twofortueIf you’re a regular producer of content (like a blogger), there will be days when you’ll find yourself scrambling for a topic or the words to flesh out your latest idea.

The dreaded writer’s block.

We all face it from time to time, and it can be one of those things that really stops you in your tracks as a content provider if you don’t find a way to address it. Not because it’s fatal to your writing, but because once you get out of the habit of writing for a few days, you’ll find it’s much easier to forget to do it than it is to remember.

I’ve talked here before about how my editorial calendar is a huge help to me in combatting writer’s block, and keeping me on a dedicated schedule of posts, and that is indeed the case.

But as I learned when reading this post from the Content Marketing Institute this week, there are also some tools out there that can help you with your writer’s block.  I’m very excited to try these out myself, since even when I have general areas scoped out in my calendar, there are certainly days where I’m hunting for inspiration!

So today (since it’s Tuesday), I want to cover two of them that look to be of particular use to the legal blogging community – I’ll be giving these a deeper look myself in the coming months, so let’s work together and see what we think!

Tool One: HubSpot Blog Topic Generator

I was a bit surprised that I hadn’t come across this one before, since I’m a big fan of HubSpot (my editorial calendar is based on their template, after all!). But I like it for giving me something different when it comes to generating a topic for my blog posts.

Keep in mind – this doesn’t have to be limited to blog posts either. Depending on what is generated, it may be a suitable outline for a presentation you’re going to give, or an article you’re preparing to write. Think of it as a content generator in general, if you’re looking to spice up the way you frame your content.

Let’s take a look at an example – I put in “content marketing,” “law firm marketing,” and “legal networks,” and it suggested these as topics:

Screen shot 2015-06-02 at 2.18.28 PM

Sure, these aren’t all going to work for me. But if there’s a day that I’m really struggling to find an idea (or even on days I just wanted something fresh!), I could easily use or adapt these. Knowing my audience, I could put together posts on:

  • 5 Best Blogs to Follow About Law Firm Marketing
  • 7 Things About Legal Networks You Should Know
  • 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach you About Content Marketing

And how about putting together a quiz? That might be an interesting idea. It’s not going to be right for every practice area, but it may be a neat suggestion for something different to engage your audience a little bit.

To some of you, the above may look like fluff, but that’s because I’m adding in what’s in my area of expertise. How about generating topics for your practice area?

  • The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Patent Prosecution
  • 7 Things about TTIP You Should Know
  • The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Trademark Filing in [Country]
  • 10 Myths about [Your Specialty]

We can often get caught up with looking for the latest trends and the hot story in our area of expertise, and forget about some of these more “evergreen” topics that work quite well for not only breaking writer’s block, but also engaging our audience for a long time to come! So head on over to HubSpot’s topic generator today, and use it to come up with some new content for your blog!

Tool Two: Ahrefs Content Explorer

This tool is an interesting one, and one I think will have a lot of relevance for blogging lawyers especially.  Content Marketing Institute says:

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?”

We see this happen quite often – a new piece of legislation comes out, or there’s a ruling in a case that will impact your clients, but every other firm on the block is writing about it too.

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.”

It’s not going to tell you what to write, or how to frame it, but it will tell you what people are most interested in within the subjects that you’re most experienced in, and can write about.

For example, let’s use TTIP again (for those of you not familiar, that’s the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). There are a number of areas of this you could focus on and address as a legal author and blogger, and if you’re hitting a little writer’s block, head over to Ahrefs Content Explorer, and enter “TTIP” into the box to search for the most shared content:

Screen shot 2015-06-02 at 2.59.41 PM

You can see here that you can search by date (I looked at what was most popular in the last 24 hours), and you get a list of the most shared articles by site. Then you can read and reference those in your own posts to frame the content.

It’s another tool to broaden your horizons so you can keep up with what’s most interesting to those you’re engaging with, so that they can continued to be most interested in you.

Try out these tools, and let me know what you think, and we may be back next week with a look at a few of the other tools on the list.

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.