Generating ideas is necessary for all of persons writing for the web. If you work with clients, sometimes they’ll will give you topics they prefer, but for most projects, as these move along, clients will start to lean on you. They’ll often expect you to come up with ideas for future articles and other content.
This is a win-win situation for the most part, and might even lead to a transition in your career and rates. So it’s best to cultivate this vital skill.
In order to do so, here are 3 things you can start doing today.
Reading is always a great starting point for coming up with ideas. Keep in mind though that your initial ideas might not be completely unique but that’s okay. You’ll eventually find a twist for it because of your own experiences and stock knowledge.
Magazines and blogs, both related and unrelated to the topic you’re writing about will help spark topic headlines and angles. So it’s essential to read various genres and be curious about other things outside of your usual reading choices.
Another thing which I personally prefer doing is to read blog comments and the like. There’s just a lot you’ll learn about what people need and want from the comments and questions they post in sites and forums. So take from their cue. Your next article topic might just be the answer they’re looking for.
If you have direct access to the audience you’re writing for, then I suggest you ask them any of the following in relation to your niche:
- What do they need most?
- What do they struggle with?
- What’s their pressing concern?
- What makes them happy or sad?
- What can they say about X or Y?
Like reading blog comments, asking your audience will help you find topics that will directly address their concerns. It will also help you find the best way to approach your articles so that it will resonate with them.
Networking with professionals in and out of your field is another way to find more people to ask or better, to listen to. Which reminds me, the Freelance Writer’s Den community is opening its door to 300 new members today and tomorrow (US Time). If you want to join the community and meet more freelance writers, click here to sign up on their waiting list.
Asking the question, “What’s next?” will also spark topic ideas. What could be next for this company? Where are they going? What could be next in this field? Is it heading for progress or not? Would there be another book or movie or song? Will it be accepted by its market? Let your inquiring mind go wild. It’s okay to think crazy ideas sometimes.
Let your asking extend to your children and relatives too. Both young and old persons can contribute unique perceptions and conclusions to something commonplace.
And lastly, ask yourself. What were your previous ideas? Could you use them again? Could you add new elements or research perhaps to make it timely?
Finally, give time for yourself to live your life because your own life is a well of ideas.
So walk, run, and exercise some.
Balance the time you spend writing for the web, and being, yes, really being in that moment, with your children and family or by yourself reflecting on life and the world.
Creating topics to write about is a business, an art, and a way of living. Commit to it and it will pay you back in more than one way.
Do you have other ways to generate tons of topic ideas for your articles? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.