Combating the Blogging Blues
The Digett blog has been experiencing some turbulence recently. We got a good head of steam going after revamping our publishing procedures, but have since fallen into a bit of slump.
Earlier this year Zachary talked about four great ways to structure blogging so that there’s always something fresh. Although I’m a huge fan of scheduling and organization, sometimes that’s not enough to get people in the blogging mood; it can be counterproductive and a bit demoralizing to schedule an hour to write a blog, only to stare at a blank screen for that entire hour because you have nothing about which to write.
Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes cooperation and inspiration. Here are three good ways to get the creative juices flowing.
Join the conversation
What are others in your industry discussing or blogging about? Get in on those conversations, whether it’s by watching and discussing webinars or participating in discussions in LinkedIn groups or on Twitter or Facebook.
Sign up for an RSS feed and subscribe to blogs which provide you with inspiration (they don’t necessarily need to be industry related). Read the books that are popular (or vilified) in your industry, and start conversations about them.
This doesn’t need to be a formal or scheduled affair -- all you need to do is give everyone a place to put down their ideas. Start a shared spreadsheet in Google docs, make use of a prominent whiteboard, or tape a sheet of paper to the office fridge.
Encourage everyone to jot down any ideas they may have, even if they’re not complete; one person’s half-formed idea could lead to someone else’s full blog post.
What questions does your team get asked most often? Using your blog to answer these questions will give you lots of content, and will also operate as a reference to which to send prospects and clients for answers.
Pick each other’s brains. What questions do your company’s designers have about content management? What aspects of design interests or puzzles your company’s copywriters? Chances are good that you’re already answering these questions amongst yourselves -- why not generate content while you’re at it?
Keep ‘em on their toes
Internet users get tired of text. Have you considered starting a company podcast, or producing video blogs?
The occasional different mode of sharing information will keep your visitors interested (“What will they do next time?”), and will give your company experience with new concepts. Learning new things often generates new ideas; your “experimental podcast” may become the impetus for even more compelling content.
Balance in all things
Structure is important in blogging, but it’s by no means the only player; inspiration is another piece of the content generation puzzle.
Taking time to participate in conversations (whether at the office or through social media channels) is key in keeping to your editorial calendar.
Take advantage of the intelligent brains around you. By getting involved in conversations with others, you’re more likely to be inspired -- and nothing cures the blogging blues like inspiration.
Your turn. What are some tried and true methods you've discovered for getting in the blogging mood? What are some problems you've encountered?