Companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month generate 4.5 times more leads than companies publishing 0-4 monthly – so who can afford to have blogger’s block?

Whether you’re on a tight deadline, writing content you love, or creating copy on a topic you know nothing about, posting engaging content is part of everyday life for any successful business.

But at some point you – or your content writers – will experience brain block, no matter how apparently stimulating the inspiration. The trick is knowing how to combat obstacles when they happen. Content needs to be consistently making it out of the door; whether you’re having a good creative day or a bad one, your readership will expect to see a great blog post in their inbox.

Fail to deliver, and you’re breaking valuable trust – and losing potential leads. On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without. Refreshing, originally written content is essential to giving your business the edge and forge lasting relationships with your audience.

Here, three members of ESM Inbound’s senior team share some tactics for getting yourself out of a content funk.

1: Focus - Lucy

Lucy Seymour - Director of OperationsThere’s no point in publishing any content at all unless it's going to be useful to your audience, and drive more traffic to your website. Before you can create content that really speaks to your ideal customers, you need to know who they are. Use your current customer base as a starting point to build your customer persona.

Who are your best customers, ie, the ones who love your product and continue to use it year on year? What pain-point did your product solve for them? What were they looking for when they found you? Focus your content on answering these pain-points and you’ll be off to a great start.

2: Read before you write - John

John Kelleher - Director of GrowthReading makes us mighty. If you’re not reading a varied diet, then how can you expect to produce varied content? At ESM Inbound, our team will routinely share great content that we discover both on- and offline. Create a simple Trello board or Slack channel for sharing great content with your team so that they're always up-to-date with the latest changes in the education sector and have a great resource full of inspiring ideas.

Content marketing balances the science of analysing data and understanding your audience with the creative art of writing. Learn from the great artists throughout history and overcome your writer's block by finding a new way to bring two things together. Did you read an informative article about changes to the school funding formula? Have you read something about how schools can budget more efficiently? Then why not combine elements of the two to create an article helping school business managers make the most of their new budgets?.

3: Get physical - Anna

Anna Kaine - Senior Content StrategistIt might sound obvious, but writing is hardly one of the most physical jobs in the world. Creating exciting, compelling content only comes from a clear, relaxed mind so – especially if you’re home-based – get moving. Even mild exercise will release endorphins, clear your airways and get your blood pumping, all leading to a more creative mind.

Try:

  • Walking to ‘the office’ in the morning by going for a stroll before coming back to the house to start work
  • Jogging through the park or along a scenic route to work that you haven’t taken before
  • Taking a ten-minute walk between meetings
  • Taking a shorter lunch break so you can go out in the fresh air at 3pm (avoiding the dreaded afternoon slump).

Whether your primary role is a copywriter or you’re a small business with a team juggling many roles, you can make your day work for you, as a writer. Writing is an intensely thoughtful activity, requiring focus and no distractions.

Knowing the benefits of business blogging, be sure to craft out time in your day to writing. Turn off your notifications, close your office door and give yourself the space to create great content. The benefits are worth the investment.

4: Cluster up - John

John Kelleher - Director of GrowthCreate subject clusters. This is a technique promoted by Hubspot to enable a deeper coverage of core topic areas. The basic premise is to ensure you’ve exhausted every avenue of content in a particular topic and haven’t missed a trick that your audience might be searching for. Start with your main topic idea in the middle of a document, and around the outside write as many sub topics as possible – these become your content ideas. Try:

  • Creating a pillar page: a broad overview of a specific topic, such as lesson planning or assessment. This is an all-encompassing summary of the topic, like a road map of all you need to know. You’d cover data tracking, formative and summative assessment, self and peer assessment etc.
  • Build a pillar page for each major focus area – the purpose is to provide free educational content for your reader to access, like loaning them a library book.
  • From the pillar page, you can create several linked pieces of content – videos, blog posts, case studies – that cover individual, more specific sub-topics, otherwise known as cluster content. You might have one on marking, one on verbal feedback, one on different approaches to written feedback their advantages/disadvantages.
  • Each cluster topic page for the pillar focuses on providing more detail for a specific long-tail keyword related to the main topic. The pillar links to each cluster page and each cluster page links back to the pillar with the same hyperlinked keyword. This gives the reader the chance to continue their education whether they navigate away from the initial page or not.

By using topic clusters to dive deeper into missing content, you can elevate search rankings for all the other pages linked to the pillar and better organise your content, spotting gaps as and when they occur.

5: Find a theme - Lucy

Lucy Seymour - Director of OperationsIf you’re really struggling for ideas for a blog post, find some national and international awareness and celebration dates relevant to your target audience to sing about in your blog. Not only will you show your support for worthy causes, but having a focus will help inspire you, and bring you closer to your ideal customers.

Many schools use awareness days and events to frame their academic year, often with a different theme for each week, so creating content in a similar vein will certainly resonate with teachers and school leaders.

Looking ahead at relevant dates and getting them in your content calendar, you’ll help avoid the ‘what do I write today?’ dilemma.

Try:

  • Using a focus group in your content team to work out the kinds of causes that both matter to your customer persona and align with your brand
  • Use a free awareness day calendar to find out when these causes are marked through the year and plot them into your calendar
  • Assign different writers in your team to the different topics they want to take on and, as a team, think of ways they might be able to work your useful, educational content into this theme

By creating topical or theme-based content, your business will be seen as relevant, trustworthy and helpful. You’re not relying on repurposed content from months ago, you’re creating purpose-written pieces that are offering something of genuine use to the reader.

6: Outsourcing power - Anna

Anna Kaine - Senior Content StrategistWritten content is the most commonly outsourced content marketing activity with 57% of business bloggers outsourcing to contributing or guest writers. If you’re finding content ideas difficult to come up with, chances are someone else has got the perfect solution.

This delegation doesn’t mean you’re passing the buck or relinquishing responsibility; it’s a practical, proactive approach to solving something that is a problem in your business. If you’re repeatedly struggling to come up with content ideas, it could be that some fresh minds are just what your team needs.

Try finding an agency that specialises in your target market and has a proven track record with content and inbound marketing.

And finally, bookmark this blog post! Next time you get stuck, don’t panic. Try one of the tips above and let the creative, engaging, educating content ideas flow.