Eric Wendt

Writer’s block – a cruel affliction for authors of every stripe, content marketers included. Until the day when our robot overlords are able to automate all content creation, writer’s block will remain a challenge we must face and overcome.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to clear this hurdle. In fact, many strategies will also help you ensure your content is as optimized as possible for search engines. Read on for tips on how to combat writer’s block and beef up SEO at the same time.

1. Let keywords be your guide

Nothing knocks a little inspiration loose like keyword research. Hopefully you’re already aware of the major terms that are relevant to your industry and audience. That said, it’s more important than ever to refine keyword usage and focus on user intent in every piece you create.

Conducting research into which words and phrases are most popular  around a specific topic will help you focus your efforts while also providing you with a handy list of long-tail keywords you can use. What’s more, with tools like Searchmetrics and AdWords, you can see just how competitive and costly certain keywords are. This will help you fine-tune your strategy, focusing on keywords that stand a better chance of generating organic search results.

2. See what’s trending

Social sharing is a barometer of what prospective clients are talking about. That means it can help you decide what you should be writing about if and when writer’s block strikes.

Tools like BuzzSumo provide an overview of which stories are being shared across major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. See for yourself what topics are generating the biggest buzz.

Better yet, take a peek at article construction to get an idea of which types of pieces are most shared. Does a listicle hold the top spot for a certain topic? Perhaps it’s a how-to article explaining the finer points of a complicated industry process. This will help you determine which approach may be best for your blog.

3. Engage with influencers

Every industry has its established thought leaders. Find out what they’re talking about and follow suit. Even better is crafting an article that aligns with an influencer’s recent post. Your piece should respond in some way, whether in agreement or not.

Sharing this with said influencer may encourage them to pass it on to their own audience, giving your brand a boost and increasing the likelihood of new site traffic or social followers. At the very least, throwing your hat into the ring and associating your brand with an established industry leader will offer up increased visibility.

See what others are writing about to get inspiration.

See what others are writing about to get inspiration.

4. Scout out the competition

You should be constantly evaluating your website in terms of how it stacks up to competitors. If you have a rival that excels where SEO or general brand visibility is concerned, it may be helpful to examine what they’re writing about and consider why their content is successful.

If competitor blogs are doing well, it’s clear their posts are resonating with the same audience you’re trying to capture. The last thing you want is to become an imitator, but feel free to let competitor writing influence the topic directions you take. This will give you a chance to demonstrate your own expertise by diving deeper into a subject or even writing a rebuttal to a post you disagree with.

5. Repurpose existing content

Sixty-one percent of marketers create their content from scratch. Doesn’t it make sense to maximize the value of this time and effort? Repurposing content marketing assets is especially effective with pieces that have proven themselves popular with your audience.

For example, say you’ve written a series of blog posts covering different angles of an industry trend. You can take those blogs and adapt them accordingly to form a whitepaper or eBook, either adding or removing content as necessary to fit the format.

Inversely, you can do the same with an existing whitepaper or eBook. Identify certain key points in the existing asset and take a deeper dive into each with its own dedicated article.

Mapping out content can help you overcome writer's block.

Feeling lost? Mapping out content can help you find your way.

6. Draw a map

Creating outlines before beginning to write is already par for the course for many writers. Mapping out your content, however, serves a different purpose.

Instead of focusing on the structure of the article, content mapping involves determining a piece’s focus and value proposition. Once this is decided, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach writing, which can help with writer’s block immeasurably.

“When you know the audience you want to target, and the corporate goals you want to accomplish, it’s much easier to devise a robust strategy,” said Samantha Gordon, managing editor of “Want to write an eBook on a certain topic? Great! Now you can plan for a handful of blog posts and some visuals around the same subject, and just like that you’ve got a holistic campaign. Now you don’t have to scramble to come up with ideas and you can focus on creating highly targeted, relevant content.”

You should answer a series of questions during this process, such as:

  • Who is your reader?
  • What questions will your post answer?
  • What is the commercial goal of this article?
  • What points will be unique to your article?

Answering these and other questions allows you to take a more strategic approach to crafting content marketing materials. This will also help you create more valuable, relevant co
ntent, which is rewarded by search engines that are increasingly focused on writing quality over quantity.