If you're a content marketer, sitting down day after day to write blog posts is a daunting task. Sure you may rely on an editorial calendar to provide a topic, but those are just words on a page devoid of true emotion or complete thoughts. I know some of you write for the sake of getting the task done, meeting a deadline, trying to maximize the engagement potential. Sometimes that's all you can hope of accomplishing, and I totally get that in the rush you're just looking to hit publish and get on with it. I can't unfortunately do that. Is there a secret sauce to all of this?
For me at least, I need inspiration. That can either come from the subject matter itself or from the audience that I hope reads the post. When I sat down to write this, there were several things I did to set the stage for writing my post. Some of them were very tactical in nature, while others, certainly helped me move the process along. Each of them though in their own way contributed to the fabric of this story, and I'd argue these are things I do out of habit, when I'm looking for inspiration ahead of or in the process of writing great content. You might find these ideas helpful and if you do, share them.
Take a Stand
Before you put the pen to paper (okay, finger to keyboard, or finger to screen), spend a little time reading about your topic. It's always easier to write about something you know a little bit about. Once you have a little knowledge around a particular topic, consider taking a stand on the material. You'll find it exhilarating that you may have learned something new and you'll be even more inspired to share those insights with someone. Cool right?
Make it Personal
I know it's incredibly difficult to always keep your audience in mind, especially since you know them in a very superficial way, as a number, or a huge mass, but they're just people like you and me. They are your inspiration. No matter what the topic, try your best to relate personally to it. I realize that it is a stretch at times, but certainly if you draw on your own experience while writing your content, you'll evoke a better emotional connection with your audience. If they love you, or the way you write, you've done your job engaging with them. They will feed off of your inspiration.
Set the Mood
I try hard to create an environment that is conducive to writing. Usually that means, I close off everything else, put my headphones on and listen to some of my favourite music (almost always, when writing it's The Grateful Dead) because I find music very inspiring. Believe it or not, some of my best writing takes place on the subway while I commute to the office, because its so easy to tune everything else, and concentrate on my iPhone and what I'm writing. If I could, I'd turn the lights down too, but sometimes the situation doesn't allow for that. I find when focused on the task at hand, I am more inspired and do better work.
As ridiculous as it sounds, I find that when refreshed, with liquids coursing through my body, I am much more inspired to write. It kind of makes sense when you consider that 75% of your brain is water, so increased water making its way to the top can only help your brain function better.
I fully understand that it is tough to accomplish all of things while writing to deadline, and in fact it is those deadlines are what make inspirational work so difficult. Taking just a few extra minutes to plan the attack always works out in the long run and if you can set the stage early enough in the process, you will reap the benefits.