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3 Content Writing Tips That Help Me Develop Content Ideas
Being a writer is more than a full time job, it is a constant learning experience.
If you are like me, a lot of our time is spent thinking of ideas to write about. It doesn't really matter if we have been contracted to write content for a client or want to add some content to our online portfolio, finding a place to start can take hours sometimes.
We do not have to be sophisticated authors of sci-fi novels to find ourselves in a perpetual state of writer's block. Writer's block happens to all of us, even bloggers and copywriters. In order to defeat writer's block, one first must understand why we get it.
I can put it no better than Jeff Goins who wrote: "Here’s the truth: writer’s block doesn’t exist. Not really. It’s a condition that exists entirely in your head. That wall you’re building is made of air, not bricks. But when we believe this lie we tell ourselves, it becomes real."
I must say, I agree wholeheartedly with Goins on this matter. As the old saying goes, "Think long, think wrong." In no other profession does that hold truest than in writing. So, next time you feel that dreaded writer's block creeping into the creative corners of your mind, try these three tips.
Google Is Only As Good As Your Search Inquiries
Keep Up To Date On Current Events
The best way for content writers to keep fresh ideas rolling in is by staying on top of current events. I would classify "current events" as any of the following:
- Breakthroughs in technology
- Advancements in medicine
- New developments in sustainable energy
- Automotive trends
- Legislative changes, whether state or federal
- Crime and punishment news
- Marketing trends
- Trends in the business world
Of course, this is by far a complete list. But, for me, this is primarily what my clients are asking me to write about. And that's the thing: the more you write for clients, the better you become at recognizing trends in the world of content writing. Your clients are usually following trends in their industry - this is what they are wanting to create content about.
In order to stay on top of the latest news in the industries you cover, it doesn't always help to rely on quick Google searches. Only a limited number of websites are indexed in Google News and even fewer are chosen for its News aggregator.
In order to achieve the best search results, I usually do the following:
- Start by conducting a very basic search
- Compare your Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and headlines to other news sources throughout the web
- Learn the demographics of your chosen news and information sources
- Determine some of the most recognized brand names in the industry
- Learn about the well-known commentators associated with the industries you write about
Furthermore, it is essential to keep your eye on the big voices in all the industries you write content on. Follow them on social media to see what they're posting, what they're reading and what their thoughts are on certain subjects. By understanding and knowing the thought processes of major influencers in different industries, you will be able to predict what will be in the headlines tomorrow.
Social Media Can Tell You a Lot About How Society Is Feeling At the Moment
Stay Tuned To the Voices of Social Media
Social Media is a funny thing. It is true that there is a lot of false information circulating most social media. Nonetheless, you're not really trying to obtain facts from voices on social media per se. Social media is a place to gauge the general public's views about certain trends, to see the questions they ask and what is inspiring them to comment.
You can find topic ideas from asking these questions about what you are reading on social media:
- Why did this inspire controversy?
- What made people comment?
- What was the biggest issue people commented about?
- Who else might this event or trend affect besides the person interviewed for the story?
- What might be the long-term result of these new trends?
- What does this show us about how people’s attitudes have changed on a given subject over a period of time?
By asking yourself these questions, you can easily find topics to write about that interest people.
Reading Is What Spawns Creativity - Creativity Is What Spawns Action
Keep Reading Every Chance You Get
You would be amazed how many article ideas you're able to come up with by simply reading on a consistent basis. There are no writers I know of who don't read. But it isn't only about reading, it's about taking notes as you read.
These days, reading is once again the fashionable thing to do. And I am not saying this simply because I am a pro-reading activist. It's no secret that reading can greatly influence a person, even masses of people. That's why many authors throughout history have lost their lives behind the words they wrote.
Why is reading so vital to your writing? Anyone can write, but to write well is very complicated. It is a skill that cannot be obtained by simply learning grammar rules, punctuation and different techniques of writing. These things are important, but these things are only as good as your ability to manipulate words in a way that moves people. Reading the words of others who are masters at the art is the only way to get there.
- It helps you reveal the secrets of this job in practice
- It helps you learn from real gurus of writing
- It makes you understand the language better
- It provides you with wider vocabulary for your own works
- It helps you learn your genre better
- It lets you gain new knowledge
- It helps you find inspiration
Think of this: every musician has him or herself been a lover of music. It is that very love of music that they became makers and players of music. Every musician has a list of their favorite musicians. That's guaranteed.