You’re a blogger. You create content. Every day. Although you enjoy it, you feel as if your inspiration’s squeezing out of you, like the juice from an orange. What happens when there’s no juice left?
Let’s get juiced up, with inspiration infusions, so that you can keep blogging, and creating valuable content for your audience.
1. Mine your depths: stir your subconscious with free writing
When you’re writing, your subconscious mind is much more powerful than your conscious mind. “Ray Bradbury often said that conscious thought is poisonous to the creative process”: when you think too much, you’re juicing the orange down to the pith.
Over-thinking is dangerous. Take five minutes to free write. In free writing, you simply write, without taking your fingers from the keyboard until a timer sounds. Free writing gets rid of surface thoughts, and stirs your subconscious.
Bloggers give up on free writing because they expect publishable content from it. That’s unlikely. While free writing usually produces junk, it stirs your subconscious in the process. Then, inspiration bubbles up, and you’ll soon be creating valuable content.
2. Know your readers: get inspiration from demographics
Your blog’s audience knows what it wants, so it’s your best source of blog content. Create a poll. Ask your blog’s readers about their challenges. Then think about what their intentions are.
While this is useful, you can go beyond this. Demographics can help. What magazines does your audience read? You may have a self-help blog. Your audience reads Oprah.com. Go to Quantcast, and enter “oprah.com” into the search query field.
Check the Demographics in the right sidebar: the audience is 88% female. Then check Lifestyle at the bottom of the sidebar, and you’ll get an overview of what the audience also likes.
Are you inspired by what you just learned? I’ll bet you are – go and create some valuable content.
3. Know your industry: follow the news (and have an opinion)
You’re a blogger. You need to know what’s happening in the industry you’re covering, and beyond. If you’re a self-help blogger, you might check Google News for inspiration.
Today Google News linked to a Guardian article on Malala Yousafzai, who might win the Nobel Peace Prize:
When a Taliban gunman boarded a school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley last year, he shouted out one question. “Who is Malala?”
Google News can provide great hooks for valuable content.
4. Know your values: trust yourself
Sometime, somewhere someone will hate what you created on your blog, and that’s OK. You’re a blogger: a publisher. People will misunderstand what you write, and may even deliberately twist your words to suit an agenda.
Your values are your shield. Think about your values. Write them down.
Buffer has a wonderful slide deck on their culture. Slide 5 reveals 8 Buffer Values, which include: “always choose positivity and happiness” – great values for any blogger.
When you know your values, you can trust yourself to create valuable content for your audience no matter what.
5. Ensure that every day in every way you’re learning (and getting better)
What will you learn today? Blogs are voracious. You need to keep learning. Commit to learning something new. I spent a couple of years learning PR. These days, I take online courses regularly. While some are directly helpful in blogging, many are not.
You can learn just for the joy of learning. That joy translates into inspiration… and that inspiration creates valuable content.