11/28/2012 07:22 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2013

Content Writing: Finding Inspiration and Getting the Job Done

Unless you are in the privileged position of able to pick and choose your clients, a number of content writers will have to plough through the deepest recesses of their brain to find inspiration and interesting angles to write about and tackle the toughest industries that their clients work in.

This is all part of the process and should be seen as a challenge, as any writer worth their salt will tell you: There is always a way to find an angle that is appealing and engaging for the reader. The best place to start is looking through what products and services your client provides, and have at least a basic understanding of that. If you don't have that, how are you going to convince your client that they should be working with you?

The Think Tank Is Open for Business...

Once you've got a baseline of what your client is all about, you can open that think tank of ideas. Brainstorming is always good. There's nothing more invigorating than bouncing ideas off colleagues. Just don't get upset if they come up with better ideas than you. If you can return the favor and give them some cool ideas for their clients, all the better. Set challenges for who can write the post that gets the most interaction with users. Seven Facebook Likes to 6 = I win!

If you work alone, there is a pretty good think tank that you may have heard of. It's called the Internet. The search engines are your starting point for great research and you might find the inspiration for how to crack that niche within those billions of pages that spring up in front of you.

Don't Be a Dupe!

When you're scouring the Internet for ideas and inspiration, you can find some pretty amazing stuff that should spring the grey matter into life. But there's a thin line between being inspired and creating duplicate content. Sometimes you can do it without even realizing it, so it's important that you find your own unique view on a subject. There's nothing wrong with being inspired by something and making it your own. It's worked pretty well for the careers of film-makers like Quentin Tarantino, who wears his influences on his sleeves. As long as you're transparent with your sources and inspiration, there shouldn't be too much of an issue.

What Are YOU Interested In?

If you're going to write 500-1,000 words on something, you'd better have an interest in it, because if you don't, your readers sure as hell won't. You don't want the bounce rate on an article you've written to be 1-2-meh... You want people to keep reading. That's the challenge when you're writing about something that on the surface isn't going to have the far-reaching fun factor. Writing for a niche is tough, so put yourself in a good position by giving the subject your voice, by trying to connect the subject with something you're interested in.

Say one of your clients is a manufacturer of fireplaces. On the surface, only the owner of the business and somebody looking for that particular product will be remotely interested in it. But if you can find an angle within that niche that engages the reader, then you're onto a winner. Try and step out of yourself and view your content from an outsider's point of view. Would you keep reading?

If we keep to that fireplace example, there are plenty of ways to write about the first part of that word. Fire is dangerous and exciting, particularly if you're watching Steve McQueen battle The Towering Inferno with his team of fire fighters. Already we've made a connection between fireplaces and a big budget Hollywood movie.

Being interested in something and finding a way to mix that with what your client does for a living is fun and can lead to some pretty decent content if you don't go too far off on a tangent. There still has to be the connection, even if it isn't clear on the surface. It's simply not enough to use the shameless link building techniques of the past, as this blog post by points out by highlighting the shocking history of link building. It's all about engagement in 2012 and beyond, so get creative and get that brain ticking.

And Finally... A Writing Tip!

Graham Greene, author of Brighton Rock and universally recognized as one of the greatest writers of all time, had a superb way of battling writer's block. He would leave a sentence half completed when he stepped away from his notebook or typewriter. This really works, as it takes away the writers need to find the hook to get started again. There's nothing worse than staring at the blinking cursor (something Mr. Greene wouldn't have had to worry about, the lucky devil) trying to find the right words to set you off on your writing voyage again.