It happens to all of us. One day we get so inspired to start a blog because we have tons of ideas to share with the world. Yet once that honeymoon phase is over, we slump into a creative rut where we struggle with what direction to take our niche. Should we write five time a week? Do we need to in order to get traffic? Most of the popular niches are occupied with tons of inspiring talent and almost every imaginable topic within those niches have been covered.
What should I do?
Go indie? Go the road less traveled?
Let’s see, shall we?
#1 Create a 3 month editorial calendar.
When I first started blogging, I completely dismissed the idea of having an editorial calendar. There would be so many pins on Pinterest that tells me to start building an editorial calendar and I’m like, “Nope, I don’t need it. Not me. I’m very organized mentally. This pin is not aimed at me. I’ll just pretend I didn’t see it.”
Ha, wrong! I had to pay for my stubbornness.
For another lifestyle blog I wrote for perhaps that mindset applied. Also, I had more recurring features for that website so for every Wednesday, I knew I would write about this and this. When I first started Talence, I was excited to pour out everything I knew so writing 15 articles in less than a month wasn’t a difficult feat. But once that phase passed, I realized that my content didn’t have a content strategy.
It had content, but it’s way harder to promote a single article on it’s own than to promote a string of related content where people will be back for more. When people came to my site, I wanted them to click through to other articles. (So please do if you’re reading this haha.) Since people are already here, it’s easier for them to click through to another article than for them to click through one by one via Twitter or Pinterest.
I mean your tweets and pins are only competing with the other 5 billion other ones out there.
Anyway, the purpose of having an editorial calendar is that your content will be themed and more strategic. There are many aspects of our lives that we have to take care of besides our blog and content. Without an editorial calendar, it’s much easier to go in random directions every time you get back to creating content. With one, however, it serves as an anchor that you can go back to, reply on, and simply grab the next article topic you’ll write about. Each piece of content will now fit into a larger purpose and have more focus.
#2 Set up Google Alerts for the most updated topics in your niche.
Since I write about growing an online presence for influencers, I have Google Alerts set on topics I’m writing about: fashion bloggers, influencer marketing, brand collaborations, etc. I want to read and be the first to know of any new articles that gets published on the Internet regarding these topics. If I find anything I loved and see value in, I share it on Twitter with my tribe.
The Internet is a place that moves faster than working for a startup. I’d rather not spend the time and energy keeping a pulse on what’s happening out there 24/7, at least not manually. If you want to be the first to review a new product launch or get access to a new line of something, schedule an alert, be it daily or weekly. If you are the first to review and publish something, your content will be more likely to get on the first page of Google. But if you are publishing the same thing as everyone else, you will always be fighting to rank with those people.
Earlier I wrote about a skincare product that not too many bloggers wrote about, but people are consistently googling about it apparently. It consistently brings in daily page views because it ranks first on Google. Only a few others wrote about the product, but those people weren’t publishing consistently like I was.
#3 Create a recurring feature.
As a lifestyle blogger, this was my favorite one.
Once you have a good recurring feature that your audience loves, they will always come back for more.
For me that happened to be weekly street style articles for a specific demographic that were always published on Fridays. I made it clear that it was a weekly feature on Fridays so my audience would expect it. And the best part is when they told me they were a fan of it! I’m like, “Wow, someone actually cares!”
I’d like to think that the “seven times exposure” marketing principle applies here. Sometimes your audience simply doesn’t understand the point of a stand alone article, but when it becomes a feature, there is more consistency.
Consistency leads into a long-term relationship because they see a pattern, begin to expect it, and then crave for more of it!
When I first started marathoning YouTube videos back in 2009, I went on a spree watching “What’s in my bag?” videos. It was my kind of Netflix. Lately, I’ve been expecting more of Cupcakes and Cashmere’s weekly “Coffee Talk” topics.
You can have a weekly or monthly recurring feature, though I prefer weekly. Monthly can be too long. With 1-2 recurring features, you don’t always have to scramble for new topics, but always remember to sprinkle in creative articles in between. Don’t allow your blog to run recurring features without ever any new surprises.
#4 Do a popular tag, a collaborative one preferably.
Like recurring features, these topics are already pre-made for you. Although tag videos are highly popular on YouTube, there’s no reason, we can’t do a “tag article” on something you love to talk about. Or simply, you can start a side YouTube channel just to create more fun videos as an interactive way to engage your audience. During the fall, there are “fall tags” that goes around, but grab any tag topic that makes you want to film right away!
The other interactive element in a tag video/article is the “tagging” part where you tag other bloggers to do the same tag. Getting to know others can probably lead to a collaborative article/video or guest post.
#5 Do a 2.0 of a previously popular article/video.
As influencers our content will grow as we as a human grow. Who we are two years ago probably doesn’t apply to us anymore. When you are running low of ideas, go back and check your analytics and see which articles were the most popular. See which articles had the highest level of engagement, comments, likes, opt-in-subscribers, or page views.
Then create an updated version of that. In your 2.0, you can change the experience of the article entirely if you have upgraded your photography or editing skills or perspective between then and now.
#6 Go out and experience life.
One of the most difficult things about being a lifestyle blogger for an introvert can be that you’ll have to be constantly out there experiencing life. Since most of your inspiration and content comes from experience, you’ll have to make sure your “experience tank” is always somewhat full.
Start and build on a list of things that you’ll like to learn, try, do, or experience. When experiencing becomes difficult, start with something that is easier to motivate first yourself.
#7 Go traveling, preferably solo.
Earlier this year, I was amazed by World of Wanderlust and her solo adventures. (And I still am in case you’re wondering about the past tense right there haha.) I love how Brooke said that she loves solo traveling so much that she has to ponder whether or not she would allow people to come with her after doing it on her own for years.
I was eager to do a solo adventure trip myself having seen a few friends of mine done and raved about it. Traveling, especially internationally, really broadens your mind and helps you hone in on what’s really important to you. My Asia trip earlier this year made me realize that lifestyle or travel blogging wasn’t sustainable for me. For instance, if I was traveling, I would want to be experiencing the culture, eating the food, and just enjoying and soaking in every moment. Blogging and creating content while on the go would take away from the experience. Writing for Talence, however, is different because I already have all the knowledge in my head, both from blogging and working for a few startups previously.
My point is, not to tell you that you should drop what you’re doing and move to another niche because people learn new things about themselves when they interact with new people and environments. For me, I simply ruled out something that I couldn’t imagine myself doing. Perhaps in your interactions abroad, you’ll discover new chemistry between your environment that you can incorporate into your content.
Losing motivation or running low of content ideas is a natural course for an influencer and surprisingly, it’s also common among more top influencers than I thought. For me, it has always happened in spurts, but when you have a plan, it’s much easier to get through it. In a future article, I plan to write more about how to grow as an influencer. Perhaps creating more content or new content isn’t exactly the direction for you, but you want to grow in different ways.
But first, let’s do a recap of all the things you can do when you’re in a creative rut:
- Create a 3 month editorial calendar.
- Set up Google Alerts for the most updated topics in your niche.
- Do a popular tag.
- Do a 2.0 of a previously popular piece of content.
- Go out and experience life.
- Go traveling, preferably solo.
When was the last time you were in a creative rut? What was it that likely caused it? What did you do to get out of it?