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Short Posts – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 20. Short Posts

If you don’t have much to say, don’t say much.

Resist the pressure to have to fully unpack every aspect of every topic – instead let your readers unpack a topic for you with an invitation at the end of your post.

Web readers are notorious for having short attention spans and staying on websites for very short periods of time – so a short post can be just as effective (if not more so) than a longer one.

They can also give bloggers block a good hiding also as they take the pressure of having to have massive depth in every post you write off a little.

Start Writing the Middles of your Post – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 19. Start writing the Middle of your Post

If you’re anything like me, one of the hardest parts of writing a post is starting it. Introductions can be easy to get stuck on and so I often simply skip them completely and write the meat of the post first before going back to write the introduction. In a sense your introduction then becomes a conclusion…. at the start of your post.

This is how I was taught to write essays at school and think it applies quite nicely to longer blog posts. It’s especially good when you start out writing one thing and end up writing another!

Read the full bloggers block series

20 Types of Blog Posts – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 18 - Change up your posting form – find new blog topics – In the same way that it’s easy to get ‘stuck’ in always posting in the same voice – it’s also possible to get stuck in always writing in the same form or genre.

Yesterday I decided to look through a the 500 blogs entered in Australia’s Best Blog Competition (I didn’t view them all but looked over at least 200). I was amazed by the talent out there. I also came away from the exercise struck by variety of different approaches that people take to blogging – especially with the form of posts that they write.

As I surfed I jotted down some of the different types of posts that I came across. Experiment with some of these and you might find it helps you in your battle with Bloggers Block. I came up with 20 types of posts – but am sure there are more. Feel free to suggest your own in comments below:

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Change your Blogging Voice – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 17. Write in a different voice

It’s easy to get bored and stale with one tone of writing so it might be worth mixing it up occasionally and experimenting with a new voice.

While you don’t want to do this all the time (it’s important to establish a voice and develop some consistency in a blog) – it can be refreshing to do from time to time.

Write something in the third person, write a rant, inject some humor, write a fictional scenario etc. Change your voice or tone a little and you might just find it creates a bit of a spark in you (and your readers) that spawns a whole new aspect to your blog.

I noticed the impact of changing your voice a while back when I let loose with a little bit of a rant post – I got email from a couple of readers saying that they saw a different side of me when I did it – a bit of a change from the ‘nice/goodie goodie’ label I seem to get from time to time. I also found that it got me thinking in a different way – something that brought a bit of energy back into my blogging.

Read the rest of the battling bloggers block series

Macro and Micro Posting – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 16. Macro and Micro Posts

Most niches have both big and little picture aspects to them. Good bloggers have a grasp of both and are able to expand upon them in the one blog. For instance in the Pro Blogging niche some big picture issues include topics like How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs (a broad sweeping overview of the blogging for money ‘industry’) where as a micro post might be something like How to Use Keywords in Titles (very focused upon a minute (yet important) aspect of the whole niche).

It’s a worthwhile exercise to surf back through your past few months archives and to analyze what type of posts you predominately focus on. Are you a Macro or Micro posting blogger or something in between?

Don’t beat yourself up about being one or the other – we each have our own personality types and are drawn to different aspects of our niches – it’s OK to be one or the other – all I’m arguing is that to switch over to the area that you don’t normally focus upon can be one way to get past bloggers block.

If you predominantly focus on broad sweeping topics try breaking it down and examining one small part of it at a time – perhaps you could do this as a series of posts over a week or so.

Conversely if you always blog about the details take a step back and consider a post that talks about the whole industry that you are involved with. What is the state of your niche? What are the issues that it is currently facing? Where is it heading as it moves into a new year?

Diversifying your posts in this way can not only help you find new topics to blog about – but it can give your blogging a new dimension and help to show your own diversity of expertise on the field in which you blog as people see you have a broad handle on the topic.

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Use Your Archives as Inspiration

Blog Tip 15. Read your Archives

After you’ve been writing on a topic for a year or more it’s normal to get to a point where you feel like you’ve said everything that needs to be said on a topic.

While you might have covered your topic fairly comprehensively it’s worth remembering that most of your readers will not have read everything that you’ve previously written – and if they have they are unlikely to remember it all. I’m constantly being asked by readers about topics that I’ve already covered which proves this point.

There’s no rules against having two or more posts on your blog on the same general topic.

Go back over some older posts and tackle some of the topics you’ve written about previously again.

One way of doing this is simply to write a new post on the same topic – another way that some bloggers use is to update an old post and then to change the post day to be the most recent one on your blog. The good thing about this is that it means your archives don’t become quite as dated as they could otherwise – especially useful if you are giving tips on an industry that is changing quickly.

Of course you can only write on the same topic so many times so be a little careful about using this technique too much or you run the risk of disillusioning your readership.

Bounce off Yourself - Another technique that I notice some bloggers use is to write posts that bounce off previous posts like you might bounce off another blogger’s posts. To do this pick an old post that you’ve written and write something that extends what you previously wrote. For example:

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Use Comments as Inspiration – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 14. Use Comments as Inspiration

Comment on Others Blogs – Have you ever started commenting on someone else’s blog and found that your comment turns into quite an epic!? You get to the end of it and you realize that you’ve been so inspired that you’ve virtually written a blog post? Maybe you have.

I quite often use the comments that I leave on other people’s blogs as the starting point for my own posts.

Of course I always link to the place I left the comment to acknowledge the blog that got my juices flowing – but reading and commenting upon other bloggers ideas is often a great way to break through bloggers block. Similarly participating in online forums that focus on the niche of your blog can help get you going. I quite often use what I write in forums as the basis for posts.

In the same way you can always mine (as in dig for gold) the Comments Section on Your Blog.

The comments section on your own blog can be a fertile ground for ideas for new posts. I’m often inspired by the comments left by readers here at ProBlogger and use them as the starting points for many of my new posts.

This is tip 14 of the Bloggers Blog Series

Find Your Golden Hour – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 13. Find your Golden Hour

I’m a (mid) morning person – 10am until midday are what I call my golden hours. They are when I am at my best in terms of thinking creatively and getting things done.

That’s not to say that I fall in a heap for the rest of my day. All I know is that if I need to be coming up with ideas, writing important posts, run a class (six figure blogging started at 10am Melbourne time) or thinking through the big issues that those are the hours I put aside for this type of work.

Identify those time/s in the day (some of us have a number of golden hours – I often come alive at about 10.30pm also) when you’re at your best and clear those times of the day for your most important and creative work.

Dead Patches – On the flip side of the Golden Hour is that most of us also have dead patches in our daily rhythm. For me it’s 2pm – 4pm. I’m next to useless at this time of day when it comes to productivity – it’s like my brain shifts into siesta mode. So most afternoons at this time you can find me either having an afternoon nap, in the garden, reading a novel or catching up with people.

It’s really about finding your own rhythm as a person and working within it to work to your strengths and weaknesses to get your best results.

Mix it Up – Of course every rule has it’s exceptions and another thing you might want to try is to completely mix things up from time to time. If you always write at the same time each day religiously – try changing it up occasionally as an experiment. Get up early and try writing, stay up late, write in short sessions etc. Mixing up the time of day and/or the lengths of time you assign for writing can cause you to approach the task of writing differently which could bring different results.

What’s your daily rhythm like? Do you have a Golden hour (or more than one)? What do you schedule into these times?

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Stimulate your Mind – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 12 – Stimulate your Mind

This bloggers block tip is really an extension of the last one on taking breaks – but I guess it’s about what you do on your break that can make it even more powerful for adding to your creativity.

The saying of ‘what goes in comes out’ is true – what you put into your mind has a direct impact upon what comes out of it.

I find that when I’m in a ‘dry patch’ in terms of generating content or coming up with ideas that I’m also often in a dry patch in terms of what I’m doing creatively in the rest of my life.

I purposely listen to music, go to the movies, watching the news, read a variety of books, magazines and newspapers, hang out with creative and innovative people, get out in the vegetable patch, do some photography etc to engage my senses and fill my brain with new ideas. When I do this I generally find that I come up with more interesting ideas and am more productive.

Particularly useful is to do new things – take yourself out of your comfort zone into a completely new experience can shake you out of that numb blocked state.