"Conquering Creative Constipation"
"Overcoming Blogger's Block"
(another helpful article in the 'Blog Tips for Rain Drips' series)
If you've been blogging for any period of time, then chances are at some point you've experienced 'Blogger's Block' - that discomforting dry spell in the writing desert where your inner muse seems to take an extended hiatus, and you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen for hours on end.
Well, take heart, Bucko! This article is just what the doctor ordered!
Here you will find some practical, sure-fire methods/strategies to unplug your creative constipation, and ensure your blogging pipeline is chock full of smooth-flowing content that keeps those search engine spiders busy and coming back for more!!
As most of you know, in order to effectively attract, engage, and retain any meaningful amount of readership/traffic to your blog, you have to be committed to consistently contributing good, relevant content to your blog.
I once heard a statistic which claimed only 4% of the people who start blogging will still be blogging after 3 months. If true, that's quite an attrition rate. So why do so many quit?
There are probably many different reasons, but I think one of the main ones is that people get to a point where they feel as though they've run out of things to say/write. They hit a mental brick wall where inspiration and creativity seem to elude them.
Personally, I think this dilemma has a lot more to do with a lack of proper planning and discipline than it does a loss of inspiration/creativity.
To successfully compete in the ‘marathon' that is blogging, you must develop a consistent, long-term, organized strategy for writing. While a certain portion of your blog writing will come as a result of creative moments of ‘inspiration,' other portions should be planned or scheduled, and become part of your regular writing routine.
Top Ten Ways to Maintain Blogging Regularity
#1. Take a Relax-a-tive
Sometimes you just have to ‘unplug' yourself completely from the use of all technologies, and take a short respite. One of the first things you need to learn is how to pace yourself. At times, social media involvements can seem to be a huge sucking black hole that consumes a significant amount of your time and energy. Establish clearly scheduled time frames for your social media marketing. Take regular breaks to focus on other marketing efforts. Few things will be more helpful to restoring your creative juices than taking a break to re-focus and re-energize.
#2. Keep Your Drafts on Tap
Rarely do I ever sit down and write an entire post from start to finish. When inspiration hits, I always have a notepad app on my cellphone to save a few collected thoughts. It may be something as basic or simple as just a working title, but I make a point of jotting down my ideas as they come. When I have a few minutes, I'll transfer my thoughts/ideas into my blog publisher and save them as 'Drafts.' That way, I can come back to them at a later point in time to develop them further. You should always have a half dozen articles in process.
#3. Use The ‘Buddy' System
Find a Blogging Buddy: I've been most fortunate to have the constant friendship and encouragement of fellow Rainer, Mark Flanders. For over 5 years now, we've been meeting nearly every week on Thursdays for coffee at The Global Bean. We started our own blogsite together, SoundBiteBlog. Mark is like my blogging cheerleader (Can't you just picture him with a skirt and pom-poms?) Mark is a genius when it comes to all things SEO and is a skilled code monkey. I've learned so much from him over the years, and I owe much of my social media successes to him. Find another Rainer in your area or perhaps someone else in your office who is interested in blogging/social media to be an encouragement partner and motivator to you.
#4. Pimp Your Market Reports
I publish a real estate market report at the beginning of each month for all of Kitsap County WA. My reports contain 3 primary components - statistical data; my personal opinion or analysis of the current market; and a local area component/business/interest story. Consumers don't want cold statistical data, they want your expert analysis and interpretation of that data. They also want a sense of what makes your area such a great place to live, work, and play.
#5. It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood
This is where you can do a detailed overview of specific neighborhoods, developments, or communities within your market. Be sure to include lots of pictures, median home descriptions and prices, school information, shopping, parks, homeowners association info, utilities providers, etc..
#6. Building Bridges with Local Business
What better way to build relational bridges with area business owners than to promote their services/products on your blog! Start off with recommendations of service-related businesses that you yourself patronize and support, and ones that new residents would find the most helpful, i.e. auto repairs, plumber, restaurants, etc..
#7. Previously on '24′- Create a Series
One way to keep yourself disciplined to blogging more consistently is to create a multi-part blog series. In fact, you're currently reading one right now! It can require a lot more work than usual, but it will become a worthwhile and valued addition to your blog archive. One of my most successful blog series is entitled "Adventures in 1st Time Home Buying." It is a 10-part series that takes 1st-Time Buyers through the entire home buying process from loan pre-approval to closing. Now, when I have a new 1st-Time Buyer, I simply give them a link to the first article.
#8. Become The Local Real Estate Expert
Both Trulia and Zillow have done an excellent job with this particular approach by providing forums where consumers can pose questions and solicit answers from local real estate experts. Provide a link on your blog where readers can send in questions, and those questions can become source material for future blogs. Or simply, make a list of the most common questions that Buyers and Sellers are constantly asking you, and turn your answer(s) into blog articles.
#9. Preview of Coming Attractions
Consumers can access listings from literally hundreds of websites, but what they really have difficulty finding is good relevant information on local entertainment, recreation, and attractions. What are the ‘Must-See' points of interest in your area? What are the primary local sights and attractions that make your area such a great place to live?
#10. Pictures are Worth a 1000 Words
Consumers are graphically oriented or ‘picture happy' and are accessing the Internet in droves with searches of images for their destinations of interest. If your goal is to expand your digital footprint and increase the likelihood of consumers finding you, then creating photo galleries is one more effective methods to employ. In addition to creating photo galleries on your blog, also consider similar galleries on your Facebook Page, or on social networks that are dedicated to photos, like Flickr. Keep Your Digital Camera with You at All times: Whenever you're out and about, take pictures of your area. Capture the essence of your market and where you live through pictures. Then come back, and write about it. Make sure to name your images effectively, using 'Alt Tags' with geo-targeted titles so consumer clients can find them easily with their searches.
Some of your blog articles need to be inspired by your creative inner muse, while others can be regularly planned and scheduled. Either way, this will ensure that you're consistenly publishing good, quality content to your blog.
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed professional real estate broker providing Relentless Representation and Knowledgeable Empowerment for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, HomesByHarbors.com, SoundBiteBlog, Everyday CK, @KitsapAgent and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org