Algorithms: The Cure for Copywriter’s Block

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Writer’s block, or perhaps more accurate these days, blogger’s block, is a common occurrence. Great bloggers try to pump out insightful and engaging content daily, but eventually the question becomes, what more can you write about? It’s at times like these when I suggest you delve into a little keyword research.

Rather than struggle internally to find topics for your next blog or article, let data drive your reporting or writing. Tools like Google’s Adwords KeyWord Tool, BlogPulse and Wordtracker are good for discovering what topics are trending for Copywriting inspiration.

Content Farms vs. Attention Mines

Newspapers and journalists have bemoaned the growing industry of “Content Farms” in recent years. As sites like and Demand Media grow in prominence, traditional publications are losing web traffic and thus, advertising opportunities. But how are Content Farms getting so many readers? Shouldn’t the journalistic reputation of major newspapers and magazines be enough to attract readers? Not anymore, thanks to search algorithms.

Algorithm as Editor

As online journalist Jason Fry (@JasonCFry) explains in a recent post, Content Farm sites use of algorithms to create story ideas in an “algorithm-as-editor” model. This flies in the face of the traditional writing style in which editors or bloggers assemble story ideas through a keen journalistic, yet un-digitized public awareness or crowdsourcing. Now, writers are guided by search engine queries, a model you can use when attempting to ward off copywriter’s block.

Attention Mines

Noted journalism entrepreneur Michael Tippet (@MTippet) reengineers the somewhat spammy reputation Content Farms have evoked by calling the collection of sites Attention Mines. In this sense, writer’s still hold the key to the car, so to speak. Writers, bloggers and professional journalists can all use algorithms in developing story ideas, but don’t let search queries alone guide your pen. Keyword research is only one component to identifying what readers want and what they need. If we let search engines write the stories, we’d read nothing but Justin Beiber and Twilight features.

Make Headlines, Don’t Write Them

There’s a big difference between merely commenting on search queries and using them to write good copy. If you’re posting a blog or article, strive to create a headline and add to the conversation, rather than merely rehashing the keywords you saw in your keyword research.

Algorithms can tell you what readers want, but more importantly, they help you understand why. In your keyword research, you’ll come across story ideas that make sense, but a few that are out of the blue as well. A great article can come from those outliers. Keyword research can help you find what an audience wants to read, but as a writer, you must give them what they need..

Case Ernsting
Case Ernsting works as the Online Marketing Coordinator for LoSasso Advertising Inc., an interactive advertising and marketing agency in Chicago, IL. In addition to posting regularly to the LoSasso iDrive Blog, he works on a team of talented SEO and PPC specialists, handling online marketing campaigns for the company.
Case Ernsting

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  • business ideas

    There are many tools available to find out what people are searching for. The only bad part about writing based on what people are searching for is that you might not always be interested in it.

    I sometimes use the Google Keyword tool to do a little research but most of the time I will end up not liking what I have to write about. I am sure many people want to create their own original content that is not based on what others are searching for. It might be an idea or theory that people have never even thought about before.

  • SEO Essex

    Algorithms can really help when you've run out of ideas on what to write. Once you have a mental picture on what the readers want, it is now up to the writer to create quality content that the end users will want to look into.

    • Bronte

      Very well said….like mind reading… need to be expert once you figure out what our user need from you in terms of contents to read