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Seeking Alpha Author Experience, March 7, 2016, #5 Generating Article Ideas: Fostering Ongoing Conversation


This is a republication of Rocco Pendola's original Seeking Alpha Author Experience installment.

In it, he discusses idea generation.

We will be posting the entire archive of Author Experience Installments on this blog -- follow me for updates each time one posts.

Editor's Note: This installment of the Seeking Alpha Author Experience was originally written by Rocco Pendola on March 7, 2016. Rocco deserves enormous credit for conceiving and refining the Author Experience, which has become a great resource for SA editors and writers alike.

For color, refer to installment #2 from March 2, which highlights a well-constructed post-earnings article.

At the end of that article, Mark Hibben dangled the possibility Intel could turn things around enough for him to change his mind. In his opinion, management holds the key to any metamorphosis:

Not sure if he did it on purpose, but Hibben does something Joe Weisenthal stated he did while at Business Insider. At the end of articles he wrote at BI, Weisenthal left the door open for the next one. Put another way, you’re not just telling the story in an isolated article, you’re carrying on a conversation with the audience. Hibben left himself options at the end of the article. For one, he can watch Intel management and continue the story by evaluating their performance within the context of whether or not they have done anything to change his stance on the stock.

This technique applies to another vitally important aspect of article writing - constructing powerful conclusions. While some conclusions necessarily summarize what preceded them, potentially stronger closing sections use new ways to drive your thesis home and set up what comes next - even if subtly - in your coverage of a company. Think of a great closer in baseball - he comes in, authoritatively shuts the door and carries the momentum to his next outing.

Focus on how you can be creative with your article conclusions. I have always found it helpful to write down, on a piece of a paper, every component and theme you can think of for a company you cover or would like to cover. From there, you can sketch an order out of things. Determine which components and themes flow most logically from one another and map out a tentative way you might proceed from article to article.  

I’ll present a visual of one way this process can take shape in installment #10 on Monday, March 14. But, before then, I respectfully ask two things of you:

  • Offer ways you have or will approach conclusions in the future so I can share them in future installments of The Seeking Alpha Author Experience.

  • Send me examples of great concluding sections you have seen on or off Seeking Alpha.

Up next on Tuesday, March 8 in installment #6: All-In The Presentation: Economizing Words