It took me a while to get a handle on ideation when I first started doing articles for WritersDomain. I have several spiral notebooks full of ideas and facts to prove it. You see, I would often jot down up to a dozen pages of notes on a single keyword, and I still would not have a clue about where to go with my article.
I was stumped by these questions when it came to certain keywords: Who is my audience? What do I want them to know about this keyword and how it relates to their family or business?
Thanks to suggestions from the editorial staff and from the blog and ideation training on WD, I’ve found several ways to generate novel and engaging ideas for articles. If you find yourself stuck trying to think up a topic for a keyword, remember these rules I’ve learned:
New news is good news
I find most of my best article ideas are generated from links to news stories. For example, you can find out about recent developments in technology, construction and other industries in news reports.
When I get a keyword related to law or lawyers, for example, I search the news first to see what laws have just been passed and to learn which recent rulings have had an impact in the courts.
Recently, I discovered a story about a judge who ordered a workers’ compensation insurance company to reimburse a man for the cost of his medicinal cannabis. This inspired me to research other rulings and laws concerning workers’ compensation and medical marijuana. This made a great article for the keyword workers’ compensation attorney. Without the news story, I would never have taken that slant on the piece.
You may need to enter more than merely the keyword into the search box. For example, if you think up an innovative use for shipping containers, search for “innovative uses of shipping containers” in the news. This approach worked for me and provided solid sources for stories about the homes and businesses created from shipping containers.
Mine the trades for article gold
Many ideas can be developed from online trade publications. Businesses are always bragging about their innovations and research. For this reason, trade blogs, videos, and articles are some of the very best resources for articles on green business practices.
Recently I snagged the Canadian keyword “earthworks” with the vertical oilfield construction. Through a quick search in the Canadian oilfield online trade publications, I found several stories concerning various ways oil companies, students and researchers are reducing the period of time needed to break down contaminants in tailing ponds. I searched the news for links to more objective but related stories to support the glowing trade articles.
Most trades and industries have good online resources available to anyone. Some of the online trade publications are members only, which can be frustrating. But there are others that are accessible for free if you register. Signing up for one of these online resources might be a good idea if you frequently write about a certain topic.
It’s perfectly okay to be an ideation potato
This is similar to being a couch potato, except that you watch videos and news stories about your specific keyword. If you find yourself at a complete loss, take a break, sit back and passively learn about the product or service you want to highlight.
Some people truly are visual learners and ideators. They have to look at something for a little while to think up ideas. This video approach can be very helpful for these creative sorts.
Online videos concerning your keyword can spark a myriad of article topics. You can watch professional videos and incorporate some of the information in your article, translating it into a layperson’s language. Maybe you’ll find out about a new cleaning process or unique use for a product that will give you a great idea for an article.
When I got the keyword “tuckpointing” recently, I then searched for videos and came up with a unique article by watching a man tuckpoint old foundation stones. I learned about tuckpointing tools and methods by watching him work.
These are a few of the approaches I use to help generate article topics. I’m happy to report I no longer produce copious amounts of useless notes. I may jot down a rough outline for a piece, but I’m not overloading my mind with irrelevant facts or overtaxing my arm by scrawling out multiple pages of ideas and definitions for every keyword. There’s no need.
Let the unique news stories, industry updates, and keyword videos help you find your keyword’s unique content and audience. You may find, as I have, that it’s actually interesting and enjoyable to research keywords using these methods.
This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.