Are you writing articles? Whether you're writing content for your own websites, or are selling articles to websites and magazines, quality content starts with a great idea.
These days, great ideas are essential. Google's Panda update declared war on junk content, so no one wants rehashed, stale material.
Better yet, they're prepared to pay for it. Companies are hiring their own "brand journalists." Allegedly, these folk have editorial freedom. Their job is to create good content, primarily for their employer, but also for others. When a brand journalist writes for another site, he gets a valuable link back to his employer's site.
Let's look at four super simple ways to get great ideas for articles.
1. Look for News in an Industry
Your first step is to check the news in an industry. Not so that you can rehash the news, but so that it informs your own thinking. In the news, you'll find indicators of industry changes. You'll also find sources for interviews.
2. Keep a Journal
Mae West said: "Keep a diary, and someday it'll keep you."
Truer words were never spoken. Successful writers journal. Your journal clarifies your thinking. It's a repository for ideas you'll write tomorrow and next year.
Journaling is also valuable as a writing practice: it keeps your mind focused on your writing.
3. Think About Your Audience
Whenever you're asked to write articles on a topic that's new to you, your first step is to understand your audience. Talk to people. Visit the blogs they read, and the forums they frequent.
What keeps your audience awake at night? What drives them to despair? Put yourself in your audience's shoes.
Talk to people. Sites like HARO give you access to sources.
4. Explore Press Releases, Forums, and Blogs
Press releases, forums and blogs are vital resources. Few writers use these resources effectively.
When reading press releases, forums and blogs, never research without a plan -- questions to which you want answers. Make notes. Keep the notes in your journal.
Set strict time limits on your research. I usually limit myself to ten minutes per session.
Stay focused on your research plan. You'll never know "everything." Your aim is always firstly to know enough to understand your audience. Then you need to get ideas, and finally, you need to know the answers to specific questions raised when you're writing.
You can generate a six-figure income, just by writing exclusive, unique articles. It's worth learning how to do this well, and it starts with getting great ideas.
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