about your topic. To accomplish this, my favorite tool is answerthepublic.com.
Let’s say hypothetically that the client that you’re writing for offers CRM software. You’ve already written dozens of blogs that details the many ways that CRM software makes day-to-day life for business operations easier. You’ve exhausted every metaphor in your arsenal to demonstrate that your client offers the Cadillac of CRM software because of X feature or X integration. What’s left to write about?
When you’ve hit this point it’s time for you to stop asking yourself what can you teach your audience, but instead, what does my audience want me to teach them?
Answerthepublic.com will allow you to see the long-tail search questions that your audience is asking.
After you plug in ‘CRM software’ you’ll end up getting a diagram like the one above that breaks down the various forms of questions that are being asked online. Go through the questions and mine out threads that you haven’t explored in the form of a blog yet. Isolate one and concept it from there. For example.
“How to implement CRM software”
What does that search query tell you about the people asking it?
It shows you that they know about CRM software, which means they probably also know about the benefits and features. Perhaps they’ve even read your whip-smart blog comparing CRM software to TIVO, that it doesn’t make Game of Thrones any more fantastic, but it sure as hell makes Game of Thrones more convenient to watch.
This question informs you that a portion of your audience is aware that CRM has value – or else why would they bother asking how to implement it – but, they still have apprehension about the process of changing to a new system.
Boom. There is your next blog. Write a piece that explains the short-term hurdles of converting to a new CRM software weighed against the long-term value of having a streamlined business operation. Your empathy for the reader is cooked right into your topic as everyone can identify with the challenges of dealing with the bumps in the road that come with a new software.
Go forth and write!
Alright fellow content writers, you’ve spent enough time deploying tip number two. It’s time for you to crank out your next B2B post. Next time you’re in the throes of writer’s block, remember to flush your system with a quick walk, read something, and find think about what your audience wants you to teach them.