Are you a writer – or are you a blogger?
Both species are closely related – but the blogger is often better off. Especially when it comes to writer’s block, or as you might prefer to call it: Blogger’s Block.
If you are a blogger and you don’t know that feeling of sitting in front of an empty blog post not knowing how to write you haven’t been doing this for very long. You will encounter this. And when you do, you better come up with ways to counter it. Otherwise, your career as a blogger will be short lived.
There are many reasons why writer’s block is considerably harder to combat than blogger’s block, but it boils down that writers are often alone. They sit in their room, flat or house, in front of their preferred writing tool and think – then write.
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Bloggers, on the other hand, are part of a community. They are not alone. And being part of a community can help you countering blogger’s block.
So here are 7 ways how the community (or the blogosphere as we used to call it) helps you countering blogger’s block and come up with absolutely super awesome blog posts all the time. Let’s see how the community is here to help you find ideas, inspire your work or how communication with the community will create new pieces.
1. If you want to write more – read more
Ideas don’t come from sitting in front of the desk and staring at an empty screen. Writing and reading cannot exist without each other. “If you want to write more – read more” is a quote from Stephen King – although I have to admit that I didn’t look it up, so his original words might just be a hell of a lot more beautiful.
That’s not the point, though.
The point is that it is true. If you want to write more or better blog posts, you need to read more blogs. Blogs from your niche, blogs with similar topics. Find out why you like them, understand their arguments, think about whether you disagree or not. Find out what makes these blog posts great (or bad). Which brings us directly to…
2. Communication itself can be new blogposts
The thing about the blogging community is that it is by itself a conversation based social network. Some of the best blog posts I have ever read have been posts that resulted out of the flow of conversation. You can do the same.
If you started reading more – following the advice of number one, you are ready for this idea for new blog posts: Read the blogs from your niche and then become part of the conversation. But don’t become part of the conversation by just commenting on viral blogposts. Write your replies as blog posts.
If someone whose blog you read has written a good post – write your own thoughts as a reply. When you later tweet your post you can mention the original author and ask him to take a look. This actually works more often than it doesn’t.
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For some examples of this, you can see this post by me in which I have done exactly that:
The Social Media Department of the Future
And you know what? All the influencers do this too. Someone starts a conversation – everyone wants to write posts about it. Why is that? 😉
3. Shine a light on all the different opinions on a subject
Sometimes you may not have a lot to add to the conversation – and that’s ok! If you’ve got nothing to add, then don’t, but you can still walk away with an original blog post that adds value to your blog and the community.
Write a blog post that highlights the main opinions, quote the original articles and even link to them. These conversations still benefit from someone summarizing the views and the least you do, is help bring more people to the table.
If you want to take sides with this post – you can. But you don’t have to. The beauty of this is – whatever you do, you are still bringing new value to the conversation – even if you don’t have a single new argument.
4. Ask the community what they want to hear from you
Right, of course, you are not going to send emails to your readers and ask what you should write…
Really? Why not? Who better is there to ask. If you’ve got newsletter subscribers, send them a newsletter – and ask them what they want to hear from you. If no one answers – then what did you lose? At least, you conveyed that you care for your readers. But if they do answer – there is a big win for you here: You will know what your readers want you to write.
But if a newsletter is to extreme for you, you can pick other ways to ask your audience for ideas to write about. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn … you will be surprised what may turn up there.
5. Watch your blog comments – they may lead to new post ideas
Really – if you’ve got an active commenting community, that’s a goldmine for new post ideas. Seriously. A short opinion by one of your readers can lead to long posts – posts that your audience will love. Because they will feel they contributed, and to add to that feeling, highlight that this post was inspired by the commenter.
There is nothing better than a community that feels that it can contribute.
6. Watch Twitter…
Really, watching Twitter lead to some of my best posts. What people throw out on Twitter in 140 characters can be great wisdom – which you can prove in an even greater post. Or it can be great bullshit – and you can be the one to call them out.
7. Practice different styles of writing
If you read blogs like Neil Patel’s and Mark Schaefer’s you will notice after a while that each of these influencers has his own style.
Why not write a post like Neil did? And one like Mark’s? The content of the post should still be original, but this will lead to a lot of practice in writing posts. If Neil writes about 10 tools to enhance your content production – you can write your tools post – different tools maybe, but you can still write in the same style.
If you want to make this less obvious – have a look at older posts by these influencers. But the thing is, you are not doing anything illegal or immoral. If anything, they will feel honored – and they should – because you acknowledge them as thought leaders.
See what the difference between a writer and a blogger is in this respect? A writer is often alone, a blogger never is.
This fact can empower you always to create more content and valuable content.
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