Find New Article Ideas in Previous Articles
Respect your previous articles enough to read them again, and new article ideas will literally be right under your nose. That’s right. Weeks or months after you first publish them, the ideas impact you with a new admiration for your genius, and it helps to say out loud, “There are more ideas where those old ones came from.”
Here are 5 ways that some of those ideas can be extracted from your previous articles and provide inspiration for new articles.
Write What's Worth Your Reading
Analyze Popular Articles
After you have written twenty or more articles, it becomes easy to differentiate between the most and least popular. Review the mental process by which ideas for the popular articles came to you; or find whatever is the common thread. Learn from the children who beg from the same uncle again and again, simply because that uncle always gives.
- Does the content of your most popular articles belong to a certain niche? Create more titles in the same niche.
- What is your objective in these articles? To give information, voice your opinion, offer entertainment or encouragement? If your readers seem satisfied, offer more of the same.
- Are your most popular articles written with a specific person, or group of persons, in mind? Many people have the same needs, so that what you write for one may benefit hundreds. Pick on some other individuals you know, and write your personal counsel or opinion concerning their situations.
- Are your articles event-oriented? Write about other road trips, home and garden shows, historic events or whatever your readers appreciate.
This is not an attempt to limit you to one style of writing or to one area of content. It suggests that the trends which worked for you in the past can keep on working for you. It beats looking for completely new ideas at the cost of neglecting ideas which are right for you. Your creativity can find ways to serve up related content in unusual new flavors.
Check Readers' Comments
In their comments on your articles, readers ask questions, offer suggestions and introduce different viewpoints on your topic. Why not act on their responses?
Recently, a reader commented that instead of trying to jog my mother's memory toward the correct facts, it is better to journey back with her into period she remembers. It makes sense, but for my own satisfaction, I have to research the advantages. That sounds to me like an idea for a new article.
Instead of answering a question or an objection with a two-hundred word explanation, why not make your answer into a new article in which readers can find further clarification?
Check Old Polls
Please do not forget about the polls. What do the responses help you to discover about people or about the topic? Can you write an article on the response with the most votes? Wouldn't you like to know how other research findings compare with the findings from your small poll? Now you have some new information on which to build a new article.
Try Different Perspectives
Expand your article ideas by writing on old themes from new perspectives. Although you may be more comfortable with your original viewpoint, you can only grow by attempting to view the same situation from another position.
- You wrote about the cities and architectural upgrades in Puerto Rico; now write about the people and the culture.
- You wrote for individuals obsessed with their physical appearance; now write for people who neglect their physical appearance.
- You counseled married couples on how to protect their marriages with social boundaries; now counsel the intruders on how to respect those boundaries.
- You offered cooking or craft instructions; now offer advice on how those suggestions can improve family togetherness or save them money.
Different people can benefit from your old article, if you convey its message to fit their personal needs. Imagine different individuals asking you questions about the same topic, and you will see the possibility of modifying your perspective.
Write Follow-up Articles
Depending on how much has happened after your articles on dated events, you may want write a follow-up article.
- After the tributes to late celebrities one year of more ago, what remarkable changes have there been in the lives of their remaining family or business?
- Since the volcano eruption or the magnitude 7 earthquake, how have the residents adjusted, or has there been an extraordinary story of survival?
- Since your last article on ideas for weight loss, what other programs have been introduced?
Follow-up articles may be the most popular ones surfacing from previous articles. There is always ongoing research in various fields. Instead of detailed updates appended to the old articles, give notice that there is follow-up information in a new article.
Re-write Least Popular Articles
After you have edited your least popular articles—changed the title, the photos, even the layout—and the readership does not increase, you may want to consider rewriting them.
You can create new and better articles by:
- merging highpoints from two or more unpopular articles (with appropriate content) into one article offering more information;
- applying new writing skills you learned since you first published the original articles;
- updating the information.
You get the opportunity to present a new article to your new followers, and if your earlier followers recognize the old content, they may be impressed by your commitment to self-improvement. You cannot lose by using previous articles as stepping stones to more successful writing.
"There is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV).
“Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings" (Steven Johnson).
These two quotations endorse the concept that there can be new ideas hiding in your previous articles, waiting to be extracted.
- What about the ideas you discarded because they took your article over the word limit?
- What about those you did not follow through because it seemed they would take the article in a direction you did not want to go?
Do yourself a favor and look again at the articles you have already written. You may be surprised at how many new article ideas you will find.
What Do You Think?
Will you ever look at your previous articles for new ideas?
© 2014 Dora Weithers