10 No-Cost Tools to Help You Conquer Writer’s Block
Writer’s block happens to everybody. Whether you’re filtering content ideas or just sitting down to type, writer’s block can get in the way. A few minutes ago, you were reviewing ideas and getting ready to create premium content for your readers, and now you simply don’t know what to write.
How can you overcome this crisis of writing? Spend hours reading (one of my favorite things to do, but I can get lost for too long), conduct research, provoke conversations with friends to get your mojo back, eat, or exercise.
There are simpler ways. A plethora of free and almost-free tools exists, designed to help you craft stellar content even when you’re terribly uninspired.
Turn ‘I can’t’ into ‘will do’ with the right inspiration
A writer who has nothing new to say about a topic reduces the odds of convincing his audience to take action. But what exactly is the creative force that allows us to come up with new concepts that raise interest and curiosity? Inspiration, according to Psychology Today.
You also can come up with new, insightful solutions to daily challenges by simply looking at old problems from a different perspective. Truth be told, this mission can be difficult to accomplish, especially when you are haunted by multiple deadlines and can’t afford the luxury of digging deeper into your previous content pieces.
Fortunately, quite a few online tools can come to the rescue, allowing you to impress your readers with your polished copy.
Don’t know what to write about? Not a problem. HubSpot has come up with an impressive algorithm allowing you to generate relevant blog topic ideas in a few seconds. Enter three keywords (preferably nouns) and let the tool work its magic. This handy program isn’t perfect. At some point, it might return topic suggestions containing errors, so make sure you read all titles carefully and tweak them if needed.
To craft and optimize your copy, you need to count on strong keywords that your prospects might use. Übersuggest is a great starting point when you want to find keywords relevant to your brand and industry. Using this tool, you can write a term in a box, choose your preferred language, and select your source (web, images, news, shopping, video, recipes). Übersuggest extracts keyword suggestions for your term. Click on each word to discover the more pertinent options and come up with a network of keywords that could help you set up the best direction for your writing.
Sometimes, lack of inspiration is not your worst writing problem. At some point, figuring out how to cover popular stories that already have broken on the Internet can become the real challenge. How can you stumble across high-impact news that your readers would share a lot?
Use the Ahrefs Content Explorer tool to spot the most shared types of content for every imaginable topic. This is one of the simplest ways to discover stories that have generated thousands of shares and tweets during the last 24 hours. This tool makes it easier for you to create interesting, high-value content pieces that mirror the current interests and preferences of your audience.
When it comes to delivering information to their public, some content creators take the safe way by using the best free and almost-free tools to measure the impact of different stories that already hit the web. Topsy is designed to help you analyze and search the social web. Enter any word and view its trends on Topsy Analytics.
We searched the word monkey and found no less than 3,437 tweets over the previous three hours. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? You can even refine your search based on several filters (language, latest results). Topsy seems to be the perfect go-to resource when you are determined to find out what people are tweeting these days.
Reportedly, Quora has the best answers to any question that you could ever ask. This popular Q&A website is built around questions introduced, answered, organized, and edited by the members of its community. This interactive platform enables users to edit questions and suggest edits to answers published by other users.
At the beginning on 2013, Quora inaugurated a blogging platform. Toward the end of the year, the company introduced the Stats feature designed to give writers the opportunity to check statistics and find out how many people have shared, viewed, and followed their answers and questions. Using Quora, you can select the subjects in which you are interested (business, movies, design, sports – the list of options is incredibly diverse and even fast food is seen as a topic of interest in its own right) and follow them to discover the most interesting answers to questions related to those fields.
Sometimes, a clever question or a smart answer can make you see things from a different perspective, allowing you to present your facts from a new angle.
Ideally, you should invest a lot of time, money, and energy in content creation. You obviously need fresh content to individualize your voice, increase brand awareness, and keep your readers engaged and entertained. But sometimes, for one reason or another, you could be forced to put your content development strategy on hold for a time. What’s the best option that you could explore during this hiatus? You could use a tool created to help you curate the content that you wish to serve to your public.
Paper.li gives you access to a generous curated collection of videos, photos, and articles. It lets you identify, select, publish, and promote this content in a simple and convenient manner. If you want to let a machine do the heavy, time-consuming content-lifting, use this tool regularly and simplify your tasks related to niche publishing, web monitoring, and/or content marketing.
Any experienced business owner knows that emotion-rich content is the key to maintaining a flawless, longer-lasting connection with a targeted segment. According to Buffer, the popularity of viral content is linked to the presence of positive emotions that stimulate readers to share ideas and concepts within their circles.
With this thought in mind, it’s safe to say that you can win the hearts of your visitors by making them laugh. Based on this idea, the Meme Generator lets you add a pinch of salt and pepper to your content. Using this tool, you either create a meme image revolving around an existing character or upload a photo and create your own.
Meme Generator also lets you check out a nice selection of memes already floating around on the Internet and draw your inspiration from the hilarious images made by others.
Can’t afford to hire a team of brilliant minds to design your visuals? Not a problem. Small-business owners whose options are limited by a tight budget can always turn to GIMP to create and edit stunning visuals. This free Adobe Photoshop-like tool is free and fairly easy to use.
Wondering why you should use the best tools to breathe new life into your website images? Here’s a good reason – 40% of your visitors will respond better to content pieces based on a combination of text and rich visual information, according to Kissmetrics.
You have to love tools that offer a choice between free and paid versions. In this case, you can test the free option for a time, see how it works for you, and decide if you want to give the more complex paid alternative a try.
Extremely versatile, Issuu allows you to rediscover the pleasure of reading, and contemplate the works of millions of enthusiastic publishers worldwide. Aside from helping you keep up with news extracted from different fields of interest (such as science, fashion, or sports) this tool also lets you organize your favorite content pieces by building stacks you can share with your friends.
Issuu turns reading and publishing into a marvelous experience and lets you stumble across a complex network of premium online sources that could inspire your next written masterpieces. The basic version is free and lets you upload and share content. The premium one comes with a 14-day free trial, costs $35 a month, and was created to help enhance user engagement. For $26 each month, the plus version allows you to unlock limited analytics and basic features, and customize your reader.
10. Your own analytics
We can all learn from our mistakes and draw our inspiration from our past successes. Return to your most successful pieces and embrace a similar writing style or topic.
Take a closer look at blog posts that you published one year ago. Do they still get a lot of traffic? Did they create quite a stir on social media platforms? Did you get feedback from your readers after publishing them? Some of these posts could inspire your future content pieces, and some of them could also be rewritten.
According to State of Digital, the words that you put on paper not too long ago can serve as your most prominent fountainhead of wisdom. This doesn’t mean that you should live in the past and stuff your audience with topics that have been done to death. However, it may be a good idea to revisit a few of your most popular posts and find the best way to give them another spin, as long as they are based on facts that could still be considered relevant and interesting.
Want to be inspired in real life? Plan today to attend Content Marketing World 2015. Register for $500 early-bird savings by May 31, and use code CMI100 to save another $100 this month.
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
Cover image by SplitShire via pixabay.com