Below is some practical tips on how to break through it (including a little homework to action it).
Recently I was speaking with a blogger of a ‘how to‘ type blog who told me that he’d been struggling over the last few weeks with coming up with things to write about.
We chatted for 15 or so minutes about a range of things he could do to break through the problem but one that we kept coming back to was the idea of identifying problems to solve for his readers.
“Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem a turned it into an opportunity.” Joseph Sugarman
It’s not rocket science but almost every time I sit down to write any blog post on my blogs I start off by identifying a problem that I or my readers have and then try to write a post that solves that problem.
In my experience – when you solve a person’s problem you’re going to create an impression upon them and have every chance of them thinking of you (and your blog) next time they come up against a problem.
Solve enough problems over time for a person and you’ll find them coming back again and again… and bringing others back with them too.
Of course for some bloggers identifying a problem that readers have is easy but for others coming up with a problem every single day to solve is tougher.
7 Ways to Identify Readers Problems to Solve
In my ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog’ eBook Day 16 is all about solving a readers problem and in it I share 7 ways to identify these problems.
Here’s the headings (I write more on each one in the eBook but hopefully just the titles will give you some clues):
- Solve Your own problems (what problem did you have a year or two ago that you’ve solved?)
- Look for questions in search referrals (what people search Google for to arrive on your site can give insights)
- Analyze internal searches (use a tool like Lijit to track the internal searches on your site)
- Ask Readers for their Questions (run a survey, poll or even a focus group with readers)
- Look on other Sites in your niche (the questions people ask on forums can be particularly good)
- Use Social Media to Gather Questions/Problems (this is a gold mind – just do a search on your topic)
- Ask Family and Friends (the people around you will often give you great ideas on this)
4 More Tips to Breaking Bloggers Block Through Identifying Reader Problems
Here’s four more tips on how to identify problems among your readers that I’ve not written about previously:
- I personally find that coming up with ‘problems’ to solve is easier done when you put aside half an hour or so and come up with a whole heap of them. Put aside time to ‘Brainstorm’ or ‘Mindmap’ the problems your readers might have and come up with a list of them so that you’ve always got a supply of them when you need to write a post.
- I would also highly recommend that you create some kind of system for capturing and recording the problems you see your readers having. I have a folder inside dropbox that I constantly am adding notes to which contain topics, questions, problems etc that I could write about one day. I know other bloggers use physical notebooks while others use apps like Evernote.
- As you’re writing posts be on the look out for tangents or questions you ask yourself while you’re writing. I often find that when I’m writing a post that there are ideas hitting me that I can’t include in the post that I’m writing but that could be good to do a followup post on – capture them!
- It is more than ok to come back to an idea that you’ve written about before to build upon. In many ways that is what I’m doing with this post. I took 7 ideas I’ve written about before above but am also adding new material to it based upon what I’ve learned since writing previously on the topic.
HOMEWORK for Bloggers with Bloggers Block
If you have bloggers block I challenge you to put aside 15-30 minutes to go on a ‘problem hunt’.
Choose a couple of the 7 places I mention above (my favourite is starting with identifying my own past and present problems) and see how many you can come up with.
In doing so you’ll also be creating a list of posts to write.
Let us know how you go in comments below!