New, Inspirational Ways to Develop Engaging Article Ideas

Not to pull the rabbit out of the hat but this year, 2012, I’m pushing to write 1,000 articles on Hubpages (see the challenge, here). Also, I’m back into creative freelance writing which keeps me at a constant drive to create engaging articles for clients and their audiences.

Over the last few days, I’ve been on a hunt to find new sources of article ideas that are relevant to today. I wanted to find real questions from real people to ensure I’m going after long-tail traffic.

Seeing that you’re here, hooked in by the title, let’s dig into some new, inspirational ways of finding engaging article ideas from a few sources you’ve yet to hear about …

It’s 2012, Time to Get Engaged

Pump your brakes! Not that kind of engaged!

These last few years, we writers have been going a bit too far into the SEO territory – a lot of our writing is becoming bland just so we can score a few new visitors a day.

I think 2012 is going to be a year of us being more free and creative with our writing. We’ll be working on posts that will be going outside the box and sometimes have no real placement in our work other than for the benefit of the reader (we all need to relax a bit more and enjoy writing, yeh?)

Sure, there may not be any place for an article about beer on your blog but there might be in the freelancing world or on sites like Hubpages.

We’re getting so wrapped up in our niche of writing that we’re beginning to forget how fun writing can be when we’re not under pressure, hear me?


Pinterest is a fairly new website where people can share their interests with one another. The website is simple and allows you to scroll deeply into the site – some things are meh but there are some real gems here in terms of kicking up some ideas for articles.

How to use Pinterest: Check out the ‘Everything’ or ‘Popular’ section of the website. There, you will find things that people are posting that could become their own articles on your own website or wherever you’re writing.

For example: I see a Pinterest post about ‘Galvanized Water Troughs’ for building your own garden. It’s awesome! It’s also a great idea on creating an article because you could do some research into getting started with gardening, link to products on Amazon, find people talking about it and even pick up some keyword ideas from what people are saying (such as questions and answers).

This site is still new but it’s already taking off – keep it on your radar in 2012.


43Things - A place for people to share their goals.

I’ve had 43Things on my list for some time now for generating ideas but I haven’t really mentioned it. 43Things is a site where people share what they’d like to do and learn which is epic in terms of idea generation since you know what people are looking for – you can even see how many people want to do it which is basically like getting the search volume!

How to use 43Things: Once you’re on the site, you can explore and find what people are interested in. Right now, it’s all about new years resolutions but the normal format is so people can easily gather around another and share their experiences in learning new things. The tag cloud is especially cool because these are the BIG items people are focusing on in 2012 (at the moment).

For example: Just off the top of my head ‘Lose 5 Pounds’ is a biggie on 43Things. This, in actuality, isn’t all that difficult even with basic knowledge of diet and exercise. You could easily turn that idea into something like ‘How to Lose 5 Pounds in January’ in which you talk about diet, exercise, products and even your own progress (that hooks the reader in).

For me, I’ll be checking in and out on 43Things this year to see how people react to new resolutions and goals since they’re always changing – it’s definitely a hot-spot for new article ideas.

Reddit’s ‘I Want to Learn’

IWTL, TIL, AMA - the list goes on an on for inspiration

I’m on Reddit every day; it kills my productivity most of the time. However, there are a lot of great sub-reddits for finding new ideas, joining discussions and talking with real people about the things they’d like to do, learn, interests and hobbies that catch their eye. You could spend hours each day on the site finding new ideas for articles but I specifically like the IWTL thread since its loaded with great ideas.

How to use IWTL: Just take a look through the posts and keep jumping to the next page. Dig into the discussions too! Often, you’ll find a lot of individuals sharing great resources which can become part of your own research for writing an article around the topic.

For example: There’s a current ‘IWTL To get Better at Chess’ – this is perfect. Chess players are very passionate (like golfers) so there’s a lot of opportunity to share some great knowledge, guides, resources and maybe a product (or two) around the topic. If I were to write it, I’d do my research to find what pro players had to say, resources to great Chess websites, books and tutorial videos, forums and even simply linking back over to the sub-reddit.

The trick is to avoid getting consumed in Reddit because you will, literally, waste a day just lurking. Get in, get an idea and get to work.


Like the movie - minus Morgan Freeman

We’ve all heard of a bucket list (no, not the movie) and some of us may have created on (I did so just the other day). Bucket lists are great because this is what people want to do with their lives instead of just some one-off weekend thing. Likewise, it’s often things that most people will want to do so these are real, evergreen topics.

How to use Bucketlist: I recommend checking out the most-liked area because you get to see some stats behind what people want to do – this is really helpful so you’re not wasting time writing. Dig deeper into each by clicking their respected links and see what people are saying about the bucket list item.

For example: I’m reading a bucket list item about going to a drive in theater. Maybe I could write an article on where to find drive in theaters, their cost, maybe the history and so forth. This article would be really cool (it interests me, actually) and you could snag a long-tail keyword that not many people are going for. Hell, it could be a niche site too!

If anything, make your own bucket list and pick up some ideas from there. I guarantee you’re not the only one that wants to go skydiving in Australia or fishing off the coast of Florida.

Bonus: *Seed* Idea Generation

A small screen cap of my own "seed list"

This is one that I’m beginning to use more frequently which boils down to simply finding a seed keyword and then branching it off to relevant article titles.

For example, you could write about Desktop Wallpapers but then why stop there, do very specific ones such as Holiday Desktop Wallpapers so on and so forth.

Off the top of my head, here is an example:

  • How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Coffee
    • How to Grind Coffee Beans to Perfection
      • Where to Find the Best Coffee Beans in your Area

You’re taking that single keyword and running with it. It does two things:

  • Helps you organize ideas and generate new ones on the fly
  • Allows you to easily interlink them between articles

I’ve used this method to pull up hundreds of article ideas in no time. In fact, you can even use modifiers:

  • Best [Video Games] of [Year]

The brackets [ ]’s can be flipped around for other things like movies, blog posts, blogs, businesses, destinations, hotels, etc, etc, etc. Play around with it.

Hot Damn, this will be a LOT of Writing

lol wut, you are a dog, get off the computer

2012 is going to have a ton of writing, no doubt.

I’ve found a few clients for freelance work – got a couple requests – and still making my rounds, getting things started up again.

I guess, in some ways, Murlu is getting back to some of its roots via freelancing. Developing online products are good and all but freelancing has always held a special place in my workflow and drive.

At the core of it all – is being able to come up with new ideas. Hopefully these new sources can help you out with  your future work.

Also, take a look at the 1,000 Hub Challenge if you’re interested. You could make a bit of money this year, find a platform to push out creative writing that doesn’t fit on your blog and even build up something special for the future (hint: I’ll be talking about this later, it’ll be good, yo!).


4 Responses to “New, Inspirational Ways to Develop Engaging Article Ideas”

  1. January 12, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Wow, Murray, that’s a lot of inspiration. I have been very busy ghostwriting this week, so I know many bloggers are recommitting to their content goals for 2012. These ideas will help me with a few titles that were eluding me.


    • Murray Lunn
      January 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Glad ya liked it Tammi – it’s always good to have an arsenal of inspiration because doing a ton of writing can quickly wear your creativity thin.


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