It happens to all of us. You’re either trying to write the text for a page on your website, or write a blog article. Maybe you’ve allocated a special time and sit down with a cup of tea or a hot cup of coffee. Then you log onto your computer, put your fingers to the keyboard, and… nothing. The fountain of words that normally flows forth seems to have dried up into nothingness. You’ve got writer’s block.
Here are a few tips that can help when you find yourself in this situation.
- Take something complicated, and simplify it. Just think about how many times you may have wanted to learn something, but didn’t have the hours needed to read a complicated manual. Think about who your readers are, and, knowing that, identify something that they are likely to want to be able to do, but may have never been properly instructed about. You can also draw inspiration for this type of article from a recent customer interaction (but be careful not to get into any details about that. You don’t want your customer getting mad at you.) When you begin, getting people’s initial interest with an eye-catching fact is always good.
Example: If you wanted to talk about proper shoveling technique, you could start with a statistic about how many injuries occur each year while using a shovel. Now turn this into a problem statement: You need to know how to shovel correctly in order to avoid hurting yourself or someone else.
Next, map out the series of high level steps involved in performing whatever the task is. For example, first picking the right shovel for the task. Calling for utility locates. Ensuring a safe work area. You get the idea.
A general sort of high level format that works well in many situations is:
- Explain the problem and why it’s important to learn to do the task correctly
- Defining the actual task and reason for doing it
- Advantages and disadvantages of doing it yourself (it’s always a mix!)
- Preparing for the job
- Choosing the right tool for the job
- Getting the tool – buying, renting, borrowing – explain any special economics
- Ensuring safety
- Performing the task (Stage 1)
- Performing the task (Stage 2)
- Performing the task (Stage 3 etc.)
- Assessing & refining
- Cleaning up
Then, once you have the overall structure right, go back and fill in the details.
- Compare the pro’s and con’s of two different choices. For example, you might compare granite and marble countertops, or two different types of grass for a North Carolina lawn and how each does in the different regions with differing soil types. You know a lot about these things; this is just taking something that you already know and putting a different spin on it that people will actually benefit from reading. Just be careful not to name any actual products or brands, since that might get you into legal trouble.
- If you favor a particular brand that you sell, and you have the legal rights to do so, perform a case study in which you talk about how and why that brand was the perfect fit for a particular situation that you encountered. In doing a case study, tell the story of the person that you did work for and demonstrate how the product made a difference in their life.
- Read the news. Get ideas from local and national news, as well as any industry trade publications.
- Follow other bloggers just to get an idea about what’s interesting enough not just to write about, but to see what sort of topics get people engaged.
- Review a product or service, but again, you need to research and understand any legal implications.
- Look through the table of contents of related books online just to get ideas for the structure of an article or post. Don’t plagiarize, but looking at what other people are writing about will very often cause an idea to pop into your head out of nowhere. It works extremely well!
I hope that gives you some ideas on different ways of coming up with things to write about for your website or blog. If you need help with managed website content solutions, contact me on my website at http://dunntek.com/webdesign