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How to Generate New Article Writing Ideas

You’ve run out of inspiration and have no article ideas to write about? Even better, the 30 Days Challenge is coming up, you’d like to participate, think how great it would be to write multiple articles around the same topic (or at least around a few related topics), but nothing comes to your mind? Generating creative ideas for article writing may seem like mission impossible. Usually you can’t get rid of thoughts, but when it comes to article writing and generating ideas, your mind turns into a blank sheet of paper. Is it the dreaded writer’s block?

Whatever the reason, there are ways to help you generate creative ideas for writing good quality articles. You’ll find that it is not that difficult to come up with interesting topics, but they are usually too broad to write about them. Therefore, you need to narrow those topics down and think about how many different titles you can come up with.

Coming up with title ideas for one topic is usually the biggest problem for all writers; how to come up with let’s say 30 titles around one topic? Seems hard, right? Well, not really, if you organize yourself well. Generating ideas for writing articles involves a few simple steps based on the principle of the so called mind mapping. These steps will help you nourish a constant flow of new ideas for articles.

The Process of Creating Ideas

The process of creating article writing ideas has a few important stages: word storming to warm up, deciding what you want to write about, finding related topics, doing keyword research and creating titles for those topics.

Steps to generate new article writing ideas

? Warm Up: Brainwave Ideas

Take a few minutes or the whole day to word storm your writing ideas.

* Some experts suggest setting a stop clock for five minutes and scribbling down as many ideas as you can in that time. The main reason for this is that you may find yourself jotting things almost in desperation because of the pressure of time, which can force you into being creative.

* Ideas may be slippery. One distracting phone call or a remark of a family member while you’re developing an idea in your mind, and you may forget the idea shower that struck you just before. Therefore, always carry around a small notebook and collect ideas during the day. This will help you grab a great idea before it disappears, and you can explore and develop that idea later.

To choose a broad topic of your interest, take a blank sheet of paper and write down these three questions:

  • Sheet #1:What do I like?

(Not what you like writing about, but what do you like in general?)

Set your mind free for a thought shower and write down anything that comes to your mind (brainstorming). Most of your answers won’t be topic-candidates for writing online articles, but if you just brainwave the words, you may well find some real gems there, and one gem is enough to get you started.

  • Sheet #2: What am I really good at? Or, What do I know best? Or: What’s my expertise?

Think about the things you are well acquainted with, areas of your expertise, things that you can say you know a lot about. Refer to your work, hobbies, experience.

  • Sheet #3: What would I like to know more about? Or: What am I interested in learning?

People sometimes have a hard time finding their own qualities, but they almost always know what they would like to have, even when having refers to possessing knowledge. Word storm the topics of your interest (see Figure 1).

Brainstorming Ideas Table (photo)

Figure 1: Brainstorming writing ideas.

* Your topics may end up being the combination of ideas answering each of the questions.

* * *

If your lists are short, leave them in a place that you pass by often during the day and whenever an idea crosses your mind, go there and write the idea down.

When you feel like you’ve finished brainstorming ideas, read the lists carefully and see whether there are things on all three (or at least two) sheets which can be combined together.

* Organize your ideas: sort the ideas in categories (see Figure 2).

Article Ideas divided in Categories (Screenshot)

Figure 2: Article Ideas Divided into Categories

You’ll probably find that coming up with multiple titles is easier if you choose a topic that is already well-known to you (the one you know a lot about), but combining related topics from two or all three columns will help you generate not just 30, but maybe even hundreds of title ideas.

? Spider Diagram Technique: Choose One Idea and Generate Sub-topics

Push deeper into your ideas and plumb their possibilities. Take one idea as your main (broad) topic and:

  • write down the ideas from your list which can be related to this main idea,
  • add new free associations based on your main topic.

(See Figures 3 and 4).

Spider Diagram (photo)

Figure 3: Sub-topics for the Broad Topic: Online Article writing

* * *

Spider Diagram Photo

Figure 4: Sub-topics for the Broad Topic: Christmas

? Make a Keyword List Based on Your Sub-Topics

Write down all the possible sub-topic associations – your potential keywords (see Figure 5).

The following keyword list has been done for 5 sub-topics and it contains 6 keywords for each, which makes it easier to come up with 30+ unique article titles.

5 Topics and 30 keywords (screenshot)

? Explore Your Ideas: Use the Google Keyword Tool for Keyword Research

By entering your topic ideas or generated keywords into the keyword box in the Google Keyword Tool, you’ll be presented with a list of keyword ideas related to your query, search volume numbers (how many people are performing internet searches based on those keywords), advertising competition (how many advertisers are bidding for those particular keywords), and if you log into your Google AdWords account, you’ll be able to see the column listing the potential CPC (cost-per-click) value of those keywords. (To see related screenshots, please follow the link in the sixth step).

? Evaluate your competition

Click on any of the keyword ideas generated by the Keyword Tool and you’ll end up on the first Search Engine Return Page for that keyword. On this page you’ll find the top ten results returned by Google when a user enters that particular keyword in the search box. Check out the titles and links on those websites. This step is also important for the implementation of a successful linking strategy.

? Write search-friendly titles for your articles

Look at your keyword list for sub-topics. If you have 5 sub-topics and six keywords for each sub-topic, you already have the ideas for your 30 potential article titles which you can use for the 30 Days Challenge. You can also combine different keywords from different sub-topics.

Extra tips on generating new article ideas

  • Search Amazon for products based on your keywords. If you own some of the products they’re selling, write product reviews and include an Amazon advertisement in your article (Figures 6 and 7).
  • Check out the list of national awareness months and awareness days to generate article writing ideas.
  • Read a lot. Write a lot. Have fun!
  • ‘You’ll find you have no end of ideas if you can make writing a regular habit.’ (Jack Heffron, The Writer’s Idea Book)

© 2011 Jasmine Vitarelli

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