So, you've been blogging religiously three times a week for several months now, and you're running out of things to say. How many times can you write about how your fabulous product can be used or how smart your employees are? Here are ten ways to break out of a blogging block.
1. Look at your products
Let's start with the obvious. What is it about your products that may be exciting? What are ways of using your products that customers may have not thought of yet? What is unique about your services?
2. Talk to your employees
Why are they excited about working with you? (I'm assuming they are: otherwise you've got bigger problems than blog posts.) What do they like about your products? When they brag to their friends about their work, what do they say?
3. Talk to your customers
Ask your happiest customers why they use your services. Use each answer (e.g., "your customer service is the fastest to respond") in one blog post, giving details of your processes and how you do what you do. Add in a couple of anecdotes.
Now talk to your disgruntled customers (you know you have some) and see if you can fix their problems. Then write about how you fixed the issue. (You should be doing the first two steps anyway, but if you aren't, it's time to start.) If you figure out those customers just aren't the right fit for you, refer them to a competitor who is. And then write about that: about what you stand for and what kind of customers should come to you.
What are the most common questions you get from your customers? Answer those on your blog so both new and old customers can easily find them.
You can't write well if you don't read extensively--and that's as true for a blog as it is for a novel. Read industry news and opinions and you'll invariably find something you want to comment on, expand on, or argue with. Read about best practices in other industries and relate them to your own. Read a business book and comment on what you are going to use from it. (Heck, I read novels about young children and relate them to career development.)
5. Go to events
Business events are a great place for networking and for finding out what the rest of the industry is thinking. It's also a content opportunity-all you have to do is take copious notes through the sessions and edit them when you get home. You can even live-blog, if you're up to that.
6. Participate in discussions
Both in those events you go to and on social media, participate in discussions about your industry. You might find you're on one side of a debate from everyone else, and you can explain your stand in a blog post. You might find that you learn something new or get some interesting anecdotes you can use. If there aren't any interesting discussions happening, start one! LinkedIn groups and Quora are great for the purpose, but you can try this out on other platforms too.
7. Host a discussion
I'm not telling you to organize a high-profile conference. Call your coworker into your room and talk about an industry topic that interests you both. Record that conversation and edit it into a podcast. To make it real fancy, call a bunch of people (including a couple of your competitors) and use a video camera.
Amidst interviewing colleagues and customers, don't forget to spend some time with yourself too. After all, you're presumably the business expert (which is why you're blogging, right?). Here are some starting points to spark your ideas:
- What attracted you to the industry? What do you still like about it?
- What makes you look forward to your workday? What gets you all fired up?
- How do you manage your time? What are your biggest priorities?
- What's the most common mistake you see (by colleagues, competitors or customers)?
- What's the biggest business mistake you have made?
If nothing else, force yourself to sit at your computer for half an hour and to not open any other window except your document editor. Very likely, the words will come. If not
9. Look through old posts
You might have written something two years ago that you don't agree with anymore, or maybe you've had new experiences that reinforced your view. You may think of a new better way to say something you've said before. For example, take something you've written, put in more info and numbers and turn it into an infographic.
10. Go out
If you've gone through a lot of these already and can't think of anything new to say, maybe it's time to get out of the house (or if you can, of town). Go somewhere that you don't go often (or ever), like a museum, a park or a toy store. Immerse yourself in your surroundings (that is, try and stop thinking about that blog post you gotta write). Take a few pictures.
Then get home and think about your outing and see if you can relate it to your work. Maybe a toy at that store reminded you of one of your products. The museum's floor plan might spark a post about efficiency. The children playing in the park reminded you of teamwork.
If nothing else, at least you can write about how you needed a break and getting outdoors once in a while is a good thing. Hey, we all need the reminder.
If you liked this, you might also enjoy How To Write So It Matters
Unmana is the co-founder of Markitty, a tool that recommends actions to improve your online marketing. She writes about marketing for startups and small businesses on the Markitty blog and can be found on Twitter @Unmana.