We’ve all been there: staring at a blank computer screen, waiting for inspiration to strike. We type a sentence, only to delete it seconds later. Writer’s block sets in, settles down, and makes itself at home. In times like these, content marketing can be a lonely endeavor.
So why do it alone?
There's one surprising trick that can help you jumpstart your idea generation strategy—and it's all about collaboration. This effective technique will bust your writer's block and inspire your content. And it’s far simpler than you might imagine.
All you need is a means of communication, and another person. Voila—you’ve got yourself an interview.
Interviews are one of the most underutilized tricks of the writing trade. They're an easy, fun, and fast way to spur content creation. Put this method to use, and save yourself from writer’s block time and time again.
Get started by reaching out to someone you admire, or perhaps a person who has helped you get where you are today in business. Leveraging your relationships with experienced business insiders is a great way to add value to your content. Simultaneously, you’ll learn something new from any interview you do with a mentor.
Start by calling or emailing the mentor you’d like to interview. (While phone interviews always give you more “color” to work with, an email interview can work well, too. Just give both options.) Be sure to make it clear that you’re looking to get his or her expert insight for an article or blog post that you’re writing. When you present the interview as a humble ask for expertise, mentors are likely to jump at the opportunity to help.
If you don’t have a specific topic to interview your mentor about, simply open up the conversation with general questions like these: What is the biggest challenge you see people facing in our industry today? What advice do you wish you could give to yourself five years ago? 10 years ago? What will have the biggest impact on our industry this year?
I guarantee that any interview with a mentor will yield at least one fantastic writing idea—and sometimes several, depending on how in-depth the interview is.
You may choose to set up the resulting piece of content as a straight-up Q&A, or you can take one of your mentor’s talking points and run with it. Turn it into an article exploring that particular topic—or go ahead and do some outside research (or interview a few other people) to get different perspectives on something interesting that your mentor brought up.
As with all writing, it’s important to remember to credit your mentor for all direct quotes and any paraphrased material you write. In the end, this interview technique will help inspire you to create better content, and your readers will appreciate the value of the resulting content.