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Finding Ideas for Your Articles
A phrase you hear a lot now in terms of Internet marketing is that "content is king". Writing a few articles a week and submitting them to article directories and blogs can help you slowly climb the search engine ladder. However, what happens when writer's block strikes or the proverbial well in your head runs dry? Well, don't fret about it. In the information age you will never run out of sources for ideas, and don't think too hard either. The average reader is looking for clear, easy to understand information, not elaborate prose that would impress your English professor. Just write like you're having a conversation or giving advice to your neighbor.
The following tips can keep your well of ideas full for a lifetime's worth of relevant search engine optimized content.
Subscribe to Internet News Sites. Don't just subscribe to corporate news you'll find on your MSN or Yahoo browser, but alternative news sources which very often contain information about the latest technologies, trends, products and issues before the mainstream media catches on. Signing up for Yahoo Buzz is a good one to get a feel for what Internet shoppers and surfers are looking for. Subscribers even vote on what will be the next hot topic. I even found some great information from an alternative news site called infowars.com which could be considered a conspiracy theory web site. One of their advertisers had an early model of a system that could allow you to power your car on 40% water and I was able to get some information from a dealer for a writing project to promote an alternative fuel eBook.
Become a "blogaholic". Start with something basic, like Google blogs. Pay attention to people's opinions and thoughts about their experiences. Very often this is where you will find out what is really on people's minds, as they pour their suppressed feelings and emotions into an online receptacle. For every product, service, or topic, there is a blog you can find for it.
Pay attention to message boards. These can sometimes become addicting because of how unabashed and controversial people's comments are in regards to political or consumer issues. For most news websites you can subscribe to a message board, observe people's comments and get a feel for the true pulse of the average American which scratches deeper than the image of the average consumer that corporate America and the media portray. This way, you can find out what people want, what they're mad about, and get ideas of how you might be able to solve it through a business and then write about your solution.
Discussion boards. I like to use Yahoo, where I get my e-mail. You can browse through topics and subtopics at any time of day and there will be a heated discussion going on - whether it's global warming or Britney Spear's cellulite. Involve yourself in the discussion and ask questions. You might find out some insight that you didn't realize before, and it will be original and sincere as it's coming from a discussion of people that truly care about whatever topic it is. Very often these boards are filled with people obsessed with the product or issue so you can get some very pertinent, expert facts and information that will make your content stand out.
Subscribe to various ezines. This way, you'll get a constantly updated content that you can browse. There will almost always be a link or headline that will catch your eye with all that's going on in the crazy world of cyberspace.
Finally, a word of advice that I've heard from a lot of successful authors, including Stephen King at his inaugural address at the University of Maine; read, read, read. Read lots of articles, books, etc. If you like to hang out at Barnes & Noble, like I do, bring a pen and notepad as you browse and peruse the books. In fact, a writer should always have one. You never know when an idea for an article will pop into your head, and it's better to commit it to pen than memory. Such a journal can be a source for an endless supply of article ideas, and an endless supply of readers and potential customers.