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2:34 pm on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Since this topic is suppose to be about content and writing, I want to ask how some of you generate your ideas for writing new content. Specifically, how does one go about writing an article without it turning into a re-hash of information that could already be found on the Net?

I'd really like to start my own website (news/informative) on possibly a variety of topics, but I want it to be purposeful, not redundant.

Do any of you find yourself in similar situations?

I can feel the "write about your interests" replies coming..


3:01 pm on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Generating ideas for articles:

Some things I do, no special order and there are probably more.

1. Search phrases people use to find site - expand on them
2. Pages from better paying channels - expand on them
3. Put a search facilty on your site that tells you what people look for - write about the things they didn't find
4. Ask your users what they want to read about. Amazingly a lot of them will tell you.
5. Related keywords from Google/Wordtracker - write about them
6. Constantly reading websites/blogs etc related to your topic
7. Constantly reading magazines/books/newspapers on your topic or related topics
8. When writing an article, consider if anything you refer to within it is worthy of a separate article.
9. Read forums related to topic and write about the things people ask about. Archived/older posts are goldmines.
10. Search Google using common phrases that people use to find your site - look at the ads, any new topics there?
11. Keep the radio/TV turned on to channels that have programmes about the site topic - I often type a rough draft of an article as I listen.
12. Subscribe to any email newsletters/press releases you can find in your area
13. Listen up when with friends/on the bus/in a restaurant if conversation strays onto your topic
14. In shops look though magazines that are even vaguely related to your topic - even if you do not find a subject you may get some interesting presentation ideas or novel approaches

I keep a file called "article ideas" for any sites I write for, all on my desktop. The minute something strikes me I add a note to it. I also have a tiny notebook I carry everywhere with me to write ideas into when there is no computer handy.

how does one go about writing an article without it turning into a re-hash of information that could already be found on the Net?

1. Research off the net as well as on it
2. Take a new/different/controversial angle to the subject
3. Bring together information that is on the net already but for which you need to look in 10 different places to get the full picture - it is amazing how often this is the case
4. Write it better. There is a lot of very poor copy out there, it may contain nuggets but is unreadable.
5. Put yourself into it if appropriate - give opinions, tell of your experience, solicit user feedback

I can feel the "write about your interests" replies coming..

It is good advice - doing all of the above is a terrible chore if you have no interest in the topic, but easy enough if you do.


5:42 pm on Aug 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Specifically, how does one go about writing an article without it turning into a re-hash of information that could already be found on the Net?

There's a lot of value in re-hashing information that can already be found on the Net. A lot of value.

For example, suppose I am considering buying expensive consumer electronic device X. Because it's expensive, I will go online and start researching. I'll try to find all the decent reviews I can. I'll try to find any newsgroup posts that mention problems buyers have had with this device. And I'll try to locate the best price for the device, from a reputable dealer.

Now, suppose that I sum up all that work I just did by making a web page that points to each useful resource I found, categorized and with editorial comments. That is, really, nothing more than "re-hashing" existing information. Is it valuable? Oh yeah! Anybody getting ready to start the same process would much rather find my page of re-hashing than repeat all that research work themselves.

The opportunities for re-hashing information on the Internet to make valuable content are very, very large.


2:12 pm on Aug 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm involved in ecommerce and therefore read a fair amount about 'distinguishing' yourself from the oppostion, finding your unique selling proposition.

I subscribe to a really brilliant small business owners nesletter and when I was reading it the other day I realised that the guy who runs it has lighted on an amazing business idea.

His USP is that nobody else is him. He brings all his interests to the nesletter, somtimes there are sci fi references, sometimes a bit of psychology, always a couple of examples. Often a few disparate bonkers ideas that suddenly pull together at the end and really make me think about my business. Absolutely nobody else could write this newsletter but him.

You said you are looking for a purpose for your website, which is very encouraging because it insinuates that you want to do more than make money. The purpose is tell your visitors things that only you can tell them, in a way that only you can tell them.

When you're trying to get to sleep tonight pick one of your possible topics, think - if there's one thing I could tell meg8 I could this it would be that...
then you can come back tomorrow and tell me or make it a the first page for that site.

Facts are important, they are what you may source from the internet, but it's the nkad05 in the webpage that will give it purpose.

The mind often works by association, keep a pencil and paper by the bed and write down all the ideas that occur to you once you've told your mind to think.

It works for me, but the insominia is becoming a problem...


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