If you ever sit down to work on article writing and just get stumped for good topics or headlines in your niche, hopefully this will give you some ideas. NOTE: These suggestions do not fall under keyword research, that's a whole different thing--these are simply idea starters for generating possible topics or subject lines for articles. You would have to determine the viability of the topics or titles you generate in terms of their ability to earn for you.
Here, then, are my ten good ways (without using any keyword software) to generate possible titles or themes for future articles. For this example let's assume you are interested in writing about "Article Marketing" although you could use any keyword term you wish.
Another tip here is to create ten or so possible article titles in one sitting, then do some research to find whether the keyword terms might be profitable, and then write all of the articles in one sitting. Going back and forth between tasks is an inefficient use of time.
(I). Do Searches On Forums Related To Your Niche
Searching on forums for hot keyword phrases, especially if you can search and sort postings by date, can give you many topic ideas for articles that are currently being discussed. I just did a quick search on this forum for "article marketing" threads and found the following ideas for keyword terms that might be useful for articles related to article marketing.
CTR on Your Articles, Questions about Article Marketing, How To Write Articles Faster, Why Article Campaigns Fail, Article Marketing Checklist, How Do You Rank an EzineArticle on Google? (There are hundreds more.)
As with all of my examples here, I would never take someone's posting title and use it as written as my article title, but would rather consider the main idea as something to develop for my own title.
(II). Collect Data From Article Directories
If you go to eZineArticles and click on the "Writing" category and then on "article marketing" you will get a list of articles related to that topic. Click on any article there. You may get some topic ideas from the titles there although you cannot use the exact same name as an existing article (it won't get approved). Then click on any one of these articles. When the article page opens scroll down until you get to the "Most Viewed" and "Most Published" articles in that category. These may give you ideas for titles or topics for your own articles. In the case of "article marketing" here are the top Most Viewed article titles:
1. Your Article Resource Box - The Secret to Getting the Most Traffic From Each and Every Article
2. Top 10 Reasons Why Online Marketers Fail With Article Marketing
3. Article Marketing - Writing a Proper Resource Box Brings More Traffic
4. Article Marketing Tips on Keyword Research For Article Writing
5. Practical Social Marketing - 3 Tips For Integrating Article Marketing Into Your Social Marketing
6. Article Marketing and Online Visibility - Here's the Fast Track to Being Seen As THE Go-To Expert
7. Practical Article Marketing Tips - What to Do When Your Article Resource Box Goes Horribly Wrong
8. Article Marketing & List Building - Half My List Was Built With These 5 Powerful, Repeatable Steps
9. Article Marketing & Traffic Generation - How to Get Your Info in Front of Where the Traffic is Going
10. Practical Article Marketing - Leveraging Your Article Resource Box As the Ultimate Traffic Tool
(III). Using YaHoo Answers
I just went there and did a search for "article marketing" and got a few topical questions. This is a good place because it shows you the kinds of questions people are asking about a certain topic. A few of the many, many results for article marketing included...
...best approach to article marketing?
...what article writing software is best for article marketing?
...where can I find out more about article, or bum marketing?
...how do I maximize the benefits of article marketing and social bookmarking to rank for keywords I want?
...how to increase the rank of a website using article marketing?
(IV). Blogging Search Results From Google
Do a blogging search with Google (select blogs under "more") and check recent posts. Order them by date so you get the freshest posts. See if you get any keyword or title ideas there. Again, I don't copy these, I just use them as starter ideas. I just did this and here are some title and description snippets presented...
Niche Marketing Articles to Promote Your ...
Article Marketing To Drive Traffic To Your ...
Profit From Article Marketing...
Increasing Traffic With Article Marketing...
Article Marketing Tips...
3 Easy Steps to Article Marketing...
Profitable Article Marketing...
Use Article Marketing...
Article Marketing - Making Money...
How to Distribute Articles...
How to Promote Your Affiliate Links with Article Marketing...
Get A Lot More Article Traffic...
SEO with Article Marketing...
(V). Search Google Groups
If there is a Google group related to your niche that means people are interested in it. Go to Google Groups and click on the Google Groups option right under the search box. Then click on the advanced search option, input your keyword phrase, and click on the "sort by date" option. This gives you the most recent posts in these groups first. I just did this looking for posts in groups related to article marketing. Here are just a very few of the many, many returned...
Top 10 Reasons Why Online Marketers Fail With Article Marketing
Article Marketing and Back Links - Webmaster Central Help
Problems With Article Marketing Automation
Four Tips For Creating An Effective Authors' Resource Box
(VI). Using Standard Google Searches With "related searches"
Enter your keyword phrase in the G search box and then click on the "options" button near the opt. Click on "related searches". The page returned will have your search results but will also have a table of related search terms to the one you entered. When I did this for article marketing I got the following...
article marketing tips
article marketing sites
free article marketing
article marketing service
article marketing software
google keyword tool
make money online
Again, this gives me tons of possible title or topic starters for articles I might want to write about article marketing.
(VII). Researching eZineArticle's Top Authors In Your Niche
I just went to EZA and clicked on the "Writing & Speaking" category on the home page. I clicked and then clicked on "Article Writing". When that page comes up there is a link that says "Top Authors in Writing-and-Speaking:Article-Marketing". I click on that and the authors who have submitted the most articles in this category are listed in order of most articles submitted. The following were the top four...
Sean R Mize - 2854 articles
Fabian Tan - 533 articles
Jeff Herring - 439 articles
Lance Winslow - 338 articles
Now, I'm not going in looking for article titles to swipe word for word, but I might steal a word here and there, and I might get an idea of what kind of articles and on what topics the big guys are writing and submitting. Again, more ideas...
(VIII). AdWords Ads
Another source of keyword or article topic ideas can be found directly on Google. Enter your main keyword phrase and do a Google search then look at the AdWords ads served up on the right side of the page. AdWords advertisers are paying money to get their ads to serve, so they are very, very careful about the words they choose. You can often get great keyword or title terms form the the in these ads.
(IX). AdSense Ads
When you are on article pages or blogs related to your specific topic, look at the AdSense ads Google serves up. Google tries to serve up ads closely correlated to the content of such pages so Google is really providing you with ads that may have titles thematically related to the keywords you are targeting. In some niches you can get scores of good keywords to consider doing this.
(X). Google's External Keyword Tool
This is an excellent free utility for getting keyword ideas. Often if you enter a keyword phrase you will get huge lists of possible keywords related to the one you have chosen.
Here were just a few I got returned when I entered the keyword phrase "article marketing"...
[article marketing automation]
[article marketing secrets]
[article marketing strategy]
[article marketing tips]
[internet marketing article]
[internet marketing articles]
Here are some more possible titles for articles related to "article writing" I could consider. (There was a huge list of keyword phrases returned.)
(XI). Visit A Large Bookstore Such As B & N
Although I might not find many magazines there related to "article writing", if I were trying to find the buzzwords related to digital cameras, exercise, weight loss, investing, etc. there are tons of periodicals there related to topics such as these. Sure, you can look things up online, but a monthly magazine right off the press is a great resource to use for finding the latest buzzwords in niches that you might want to incorporate into article titles related to the niche.
(XII). Use "Push" Rather Than "Pull" Technologies To Feed You
Rather than pulling in pages that might provide you with title or topic ideas in your niche, try using "push" technologies such as Google Alerts or RSS feeds. Enter your keyword term using Google Alerts to have URLs containing content related to you keyword pushed to your email immediately as they found by Google. You can then check out the pages for title or theme ideas.
Along this line you can subscribe to dozens of blogs related to your main keyword via RSS feeds and check your feed reader daily for titles and introductory content for a quick scan of possible keyword ideas in your niche. Doing this provides you with a massive throughput of information in a very condensed and easy to scan format.
Those are just some ideas that can be used for free, without any special software; You could give them a try if you get stumped for topics or titles. Just picking a word from the above techniques and mixing and matching them with others provides an almost infinite number of permutations for article titles or topics to write about. There are many other ways to go about this, I realize. Add some of your own favorites if you wish.