Raise your hand if you’ve ever had writer’s block. Yep. Me too.
It’s a drag, especially if you have to get that email newsletter out the door or if you have fallen behind on your social media posts.
To market your small business effectively, you may want to employ online media like email, blogs, and social media. But for many small-business people, the greatest barrier to success is writer’s block. You don’t have the resources to hire someone to do it for you, and you don’t have any idea what to write. You’re sitting in front of the keyboard. Your mind is blank. You’re stuck. So much for your email newsletter and social media program.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some tips to beat writer’s block.
Plan in advance. You may think that’s obvious, but do you do it? Most writer’s block occurs when you try to write on deadline with no advance thought.
Outline the questions your clients and prospects ask frequently or should ask. Ultimately, the topics you cover in your email, blog and social media should address the questions your audience wants answered. If you outline the questions in advance, you’ll find it much easier to write the answers later.
Anticipate objections and plan ways to address them. Case studies and testimonials defuse objections especially well.
Draw from articles you read, movies and television shows you see, or episodes in your life to demonstrate the points you wish to make. If you outline the questions you should answer and the objections you should address, you will tune your senses to connect the things you experience to the ideas you aim to share.
For example, clients often ask what they should include in their email newsletters. Part of the answer: Inform and educate (add value); don’t just pitch. I made this point a few months ago in my column for this newspaper. I described the pushy, pitch-happy insurance salesman Ned Ryerson from the movie “Groundhog Day.” “Don’t be a ‘Ned,’” I wrote.
By outlining in advance the question (“What should I include in the email newsletter?”) and the answer (“Value, not just pitch”), my mind was primed to connect the dots. I saw the amusing scenes with the pushy insurance salesman and the idea clicked easily: Use this movie character to demonstrate this point. This may sound complicated, but you’ll be surprised how the ideas flow and the dots connect if you outline your topics in advance.
Finally, be a curator. You don’t have to create all of the content you share with your audience. If you find an interesting, informative, entertaining article that your audience will value, summarize it and link to it in your email newsletter or social media post.
Tom Ruwitch (firstname.lastname@example.org) runs MarketVolt, (www.marketvolt.com), an interactive marketing agency.