Stuck in a Content Writing Slump? 7 Tips to Get Back in the Game

Content writing is a skill like any other. No matter how good you are, you’re going to eventually hit a wall. Just as it is with any other creative or athletic endeavor, even the most seasoned content writers can fall into slumps. It’s happened to me many times, and I know it will happen again. But, that’s okay!

Rather than twiddling my thumbs, or getting lost in the long, winding channels of the Internet, I have a few ways for coping with the classic content writing slump…

1.     Read Amazon Reviews.

When I hit a slump writing about a product, the first thing I do is head over to Amazon reviews (or wherever I can find good reviews of the product). Good reviewers are apt to pick up details about products that you and I would never notice or think about just from looking at it online.

Find out what problems these experienced users are having. Find out what details and features they love. Take your content writing in this direction for a few posts!

2.     Pick An Unrelated Subject. Trace Your Way Back.

This is a great mental exercise to help you start thinking outside the box. If I have a client who sells armchairs, it’s all too easy to keep my writing to posts like these:

·     4 Iconic Armchairs Designs

·     Finding Perfect Comfort in an Armchair

·     How to Buy an Armchair That Will Last

Those topics are okay, but there’s nothing terribly exciting there. A great exercise to do with yourself is to ask, What topic seems totally unrelated? Pick a subject, and then tie it back into armchairs, or whatever it is that your client sells.

So, for example, we could pick food. Our blog posts could then have titles like, “7 Gourmet Meals You’ve Never Had From Your Armchair.”

Corny? Yes. Compelling? Most definitely! Speaking of titles, check out these twelve blog title suggestions to help pull you out of your slump!

3.     What’s the Competition Saying About Its Own Products?

Another favorite pastime of mine is spying on the competition. I’ve written a little bit about this ninja-like content writing skill in the past because it’s such a good one. When I’m truly at a loss for what to write about, I go check out the client’s competitors’ blogs. This is a great way to bring a new perspective to your content writing. Just make sure you don’t inadvertently plagiarize!

4.     Stop Thinking About Product. Think About Value.

Sometimes, I’ll be writing a piece for a client that focuses so much on the product that I’m bored by it. And, if I’m bored by my own writing, then I’m sure most readers will be bored, too. When I run into this situation, I know it’s time to stop thinking about the product.

Instead of focusing on the client’s product, focus on the value it will have to readers. One of my regular clients sells beverage syrups. There’s only so much I can say about raspberry syrup. But, when I think about value for the reader, there’s a ton of stuff I can say about raspberry syrup. From raspberry drink and cocktail recipes to historical facts about raspberries to flavor pairings… the possibilities are endless!

5.     What Are The Real Experts Saying?

A major part of content writing is being a good researcher. I just finished writing another round of blog posts on oriental rugs. Before I started working with this client, I didn’t know any more about oriental rugs than your average Joe. Though I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, I’m still far from being an expert. Once I’ve exhausted the “general knowledge,” it’s time to start going to the experts.
I start off this search by asking a question like, “Is an oriental rug a good investment?” Truthfully, I don’t know. But, I can find out what the experts think. Then, I take a few of their arguments, balance that research with the client’s information, project parameters, and my own knowledge, and voila: new blog post.

6.     Head Over to the Forums.

The experts are important, but the “layman’s opinion” is just as important in this new age of content marketing. Smart content writers know where to find the passionate non-experts (who, in many cases, know far more than the self-professed “experts”).

If I’m really stuck on a subject, I’ll search for an Internet forum that covers it. Of course, you’ll always want to be extra careful in verifying the information you find in a forum. If nothing else, forums are great places for content writers to find inspiration!

If full-fledged forums for your subject don’t exist, it can’t hurt to peruse About.com, eHow, and everyone’s favorite knowledge source.

7.     What Are Your Readers Saying?

Lastly, what are readers saying in the comments of your blog posts? Or, if your client has comments disabled, what are the readers saying on the client’s Facebook page? This is a great way to find out what your readers are really interested in. Are they all about price? Quality? Usefulness? Pick up on the general mood, and don’t forget whom it is that you’re writing for!

How do you pull yourself out of a content writing slump?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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  1. […] Once you build your main thematic ideas with a client, all of the little rabbits (and rabbit trails) will faithfully present themselves! If you do feel hopelessly stuck, I’ve got seven ways you can change that. […]

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