Ever feel like you’ve covered just about every angle for every topic in your niche and you can’t come up with anything new to write about anymore?
Topic fatigue is normal, and it can happen to any writer or blogger whose work depends on the ability to to come up with unique content on a regular basis.
If you’re having one of those “I can’t think of anything to write about” or “All my ideas suck” days, try taking a breather for a few hours or even a day to let your creative juices kick back in. If that’s not an option (read: looming deadline), check out these online sources that can serve as goldmines for article ideas:
Look up your target audience on Linkedin and join the groups that they belong to. Once you’re there, read the latest discussions in each group and take note of any questions or concerns that you can address.
For example, this guest post for Lifehack about freelance writing entry points was inspired by a question that I saw in one of my LinkedIn Groups.
Plus, mining Linkedin for article topics can also give you a networking and exposure boost. Once you’ve published your article, remember to share the link within the group discussion to answer the original question!
This idea comes from freelance blogger Sophie Lizard. One of her favorite idea generation methods is to read through the comments of her blog posts and take note of any questions that she can answer or comments that she can build on.
“When I publish a post, somebody will pop up and go, ‘This is really cool but I wish you wrote more about this and that’, and I’ll go ‘Okay, then I will.’”
Go back and read the comments of the previous entries on your own site or on your guest posts and see if there any reader questions you can answer. Also consider whether there are any additional discussions, anecdotes, or points that you can write about.
Sites that make stuff go viral (BuzzFeed, Reddit, Upworthy, etc.)
Read about the events that are making waves in the mainstream realm and try to relate them to your topic. Being able to come up with a post that’s somehow linked to the latest box office hit, viral video or [insert most recent celebrity/political scandal here] will help you kill two birds with one stone.
Adding a timely element will help you get rid of your topic fatigue and be able to come up with an article. In addition, since people are more likely to read and share content related to trending topics, you’ll be able to increase the reach and traffic potential of your post.
Okay, so if it’s a really slow news day and you can’t find a good enough trending topic to write about, consider taking your search closer to home. Browse through your own inbox for any interesting conversations. Did a colleague send you something funny recently? What are the most common questions that you get?
Perhaps you can share a client success story and write about how it happened or how you did it. Case in point: Last month, I sent out an email that helped me land a new freelancing client. It was a big win for me, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself and I wanted to share it with the world. So I wrote about my experience, pitched the article to another site, and my post went live a few days later.
Let ideas come to you
You don’t always have to go looking for article inspiration. If you set up the right systems, you can have ideas landing on your lap on a regular basis.
If you haven’t done so yet, set up Google Alerts for specific topics or search terms in your industry. This nifty service sends relevant search results straight to your inbox whenever Google indexes a new page pertaining to your search terms, so you’ll always get a heads up whenever something new comes up in your field. (Hat tip to Carol Tice for the idea.)
You can also subscribe to industry mailing lists to receive curated news bits and events in your niche. For instance, since I write for many companies in the startup and eCommerce realms, I subscribed to StartupDigest for my weekly dose of startup news, and I signed up for IRNewsLink, Internet Retailer’s newsletter, to keep track of the latest stats and news releases in the eCommerce industry.
What are some of the mailing lists and newsletters in your niche? Find them and hit subscribe.
Bottom line: There are plenty of ideas to go around
Don’t let the slow news day bug get you down. Know that there are always new angles, topics, and events that you can write about. Finding them is just a matter of keeping your eyes and your mind open. (Click to tweet this idea).
You can also think of it this way: Having trouble coming up with new topics to write about can be a sign that you need to take things a step further and level up as a writer.
Perhaps you’ve found ideas in the same places and exhausted your resources. Or it could be that the communities or thought leaders that you follow just don’t fit your knowledge and expertise level anymore, and you need to join better groups or learn from more challenging books and courses.
In any case, if you’re stumped on what to write about, it doesn’t help to dwell on it. Instead, see it as a wake-up call to challenge yourself and explore new things.
How do you find new ideas during slow news days? Share your thoughts in the comments below!