I do a lot of work for a company that has a very successful business doing a very small range of things: they’re real specialists. That makes it hard to write interesting, relevant and different blogs on a weekly basis and, to be honest, I sometimes get a bit bored covering the same subject over and over again.
If you’re in the same situation, here are my 5 top tips to cure the writing blues.
1. Write a blog in verse. You don’t have to be Shakespeare or Shelley – I said verse, not real poetry (though if you write real poetry, go for it!). You also don’t need to write as much as you would for a normal blog, because verse takes longer to read than prose.
Use whatever metre springs to mind and fit your own words to it; alter a well-known song; and make it rhyme or write blank verse – it’s up to you. If you can’t fit your words to a metre, you could follow the lead of William [Topaz] McGonagall, or of the young man of Japan whose poetry never did scan (when told this was so, he replied “Yes, I know, but I always like to fit as many words into the last line as I possibly can”).
2. Create an infographic (they were called diagrams in my young day). There’s lots of free software available now online to help with layout, fonts and images. This one will take a bit of time and effort, but it’s a great way to explain a process or to make stats less indigestible to a wider public and you need only a tiny amount of text.
You can make your infographic as sophisticated or plain as you like and as your subject matter allows. The less info there is, the clearer the result will be: it should be at least 50% graphic. So you need to distil the information down to dram-sized chunks and you’ll probably have to spend quite a bit of time finding enough images of a similar style to make it look good.
3. Make a video. Again, you won’t need to write nearly so much; you can probably ad lib quite a lot. All you need is a mobile, plus a stand or some way of fixing your selfie-stick, good lighting on whatever you’re filming, and off you go. And then you do it again, and again, until it looks professional enough to post. (Or you get a pro to make it for you.)
Alternatively, if you’ve nothing particularly visual to promote, make a podcast. Same idea as a video but with more words and nothing to look at. A lot of people find them great, but I’m afraid I usually start thinking of something else when I’ve nothing to keep my eyes interested so they don’t work so well for me.
4. Have a stunning image and … that’s it. Your image is your blog post. It probably works best for photographers and graphic designers, and even then most people will want to talk about the how and why of the image. But if that’s your line of work, try it. See what sort of reaction you get and do it again if it works.
5. If none of the above appeal and you’ve completely run out of inspiration, find anniversaries or important events to hang your blog on, even (especially, perhaps) if they’re only loosely related to your business. I use an extraordinary book called “Odd Dates Only”, by William Hartston (Souvenir Press, 1998), which has some truly mind-boggling entries.
For example, most people in the UK think of today (November 11th) as Remembrance Day, but it’s also the feast day of St Menas, patron saint of sheep caravans (could be a useful topic-starter if you’re a taxi-driver or run a transport company), and the anniversary of the announcement by the British Government in 1947 that vegetarians would get higher potato rations than everyone else (what potato farmer wouldn’t like that?). Alternatively, you could use modern news if it’s not too depressing (the US election, anyone?).
So clamber out of your specialist rut, strike out into the far blue yonder with these five tips and see where you end up. Who knows, you could replace your blogging boredom with a whole new career!
I’d love to hear what you try and how you get on; do share below.