Short on Ideas For Your Email or Blog?

Typewriter with a question mark on the paperYou’ve stuck to a regular schedule for posting to your blog or writing email messages. People have come to depend on your wise words of worthwhile advice and information.

You don’t want to let them down and risk the growth of your readership and business!


Despite this pressure, or sometimes because of it, we’re all liable at one time or another to sit down at our desks, open a new message or post, crack our fingers, rest them on the keys, then … nothing. We draw a blank.

How frustrating! Fortunately, we have options.

Writer’s Block Can Be Painful

So, what do we do? Sit and stare at the screen and wait for the inspiration to come? Unfortunately, just like lying in your bed for too long when you can’t sleep doesn’t help you to finally catch some Z’s, neither does staring idly at your screen when you’re confronting writer’s block.

No, usually this just won’t work. No doubt, there are plenty of ideas somewhere in your mind, but willing them to come out and play isn’t going to do the trick.

It Doesn’t Have to Be

Among other things we do here to come up with content for the readers of both our blog and email subscribers, every day we look to articles others have written that contain content that might be especially useful and relevant to our audience.

Often times this helps to:

  • Spark or recall our own original ideas
  • Provide a resource to link to from our own content

This helps to explain why blogging is still seeing an upward trend in popularity, along with all the other reasons there are to read and post ourselves.

Find Blogs That Are Relevant to Your Business

So maybe you’re thinking of email marketing only now and don’t read blogs yet. Well, it’s never too late to benefit from them, but first we need to find some that are relevant to us and our readers.

Once you start to read over some articles, most of your favorite blogs will come from the linking and recommendation of the blogs you already read.

Of course, we need to start somewhere. So, head over to Technorati, and search for some keywords related to your business, just as you would for Google.

How To Subscribe to The Blogs You Read

Once you find some great blogs in your industry — and inevitably you will — you could just bookmark them and check every once in a while for new content, but what a waste of time it would be to find that there is nothing new since you last checked… over and over again.

Fortunately, there are better options out there. Our preferred method to keep all our blogs in one spot is RSS. If you don’t know of RSS, take a moment to review this video by the Common Craft Show for an explanation of what it is and how to use it (click the link below to view that video):

Our Preference Isn’t Necessarily Our User’s

Yes, I’ve admitted that we prefer to read blog articles in RSS and not by email. This is true, despite that fact that AWeber offers an RSS to email feature that gives blog readers an opportunity to receive notification of blog posts by email, instead of RSS.

But remember that there are often major differences between us and our readers that we should be thinking of when make decisions concerning our campaigns. I may say “toe-mae-toe” while my reader says “toe-mah-toe”, and I may use RSS all the time while my reader has no idea what it is.

So, while I’m recommending that you consider RSS to read your own blogs, make sure you’re providing ample options for your own readers to get your content if you publish your own.

Other Ideas to Avoid Writer’s Block

This topic is not new to email marketing, and in fact we’ve covered it before. Reading blogs is just one idea we give in our live video seminars and in other blog articles.

For tips on conquering everyday issues like writer’s block as well as others related to email marketing, please take advantage of these free resources. And of course, don’t forget to:

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9 Comments

  1. Francis J Hayes

    11/23/2007 7:11 pm

    Something I learned a few years ago which has helped me a lot is that some of your best content can be found in your Sent email folder. If you answer questions from your subscribers, chances are many of your other subscribers would be interested in that same information.

  2. Ron Passfield

    11/23/2007 8:04 pm

    One of the things that I find helpful for blog posts or for email marketing is to keep a running lits of ideas or themes on Notepad. So when I sit down to write I at least start with some joggers, rather than just a blank screen.

    I think the suggestions about reading other blogs is the way to go – they are a great way to stimulate ideas and get the mind churning.

    Another tactic I use is to create a series – where each post/email offers insight into one item, e.g. The ten best traffic tactics – Tactic 1: Squidoo lenses. This could be the 10 top tips for SEO …

    In this way, you have set your central theme in advance.

  3. Rober Seviour

    11/26/2007 7:06 am

    I have a short article containing a number ideas for dealimg with writers block at http://27ways.ca/how_to_write_a_book.htm

  4. Marc Kline

    11/28/2007 9:43 am

    Ron,

    I also keep a list of ideas going, and have gotten into the habit of thinking "how could this benefit our readers?" when I come across anything business related.

    The "blank screen" problem is probably one of the biggest problems many of us face when we work on our articles and messages. Get into a staring contest with it, and it’s likely to win, with you closing it out to move onto something else in frustration.

    By reading over other content, our own (sent folder) and others (blogs, articles, etc.), we might fight content to use ourselves or at least inspiration to write up something original.

    Then, we can defeat the blank screen by getting rid of it altogether, – by filling it in with content.

  5. Arindam

    11/30/2007 2:09 pm

    Well I’d be lying if I say that I never face the writer’s block – heck, any writer is bound to face it some or the other time; but my situation has improved a lot. My NuttieViralizer newsletter is a weekly issue and I am committed to send one issue every Saturday (through aweber’s blog broadcast feature). I keep a list of ideas in a Word document. Additionally I visit the Warrior forum and many times a single forum post has sparked off a week’s newsletter. Also the main solution to this prblem is to write, write and keep writing.

  6. Stacie Walker

    12/16/2007 2:59 am

    What helps me get over writers block is to keep a journal with me at all times. I find that I come up with ideas or topics that would be great to post in my blog or to create an article for my audience.

  7. Nicole Daily

    5/4/2009 10:56 am

    On Writer’s Block:

    I watch about an half an hour of a movie everyday during the work week. It helps to generate a lot of ideas and see from perspectives. It’s a visual way of getting information, and that’s helpful for me because that’s the way I learn best.

    Also, listening to music very softly in the background (barely audible) while writing engages my right brain and will make connections for me.

    I’ve also done "Word Mapping" or "Word Webs" (by handwriting it, not on the computer) when I have a particular topic in mind and just let my brain do what it does naturally, making connections and dumping the information that it has onto paper.

    I also keep a journal on hand at all times, and I keep the running list of topics going, too.

    Hope some of this is helpful.

    I appreciate the comments everyone has made so far.

    I’ve saved the suggestions, because they’re particularly good ones.

  8. 6 Social Networking Tactics for Email Marketers - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    6/23/2009 2:22 pm

    […] are many potential benefits to linking up with non-competitor authorities in your industry. Think: ideas for content to fill your newsletters with, possible guest writing opportunities that help build your list, and […]

  9. Theresa Bradley-Banta

    5/6/2010 10:22 am

    I get ideas simply by collaborating with, and being in contact with, other people on a daily basis. My social media connections, my mastermind groups, my email in box, team members, friends ? all are great resources for content.

    Think about the conversations you’ve had recently. What are other people working on right now? What’s important to them?

    Another great tip I read on fellow bloggers site is to change your location. Get out and go to the park with your laptop, or go to a coffee shop. Sit at the first tee on a golf course and watch the players begin their round. Imagine who they are and what their stories are! You get the idea.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post Marc! This is a great topic and I’m glad you continue to write about it.