Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How to Spark Your Content Writing Engine

If you're tasked with writing content for your business's website, blog, newsletter or press releases, you're writing content for professional use. And if you're tasked with doing enough of it enough of the time, you'll start to feel the pressure sooner or later, no matter how years of experience you have at it. What do you do when the blank screen suggests absolutely nothing to you? How do you get literary blood out that overworked cerebral turnip? It's a question we all have to contend with. Here are a few suggestions that I've found helpful.

Stop Thinking

Zoning out is more productive than you might realize. It might take the form of mild daydreaming about your writing project -- a process Kurt Vonnegut liked to call "woolgathering" -- or it might be closer to a Zen-like state in which you simply think of nothing at all. These practices are highly beneficial to a locked-up, stressed-out creative mind. It not only gives the gray matter a rest, but it also silences the merciless self-critic behind so many cases of writer's block. There's a reason Ray Bradbury kept a sign above his typewriter that read, "DON'T THINK."

Go for a Walk

Many of the great creative minds in history could just as well be dubbed "creative feet," favoring lengthy walks as they pondered the morning's work or the evening writing session to come. It makes a kind of sense if you think about it. The light exercise stimulates cardiovascular performance, pushing oxygenated blood through your brain and improving your mental efficiency. Walking can also be highly inspiring or about as interesting as watching paint dry -- and believe it or not, either of these reactions can give your creativity a boost. You might become charged with ideas from observing the local flora and fauna, or you might find your surroundings so deadly dull that you have nothing to think about except your writing. Walking can also relieve muscular tension, another potential distraction.


"Sleeping on it" is more than just an expression; it's aalso a legitimate way to solve nagging questions and issues when you're working on a writing project (or any other project that requires creative problem solving). Many times my head has hit the pillow in a state of utter confusion, only to wake up with a sense of absolute clarity, the answer to my problem suddenly resembling child's play. Whether your subconscious mind pulled an all-nighter while you slept or your conscious mind just wasn't seeing the obvious due to nighttime fatigue, plenty of sleep can solve plenty of writing worries.

Write Anyway

If that writing project is due tomorrow and your brilliance engine just won't engage for love or money, sometimes all you can do is grit your teeth and write the thing. If you have the technique, you'll still manage to turn out respectable, professional-level work. If you're still learning your craft, the result might be rough around the edges -- but hey, that's what revisions are for. Feel your client out on this issue; some want the deadline treated as holy writ, while others will want you to take that extra day if it'll make a significant difference in the first draft. But writing reasonably well even when you're not "feeling it" is the hallmark of a pro.

One last note: Sometimes the best thing that ever happened to a creative project is the addition of a second point of view. If you feel like it's time to get another writer on board, you know who to call! I'll be sure to come running -- unless I'm busy daydreaming, walking, sleeping or writing, of course.

Monday, September 12, 2022

How to Get the Most Value From Your Digital Marketing Content

No one will deny that marketing is hard work. Digital marketing can prove especially tricky due to the extra technological elements and other moving parts involved. Of course, when it pays off in the form of heightened brand awareness and increased sales, you're not likely to complain about all that time and effort. But if you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere despite countless hours of grinding out marketing content, you might feel like you have every right to just throw in the towel and proclaim that digital marketing doesn't work. In reality, you may just need to work smarter instead of harder when it comes to your marketing content creation and implementation. Here are some useful tips to help you get maximum value from your digital marketing content efforts.

Follow the Numbers

One tremendously useful aspect of modern digital marketing involves all the metrics it can generate -- metrics that you can study and use to your advantage. A glance at Google Analytics can show you which of your web pages generates the most traffic, for instance, and which pages might not be attracting the crowd you'd anticipated. Since the four web pages that typically enjoy the most traffic include the Home, About, Contact, and Blog pages, you might want to pay special attention to refining the content there. Other important data to follow include your website's bounce rate (the rate at which visitors immediately "bounce" away from your pages instead of sticking around), retention of returning visitors, post engagement in the form of comments from blog readers, and the number of backlinks from other websites.

A/B Test Your Content

Maybe you've spotted some apparent weaknesses in certain parts of your digital marketing campaign, or maybe you're creating an all-new campaign. How do you know what works and what doesn't? One smart way to find out involves a technique called split or A/B testing. You can apply A/B testing to any element of your online presence, from the user interface and page layouts to the written content that drives those pages. In the most basic form of this strategy, you prepare two variations of a given web page or marketing email, showing one variation to half your target audience and the other variation to the other half. You then examine the response rates and other metrics to see which variation delivers the most promising results. Your web developer will probably know how to set A/B testing up for your site, or you can avail yourself of one of the many A/B software tools on the market.

Blog More Frequently

Sometimes the only way to make a proven content marketing strategy work is to do more of it. Blogging serves as a case in point. How frequently you ought to blog depends on what type of business you run and what goals you mean to achieve. HubSpot notes that a small business mainly trying to raise its brand awareness might get results from just one blog post per week, while a company trying to boost incoming web traffic might need to produce several times that blog volume. Creating piles of blog articles can feel like a colossal task, especially if you're doing all the marketing creation yourself or you have a small, overburdened marketing team. Fortunately, you already know an experienced freelance copywriter who can supply you with an endless stream of professional-quality content at affordable rates. So contact me today, and let's talk about how we can turn your digital marketing efforts into digital marketing successes!