Generating ideas for remarkable articles11 Comments · Filed on: Blogging & RSS · Internet Marketing · SEO Copywriting
Are you still sitting there waiting for the inspiration muse to shine a glimmering ray of light on you and flick on the switch for that light bulb above your head? Stop. Generating remarkable ideas for web articles and blog posts is easier than you think. So without further ado, here’s my fool-proof 6 point cheat sheet for generating outstanding article ideas:
1) Talk to your imaginary friend.
If you have knowledge about a particular subject, you should have no trouble talking about it for a while and sharing a few of your best tips with a friend. Picture yourself sitting in a comfortable couch in a cafeteria with your friend and she’s asking you to tell her more about so and so.
What exactly would you tell her? Where would you start to make it easier to explain? What kind of background information would you share with her first so that she could better understand whatever you’re about to talk to her about? Use a tape recorder and record yourself (even if you’re alone in your room). The conversational style always makes your writing more fluid, readable and attractive for virtually any audience.
2) Use the web forums.
Scour the web for forums and boards in your industry and read them. Without too much research you should be able to detect some patterns of people asking the same question over and over again. Bingo! You’ve got yourself the exact topic for an article that people actually want to read.
All you must do now is do some additional research, put the pieces together and write an article that answers the question. As an additional step, you may also want to post the article (or an excerpt with a link back to your site) in the forums you found – being helpful and sharing information splendidly on the web pays back big-time.
3) The magazine rack is your buddy.
Industry magazines are always a great source of inspiration. Get yourself the latest issues and read what they are talking about. Many magazines have sections that mention what’s coming up in the next issue or what’s about to become a hot topic. Pay special attention to those sections; remember that on the web you can publish a lot faster than any magazine available.
4) Research other websites and blogs.
This is one of the simplest, yet most dangerous misused ways for generating article ideas. It is always ok to visit your favorite sites and blogs to look for inspiration for your next piece, but you must always keep in mind that simply rehashing what others have said will just create lukewarm, ho-hum content. If you want your article or blog post to stand out from the crowd, you must always find a way to put your own spin on it: give your personal opinion on the subject or approach the topic from a completely different angle.
This technique works magnificently well if you can be controversial about it, just do it with caution because you don’t want to turn yourself into the village jack-ass. Also, be sure to link back to the site(s) that inspired your writing, especially if you’re posting the article to a blog (it’s good netiquette and it might get you a link back from that site too).
5) Interview someone.
Once again, the web comes to the rescue. Just select a few people who are prominent in your industry and seek them out for an interview. If you can’t get the first person you selected to give you an interview, go for the second one on the list… if for any reason they all fail to get back to you – it’s rare but it may happen – don’t give up, just make a new list and move on to your goal. As an added benefit, this strategy also lets you make some great contacts (even if they say no, you can still contact them again at a later time).
When you put on your “reporter cap”, you’ll never run out of interesting questions and ideas for quality content. Best of all, the interview rarely needs to be live; you can do it via telephone, e-mail, via webcam, in a teleconference, in a chat-room or even with your favorite instant messenger. Finally, once you post the interview online, it never hurts to ask for a link to it – which may result in a huge flood of traffic and a major boost to your link popularity.
6) Make a list.
Making lists is fun and easy. If you’re running short on time or patience, making a list and turning it into an article or blog post can save the day. A list can be about anything imaginable: Make a list about the top 10 websites a newbie in your market should know about, a list of the 5 most unusual tips you’ve read about blue widgets, a list about the 7 most common mistakes that widget users make, a list that answers the 10 most common questions about red widgets, you get the idea.