When I launched this dojo, I had the goal of 150 articles in the first 90 days. This is a lofty goal for sure. 150 articles is a lot. How did I brainstorm all the article ideas to plan out 150 articles? It's actually much easier than you think. I'll explain my unique method in-depth throughout this guide.
Real quick before we get started. Have you seen my organic traffic and earning estimator tool? It'll help you see how much traffic and revenue you can expect based on how many quality posts you create.
- 1 Don't try to automate this.
- 2 Think about your idea/niche first.
- 3 Read/listen to learn for yourself.
- 4 Take note what resonates most with you.
- 5 Refine the topic list after a break.
- 6 Group into trends, conclusions, culture, concepts, etc.
- 7 Use as inspiration for your own writing, don't steal.
- 8 Write your articles.
I also call this the "never have a shortage of article topics to write about" method. Always having a list, you can pick from whenever you have the time to write will greatly improve your efficiency (no need to waste time thinking of what to write all the time). Here's how:
Don't try to automate this.
I want to start with a short note about automation. If you search for ways to find article topics, you'll be inundated with tools and services that make you believe they can do it all for you.
In some ways, they can, but there's important context usually missing from the generators—your unique view, voice -- your "angle of attack" on the niche.
I get it. It's very tempting to use these tools. They promise to generate thousands of article topics with no effort from you -- but at the expense of your voice. Plus, others are using these tools and generating the same ideas.
You want to be different. To stand out. Be yourself and be of service with your ideas.
🚀 Got a second? Because I'm curious -- as someone interested in finding article ideas, what would you search for in Google to learn about it?
Think about your idea/niche first.
The first actionable thing you should do is take a moment to center your thoughts on what you seek to do. Then who you seek to serve with your words.
Ideally, you would do this before writing every article -- but I have found if you really take the time to do this when in the idea-generating phase, it's usually good enough.
It helps if you think of your story and the story of those who will be reading your articles.
Read/listen to learn for yourself.
This is where the magic lies. Because others will research online... they search Google for topic ideas for their articles. But think about that for a second. If they're searching and finding them on Google, that means someone else has already written that answer -- and Google is showing it.
You don't want to compete with that - you want to be unique. So it's time to learn from more than the average content. Where do you think the best content is?
I suppose technically, everything is somewhere on the internet in some form or another. But that doesn't mean it's easy to follow, well-written, or organized into useful thoughts. So here's what I do.
Study books and audiobooks. To a lesser extent, courses will work too—basically, anything you have to pay to gain access.
Why? Well, flip it around for a moment. If you were the expert writing a book, wouldn't you put your best effort into it -- knowing there is a financial reward to help your life and those you care most about? A good book will incorporate a ton of research and imagination. You can tap into this.
Read and listen to learn, or reiterate, the material that supports your niche idea. While you're going through it, be ready.
Take note what resonates most with you.
While you are reading a book or listening to an audiobook, make notes of what resonates the most with you. Those "whoa! yes! aha!" moments that make your brain juices flow.
I like to write down a quick headline followed by the source and a few keywords about why it resonated with me -- to make it easier to come back to later.
Something like this "You are never done, and you're never sure. (Seth Godin, The Practice -- the journey, hard work, keep going, trust the process."
Please don't feel obligated to write it down this way. Do what works for you; this is how I like to do it -- your best note-taking method is likely different.
Side note, I use the Bear app on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad to always have notes access no matter where I am, and the inspiration strikes. I can be in line at Starbucks, listening to an audiobook, and taking notes -- and it syncs to all my devices.
You should note everything giving you even the tiniest bit of inspiration in this stage of the process. A good book will leave you with a huge list of ideas -- many you might not write about, but we'll refine this next.
Take a day or two off now. You don't want all these fresh in mind when you start refining them.
Refine the topic list after a break.
Don't forget to take that break. One or two days to semi-forget the states of mind you were in when you made the list.
Now it's time to take that big list of topic ideas and do something with them. During the review process, you'll notice some are exceptional ideas, some are great, some... well, maybe you can't quite remember why you wrote it down.
Obviously, you want to keep the exceptional ideas. These are the ones when even re-reading them later; you still get that "aha! yes!" feeling. These are easy to pick out of the list, so do them first.
Next, some you can't remember why you wrote them down... put them off to the side for now. I wouldn't delete them but move them to a new list to come back to later.
What you have left are article ideas that are either great, good or maybe average and could use some more work. I like to put the great topic ideas into the same l list as the exceptional ones.
If you've been really head down into this process and haven't taken a step back to look at your lists overall -- what do you think? Do you have 10-20 exceptional ideas and something like 10-20 more you could probably use too?
Some books will produce way more inspiration than others, so keep reading/listing to more and more to get even more ideas.
Group into trends, conclusions, culture, concepts, etc.
After you have a list of exceptional and great topics, you should group them where they make sense. This is for a couple of important reasons.
One, if the topic is nearly identical to another, you should merge them. Yes, this will make your list shorter, but you don't want a website full of the same-same articles. Google will have difficulty choosing which to rank.
The second reason is to group like topics so you can better organize the articles on your site. Perhaps into content silos to improve your SEO efforts.
Use as inspiration for your own writing, don't steal.
I almost forgot to include this section. You might have had a nagging thought when reading over how to follow this strategy. The benefit is clear, but it might seem like you're stealing someone else's techniques, reasons, and conclusions from their writing.
Don't steal. Use the "aha!" moments as inspiration for topics. You can even use the book itself as a resource to cite. But you should always do your own writing about it. Bring in your ideas, other outside research, or even interviews from others.
Don't copy, don't steal -- be inspired.
Write your articles.
While researching topic ideas for your articles used to be the hard part, now you have to write. This guide isn't about writing your articles, but I wanted to introduce you to another guide I created about using dictation to "write" your articles really fast.
It works very well from my iPad, but there are other dictation tools to can use too.
I hope this guide has given you a new method of coming up with ideas to write about when you think you're stuck.
Don't forget you're always writing to be of service and help your reader learn something new or be entertained.