Creating Content: What to Do When You’re Staring at a Blank Page

It’s something that plagues most writers, and it’s probably one of the things that made non-writers afraid of the practice in the first place … the blank page. You know, when you sit down with a pen and paper, or with your laptop at-the-ready and Word is open, and –

You fiddle with your pen… That damn cursor is blinking… and the page is still blank.

When you were in school, you couldn’t just throw in the towel and not write that English paper, but now that you’re a small business owner in your own right, who’s to blame you for giving up and going back to running your business? No one will blame you, it’s true, but you’re not doing yourself or your business any favors by neglecting your online content – specifically a blog, as I discussed last week in my post on why your small business blog matters.

But creating content can be hard. After you’ve celebrated new products, menu items, or services to death, or promoted your upcoming event till you’re blue in the face, it’s easy to come up dry for fresh content and blog topics. On top of that – when there’s nothing new – coming up with new ideas on a regular basis and taking the time to write about them in 300-500 words is a lot of work. It doesn’t have to be.

Content-creation-inspiration-infographicIf you’re having a hard time creating new, fresh content, this infographic (left) from Red Rocket Media might help. They think it’s all about knowing where to look for content topics.

From a small Seattle business perspective, you can find lots of information from just using what you know and have already! Ask yourself the following questions – they just might result in a kick-ass blog post:

  • What makes my store/restaurant/service special?
  • Are my employees or partners pretty cool? (Shouldn’t you tell people about how awesome they are?)
  • What’s happening in my industry? (Some more specific questions to ask, per business: Are there new trends in food that we’re on board with? Is there a new skincare practice out there that we’re going to try? What new studies are out there relating to fitness and health?)
  • Do we have any awesome regular customers or clients who have a cool or inspiring story to tell?
  • Is something interesting or exciting happening in our business’ neighborhood or community? (This one can help get you some love in return.)
  • Our restaurant/store/spa has a special theme or specialty – how can we share that or push it further on the blog? (If your restaurant serves seafood, maybe post about your oyster-farming vendor. Write a post about how awesome your spa’s product manufacturer is. Talk about why your gym’s group yoga class is so great.)
  • Are we considering something new? (If you’re on the fence about a new service, menu change, or product line, ask your customers and readers what they think! Everyone has an opinion.)

Hopefully these tips and questions will help you to cure your own fear of the blank page! I’m also happy to help suggest a couple of ideas if you’re really stuck. Just contact us!

Featured photo by Flickr user Dan Eriksson

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