Article Writing Master Class – Ideas
by Allison Whitehead
Allison is a frequent writer for Constant-Content.com where you can buy original articles and original website and blog content (usually from $20-$50 and each article 300-1000 words) on every conceivable topic.
Ideas are behind every successful article sale. Ideally we will have an abundance of them in reserve, so we will never be short of articles to write.
Here are some pointers to ensure you’ll never run out:
1 – Where to find writing ideas.
Answer – everywhere. But the best and most convenient place to look is in your immediate vicinity. You can get ideas from friends, family, your own experiences, work, hobbies, your daily newspaper, magazines, problem pages, and so on.
The key is to start being aware of your surroundings, and opening your eyes to the possibilities of the things you see. Asking yourself ‘what if’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and so on, is also a good way to get ideas, but you need to train yourself to spot what’s all around you.
2 – Developing article topics.
It’s not enough to look at something and think you want to write about it. You need to develop that idea.
What angle do you want to approach it from? If you’re writing about teabags, to pick a mundane subject, are you going to write about a specific type, or how they are made, or how tea was discovered, or how many people drink it compared to coffee, or is it good for you?
Writing about teabags in general is too unfocused to make a knock-em-dead article. Narrow the focus – specifics are more interesting.
3 – Angling your writing ideas to a specific market.
Ten different magazines could do an article on the same subject, but they would all be vastly different, because they would all be angled to a different readership, and this is the rule to bear in mind when offering an article for sale.
Sometimes the article idea will come first, and you can look for a suitable magazine to target; other times you will find a magazine you would like to write for and think of an appropriate idea for it. Whichever way you approach an idea for a market, make sure the angle is specific to that market, and can be written for that audience.
4 – Make article ideas unique to you.
Ever heard people say, ‘only so and so could have done that’?
Well you can aim for this in your writing too. Make your approach or angle something that editors won’t see from anyone else. This is harder than you might think, but if you can make it unique in some small way, it will stand out and get you noticed by the editor.
This will develop in time, this way of looking at an idea from your unique point of view, but it’s a skill that’s well worth developing.
5 – Matching writing idea to article length.
Again, this is a skill that will come with practice. Obviously, if you want to write a piece on the history of the American elections, for example, you’d be hard pushed to cram it into a 500 word piece. You’d be better off concentrating on a single aspect or election for a length like this. Conversely, if the article length is 2000 words, you know you can fill it with much more information.
A word of warning here – don’t offer a long article until you’re sure you’ll be able to get the information you need to fill it.
6 – Different types of article from the same idea.
This is a good multiple sales technique. Gaining the most out of each block of research is one of the secrets to fast sales.
Let’s take dreams – I sold an article on erotic dreams, another on naked dreams, and I have more ideas for precognitive dreams, animals in dreams and their meanings… and so on.
You can also do a humorous article, a practical article on dealing with nightmares and bad dreams, a first person piece on your own dreams, and what you’ve learned from them… the list goes on.
7 – Maximum article mileage from a single niche.
Think of all the different articles you could write from a single idea – and think of as many angles as you can. This is more of a case of the same type of article (practical, for example) slanted towards different markets.
This is especially good to do with a familiar subject, like your hobby – try and think of as many different magazines you could slant your hobby towards.
8 – Brainstorming.
A fantastic way to come up with ideas, and also to develop them. Pick up a magazine at random and open it to the first word you see. Use this as a starting point, and see where it leads you.
Alternatively, write down as much as you can think of to do with your work or hobby, and see where it leads you. Write down everything you can think of, however silly – it lets your mind wander and encourages creativity, so let it express itself.
The silliest idea can often trigger something else, or generate an article idea that is within your grasp to write, and is worth writing about.
9 – Try word association and other methods.
Word association can generate lots of ideas for subjects to write about. This is an easy way to start with some fresh ideas. Reading news stories, problem pages and surfing the net are other fast ways to get the initial germ of an idea.
You will still need to develop it, but writing non newsy articles that are inspired by news stories is a great way to take advantage of using ready made news stories as a springboard to some original material, using the original story as research.
10 – Knowing what to reject.
Unless you know you can get an interview with a world famous star, it’s probably not a good idea to develop an article around that. An idea that is workable must be one you can research without too much difficulty.
Either that, or find an angle on a subject that you know you can do. Sometimes it can be a case of just altering your focus, or narrowing it, to get the article idea to a size you can write about.
Provided that doesn’t ruin the whole drive of the article, that could be your best bet. So recognise whether or not your enthusiasm matches your ability to write the article… before you offer it.