Photo by Jonas B

Photo by Jonas B

I know it’s good form to avoid clichés wherever possible, but we’ve all had days when we know we need to pick up a pen or settle in at the keyboard and just don’t feel creative. Luckily, bloggers the world over have developed cunning methods that allow them to put out a few hundred words of decent, usable content without the effort of re-inventing the wheel.  We just open up the clichés folder and let her rip.

The next time you’re having a brain drain, or you’ve run headfirst into severe writer’s block, use one of these little tricks of the trade.

1: Get someone else to create your content!

This one actually needs you to do some networking. By networking, I of course mean “sitting on Twitter asking questions”. Everyone has hopes, aspirations and opinions. Give them a platform and publicity, and they’ll sit there writing content that you’re free to use. Just slap some witty or insightful book-ends on there, and voila! Blog post, ready to roll.

Notable examples
Ben Locker getting his Twitter followers to wax lyrical about their dream jobs.
Any “competition” blog ever.

2: The Short Sharp Shock

Who says a blog article has to be long, involved and in-depth? Well, most people. Luckily, what people say and what people do are different things. You can get away with a short two paragraph article every now and then, so long as you’re witty and succinct. Sometimes a packet of crisps is more satisfying than a three-course meal.

Notable examples
Intercourse With Biscuits is the leader in this field. Long, wordy entries are the exception rather than the rule.
Even I’ve done this once or twice.

3: Isn’t Twitter Brilliant?

Let’s face it. The amount of time most of us spend on Twitter makes it a modern miracle that we write about anything else. It’s incredibly easy to claim Twitter is changing the way humans communicate, or to turn the way you use TweetDeck into a how-to article. What’s more, Tweeting about Twitter is a great way to get your content passed around.

Notable examples
Sarah Turner of Turner Ink’s excellent Twitter  primer.
Keiron Hughes (Webtoastie) on Twitter and Blogging.
About 50% of the posts here on Unmemorable Title.

4: All Aboard The Bandwagon!

Bandwagon jumping. With access to trend information at our fingertips, it’s never been so easy to see what people are talking about. It’s also never been so easy to see what other people are saying – so just pick something you disagree with and write about why that person is wrong. About half the article’s done for you already. Magic.

Notable examples
Rob Wood on Jonathan Agnew vs. Will Buckley.

5: The List Post

This one’s the daddy of all clichés. List posts are easy to think up, easy to write and easy to read. Anyone can come up with a list, at any time, in any place. I thought up this very article whilst lying on the couch watching Loose Women.

If you’re ever stuck for ideas, just try making a list. Next thing you know, your blog will be updated and you’ll be back on the sofa in time to see the man-hating one tell the fat one that men are evil.

Notable examples
Copyblogger swear by list posts.
Katy Evans-Bush (Textpixels) shares five tips to bring your writing alive.
Seven steps to improve your writing from Sarah Turner.
Every other article I’ve written in my life.

If you’ve got any blogging clichés to get off your chest, share them in the comments section.


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