Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on June 4th, 2009

How to Stop SEO Writer’s Block

When you are in charge of creating optimized content on a regular basis for your company’s website, chances are you have run into a writer’s block. There is no magic pill to help you out, yet, but there are other cures. Writer’s block is a very common occurrence that happens to the best and most creative writers, SEO or non-SEO. Over time, while your skill and style are honed to perfection, your tank of ideas begins to run out, making it harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas and new angles. Here are a few ideas on how get your creative juices flowing freely again.

Browse Industry Blogs

No matter if you are in SEO or not, chances are there are hundreds of blogs covering the topics specific to your company. You can easily conduct a blog search on the Google Blog feature will give you a plethora of material to spark your creativity. You can even use your keywords to identify more appropriate results and keep notes on the most relevant blogs to your writing. For search engine optimization and everything Google, I tend to check Michael Gray’s blog, Graywolf SEO Blog, and Google’s Matt Cutts, Gadgets, Google, and SEO.

Please Note: Be careful not to copy or scrape content from other people. This is horribly bad form and a rampant trend in blogging. Use your own opinion and experiences to ensure that you are providing interesting and unique content for readers. This only makes them come back for more.

Read Industry Magazines and Journals

I realize that reading a real magazine is SO last century, but they are still relevant, for now. Your company may already have a subscriptions to industry-specific journals or magazines that are rich with inspiring content. These niche magazines usually feature thought-leaders of the industry, so most news and stories will be relevant and intelligent. If there are articles that you disagree with, or left out a perspective, send in a letter, or write a response article for the journal, or your blog. Joining the conversation will only bring more attention your way at a time when you have gotten back on the Content Train to Productivity Town.

Google Alerts

This is very similar to browsing blogs. Google has this great feature, Alerts, that you can set up to collect stories and articles on the Internet based upon a keyword, and have their links emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis. I have a Google Alert for “SEO News” to keep me updated on news and trends in the search engine optimization industry. It keeps my ideas fresh and inspired by all the relevant chatter online. It also helps me keep an eye out for scrapers of my own blog.

Competition Comparison

If your competitors are successfully bringing a different perspective than you are to content creation, chances are you may be missing a key content ingredient. Are they authoring eBooks, or creating engaging newsletters? Do they differentiate themselves from you by fulfilling a need of the audience you aren’t? Content is king when it comes to online relevancy. Don’t copy their ideas, but consider approaching that delivery of content, whether it a newsletter or eBook, with your own unique perspective. You can’t copyright the “car”, but you can copyright the “brand”.

Talk To Your Clients

What do your clients want to read? Maybe you aren’t covering a topic that is frustrating the fun out of your clients. There may be something about your business that isn’t being communicated clearly, but no one knows it needs to be addressed. Your biggest fans, your clients, are an enormous resource for ideas on content. The best thing about it is you are guaranteeing readership.

At the end of the day, it still takes a great voice and sound skills to create intelligent, relevant, and engaging content. Although it is a basic skill everyone learns in grammar school, writing talent is not to be squandered. Copywriting is no different, and the balance between salesy and natural language is constantly being tested. In a world where the word travels faster than emotions, unique ideas can be hard to come by. Don’t get discouraged. Do research, converse with industry thought leaders and clients, and your creative juices will flow again.

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