If you’ve ever struggled when planning what to write about on your website, here’s how to generate unlimited article ideas.
Every savvy business today knows that producing relevant, original content for their website or blog helps bring in more traffic – and if you’ve done your job right, more traffic means more leads, which means more business and Income. Today, we’re going to rediscover some traditional ways to get article ideas, and, if you read to the end, one almost-magic technique for getting a relevant list of article ideas just right for your prospective readers.
Where Do You Get Article Ideas?
It actually surprises me that folks get caught on this one, but I’ve realized that getting article ideas is a real challenge for many businesses. There’s no shortage of conventional article ideas tips out there, and many of them are good sources of article writing ideas. You may have seen all these before, but keep reading for more powerful methods, including the almost-magical “article idea generator” we all hope to find.
- Check out the “How To” sites: Wikihow, eHow, Ask.com, Yahoo Answers, to see what people are trying to get advice about. Quora is great for this, but you do need to sign up to use the site. LinkedIn is especially good for B2B, since it has a business audience.
- See what your competitors are writing about
- Look for trending topics on Google Trends and Google Hot Trends
- Ask your customer support staff what clients ask about frequently
- See what magazine articles are on the racks, or what an industry publication or other media are writing about
- Check the calendar for upcoming “special days” for seasonal article ideas
- Ask customers for suggestions
- Search Amazon for what’s popular or upcoming
- Play with some mind mapping software – see our Resources page for a free version.
Start With Your Keywords
I think I find getting article writing ideas easy because I’m so involved in keyword research. Just a bit of knowledge of keyword research gives you a treasure trove of article ideas, and more importantly, helps you understand which ones are worth your time to write.
Who are your competitors for your major keyword(s)? Think “topics” if the term “keywords” sounds too technical. You want to keep a pretty close eye on the content produced by competitors who have made the first page in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for searches that your prospects are doing. Ideally, your business will have a good keyword map created for at least your top twenty keywords. With a keyword map that organizes your keywords according to semantic relevance (words that share a high degree of meaning), you have a target to work towards as you publish content to build site traffic.
A quick and dirty way to do this is to use the article ideas software we all already have. Do a search on Google for your target keyword, and see what phrases come up at the bottom of the page for related keywords. For example, for the keyword phrase “vancouver real estate”, scroll to the bottom and you’ll see something like:
Any of these might trigger an article idea.
Ask – How Can I Serve?
Remember that 84% of search queries are informational – people are looking for answers to their questions and problems. You’re looking for article ideas that in most cases provide information, or help solve a problem.
Power Tools for Article Ideas
If you’d like lists of article ideas longer than you’ll ever get to, here are a couple of automated ways to get the job done.
WordStream Free Keyword Niche Finder
Couldn’t be simpler. Go to http://www.wordstream.com/keyword-niche-finder, enter a very broad keyword. In my business, I’d enter marketing. In yours, it might be landscaping or pets or real estate or insurance… You’ll get back a list of niches, and when you click on one that interests you, you’ll see keywords (think article ideas!) sorted by how many people are searching for that topic. Note that WordStream only gives you ten free searches, and doesn’t display results for all niches. Even so, there’s lots of possible article ideas there, and they’ll email you the full list.
You may also gather additional article ideas by using WordStream’s Keyword Research Tool. Here’s a quick example of some results that could give you ideas for online articles:
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
You’ll get similar results with the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. It has no limitations on the number of times you can use it, but will only give you 100 results per search, unless you create an Adwords account and sign in. Then you get up to 1000 results. The ideas you generate can be downloaded into a spreadsheet. Tip: I find it helpful to set the tool to “phrase” instead of “broad”, on the left side. Play around a bit, and you’ll have a wealth of article topics to choose from – and you’ll know which are most popular and have the least competition!
My Favorite Tool for Getting Ideas for Writing Articles
Keyword Researcher’s Free Long Tail Keyword Tool is simply lovely for quickly creating hundreds of good article ideas. It’s fast, fun, intuitive… The one restriction is that you have to use the Google Chrome browser if you want to try it. What makes this tool so special is that it’s designed to use wildcards. In other words, you give it part of a phrase, and it fills in the rest. An asterisk takes the place of the part of the phrase you want to get creative with. For example, here’s the result of a search for * article ideas. Appropriately, the button that is normally called “Search” is called “Play” in this tool!
The tool gives you some examples to try. Just click on “Show Examples”. It’s easy to generate hundreds of ideas for articles on any topic with a single click. It’s also free… and you can copy the results into a document to review later.
Getting the Right Article Ideas
If you want to get a bit sophisticated, you can also try combining this tool with the previous one. Take your list of article ideas from Keyword Researcher, and paste them (or as many as fit) into Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool. Search, and then sort the results by Local Monthly Searches. You’ll be able to find out which of this huge pile of possible article ideas will give you the most traffic with the least competition.
Then go for it, and get writing. And please don’t tell me you don’t have any article ideas now!