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writers blockIn class on Wednesday night, I started asking my students how they handled social media. Its always interesting to me to hear what people perceive they should be doing. Those of you that know me personally know when I teach about SEO in Houston, I often talk about not putting up hanging cats, old lady meme’s, or complaining about your job or thanking God it’s Friday. Today I was hit with people posting happy Friday the 13th.  For my purposes, that is not the right path in moving forward.

So what is good? Once nice lady in the back stuck her hand up and outlined a great plan. Her plan was to go read stuff on education, which was her business, and post those article to her Facebook wall. And although there are some of you social media managers that will say “Yeah, what’s wrong with that?” I told her its not how I would do it.

Now I’m often accused of making it seem easy. And I admit that being an editor in a former life, when there was things called newspapers, it helps, but I play a game with students to see how many content ideas I can give them about their business in 30 seconds. Its fun and they are shocked.

So here are a few tips and strategies when you have writers block:

#1 Read Your Email 

Every day we sit and answer emails. Sometimes it’s as simple as the word done. And other times its a long, complex answer. In both cases, each email you reply to should be evaluated to see if you can use it for a blog post or a page on your website. If I find the question is complex, I make sure when I answer my customer or vendor, that answer can be reconstituted or repurposed to our website in a way that makes sense. Every business that answers a customer has an endless supply of content ideas.

#2 Read Industry Articles

My mom always said I wasn’t good at sharing as a kid. So the lady in the back of my class that said she shares  interesting articles she finds, after I told her it’s not the way I would have handled it, I went on to explain how I would.  Everything you read you have an opinion on. I know everything I read I have an opinion on. Sometimes I agree, and most times I find the bone of contention to the article. It’s a variation of my 81 year old father arguing with the talking heads on the TV, just in writing.   I admit that when I don’t agree, it’s much easier to write the article. But even when I find articles or people I agree with, I write a page on that too.

#3 Understand Who Your Customer Is

I know my customer and I know what they need from my company. So I often come up with topics that will help them. It may be their pain points. For example I have several hundred people still using FrontPage, so I put up a page that talks about what we recommend as FrontPage Alternatives. Regardless of whether it’s something at my web hosting company that I can control, or just something that I know is out there that I can help them with, I use our blog as a profile for that. Most business owners do try to stay ahead of their customers, so just remember to sit down and write it out.

#4 Keep a List 

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But I can’t tell you how many folks I say that to, and you might have thought I said something like Aliens landed in New Jersey to them. Yup, keep a note pad, a note pad app, use the notes on your iPhone, write on your bathroom mirror with lipstick (yup, true story from a customer). Store your ideas, so when the rainy day comes, you have a backlog to pull from.

#5 Call Me

No not really, but I have people call me all the time to come up with a new content idea. If you get stuck, add a comment to this post and i’ll get you an idea. Or email me and I’ll get you an idea. Now if your question is on nuclear psychics, I don’t know much about it other than the top 10 Sheldon Cooper string theory experiements, but if you sell commercial doors…

Beth Guide - ACTWD