How to Find Ideas for Articles
Although trying to find new ideas for articles might seem like the hardest thing in the world, overcoming writers block is really as simple as creating the right routine. With little more than an honest interest in whatever it is you’re writing about, a little time and exposure to the right sources should be sufficient to absolutely flood you with new ideas.
From simple tips and tricks to generate new ideas from old material to insight about some of the Internet’s most valuable creative sources, below you’ll find a comprehensive guide to finding ideas for articles that’s sure to be as sustainable as it is reliable.
Read Related Content
If you’re looking for new ideas, there’s no doubt that the best place to start is reading what other people have been writing. Check out some of the more popular blogs in your niche or books in your industry as well as industry related news.
Reading how others have approached a problem is often an inspirational experience that allows you to grasp new angles in which to approach your next topic. Putting aside how valuable this is to your creative efforts, this practice also coincides with the demand for ongoing education that many professionals need just to remain relevant in their niche.
And you don’t have to stick to industry literature, either. Just remember that if you’re reading something that doesn’t have an obvious and direct relationship to your own niche, try and find similarities or parallels to draw. Practically applying this tip means setting routines.
Put aside fifteen or thirty minutes reading each afternoon to read from something you otherwise wouldn’t have read. Keeping up with what others are writing about won’t just help you learn, it will also keep you up to date on what others in your niche are talking about, allowing you to put your hands directly on the pulse of the industry.
Give Guzzle a Look
If you’re not familiar with where to find content for your niche or if you’re just looking for new things to read for ideas, one site worth checking out is Guzzle, a topic based search aggregate. By monitoring hundreds of different feeds, Guzzle is able to analyze countless articles and meticulously document the relevant keywords in order to provide Guzzle users with the latest and most relevant links to a given topic.
Anytime you add a topic, Guzzle searches the through its highly categorized databases to generate a fairly compelling and largely spam-free content experience. Just provide Guzzle with a keyword or select one of the keywords Guzzle suggests and content will be literally delivered to you.
Check Out Digg
If you haven’t heard of Guzzle, you’ve probably heard of Digg. Digg is an immensely popular news aggregate that’s probably the easiest way to get your hands on the latest information about what’s trending online. Although Digg lacks more technical and refined search functionality, the freshness of its content can help guarantee a similar degree of freshness in whatever ideas it can produce for you.
When people are looking to solve a problem online, they typically head to one of two places. For more general questions (e.g. “what’s the capital of Texas”) they tend to turn to search engines like Google. But for highly technical questions (e.g. “what’s the difference between circumaural and superaural headphones), they tend to turn to Internet forums with relevant experts.
Forums are one of the best places to produce ideas for your next article because they provide you direct insight into what kind if problems people talk about online, and this provides you with an easy prompt to explain and solve those problems in an article.
For instance, if you’re in the web development niche, you might browse a web development forum and discover that people want help learning how to drive traffic to their site. So why not take that problem and turn it into an article? And when you’re done, you can double down your efforts by posting that content on the forum.
Another way to find out what kind of questions people are asking is through Twitter. Just head to the Twitter search box and type in a question mark followed by whatever topic you’re interested in writing about. For example, “? web design” would produce questions people have written on Twitter involving web design. If Twitter isn’t up your alley, Yahoo! Answers and Quora are some great alternatives.
For anyone that has a serious problem finding interesting content to inspire them, Google Alerts is a prescription strength answer. Put simply, Google Alerts provides email updates for the most recent relevant search results based on the query of your choosing.
Just provide Google with a topic you want to keep track of and then select the preview button to get an example of the sort of thing your reports will include. While Google Alerts can be useful to just about anyone, it’s a particularly powerfulally for anyone who works in a newsy industry where it’s important to monitor developing stories, keep a close eye on a competitor, or just staying up to date about recent events.
Although the alerts you receive aren’t always accurate, you can be assured of the value of the ones that are since the content is driven by Google. You can also decide how often you want to receive these alerts so you can have Google spam you as much or as little as you like depending on your need.
Do More Research
Are you confident that your expertise is sufficient to write a truly great article? The more you know about an issue, the more likely you are to manage to cover all the important points when you’re writing about it. Spend some time researching and find some websites you’d like to talk about, videos that are relevant to your niche, and other related content like articles.
Apart from improving your abilities to write great content, after a few hours of research you’ll quickly discover that exposure to new ideas can be infectious, which may provide you with the beginnings for an entire series of articles.
Ask Your Readership
If you run a blog, the best way to produce new ideas for articles might be as simple as asking your own readership. As the audience of your content, a significant portion of your readership is apt to have an opinion about what kind of topics and issues they would like you to cover.
It’s worth mentioning that this is a particularly popular content strategy for video bloggers on YouTube. Professional blogger T.J. Kirk has even gone so far to claim “asking your audience what they’d like to see more of is most reliable way to produce new content when the news media has been slow.” Kirk’s YouTube channel “TheAmazingAtheist” has nearly 500,000 subscribers and 150 million views.
The DailyPost Blog
Every day DailyPost provides a new prompt. Although the prompt will not likely be a ready prepared idea that you can run with immediately, with a little creative thinking it’s possible to discover ways in which that prompt can be related to your niche or blog. The DailyPost also includes some fairly useful writing and blogging tips from aggregate
In the simplest terms, Sency is a social media search network. Just head to Sency and type in a keyword like “fishing”, and Sency will do a real time scan of the major social networks to find out what people are saying about fishing right now.
Sency also has a suggest categories feature based on previous searches that many people find surprisingly useful. Sency also provides a list of today’s most shared links for any given topic as well as a geographical map of where that activity is emanating from.
The Big Picture
The more relevant the content you’re reading is to your own niche, the more apt you are to discover new and interesting things to write about. If you can refine that search even more so by exposing yourself to the most popular topics that have been proven to be engaging to users on the basis of content aggregation, the results will be even better.
So what are you waiting for? Throw together a short reading list from one or two of these sources and spend ten or fifteen minutes perusing through them to see what kind of ideas you can discover!