It's almost inevitable - if you build a large content site or blog, at one time or another you'll likely feel that there's nothing left to talk about. Fortunately, unless you've chosen an incredibly limited niche, that's not the case. There are always other topics to write about in your niche, or other angles to topics you've already covered in your articles or blog posts. Here are some tips and tricks for coming up with new article ideas:
Update Old Content
Look at your website or blog statistics, and see what some of your most popular (most visited) articles or posts are. Are any of them outdated? Could you post something new on the same subject to take advantage of the popularity? You probably can.
For example, if you're a U.S. blogger, you may have posted about how the 2008 presidential election results could effect your industry. Have any of your predictions come true? Were you, surprisingly, proven wrong about something? If so, blog about it.
Here's another example - let's say you're a webmaster in the "make money online" niche. One month, you post your earnings from a specific ad network as an example to readers, and the post is wildly popular. You could turn that into a monthly series.
Look at Similar Sites
Other sites in your niche are great resources when you need to come up with article or blog post ideas. First, look through their categories or sections. Are there entire subject areas that would fit into your site that you're currently neglecting? If so, add it. Then look at specific articles (especially if the site highlights their most popular articles).
Do not, under any circumstances, simply take the ideas or content in those articles and re-write them into your own article. Depending on where you live, that would be considered a derivative work, and be copyright infringement. Instead, take one of these routes instead:
- Write a post of your own responding to theirs. Link to it early on in your post. If they took a stance on an issue, you may want to explore another side of it.
- Use that article as just the first step in the research process. Look to several other sources for more information, and write your own article or blog post on the subject matter (and keep it ethical by citing your sources if you do this).
Use Keyword Suggestion Tools
Keyword suggestion tools, like the Adwords Sandbox, can give you lists of article ideas based on keywords and what people are searching for (if they're searching for it, they want to know more about it, so it's a good idea to write articles on those topics).
To use the tool, enter keyword phrases related to your site. For example, if you write a blog about knitting, you could just type in knitting and have it find suggestions for you. You would get a list of related keyword phrases, as well as how often those phrases are searched for and how much advertiser competition there is for each keyword phrase.
If you typed "knitting" into the Adwords Sandbox tool, for example, you would see results including:
- "How to knit" - An average of 110,000 searches per month with very high advertiser competition
- "Loom knitting" - An average of 22,200 searches per month and average advertiser competition
- "History of knitting" - An average of 2400 searches per month and high advertiser competition
While these tools can be used to choose actual niches for a site or blog, they're also effective for choosing specific articles. Here, for example, you may decide to do an article on the history of knitting, or a how-to tutorial series for beginners to knitting. (Keep in mind though that to take advantage of high search numbers, you have to rank very well in search engines, and it's very difficult to do that for general keyword phrases - meaning longer phrases with fewer searches may actually bring you more readers over time.)
A few other article-specific ideas you'll find in those results for the knitting niche include: "How to Knit a Beanie," "Sock Knitting Patterns," and "How to Knit a Blanket."
Never assume you have nothing left to write about. Take a fresh look and see what you're missing, what could be improved, and most importantly what your audience actually wants to read, and you'll always be able to find new ideas.
Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.
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