Generating Topic Ideas: The Sweet Spot Where the Broad and the Narrow Coincide

The Holy Grail of Internet writing is creating articles or blog posts that go viral in social media or reach the top of the search engine results. Every article or post that reaches those dizzying heights of success must start with a compelling topic idea.

The Paradox

A paradox lies at the heart of topic creation. Topics compelling enough to attract huge numbers of viewers must be broad enough to have mass appeal while being narrow enough to be different from the millions of other Internet articles on the same topic.

How is it possible to do both at once? You have to look for the sweet spot where the broad and the narrow overlap.

Think Big

When brainstorming topic ideas, first search for subjects that are already popular. Look at the trending topics list in Twitter or see what’s on the “Hot Searches” list in Google Trends. Pay attention to what people are chatting about at real-world or virtual water coolers. Look at your competitors’ sites. What are they writing about?

Topics based on special events are also crowd pleasers. Holidays and major sports as well as political and cultural events can provide fodder for popular topics. And no matter what the season, people want to look better, feel better and make or save more money.

Think Narrow

While articles or posts on popular topics will appeal to a mass audience, the problem is that in search engine results, the articles can get lost in the crowd. Someone Googling “Mother’s Day,” for example, will get 231,000,000 results.

You need to take your broad topic and put your own special spin on it to narrow it down. Consider your readers. What are their interests? Why are they reading your site? What is it about your site that is different from every other site?

Find the Place Where the Broad and the Narrow Intersect

You should now have ideas about popular topics and a sense of what makes your website unique. Next, put the two together. This is the creative part of the process, where you can come up with something new. Brainstorm, and keep a list of your ideas. Test the ideas one at a time by Googling them or by looking on your competitors’ sites. Do any of your ideas stand out as fresh and different? If not, go back a step and dig deeper into what makes your site unique.

Use an Original Voice

Generating great topic ideas is only half the battle. Articles and posts that go viral must be written in a strong, compelling voice. Consider hiring professional freelance copywriters who can bring your ideas to life.

The most compelling and unique articles and posts connect with their audience because they sound as if a real person wrote them, not a generic machine. Encourage your writers to use their own individual voices, and your readers will be more likely to connect with your articles and recommend them to their friends.

Marjorie R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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