How to Use Twitter to Generate Writing Ideas

Have you ever been stuck on coming up with writing ideas for your blog, niche site, or a client? Twitter can be a very valuable tool when it comes to generating writing ideas, if you know how to use it. Here are some ways to come up with content topics using Twitter.

Follow People in Your Niche

Twellow Directory Search Results
Twellow Directory Search Results

One of the best ways to find out what is important now on a particular subject matter is to follow the top people in your niche. The authorities on any given topic (most likely the users with a high amount of followers) are going to be writing or at least sharing the latest articles and news on your topic.

Keep in mind, I am not suggesting you rip off anyone else’s articles or ideas. But if you read an article and feel like you have a different perspective or insight into alternative ideas that the original author might have left out, you could reference the original article in yours and then share how it inspired you to share additional information.

For example, an article about ways to do something could inspire you to write more ways to do it, or an article about reasons someone likes something could inspire reasons you dislike it. If you feel an original article about ways to do something is too technical for most users, you can write an article to simplify the process walk beginning users through the steps. Be creative in ways you can make your article even more valuable than others.

So how do you find the experts in a niche on Twitter? Check out Twitter directories such as Twellow and WeFollow. Simply search for a particular tag, and you get a list of users with their profile bio, sorted by their number of followers. You can take the top five, ten, or however many users you choose, follow them and / or add them to a Twitter list, and monitor their activity.

Check Out Current Trends

Trending Topics on What the Trend
Trending Topics on What the Trend

Keeping an eye on current trends on Twitter can help you not only find out when your niche is the talk of the town and what people are talking about, but if you write your article based on whatever the trend is quickly enough, you can give it exposure beyond your followers by adding the trending #hashtag.

To find out what is currently trending, you can look at your right hand column in Twitter underneath your searches and lists and see the Worldwide trends or select trends for a particular city / country. You can also check out sites like What the Trend, Trendistic, and Hashtags to see more than just the current top 10 trending topics, recent trending topics, and more information about them.

Setup Searches

Saved Searches in HootSuite
Saved Searches in HootSuite

Monitoring conversations daily on a topic is likely to generate great ideas. It will help you keep an eye out for any trends, as well as see if lots of people are particularly interested in something or have specific questions. Depending on how quickly you research and write, you may be able to get in and answer people’s questions with your article. Assuming it is a direct answer to questions, you can even @reply the users who asked the questions.

You can save your searches in Twitter to show up in the right hand column, or as columns in applications such as HootSuite and TweetDeck.

Use the Advanced Search

Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter Advanced Search Results

If searching a particular topic is not specific enough, you can always do an advanced Twitter search. The advanced search allows you to add in particular parameters such as choosing a particular keyword without other words, searching within conversations for Twitter users in a particular region, checking if the conversation includes a question, specifying a date range, and more.

Advanced search results can be saved as an RSS feed in your feed aggregator, or you can bookmark the search results page. I’m not sure if they can be added to HootSuite or TweetDeck – at the time of testing, the Twitter API was running super slow and never processed the results in either platform.

Twitter Topic Generation

Have you used Twitter to come up with writing ideas? Are there more ways you can think of to utilize Twitter for topic brainstorming?





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Comments

  1. says

    Nice post. I was thinking damn I would have to wait for Friday :) Glad your getting some mid week posts in :) I was actually testing a link I was making to your site to make sure it works :) Anyway I don’t want to distract from the post but I never use anyone’s lead tip suggestions on what to write hence the reason my blog is so whacked LOL :) Wow You have to have more then 257 articles on this site :)
    Just stopping by and I will say that this is great info on some leads and topic tips but I try to specialize in writing things that people aren’t thinking about, Think it but don’t want to say it and also a big factor is if I think people will like it ir not ? That is where I need to work on :) Have a great day
    .-= New from John Sullivan What’s next ? =-.

    • says

      Well, this could work for you… if you see a lot of people talking about one thing, but not something else that you think is more important, you could ask all those people on a trending topic why they haven’t thought of the more important topic!

  2. says

    Twitter is a great medium to generate ideas but not only searching or seeing trends, also from the social media point of view. In other words: interacting with other bloggers/twitters.
    Making questions, polls, answering to doubts someone can have is a good way to brainstorming.

    All the best and keep up with your excellent articles!

    Gera
    .-= New from Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog Comment System, Award, Feedburner and Ten in 10 Event =-.

  3. says

    For me, this little tip is probably the most important one: “But if you read an article and feel like you have a different perspective or insight into alternative ideas” – it’s so simple, yet, I’ve never really thought of doing it, or at least getting ideas through Twitter, for it.

    I’ll try to keep it in mind from now on!
    .-= New from Klaus @ TechPatio Funny Pictures: Google Street View Launched In Denmark =-.

  4. says

    I’ve screwed up my entire twitter following/follower items by playing with the twitter API a bit too much. I have no clue who I’m following aside from a few select people, so getting ideas from my own list is probably not going to happen.

    I think I need to start all over with Twitter, and truly only follow those that I care about following. I sense a weekend of fun heading my way. I’m keeping this post close to me when I do take that dive.

    Cheers Kristi!
    .-= New from Wayne John I just can’t keep my hands to myself =-.

  5. says

    I feel more comfortable with Twitter these days more than Facebook, it’s a great source for ideas and also for news, it’s not only the fastest way to know about what’s happening, but I love it because I can know “what’s going to happen”!

    And this is great if we have enough daily time for Twitter, so for me I open a page on a side of my laptop to check it from time to time and see what people say!

    By the way, I love the way you embedded images to this post, I will certainly snap it :)
    .-= New from Hesham @ FamousBloggers Top 5 Most Popular Social Bookmarking Websites using Drupal CMS and Drigg Module =-.

    • says

      I think the big advantage over facebook, at least from what I can gather as a complete newbie, is that you can just see what is new with everyone. You don’t have to see every darn picture, video, spam application, and what have you.

      Still has the spam, though. (I noticed some people just tweet current hot trends and then link to a spam website to get traffic!)
      .-= New from zach@Mid Mo Mortgage Feb 4 – Senate to Vote on Job-Creation Legislation Next Week =-.

  6. says

    Twitter is on of my fave resources for information about topics that I’m interested in. Sometimes I get giddy when I follow conversations from “experts” in my industry who are batting around ideas on Twitter. I’ve even dived in on occasion to put in my “two cents” but I hadn’t even considered it as jumping off point for creating/writing blog posts. That makes so much sense. Brilliant!

  7. says

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. Twitter is like a forum where people ask questions, sometimes they get answers and sometimes they don’t. But, it’s a great way to scout for ideas. What I just usually do is to keep track of tweets. I will surely be applying what you said. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= New from Andrew@BloggingGuide 50 Tips For Bloggers Who Work From Home =-.

  8. says

    Twitter is one of the news source now, for real time and using twitter for finding ideas for blog articles is really brilliant. Writing about people talk this days will give our blog a big chance to get more exposure on the blogoshpere.
    A friend said that we must maximize Twitter benefits and this is one of them, Thanks Kristi.
    .-= New from Latief@AnotherBlogger Win Some Amazing Prizes in the Blazing Minds Competition =-.

  9. says

    I’ve never thought to use Twitter as a way to get ideas, but now that you’ve described it so well it makes a lot of sense.

    Some of the ways that I have used though that worked quite well is listening to talk back radio. I’ve written a few articles on something that was hot at the time. Led to quite a few visitors from the search engines as well.
    .-= New from Sire@WassupBlog How Twitter Can Actually Earn You Some Cash =-.



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