You’ve heard of writer’s block, but what about blogger’s block? Last week, faithfully following my blog’s editorial calendar, I duly created the exoskeleton of my next blog post. And then…
I’ll admit that perhaps I didn’t do the best job of ensuring the viability of my initial idea for the post. Also, I fell off the blogging wagon the previous weekend. I didn’t put in my usual amount of indentured-servant time on my blogger exercise wheel.
The result: The more I stared at my next blog post’s flimsy excuse of a shell, the more I loathed and despised it. And by midweek, my heart and brain cornered me and staged a blogging intervention. They both insisted I stop working on the post and start anew.
As a seasoned blogger, I know one true thing: It’s okay to jettison a malfunctioning blog post and switch to another topic that flows from your brain with more speed and style.
Here is your handy road map for knowing when to hold ’em (and when to fold ’em):
Double-Check Your Keywords for Accuracy Prior to Abandoning the RMS Blog Post: Before giving up on your problem child, consider this: It’s possible you’ve been barking up the wrong Google search for your topic.
Revising your keywords/search terms could produce the results you suspected were out there all along and get you back on track.
Helpful places to visit for refining your keywords include (in random order, to avoid any hint of a Google bias):
A nifty keyword generator via The University of Texas (at Austin) Libraries system
A curated list of free keyword tools (from 2013) via Internet Marketing Ninjas
Google AdWords Keyword Planner (not completely gratis–you’ll need to create an AdWords account)
It’s Perfectly Okay to Put the Brakes on a Weekly Blog Post: (Please note: Those of you who blog multiple times weekly may have no choice but to muddle through the painful process of resuscitating an oxygen-deprived blog post.)
Those of us who blog once a week are fortunate souls. We have seven days before we click the “Publish” button again. As a weekly blogger, you have the luxury of deciding to send a different topic/blog post to the next available window.
If within the first few days of promoting your current blog post you’re still struggling to commit to next week’s post, put it in the lockbox. Leave it as a draft in WordPress, or file it as a later entry in your editorial calendar.
Then, quickly scan a variety of websites for a more viable topic. Robust resources for quick-and-dirty research include:
- Business Insider
- Fast Company
- Mental Floss
- Social Media Examiner
When Google Fails to Produce What You Want, Jettison Your Fledgling Post: I’m sure you’re a subject matter expert regarding the next topic in your blog’s editorial calendar. That said, you probably conduct some online research to strengthen the foundation of your content.
(If by chance you don’t source a d@mn thing when drafting your blog posts, please lie to me. I can’t fathom writing a blog entry WITHOUT a bit of due diligence!)
When your search words and phrases result in nothing that complements your up-on-deck topic, cut the rope. Consider scanning your editorial calendar for low-hanging headlines. It’s time to move on…don’t delay! (Or, see the suggested links above to generate a new topic, pronto.)
Sometimes All It Takes to Coax a Substitute Blog Post Are Visual Cues: Oh yes, I’ve used this Jedi mind trick on myself intermittently these past three (plus) years.
We bloggers are enamored with words–lots and lots of them. But our heads can be turned by intriguing images when an emergency situation arises.
And let’s be clear–I’m not talking about photos/GIFs of adorable pets, humorous parenting moments, or glorious sunsets. (Unless, of course, these are the primary topics you blog about…)
A stunning photo stimulates your brain in a way that reading headlines doesn’t. It may be all you need to pull yourself together and hit the [blogging] nail on the head.
Additionally, this brainstorming technique might prove particularly helpful for bloggers who are visual by nature. Here are a few suggested resources for your ocular pleasure. I filched them from TIME’s “50 Best Websites 2014” list:
When You’ve Got a Case of the (Blogging) Mondays, Scan Your Editorial Calendar for Newsjacking Opportunities: I’ve warned you all against the potential danger(s) of inappropriate newsjacking.
However, there are plentiful opportunities to do right regarding a red-hot story without offending or digitally violating anyone’s sensibility. When newsjacking, always be tasteful and respectful.
Still want to hitch your blogging wagon to a trending topic for a juiced-up ride online? Look through your editorial calendar for any direct matches between your tentative topics and that too-hot-to-ignore story.
But what if this produces nothing legitimately newsjacking-worthy? Make time to visit my suggested list of resources (the one that begins with Business Insider), and…start scanning headlines.
And if you still don’t source anything relevant to your business’s products/services (or your additional areas of expertise) within 10-15 minutes? Then it’s not your moment to carpe diem. (Please avoid the online version of a gaper delay–maintain a reasonable driving speed.)
Rely on Serial/Recurring Blogging Topics to Self-Soothe: We’ve all been there. The blog-post topic that seemed like a dandy idea one quarter ago is now a virtual albatross. If the next post in your editorial calendar is “barely tolerable,” put it in the cryogenic deep freeze. Then fall back on one of your serial topics.
Personally, I have multiple ways of gnawing off a piece of low-hanging content: “International Swear Words to Love and Use,” “Its Time to Improve You’re Grammar,” “Bodacious Business Horoscopes,” and now the newly launched “The Benefits of Dictionary Page-Turning.”
You say you have not even one serial/recurring topic in your blogging arsenal? In the immortal words of Addie Loggins (aka Addie Pray–we never really know for sure), “Then get it!”
How recently did you marinate in a puddle of your own sweat because you couldn’t move forward with your blog’s next topic? When it happened, what were your immediate thoughts? What was the eventual outcome of your panic attack?
Of the suggestions I’ve provided here, which one are you most likely to try first? Why is that?
Never forget: The next blog post you save WILL be your own. That’s it, dear readers–go resurrect the dang thing before you lose your blogging momentum. Go!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print or web marketing and educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or e-mail By All Writes LLC at email@example.com for a no-obligation project quote today!