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Do You Have An Article Idea List?
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Writing consistently is one skill that is absolutely necessary for executing an effective article marketing campaign, but what do you do if you're just stumped when it comes to writing ideas?

Before I started organizing my writing ideas, I would almost dread sitting down to write, especially if I wasn't feeling very inspired or creative. It can be frustrating to know you need to write an article when the creative well is bone dry.

There is an easy way around this though–capitalize on brainstorming sessions.

Here's what I do:

Once a month or so, I sit down and start writing down article topic ideas. Sometimes I'm writing down ideas that I've stashed away as I've interacted with customers, but other times I'm just coming up with ideas out of the blue.

When I find that the creative well is bone dry, I force myself to stand in the shoes of 3 types of readers and ask myself these questions:

1. If I was interested in article marketing but wasn't really sure what was up from down with the very basics, what sorts of questions might be floating through my brain?

I try to think from the perspective of a newbie to my field, and then come up with article topics that would appeal to that group. 

Usually I'm able to come up with several ideas just from standing in the shoes of a newbie, because when you're a beginner every little thing is a revelation to you! 

And I tell you–there are few things more frustrating than when you take an interest in something and find that all the content on the web is about 10 levels over your head! If I'm interested in researching something and every article I come across makes me feel like I'm out of my depth, it's a bit discouraging.

So, as you're brainstorming for your Article Idea List, put yourself in the shoes of a newbie and remember that no issue is too basic. It may seem basic to you because you're an expert in the topic, but for someone who is a beginner the article you write could be a doorway for a growing passion for your topic. 

So, remember to write for the newbies!

2. What information can I provide that would build the skill of someone with an intermediate knowledge level?

One thing I've learned is that a little success makes you hungry for more! 

So, the next "idea stimulator" I use is to consider folks who are a bit beyond the beginner level, people who have been working in my field for a while and feel comfortable with the basics.

After a few months of article marketing at a steady rate many folks are interested in "taking things up a notch" and increasing their skill level. 

I start writing down article ideas that answer this question–what information can I provide that would build the skill of someone with an intermediate knowledge level?

You can do this too–Start writing down ideas, as many as you can think of.

You are just quickly jotting things down (don't overthink things!). If it later turns out that a few of the ideas you've written aren't substantial enough for an article or are too expansive to cover in an article, that's fine–you'll make adjustments later.  

3. What sorts of searches are people doing around my keyword terms?

 This is actually the easiest way to generate article ideas–I just go to the free WordTracker tool and start doing research. I had previously written a post telling you how to do article idea research in WordTracker, so you might want to check out that tutorial.

I also keep a memo pad with me at all times–you never know when inspiration will strike. For me, I've noticed that when I'm exercising sometimes I can get a rush of ideas and keeping the little memo pad with me allows me to hold on to those ideas. I then later transfer those ideas to my main list at home. 

I also keep a memo pad in my car–for some reason the ideas start to flow once I leave the office!

Yes, I would encourage you to try to gear your mind to be thinking of interesting things that you could teach you target market–and keep a list!

It takes a little while to get into the "brainstorming zone", but when you get used to writing I think that you'll naturally find yourself coming up with ideas without even trying. When you do, write the ideas down right away.

I know that if I didn't keep and Article Idea List, that I would lose many of my best ideas–don't let that happen to you!

After you've got your list going, it's easier to write. When your writing time comes you just sit down, look at your list, and pick a topic. No racking your brain, no procrastinating because you're dreading not having a topic, no wasted energy.

Keeping an Article Idea List is what saves me many days, and I encourage you to keep one as well.

What about you guys–how do you keep track of your article ideas?

Photo credit: Brainstorming by Mike Oliveri


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6 Responses to “Do You Have An Article Idea List?”

  1. On the Money says:

    Nice post. Point 3 particularly gets me thinking; so thanks!

  2. calzro says:

    Thanks for the information.

  3. Darren says:

    excellent post.

    here’s my article idea list. (posting)

    1. post on web site.
    2. post to the top 5 directories.
    3. post to the others over time.
    4. use an article distribution service.

  4. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you-you know if you do step #4 (and use SubmitYOURArticle.com) you can cut out steps 2 & 3. Just a thought! ;-)

  5. I write for niche travel destinations and subscribe to most of the travel magazines. I find I can take the article headlines and concepts and tailor them for my market. I keep all my ideas in a business journal and am never stuck for ideas for articles.

  6. judy cullins says:

    Steve, I like the idea of thinking as a newbie for one article, then as a skill builder for the intermediate person. The basics work.

    To get my muse to get going, I often see an article and just copy and paste it into a text program. Then, I make it my own totally,even if I do use few words from it. It’s far easier to add and change copy than to face the blank page.

    I guess you could call this another way to brainstorm.

    Cheers to all the article writers that follow you!

    Judy Cullins,
    book, article, and web writing coach

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