Ugh – that's all I have to say about finding new content and creating outstanding, appealing, eye-grabbing titles. As Content Manager, I am charged with creating all the titles/ideas for new content articles on behalf of many clients in various industries and niche markets. Sometimes it comes easy – other times, it definitely does not! I do have certain things I do to help me in this task and would love to share them with you.
Eyes In The Back Of My Head!
As a mother/grandmother/great-grandmother (oh yeah!), I always told my respective children that I had 'eyes in the back of my head.' They couldn't figure out whether or not that was true, so generally they just believed that I always knew what they were doing and didn't match wits with the all-seeing mother/grandma/great-grandma.
So I also have to have eyes all over my head to be watching for something that will trigger an “Ah-Ha! Moment” – a 'that would make a great article!' moment. What does this mean? Everything I do during the day online means that I am poised to see that information or topic from a viewpoint of whether it could be a great topic (and hopefully the great title will come later...). Always.
Use Those Questions That Pop Into Your Head!
Answer the questions that float in your head when you're reading an article. It happens to everyone – I just take those thoughts and questions to look for answers – and articles. Mostly this is when I'm online – but not always. Never thought I'd be driving down the road and get excited because I actually saw a digger derrick at work - imagine that! I'm yelling to my co-worker Sarah: “Look – it's a digger derrick truck! Wow – should I stop to get a photo of a real working one?”
Go Outside Your Comfort Zone!
Go outside your own thought box – maybe you don't like the concept or even the industry in particular. That doesn't mean someone out there won't find it great content. So be willing to go outside your own comfort zone and knowledge area. When a thought arises like this, Google on it and don't be surprised at the number of new ideas that will pop up!
Links – And You!
Love Links! When you find subject matter you like – look for related articles/links, even if you have enough ideas/titles for the month. I add good links at the bottom of my current list as “Later Posts” and I love myself the next month/quarter when I've done that. Because invariably, that is the month when my brain went on vacation and forgot to warn me!
Don't Avoid Seasonal Topics or Thoughts!
You may think that certain areas would not ever use seasonal input/articles – wrong! Even 18-wheeler articles or blogs for divorce lawyers can deal with seasonal topics, from weather changes to holiday driving to holiday custody issues and more. Google on it and I bet you'll be surprised at what you can find!
Subscribe to Industry-Specific Publications!
This is the ultimate to get fresh content for your client. Subscribe to every (free) industry publication that usually contains good and new information. Then search in the publications for fresh thoughts about a topic. Come up with a title, then Google on it to read fresh information. Voila!
My Ultimate Last Resort – Tools
I really, really, really don't like to use tools or rely on lists of same-o titles like “10 Best Ways to Blah, Blah, Blah” or “Top Reasons To Blah, Blah, Blah.” Using these crutches denies my innate creativity and makes me feel I am disappointing our client. But – when that old writing block in the sky hits you in the head and you have deadlines to meet – use your favorite tool of choice to come up with some ideas. Then – tweak the results! Nothing says you have to use it verbatim – get out the old Thesaurus and find some new ways of saying the same thing. (Please note this title is NOT “Top 8 Tips To Find New Article Content!”)
Final Tip – Do Not Rely On Memory!
OK, I'm not 25 any more (or 35 or 45 or 55 or...) and I have had to begrudgingly accept that I can't remember everything. So when an idea comes to you – get it written/noted somewhere! Your smart phone has a notes section – put it there! There's nothing worse than knowing you had a great idea while you were driving to the store – and for the life of you, you couldn't remember what it was when you finally got to your computer! Take notes – do NOT rely on memory, because it is fleeting and easily gone.
Ok, that's it for now. While it is always great to write about your own specialty, your own niche, your own passion - that is not a luxury afforded to content managers. Who would have thought I'd become an expert on big rig trucks – certainly not me! Oh, a side effect/aftermath/offshoot of doing this is that I cannot/am unable to think of a sentence/phrase/topic without automatically/mechanically/involuntarily spinning/writing/coming up with an alternative/optional word or two – but that's another story!