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Dealing with Content Block

By Jessica Brown

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You are tasked with writing all of the content on your website.

“Piece of cake,” you think. “Who knows my business better than me? I’ll have a draft done by the end of the day, send it on over, and the website will launch in a week! Client of the year!”

So you sit down, open up a Word document, and write, “Home Page Content.”

And that’s all. For the next three weeks.

You don’t know how many of my clients come to me after trying to put together a draft of their site and tell me, “Wow. This is HARD.” When you’re trying to explain your business to the world, you can easily get caught up in how you should describe it, how much you should talk about client needs vs. what you can provide, or how personal you want to get in introducing your team. You might not consider yourself a writer by trade, but you ARE in charge of creating the content for your website, and with that can come frustrating and project-halting content block.

Step Away from the Computer
Sometimes we need a break from the clicking of our laptop keys, but there is still work that needs to be done! If you find yourself stuck at a spot in your content, step away from your computer and start writing with a pad of paper and pen. Whether you write down lists, short notes, or full paragraphs of content, it can get you going in the right direction of completing your content and not just staring at a screen.

Step Away Completely
In other cases, you need a COMPLETE break from writing content. Go out and have a cup of coffee at a local shop. Call a friend to catch up. Answer some emails for half an hour before returning to your work. Maybe just take a walk around the block. You’ll come back to your content with fresh eyes, and maybe even a few more ideas that popped up during your break.

Try Freewriting
Sometimes the best way to get something written is just to… write. Sit down for ten minutes and write whatever comes to mind. If it has to do with the website content, great. If it doesn’t, that’s ok, too! With this exercise, you just simply want to get your thoughts and feelings out so that you can be more comfortable and open with the writing process.

Refer to Old Information
When I work on client sites, I like to have a sampling of their previous marketing materials nearby so that I can get more of a feel for the company and the messages they have portrayed to their clients. Even though you know your company well, it is nice to look at those materials in order to see what worked and what didn’t work in the past, so that you can recycle success and get rid of messages that didn’t mesh well with your business or customers.

Keep the Facts Close
It helps me to sit down with a big project in front of me already knowing the facts that will be important to include. Maybe it is a fact about how much product a company sold last year, or how long they have been in business. Maybe it is a fact about their target market and the needs they have that the company’s product or service can fill. Having a list of these important stats or facts will make it easier to remember that they need to be included, and picking them out from the crowd can help you decide where on the site they should go in order to make the most impact to readers.

Give Up on Making it Perfect
If you want the perfect copy for your website, you have created an unreachable goal for yourself. Many people make the content creation process TWICE as long as it needs to be by dwelling on one or two sentences. Keep in mind that once your website launches, that content is not set in stone. Yes, you want it to be the best that it can be, but you will be able to make tweaks as-needed after launch. Try to nail down a draft of the site for launch that you won’t make any additional edits to before giving the go-ahead to place in on the site.

Look to Inspiration – But Don’t Steal
I’m sure that as you browse other websites, you come across things that make you say, “Hey, I really like that.” Incorporating things that have inspired you from other websites can be a great thing – as long as you put your own spin on it. Don’t ever steal from another website, but incorporating some inspiring elements into a product or copy that is completely yours just adds to your success!

Pull Out a Newspaper or Magazine
Headlines are a big part of the content you create on your site. They need to be catchy enough to grab someone’s attention, but also need to give enough information so that the reader has a good understanding as to what the following content will be about. Newspapers and magazines have notoriously good headlines that make people open up the front cover. See what some of the best headlines you come across are and see how you can adapt their styles to fit your website.

Writing website copy is NOT always a piece of cake. But if you work hard, you can end up with some pretty sweet results.