Today on the Bruce Clay blog, Jessica Lee provides some tips on reducing writers block if you are an avid blogger. She did a terrific job with the post and I think small businesses need to take those tips and relate them to your small business blog even if you aren't a consistent blogger. Because most of you are SMBs and might not read the Bruce Clay blog, I'd like to cover her tips and relate them to your small business.
My guess is that most of you have writer's block before your first post. It is no secret that we consistently recommend blogging to peers, clients and anyone else that will listen. Why? Content! Remember Donny's post back in December about your 'SEO Surface Area"? If not take a look and just remember that every single post you create is a new page on your website. Let's take a look at Jessica's tips and relate them to your SMB.
Write What you Know
The first point was to write about what you are experiencing and what you know best. If you are a pipe fitter we don't recommend that you blog about creating robust web applications. You need to talk about pipe fitting! You live and breathe what you do everyday and probably still can't come up with a subject. Let's stick with the pipe fitting example. Write about why you use copper over steel, tips for working in small spaces, your frustrations with welding, and how to avoid hazardous materials. (Disclaimer: I know nothing about pipe fitters so I could be completely off base here, but you can blame Wikipedia.) Bottom line, it is not difficult to write about what you know, so stick to what you know.
Jot Your Ideas Down
Some people at protocol 80 make fun of me for writing things down on paper...but it can often times be a better reminder than your computer. I will admit that I regularly jot down notes that I don't understand 5 minutes after I write it, but if you can keep an organized notebook for blog topics you should be able to stay somewhat organized. And to stick with Jessica's tips...take that notebook home with you. If you are a small business owner there are probably very few days that you don't take work home with you. You will inevitably think about something work related during dinner that could be a quick blog post. Jot it down. Your significant other probably already thinks that you do too much work at home, but taking those extra couple seconds to jot ideas down will help you with writer's block and may even help you improve in other areas of your business.
What Are Others in Your Industry Doing?
Read industry blogs and stay up on your Twitter feed. You can find great ideas for writing topics. Don't steal, but relate the articles and topics to your readers and give credit where credit is due. As I mentioned, Jessica did a great job with her blog post...but many of our readers are rural small business owners that don't read the Bruce Clay blog and don't stay up on Twitter as well as they should, so Tweeting the article alone won't get front of their faces. I take the idea and relate it to my readers while still giving her initial credit.
If you think that you are writing about something that has never been written about before, you are probably wrong. But don't just copy and paste. Include your opinions and how the topic relates to your readers. You need original content, but original ideas are rare. Although if you have them and you aren't giving away proprietary information, by all means write about them.
Writing About What You Don't Know
I found this tip interesting and something I would like to use as a tip more often. I have decided on a topic for JoshCurcio.com finally and am kind of taking this approach. I am embarrassed to admit, but I have had the blog set up for more than a year and have not posted 1 post (yet I have 187 comments on the default post, imagine that. I dislike spammers).
To be fair, I didn't decide what I was going to write about until about 3 or 4 months ago. And to get back to the topic at hand...the topic I have chosen is something I know very little about, but hope to be very knowledgeable about in the future. The topic: sorry, you'll have to wait and see.
To Sum it Up...
We keep coming back to the topic of what you should blog and how you can get it done. Writer's block is just one of the obstacles, but don't use it as an excuse not to blog. You shouldn't get writers block until all of your topics are exhausted. If you were to tell me that you have used every idea already related to your small business or industry...to be blunt, you would be wrong. Sometimes you have to step back and think about your job as you don't do it everyday. Don't be afraid to write about the basics. Don't be afraid to write period. Here are some recent topics from the protocol 80 blog about blogging.