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3 Ways to Generate Killer Article Ideas

3 Ways to Generate Killer Article Ideas

As freelance writers, it’s extremely difficult to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the pack. You can have perfect grammar/spelling and a very elegant writing style, but it won’t matter if your ideas aren’t creative.

Here are 3 ways to come up with something interesting:

1. Stop Thinking Like Everybody Else

Chances are whatever idea you have for writing, an article has already been covered elsewhere. Just a simple Google search will reveal that. How can you come up with something that’s interesting, but unique at the same time? It might seem impossible since there are so many articles out there, but it can be done quite easily if you know the trick to thinking outside the box.

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At the core of 99.9999% of article ideas, the writer is trying to answer a question the audience might have. Examples are: ‘Top 10 Movies/Games/Whatever of All Time’ or ‘How to fix this’ or ‘How to save money doing that.’ In order for these articles to succeed, it needs to be objectively better than the other articles out there (usually written by experts) and the content needs to be marketed.

Alternatively, you can try writing something unique which has a greater chance of going viral. Here’s the trick: just do the opposite of everyone else and answer a question which the audience doesn’t need to know. Sounds weird? Well here’s an example:

Remember Drogon from Game of Thrones? He’s the largest one and most aggressive one, distinguishable by his red and black scales. Shade Station did an infographic about how much it would cost to feed Drogon. The content saw great success through various Game of Thrones related sub-reddits and forums.

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Name one thing in the world which that knowledge would be useful for. How much does it cost to feed a fictional character? It’s completely useless knowledge, but yet, people are still interested in reading about it. This is the same reason why many articles on Buzzfeed go viral, despite containing useless knowledge. It’s a great place to go to, if you’re looking for examples.

2. Start Stealing Ideas

“Good artists copy; Great artists steal.” Read an article you really liked? Steal it, and add a twist to it to make it yours. This is a great way to come up with ideas which haven’t been covered before.

Here’s how to add the twist:

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Let’s say you recently read an article about ‘3 ways on how to generate killer article ideas,’ and you thought it was an amazing read. Some twists you can do are:

  • Take one aspect of it, and make it the opposite e.g. 3 ways to generate boring ideas
  • Add in an element of ‘what if’ to it e.g. what if you’re on a tight deadline? 3 ways to come up with killer article ideas in just 5 minutes
  • Exaggerate or supersize it: 57 ways to generate killer article ideas

These aren’t the only ways to do so, but they’re a great starting place.

3. Ask the Right Questions

In complex fields such as IT, insurance, health or technology, educating the readers is the top priority. That is why it’s extremely important to ask the right questions. What things do the readers need clarifying or understanding with?

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In order to find out, your best option is to ask the audience directly, rather than try and ‘think in their shoes.’ Being an expert in your field, you will most certainly miss out important questions that need answering.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of this: Ryan Hanley, marketer of ‘The Murray Group’ did a video series called “100 questions answered in 100 days.” This is where he asks people to answer the question: ‘if you can ask one question related to insurance, what will the question be?’ After receiving 147 responses, he narrowed it down to 100 questions and made that video series.

The Murray Group was only receiving 70 hits per week, but during the video campaign, their traffic went up to 500 hits per week. A lot of this success was due to a lot of obscure questions which were not covered in the New York State Department of Insurance’s website.

This goes to show even authority sites will miss out on things which the public wants to know.. The audience will always have questions which are not covered on other sites. Survey them on social media, email, real life or even Survey Monkey to find out what you should write about.

Overall, I hope these 3 tips will help you write engaging articles that will go viral and/or educate the masses.

More by this author

Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

Job Search Experts

You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

Management Experts

They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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Productivity Experts

By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

Marketing Experts

14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

Personal Branding Experts

Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

Other Notable Experts to Follow

29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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