Whether you are writing for a blog, personal website, or an external website (such as Helium), one of the biggest challenges is regularly producing new content that is fresh and engaging. In theory, this challenge should become all the greater the more articles that a writer has previously produced, as the pool of topics not already covered diminishes. However, the reality is that it is those writers who are prolific that typically find it easiest to find new subject matter to write on. Let’s look then at how they achieve this feat.
Scan news articles for topical ideas:
When you write content for online sites it doesn’t necessarily have to be topical. However, it’s always nice to be able to present some articles that link into the events that are currently occupying news headlines. A quick scan of online news websites should help you to quickly identify the topics that have captured the public’s attention. Or, alternatively, you can monitor what topics and trends are appearing most often on Twitter or within your Facebook news feeds. Offline media such as magazines and newspapers shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Evaluate new things that you’ve done or skills that you’ve acquired:
As we go through life we never stop learning. And with each new bit of knowledge or skill that we acquire, there is inevitably an opportunity to impart such knowledge to others. A great example of this is where someone becomes a parent for the first time. This is a huge life-changing event that so many people go through and yet we often don’t know much about the key tasks and responsibilities that will suddenly be thrust upon us. For example, you could write about how to register your child’s name, or about how to claim child tax credits, or what it means if your baby’s fontanel is depressed. Each time that your life forces you to learn something new, this can be a golden opportunity to turn that experience into a valuable high quality online article.
Invite suggestions from a website or blog readership:
If you operate a personal website or blog, then you could ask your readership to submit suggestions for topics that they would like information on. This works particularly well if you have a particular area of expertise. For example, there is a very good soccer correspondent (called Tim Vickery) on the BBC’s website who covers South American soccer. As well as providing his regular weekly take on topical matters, he encourages readers to send in questions which he then covers off. This approach has the dual advantage of meaning that not all the responsibility for coming up with new topics is on your shoulders and ensuring that you are covering topics that are directly relevant to your audience.
Find a new angle on a familiar topic:
Just because you’ve written on a particular topic doesn’t necessarily preclude you from reverting to that topic for another article. The trick though is to find a new angle to cover off. As an example, let’s say that you’ve written an article called “How to develop a budget”. That’s quite a general title and you might then decide to write another budget-related article but with the title of “How to develop a budget whilst at university”. Obviously, there will be specific challenges around budgeting when at college so this should enable you to write an article that is sufficiently different from the original article to add extra value.
By following these four simple practices you should find that you will have no difficulty finding a regular stream of new article ideas. Indeed, if you find your well of inspiration drying up, then it’s probably a sign that you need to get out of the house and start taking up some new challenges. You’ll find that the busier you are, the more topics you will feel comfortable being able to tackle!