Content is king, as the saying goes. And, in these modern times of Internet marketing, it is an absolute truism. Do you remember not too long ago when people were starting blogs, slapping together a few articles (which may, or may not, have been very well written, and, indeed, may, or may not, have even made very much sense), but were nevertheless highly key-worded to a specific niche? They would then, in very strategic positions on those article pages, plaster advertising banners that lead to affiliate programs paying commissions, and they actually earned money with this method? Do you remember that? Well, unless this is you you really haven’t been marketing on the internet for very long at all, you should. Because, of course, it really wasn’t all that long ago. In fact, you might still be doing it! And, if you are, you’re probably wondering why you’re not making money like you used to.
Well, I’m here to tell you why! It’s because: Content truly is king. Now — today — content is king. You need good content — Good content that is written to attract the interest of readers — human readers. Anything less just isn’t going to cut it anymore. The search engines are not pushing traffic to websites based purely on key-wording anymore. You need to produce content that people — real people — want to read. There’s no way around it.
So, what does this mean to today’s blogger? It means, of course, that you’re going to have to create quality content — no ifs, ands or buts! And, many of you have already begun doing that. But, it can, as I’m sure you’ve found out, be tough, or expensive… or both. No longer can you ‘spin’ articles found on some article sharing site that was written by some marketer with no real writing experience, and written by them in under five minutes with the sole intention of getting a cheap link-back to their website. No longer can you purchase a package of, say, twenty articles for fifteen dollars from a PLR website and ‘spin’ the articles found within — the very same articles that perhaps a hundred other marketers bought and spun for their own sites. That wont cut it anymore. You need to create fresh, original, engaging and interesting content that has value to readers. If you don’t, you’ll drown. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, creating this sort of content on anything approaching a regular basis is much easier said than done. Oh, of course most of us who possess at least a modicum of ability can sit down and churn out perhaps four or five articles without too much difficulty. But what happens then? The well-spring dries up. You experience burn-out. The ideas stop coming. It happens to practically all of us. If you’re not a professionally trained journalist. It WILL happen. You’ll pump out a few good articles. You’ll be mighty proud of yourself and your work. Then, you’ll go to write your next one and BLAMMO! “Uh… What do I write about now?” you’re likely to hear yourself say. Turning then to professional writers to provide content of such quality is often prohibitively expensive. The average price for a skilled, experienced writer capable of providing you with such a caliber of blog writing material currently resides somewhere around the $0.15 per word mark, and can run as high as $0.50 per word. That’s between $150.00 and $500.00 for a single 1,000 word article. And, that’s just not attractive if you’re just starting out and your site is not yet pulling in the kind of revenue that can accommodate such a weekly expense.. You can, of course, significantly lower your costs by writing yourself and not relying on pros. But, how do you do that once the ideas dry-up?
When you hit that wall, what do you do? When all the ideas you had inside of you have been burned through, what do you do? Once you’ve used up all the ideas that were in your own head, the only thing you can do is turn to an outside source in order to try and spark more ideas. But, if you’re not experienced in writing, where to go and how to look might not be all that readily apparent to you. So, here’s some sure fire tips on how to find new topics for your blog articles:
1.) Google Alerts — This is probably my favorite! Think of the best, most targeted key-words for your niche. Then, simply go to Google Alerts and set an alert for each of those key-words. Google will send you an e-mail every time it finds a news item or blog posting that’s triggered by the key-word. Browse through all the ones you get each day and save the links to them. Make notes of all the interesting ones. Reading through the alerts you receive is sure to spark ideas for topics from time to time. But, even if the ideas are sparked infrequently, when you’ve saved a dozen or so interesting alerts, you can collate them into a “round-up” article.
2.) Headline brainstorm — Think of the niche you’re writing for and of your target market. Get a piece of paper and a pencil. Now, try to make up, and write down, a couple dozen headlines that would pull a typical member of your target market right in. They don’t need to be real headlines. Make up anything — just try to keep them somewhat sensible. But, make up just about anything you think that a typical member of your target market couldn’t resist. Don’t stop until you’ve got at least two dozen. When you’re done, study the list. Very often just doing this will cause you to come up with a couple of potential topics that didn’t occur to you before. If anything that seems interesting pops out at you, do a bit of search-engine research. Is there a story there? If you get a couple or more ideas, be sure to jot them down in your idea pad, or book. …you do keep an idea book, don’t you?
3.) Headline skimming — Hit up the websites of national news organizations like CNN, or The New York Times, MSNBC and other such places. While you’re there, read through the headlines. Look for anything that might, in some way, be related to your niche. Is there a big political news story that’s currently breaking? Some world event? Celebrity gossip? How will the events that are unfolding specifically affect your niche? If you see a headline that jumps out at you as perhaps being in some way pertinent to your specific niche, read the story. Try to think up ideas about how you could write that news story giving it a spin that would be interesting to a typical member of your niche market.
4.) Use your competitors — What are the biggest, most popular sites that compete with you? The most highly trafficked? Hit up Google, or Bing, and enter a few niche specific keywords. Look for blogs that occupy the highest positions on the first page, click through and read their articles. What are your thoughts on what those sites have posted? You can create your own article that gives your thoughts on your competitor’s post — a sort of a review of a blog post. Make sure you link to it in your article for a chance to get in on some of that track-back love.
5.) Talk to you friends — Strike up conversations with your friends and family members regarding your specific niche. Ask them for their opinions on the subject. Engage them in a real conversation about it. But, pay attention to what they say! Take particular note regarding anything they appear to be confused about — any aspect they seem not to understand. And, pay particular attention especially to any questions they ask. This will often give you great ideas for a blog topic. Construct an article in which you address, explain and answer the questions you heard. Of course, just asking your friends and family outright for ideas for article topics won’t hurt either. They’re a fresh mind on the subject, and they very well might have some surprisingly great ideas!
6.) Interview someone — Go to Amazon.com and look for newly published books (Within the last 12 months works great, but the newer the better) that fit into or are related to your niche. Think up at least half a dozen questions or so for the author of a relevant book. Write them a quick e-mail and ask if they would mind if you sent them a number of interview questions for them to answer at their leisure and e-mail back to you for inclusion as a posting to you’re going to write for your blog. You’d be surprised how many will be entirely game for this, and appreciative for the opportunity. It’s free publicity for them — no matter how small your blog. And, anywhere they can get their name and a link to their book out there on the Internet is a plus for them. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst that will happen is that your e-mail will just be ignored. Big whoop! The second worst thing that might happen is you’ll receive a polite “Thanks for the offer, but I’m very busy right now. Sorry.” response. Again, big whoop! But, a very many will be more than happy to take some time out of their day to write some answers to your questions. Just remember to make it known that you’ll be providing an link to their book, video, or whatever. And, if you can, try to form a signifigant portion of the questions so that the questions are about them or their work, yet would be interesting to readers in your niche.
7.) Beg on social networks — People are happy to share pictures on Facebook to help some starving woman pay for surgery for her illiterate puppy, or something, right? They’re often just as happy to share their own off-the-cuff ideas if they’re asked to. Hit your Facebook page, Twitter and everything else and ask people for topic ideas. If you’ve got a lot of friends and/or followers, you’ll likely get a lot of response. There’s bound to either be one or two good ones in there, or, reading through them, it’s at least likely to spark your own creative juices!
These are some methods I find useful and often turn to in order to come up with ideas for new things to write about when I’m experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Do you have any such methods that aren’t mentioned here that work for you? If so, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment box below and let us know about them. We’d sure it appreciate it!