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Battling copywriting rigor mortis

content rigor mortis

You can’t decide what to write for your next blog post.

So you do a list.

Then you do another list.

Then you do a list of ways to write a good list.

I fall into that trap, all the time. If it’s not lists, it’s sarcastic posts about marketing fads, or cute analogies, or something else that’s cool once, useful twice, and annoying after that. I call it content rigor mortis. Creativity dies, and your writing locks into a contorted rigidity resembling a corpse. It’s contagious, too: Your readers will avoid you lest they get infected, too.

Stayin’ alive

Restore your writing, and your creativity. Keep all of your content options in mind, and pick another one to mix into your work:

  • Record a simple video screencast using Screenflow (on the Mac) or Camtasia (on the PC).
  • Do an interview: Pick a colleague and send them some interview questions. Publish the result.
  • Record a podcast. Pick topic you were going to write about and do a podcast, instead.
  • Write a book review of the latest in your industry.
  • Take one of those lists you wrote, and write a blog post about each individual item in the list. You can almost always expand on a tip like that.
  • Just write. Sometimes, it pays to just write a plain old blog post: 250-350 words, paragraph format.
  • Do a tour. Take your favorite application or tool and write a step-by-step tour of the features, with recommendations on the best way to use it.

I know, it’s a list. Ironic, huh?

Don’t stop writing those lists

If you’re stuck in a list-writing rut, keep writing ’em! Just keep writing other stuff, too. Save the 10 lists you wrote over the last 2 weeks and publish them over time. Publish your other stuff in between. That’ll turn your rut into a groove.

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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