Some days one of the hardest things to get is an idea. It doesn’t matter how much you love your site, your topic or anything, sometimes that first idea is just really hard to get.
A favorite way of mine to get ideas is to read what others have written. But there’s something you have to be careful of. You do not want to plagiarize anyone. But there are a few simple ways you can avoid this problem.
Discuss Their Article and Link to Them
If you really like what someone else has written, there’s nothing stopping you in most cases from linking to the article, crediting a few key points and adding in your own thoughts. It’s a great way to share quality information.
You may get some attention from the original author when they note the link to their site. This makes for not only great inspirations, but a pretty good networking tool. It can also be good for search engines to note that you link out, sharing good information, rather than hiding away on your own site. I read that some time ago on Daily Blog Tips, and I agree with how they explain it.
Disagree with Their Article
Disagreeing with what someone else wrote can be fun. If you’re going to link to their article and explain why you disagree, you might just get some conversation going. Or a bit of anger, whatever. It depends on how you write your own article and on the personality of the person you’re disagreeing with.
You’ll note however, that I said if. Linking isn’t something I always do.
There’s good reason for that. Sometimes what I’m disagreeing with is when I feel someone is promoting a scam or something mighty close to one. If I feel the article is promoting something I don’t care to link to, I won’t.
In that case, my own article is likely more general. It doesn’t need to go from point to point countering everything.
It may also not even appear to be disagreeing with anything in particular. When I’ve read something I’ve disagreed with, sometimes the resultant article is strictly about my point of view.
Sadly, some people will write anything for a chance to earn money. While you may not agree with what they’re saying, you can take it as inspiration to discuss your perspective.
An example of this would be the scads of “Google Money” and similar splogs that were all over the place in 2009. I disagreed plenty with them, but I wasn’t about to link to any. Much better to link to the resources that explained why they should be avoided.
Read Only the Titles
You can get a lot of ideas just from the titles of other articles. Read the title and create one of your own.
When I do this, sometimes it won’t even be on the same topic as the title I read. The other title just gets me thinking on a topic of my own. It might be the type of the title, it might be just one word that makes me sit up and say “hey, that’s an idea!”
Read the Articles and Note Individual Ideas
This is one you have to be very careful with, as it can reach into plagiarism if you aren’t careful. It can pay to take just one or two concepts from an article and note them for a future article.
Generally speaking, if I get an idea from someone else’s article I’m either going to write it up immediately with crediting links, or I’m going to take just one concept and develop things in my own direction in a few days.
I don’t like to write the second kind of article there immediately. My mind is likely too full of ideas from the other author’s article, and I don’t want to accidentally imitate them. Giving it a couple days and reading other things gives me time to develop it into something unique.
If you really want to make the idea your own, take things a step farther and don’t use it directly. Instead, brainstorm on related ideas. You can write it out on paper, type them into your word processor, use Google’s Wonder Wheel or even use a keyword tool to see what comes out.
Reading on forums is a great way to find out what questions people are asking about your niche. If someone is asking the question on a forum, you have a good chance that someone else is asking it on the search engines.
You’ll notice that a lot of these ideas I use are for generating ideas to write about another day. Many times when I can’t think of a topic to write about, even with a topic I’ll struggle more than usual with the writing. Taking a day to generate ideas rather than articles means that the days I’m more into writing are more productive because the ideas are all there.
You can do many of these tips with articles you’ve previously written for your own site too. You can disagree with something you previously wrote because you’ve learned something new. You can go into more detail on topics you’ve written before. You can take a new angle on an old topic.
Just do your best to keep from rehashing the same information over and over again on your site.