How to Choose Topics that Attract Readers and Build Organic Traffic
Thinking about a good topic is already a tedious and often stressful task to do, let alone the discouragement you have to deal with when you realize there's a lot of competing hubs out there with almost the same topic. Luckily, there's still a way out of that situation, and I will present here my personal tips and suggestions.
What usually hinders you to start writing on a topic?
Reading Relevant Articles
This multi-purpose procedure may be seen as a no-no for some because you'll end up getting discouraged by tons of great materials out there. Although this may take some challenge, as well as time, for you to get used to, you need to read those articles, so you'll not end up duplicating them but instead come up with a fresh content with an added value. Also, reading other articles may equip you with better knowledge and ideas on your topic providing you more authority. Looking it this way will make this step advantageous for you. Okay, okay, what will be the next step?
Analyze and Evaluate the Articles
You need to carefully analyze the article (even if by merely scanning or skimming), to pinpoint unexplored areas and give you a firmer understanding of the topic you want to write about. Keep in mind that our goal here is to generate value and not just recycling existing ones. Now, you'll ask me, "how will I be able to generate value".
I have three main points (i.e. suggestions) for you, which I've summarized through a diagram below. This will give you an understanding of what I'm trying to achieve here. Details of each point is laid down after the illustration.
Finding and Filling the Gap
Although this is a common practice for research, the same process can be applied as well for articles. This is the reason why you need to gauge existing ones. You will need to figure out gray areas you can explore and write about. For example, something about roaches inspired me to write; however, I do not know yet what I would focus on. I checked the existing and available articles and found out there were a lot of general fun facts.
I devoted half an hour to think of something interesting that hasn't been explored much yet. Imagine, I was thinking about roaches for 30 mins. Then, suddenly, I got a question suddenly coming - why do roaches flip over when they die. Immediately, I checked the web for it, and noticed that there were nothing much about it. In fact, I needed to extensively gather info to come up with the article. To cut the further story short, the article is now getting abundant traffic.
If you are an online writer, you may want to further improve your personal brand through Google Authorship. It will enable you to have your articles be fully associated with you. Plus, you get to have your photo shown in the Search Engine Results Page.
Represent Another Perspective
Remember the time when the Twilight Saga made a smashing hit? Millions of copies were sold during those times. Up until the fourth and last installment, people were still buying and reading. However, there was something else after that made a buzz - the leaked version of Midnight Sun. You see. Even if it pertains to the same thing, the representation of another perspective creates another value that people may want to read about. Hence, you just need to induce some creativity to come up with something new and worthwhile.
Here's another example. The World of Oz captured a lot of viewers decades ago. Writers wanted to explore more about the great film so they came up with several versions such as The Wicked, a musical that gave more focus to the story and perspective of Theodora. The latest creation was the film Oz the Great and Powerful wherein the character of Oz was given emphasis. The common thing between them is that they still get to be watched. Hence, the same principle applies to writing.
Fill the Gap
Represent another Perspective
Rebutt or Reinforce a Claim
Cover unexplored topics or sub-topics
Reinvent a topic
Gather more facts to support or go against a claim
Find something specifically interesting
Induce creativity in presenting your write-up
Break what's conventional
Narrow down topics and write about a good sub-topic
Add another dimension to existing articles
Innovate new ways, procedures and/or methods
Rebutt or Reinforce a Claim
If the topic you chose is something that can be argued upon, you may want to verify existing claims by either rejecting or reinforcing them. This definitely requires research, since you will be providing a different set of information.
However, don't limit this procedure with serious matters (i.e. debatable topics), you may incorporate this with food. For example, you may want to write about "How to Properly Eat a Cupcake". This hints out that you are suggesting a new way, and somehow telling others that the usual way may not be that correct. Now, that will catch some attention.
Wrapping up: Value is King
In the world of writing, value of your content is king (e.g. the humor, the entertainment or simply the usefulness of the information you provide). Hence, always ensure that you are generating some. Keep this in mind as you conceptualize for something to write about, and you may end up making a smashing hit! Good luck with your writing venture, my friend!
If you want some more tips on writing particularly while working on one, you may want to check out the second and third installment of this 3-Part DIY Writing Guide Series. Navigate through the text box on the right. Keep writing, and continue to be inspired!
© 2013 Renz Kristofer Cheng