5 Tips for Overcoming Marketing Writer’s Block
We all know the struggle that is writer’s block. You sit down, stare at a blank page, and just can’t get the thoughts in your head to turn into real words and logical ideas. “Where do I start?” “What now?” Especially for you authors out there, you know the pain; it’s a real thing.
In the writing phase of a book, writer’s block is a barrier to overcome. But surprisingly enough, it doesn’t go away after that. It’s a problem for many authors in the marketing phase, as well.
I hear a great many authors tell me that they have these great ideas for how to market their book, but when it comes time to put those big ideas on paper in a streamlined and practical way, their minds freeze up. Or that they have strong thoughts on what their promo copy should say, but then can’t get started when they finally sit down to put it on paper.
“Where do I start?” “What now?” The writer’s block questions become what I call marketing writer’s block questions.
It’s normal to freeze up when it comes time to write a marketing plan or marketing copy, but don’t get discouraged. Here are five top tips for overcoming marketing writer’s block and getting the best ideas onto the page:
Follow a few key marketers.
Be aware of the best digital marketers in your space, and know what they’re up to. Subscribe to their email lists, follow their social, etc., so that you’re consistently seeing strong marketing in action. When you sit down to write a marketing plan and feel stuck, poke around on the web and take an in-depth look at what’s happening in the campaigns of these hot people. Use their actions and their messaging as models for your own. When you fill your mind with the best of the best, it will more likely flow out when you need it to.
Suggested people to follow in the world of digital and/or book marketing: Michael Hyatt, Lysa TerKeurst, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Crystal Paine. (There are tons of folks out there doing this well, but this is a selection of some diverse voices.)
Review your audience data and comments.
When you’re out of ideas and can’t think of the next great marketing tactic for your campaign, go back to your audience. Look at Facebook analytics, Twitter data, blog stats, and more. Remember the needs, preferences, and online patterns of your audience. Even peruse their social media chatter, the way they engage on your blog and Facebook page, etc. Taking a few minutes to remind yourself of who your people are will often spark new thoughts and ideas in your head. They’re the lifeblood of your whole brand and your reason for authorship, so go back to them when you feel frozen.
Read, read, read–and then just write.
Marketing is forever changing. What worked five years ago is nearly futile today, so continually educate yourself on the newest and innovative tactics. Bookmark a handful of key marketing/publishing blogs and online publications, and make it a habit to actually read them. When you have marketing writer’s block, go straight to them in that moment and just peruse. Let their suggestions spark other ideas in your head.
If you’re still stuck after that, make a random list of all the things they suggest, and then use that list as a starting point for your plan. Many items won’t be applicable for your audience and platform, but a handful will. Sometimes all you need is a starting point. Just write, and then come back with a fine-toothed comb and eraser to refine it later. Just starting is often the only way to beat analysis paralysis. (I love this article about the power in starting even if you don’t feel ready.) Suggested blogs and publications to follow for marketing/publishing industry insights: Jane Friedman, Jeff Goins, Publisher’s Weekly, Inc.com, Fast Company, Mashable.One of the best ways to beat marketing analysis paralysis? Just start. Click To Tweet
Go back to your original purpose.
When marketing writer’s block sets in, remember why you’ve chosen to be an author in the first place. Go back to your original purpose. Why did you write a book in the first place? What was your goal, and what value did you hope to add to the lives of your people? Have tangible ways to bring this to mind when you feel stuck and frustrated. Maybe you keep old emails handy that express your source motivation well, or maybe you have that key friend whom you can call for a reminder of your “why” when you forget it. That original purpose will not only take you back to your audience and spark ideas for how to reach them, but it will serve to inspire and keep you walking forward.
Be part of an author community.
Especially when you’re an author without a team–someone working as a one-(wo)man marketing show–it can be very easy to get stuck in the marketing phase. There’s disadvantage in only having one brain on a campaign or one set of eyes on a problem. Feeling frozen is normal if it’s just you, because sometimes you might simply be out of ideas. And that’s where the power of community comes in. Find fellow authors with whom you can link arms. Ask these peers to review your marketing plans, to read your promo copy, to give you ideas and feedback for reaching your audience. When someone is walking alongside you, you’ll find that “stuck” ideas get unlocked and enhanced.
Friends and family are great sounding boards, but if they’re not in the publishing/marketing world themselves, their counsel won’t be nearly as valuable as that of fellow authors. For more on author community and my Author Coaching Network, check this page out.
Killer marketing today requires killer writing. They go hand in hand. You have to put strong plans on paper in a practical and linear form, and you also have to write catchy, strategic copy and content. You can never afford to forget the value of words on paper, but don’t feel discouraged when the writing process is hard. Instead, follow the tips above, be patient with yourself, and just do it.