Any copywriter that has spent a lot of time penning content in the B2B space eventually runs into a wall when it comes to creativity.
This is particularly true if the industry you’re writing about rarely changes.
For example, I have been writing content—from blogs and eBooks to pillar pages—for a large technology company for several years now. With some of this content, I’ve been able to explore new technologies. But a lot of the words I’ve written have touched on the same topics I’ve covered more than once.
This is, in many ways, the nature of inbound marketing. And it works. But that doesn’t mean it’s always enjoyable. There are a lot of times where I feel like I’m grinding my gears and a blank Google doc is my arch nemesis.
Overcoming these ruts can be a challenge, but it’s by no means an insurmountable problem. And over the years, I’ve come up with some tricks of the trade for staying inspired and productive. Here are four of them.
1. Walk Away When Necessary
Even the most prolific writers only have so many words in them in a given day. Eventually, the well just runs dry.
Yes, deadlines are a thing, and they need to be respected. Clients have expectations. But simply throwing words on a page when you’re burning out as a day nears its close is never a good solution. In fact, it usually creates more work—for you, for those editing your content, and even the client.
To avoid this, breaks are necessary. Things like walks, or conversations with co-workers about other topics, or even putting your feet up on your desk while you scroll through Twitter can be effective in helping to clear your mind and recharge your creativity enough to get a piece done.
Lately, my go-to means of taking a break has been violence. Specifically, stepping out onto my front porch and hitting a heavy bag for 30 minutes or so. This not only boosts my energy, it helps me get out any anger or frustration I may have about feeling stressed over a deadline. Your mileage, however, may vary.
2. Distract Yourself
When I’m not pressed by a looming deadline, the last thing I want to think about is anything having to do with the industries I regularly write about.
Of course studying content from other sources is necessary. You need to know how others are talking—and writing—about the same topics you’re writing about. But it’s important to compartmentalize. There’s no faster route to burning out than staying immersed in the same topics, even during your off hours.
When I’m done for the day, I unplug as much as possible. While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many times people—including yourself—will continue to think about, or be distracted by, work long after they—you—should’ve called it a day.
3. Read/Watch/Listen to a wide variety of stuff
The best content writing, even in the B2B space, is first and foremost creative. Yes, you need to get certain points across, and yes you need to do things like address pain points, etc.
But keep in mind that every second of every day, billions of words are released into the internet, and even with a bulletproof SEO game, standing out is impossible if the words you scribble aren’t engaging and unexpected.
So, while studying how others in your space are writing is an important part of the copywriting job, just as important is exploring all the other creativity that is out there. Inspiration can come from anywhere—hell, I’ve even found it in a dumb reality show like Below Deck on Bravo—and the more you expand your interests, the more likely you are to stumble across something that fires up the spark plug in your brain into action.
4. Mix Things Up
All writers have a process. Some create a detailed outline before they even start to write. Others just fire up a blank page and see what comes out.
I’m in that latter group, which can be both a blessing and a curse. When I’m feeling energized and inspired, the job of putting words down can be a breeze. But when I’ve hit a wall—or am writing about a certain thing for the umpteenth time—a blank page is a terrible thing.
It’s during those moments that I throw my process out the window. Sometimes I’ll focus on writing the closing paragraphs of a piece, then work backward. Or I’ll spend my time nailing down a paragraph that will eventually land smack in the middle of an article.Truth be told, doing this rarely produces a good piece of writing. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. But by simply blowing up how I normally write, I’m able to find new ideas in the fog. The definition of insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you try to just brute force a piece of content into existence the same way as you’ve always done, you risk landing in a padded cell.