For many of us, it’s not unusual to have work interrupt our dreams. As long as they don’t turn into nightmares, you probably pay them little mind – save for the fact it feels like you’re never able to escape work, of course.
For a content writer, the nightmare that haunts our dreams the most often is that of writer’s block. It might sound somewhat silly, but in those moments, there is nothing scarier than the blank screen – just lingering there, laughing at you as you type the first sentence only to immediately delete it.
Over the years, however, I’ve learnt to be a bit more proactive with my mindset when writer’s block takes hold. All it takes these days is to get myself out of that funk is to stimulate my brain’s neurons a little, whether that be by surfing the web for ideas, or taking a short stroll outside.
Then, once I come back to the blank page, it doesn’t appear half as daunting – nor does it stay blank for very long.
Writer’s block is not the only nightmare content writers have to try and fend off, though, as an article on the popular Jeff Bullas website explains. However, as contributor Shirley Pattison points out, there are ways and means of ensuring blogging nightmares don’t become fully realised:
Nightmare #1: Server failure
As we all do once in a while, during a lull in the day, you head to your website to admire a piece of content that you’ve written only to receive the 404 error message. Not only are you unable to chuckle at your own musings from a few weeks back, potential clients are unable to get on to your website to view your services. “How long has it been like this?!” go your inner thoughts.
Enter Monitority, the app the notifies you if your server goes down, allowing you to get it back up and running before any potential clients have a chance to be left disappointed. Oh, and it’s free to use, too.
Nightmare #2: Procrastination
I like to think that procrastination is one of the things that unites us all. We all do it at some point – hell, some people even seem to take pride in it! However, unless you like 7pm finishes, it’s best avoided at work. But how do you ward off something that is seemingly human instinct?
1. Track your time. Online time tacking tool Toggl is perfect for this. Set yourself tasks and press start and see how much time it actually takes for you to finish. You’ll be surprised how well you streamline your endeavours when you’re working against the clock.
2. Eliminate the distractions. We can’t afford not to have Twitter and Facebook at the ready – we’re content writers, for goodness sake – but that means we are only ever just one click away from an entire wall of distractions. Try installing StayFocused on Chrome, which allows you to block out high level distraction sites for any period of time.
Nightmare #3: Nothingness
Content marketing is relentless. Such is the nature of the industry, brands can’t afford to let their blogs go silent for extended periods of time, as it kills any momentum you might have been building up with your readers.
However, if your business is not dedicating content marketing the necessary resources, the posts will inevitably stop appearing quite as regularly. If this winds up being the case, might it be worth suggesting that some aspect of your content marketing gets outsourced?
Quite often we see businesses task their content writers with carrying out their social media strategy too, and vice versa, but that tends to result in employees spreading themselves too thin, causing staff and the content itself to suffer. Outsourcing can help in both of these respects.
Nightmare #4: Silence
That brings us on to our final recurring nightmare: silence. Content marketing isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – just a case of putting words on a page. Only content written with due passion and insight will resonate with customers, therefore we pour plenty of ourselves into our articles and videos in order to ensure the most effective results.
When that content then goes on to receive next to no shares, likes and comments, it’s only natural for it to a hurt a little. However, instead of bemoaning our luck, we should ask ourselves what we’re doing wrong. Perhaps a guest blogger is required to keep things fresh? They will likely bring with them a whole new set of readers (their followers), who might just ignite the discussion column accordingly.
What content marketing nightmares keep you awake at night? How have you learnt to deal with them?Ben Hollom
October 28, 2015