If your agency is going to effectively use social media for inbound lead generation then you must have content. You have to develop a system to write even during the of busiest times and also when you have bouts with writers block.
Overcoming social media writer’s block: If you put your focus on what your audience wants to read (rather than what you want to write), the whole game changes — and the shift is in your favor. Dave Navarro, Copyblogger
I’m now going on my third year of writing articles and post for small-to midsize ad agency new business through social media. At last count I’ve written 417 posts. My wife has asked me on numerous occasions what do I have left to write about.
I can honestly say, during all this time, I haven’t struggled with “writers block” until recently. My guess is that I’ve spent so much time online that I needed more offline time to recharge my batteries, gain a fresh perspective and regain my fire and passion for doing this.
I recommend a blog to be the central component for your agency’s social media strategy for inbound lead generation. Let it become the “gateway to your agency.” Content is vital. No doubt you will have periods of “writers block.” I thought I would share my personal insights in overcoming it. I hope these will be a help to you:
There was no getting around the fact that I had to pay my dues in social. The past couple of years I’ve put forth the effort to “catch up” and devised a plan to get a head of the curve just as if I were back in grad school. Which meant nights, weekends, very little time off, with very little time offline, just whatever it took. I know that I can’t continue to do that and I feel that I have developed some good habits that are maintainable but now I need a better diet, exercise, down-time with the family, etc. to recharge my batteries and stay fresh. So time off is important.
With the bouts of writers block and burn out, one of the ways to clear my head was to read. I turn to my Google Reader and my RSS subscriptions. I also rely on some good email newsletters such as The eMarketer Daily, Ragan’s PR Daily, SmartBrief on Social Media and Harvard Business Publishing. I have a great respect for some people within our own industry who are among the first to understand social from an advertising industry perspective. People like: Edward Bosches, Jay Baer, Jason Falls, Avi Savar. I follow their blogs and connect with them through Twitter and Facebook. My reading keeps me up to date and generates new ideas and keeps my mental juices flowing.
You don’t know what you know until you write it down. That old cliche inspired me when I first started writing and stays in the back of my mind. When I get into a mental fog and have difficulty with writing, I simply write. It helps me to see the forest from the trees, think my way clear. I have over 230 blog post drafts. Some will eventually be published and a good number will never see the light of day, but they were a good mental exercise that helped me to clear my head.
Lack of focus. I’ve been privileged to work with over 50 advertising agencies to assist in developing their positioning, new business pipeline and social media strategy. The ones that have the most difficulty are the ones that lack focus. Reflecting on my recent struggle with content, I think that it was purely a lack of focus. I’ve been working on a plan for next year that I had not completed and felt like I was in a bit of a flux, in a state of limbo and I think that had a direct impact upon my writing. Focus makes the writing so much easier. Especially when you can clearly identify your target audience and you know your objectives.
A shortage of confidence. As I reflect back, this bout with writer’s block started about the time of my Social Media | New Business Round Table retreat with Jaci Russo, Razzor Branding, Stephanie Holland, She-conomy, Park Howell, A Brighter Shade of Green Marketing, S.A. Habib, Blue Collar Branding and John Sonnhalter, Tradesmen Insights.
These are all very talented creative people.To be very candid with you there are times when I have doubts about my own abilities and lose my self confidence. I’ve worked with enough great copy writers to know that I’m not one of them but here I am writing a blog. My readers are very forgiving and kind. For whatever reason, they seem to like what I write and want more. I simply try and provide help and be a resource to them. If I retain that simple formula it seems to work very well.
Most importantly – It is not I want to write about. I have to write about what my audience wants to read. I fully agree with Dave Navarro’s advice, particularly for social media, you have to zone in on what your audience is interested in reading. It’s not what I’m passionate about it’s what their needs are. To know what my audience wants from me, I have to listen and engage with them.
Quick tips for overcoming “writers block”:
- Identify a need
- Create a writing schedule
- Turn off distractions (TV, iPhone, etc)
- Set deadlines
- Research it
- Nike’s “Just Do It” approach
- Write. Stop thinking and start writing
- Keep a list of blog post ideas
- Connect ideas to your specific audience
- Find your best time to write
- When you don’t know what to write, conduct an interview
- Free write without editing
- Determine your topic
Additional Writer’s Block Articles:
- How to End Writer’s Block Forever: This is an excellent article by Copyblogger. If you put your focus on what your audience wants to read (rather than what you want to write), the whole game changes — and the shift is in your favor.
- Murder your Writer’s Block in Five Easy Ways
- 6 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block