Think back to the last time you felt the crushing pressure of writer’s block.
When that locked-up feeling of helplessness transformed a blank page (or post) into a terrifying testament to your own private insecurities, what did you do? Did you curse your frozen creativity, try to wrestle an idea out of your head — or worse yet, retreat altogether from the keyboard to escape?
We all have our private ways of handling the freak-out moments that every writer (no matter how prolific) falls victim to. But wouldn’t it be better not to freak out at all? There is a way — and it’s easier than you think.
When writer’s block strikes, it’s often because you’re worried that people will say your writing Might Not Be Good Enough. And in a fast-moving world where we feel “only as good as our last post,” that can create a paralyzing fear.
But here’s the thing — this can only happen if you’re focused on your own idea of what’s “good enough.”
When all else fails, listen
If you put your focus on what your audience wants to read (rather than what you want to write), the whole game changes — and the shift is in your favor.
So how do you find out what your audience wants?
You ask. You listen. And then you let them guide you down their own personal path, where they reveal exactly what they want to be told in order to feel comfortable buying from you.
When you have that kind of information, the writing can just flow and flow.
3 simple ways to start listening to your audience
Becoming an authority is a key part of influencing your audience. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t create authority by constantly spouting your own opinions.
Instead, you look for every opportunity to connect and interact with your audience so that you can deliver the information they need right now (and become the hero they’ve been looking for).
- Don’t neglect your comments. If your readers are taking the time to respond to your content, you need to do more than simply reply back. Take a look at what they write and imagine the logical progression of the conversation. Give your reply now, but tuck ideas away for follow-up posts so your well will never run dry.
- Write provocative content. Flat, lifeless articles are a dime a dozen — and an incredibly outdated way of delivering content. When you sit down at the keyboard, write with the intent of stirring up emotions and provoking conversation. Take a stand — or at least talk about someone else who is — and call for your audience’s reactions. What they tell you will be fuel for future posts.
- Flat out ask. The simplest solution can solve your writer’s block forever. All you need to do is send a survey to your list, or devote a post to a specific, relevant question where you promise to follow up on the answers you receive. Even a few responses can spark the creative fire you need to write quickly and effectively — and you’ll know that the content you’re creating is exactly what your audience wants to hear.
When you listen, you become the hero
It’s no secret that when you focus this intensely on the needs of your audience, they will become your committed, lifelong customers and fiercely loyal advocates for you.
It’s a core underpinning of the Third Tribe concept — if you earn loyalty, you’ll receive loyalty.
So now it’s time for me to put my method where my mouth is: What do you want to see from Copyblogger over the next few weeks? What would be the most useful content you could imagine? The sky’s the limit — and we’re all ears.