Is a template the answer to your writer’s block?

In recent posts, I’ve talked about upcycling content to keep your marketing calendar fresh and how to create a virtual team to help you crank out that content.

Looking for more ways to inspire your marketing content?

Sometimes the best ideas come when you begin the creation process using an existing template. By following a templated approach to writing, you avoid the dreaded writer’s block that can strike when sitting down to a blank page. Here are some starting points:

  • The List: While readers respond to numbered lists for their simplicity, it’s smart to not overuse this format. Play to the benefits of the list approach and use it when you need a quick and easy way to share information.
  • The Recap: Some of the most engaging conversations happen in real-time on social platforms like Twitter. Using a service like Storify allows you to pull that content together to give a big-picture view of the topic. Storify is also a fantastic way to recap live events; I’ve used it in the past for employee events like the annual Rockfish Hackathon. It not only drives engagement internally but allows those who did not attend to see what went down.
  • The Q&A: Share your subject’s stories and opinions in their own words, and cut down on your own editing time.
  • The Roundup: Try a weekly blog post that summarizes the top news in your industry.
  • The New Spin: A deeper dive into The Roundup, this approach takes inspiration in another writer’s content, but brings a new angle to the story. News sites like Gothamist are great at this; while the news it covers is often first reported elsewhere, it offers a new lens through which to contemplate the stories.
  • The Review: Review a book, presentation or industry event that is relevant to your audience.

Another great resource for ideas on the templated approach to content marketing is QuickSprout’s Advanced Content Marketing Guide.

Have you tried any of these formats successfully? Share your links in the comments!


Some of the content from this series was published in an article I wrote for the PR News Writer’s Guidebook 2014 called “Create Inspiring Content by Seeing Stories Everywhere and Thinking Beyond Copy.” 


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