Coming up with topics to write about is not hard.
Not hard at all actually.
The secret is to have a system in place so you can catch your bursts of inspiration and the feedback you get.
It’s all about preparation. If you fail to prepare, which I did for many years, then you will get ideas, but they will be lost in the clutter that is your mind.
With that said, here are a few simple tricks you can use to find good topics to write about:
There is no rule that says that thou shalt only produce content that is 100% unique, original, and genius.
It’s easy to think, with everyone talking about producing remarkable content, that you have to constantly create something completely new and “fresh.”
Yeah, that’s not going to happen, so don’t stress over about it.
What you have to teach or say has probably already been said, but what makes it unique is that it hasn’t been said by you.
You may not think that you have a unique voice, but you do, and even if you don’t, it will come.
With that said … a great way to get ideas for blog topics and web content is to simply browse the web and see what’s out there. Check out blogs, news sites, or even social sharing sites like Digg.com, and let the ideas flow.
Once you have an audience, you can simply ask what’s bothering them, frustrating them, or what they want to learn more about.
It doesn’t have to get more complicated than that.
I have more content than I can write about just from asking my readers what they need.
I’m doing my best to catch up with it all, but it’s going to take a long time, and most likely, I will never get to all of them, because I am constantly getting more feedback and generating more ideas of my own.
Once you get a system in place, which I will talk about in just a minute, you will have more good topics to write about than you can possible handle.
3. Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are great places to observe. Look at what people are saying about your topic. What kind of problems are they having? What are they complaining about?
Is there something you could do to address their problems, or even write a post about the problem itself and talking about your opinion and what you think a good solution may be?
This is not rocket science, and not every post you write will be a home-run.
Once you let go of the end result, the flood gates open.
Forums are a fantastic way to find out what’s going on in your niche. A simple search on Google for <your topic> + forum will yield thousands of results.
You can sneak around and see what’s going on, or you can jump in and see how the water is.
The possibilities are endless.
Once you start writing, you will get feedback, which will help you branch out and cover other related topics.
Let’s say I write a post about search engine optimization, which is a pretty complex topic; I will most likely get a handful of questions in the comments and via email, which will give me ideas for future articles.
Use everything you can get. If you’re running out of topics to write about, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.
If lurking on forums, hanging out on social media sites, and asking your readers isn’t enough, then a great source for ideas is your past.
Think back to what problems you had when you were starting out.
For example, something I had a lot of trouble with in the beginning was email marketing. I couldn’t find a good course anywhere.
All I could find were low-quality products, so I paid someone to mentor me 1-on-1.
Whenever I read books, on whatever topic, I get a flood of ideas. There’s something about reading a good book that stretches your mind.
I recently bought a kindle, so I’m constantly reading something, and it helps me think outside the box.
Another great way to get ideas is to look at the bestselling books on Amazon around your topic. Look at the table of contents for ideas you can “borrow”.
The table of contents has been thoroughly researched and meticulously planned so it will draw in people, and the topics covered are about subjects people care about. Use it to your advantage.
Put your personality out there and let readers know what your opinion is. You may alienate some people, while others become raving fans.
You cannot be everything to everyone.
I could talk about what I think about search engine optimization and if what’s being said is really true.
The only thing I’d say is to not start ranting about anything. There has to be a reason to your article, otherwise your readers will go “who cares?”
9. Keyword Research
A fantastic way to not only find topics to write about, and optimize your posts for search engine traffic is to do keyword research.
If you were into say … strength training, you might find keywords like:
- What is strength training?
- Benefits of strength training
- Strength training exercises
- Strength training for athletes
- Strength training for beginners
Some very good topics that start writing about, don’t you agree? This is how I build my niche websites: I start off brainstorming topics I am interested in. I then use Market Samurai to look at which topics are good and which aren’t.
10. Catch Your Ideas
Keep a small notepad and pen with you wherever you go, or use your cell phone to catch your ideas.
You may think that you will be able to remember whatever ideas you have if you’re out on a walk, but 30 minutes later, you will be left scratching your head.
Write everything down. Everything.
11. Get Organized
I finally got organized and started putting all the feedback and questions I got in a spreadsheet. It’s very simple; all I do is add questions and ideas into a column. That way I have a good overview of what is going on in the idea department, and what my readers want.
I then make those questions and ideas into headlines for future content. It may even spark ideas for future ebooks, products, or services.
Whatever you do, don’t try to figure things out in your head. It doesn’t work, at least not for me, and probably won’t for you either.
Wrapping It All Up
Writing for the world requires courage. You will feel like you don’t have anything to share, so you censor yourself because inside, you’ve already failed.
The way you get around this is to write without editing. Dump everything you have inside and then rewrite. Rewriting is where the magic happens.
No one writes a perfect draft. Be okay with whatever feelings you have, because we all have them.
What you think are your worst articles will surprise you when they start spreading like wildfire across the web, while the ones you were most proud of will fall flat right before your eyes.
Writing, like anything, is about self-exploration, not about being perfect.