Using a Wikipedia Table of Contents for a Blog Post Series

Wikipedia’s table of contents are an amazing way for content writers and editors to find new content ideas. Use these ToC to write your blog posts and find new blog post ideas to write about in the future.

  • On 25/04/2018 by @lazharichir
Using a Wikipedia Table of Contents for a Blog Post Series

Table of Contents

Wikipedia’s tables of contents are an amazing way for content writers and editors to find new content ideas. Wikipedia articles are comprehensive. They are written and structured by knowledgeable people. Use Wikipedia table of contents to write your blog posts and find new blog post ideas to write about in the future.

Every one content writer has his or her own way of outlining, topic researching, and writing a piece of content, be it a blog post or an ebook. Additionally, writers doing it for their own blog will have a different methodology and process than those receiving a brief from their employer.

Yet, all writers who are writing a blog post or even a technical paper will meet up in the very same virtual place — and that place is Wikipedia. Indeed, Wikipedia holds a wealth of human-curated and human-written information that is, in a huge majority, very much accurate and correct.

Use the Right Source Page

Start by choosing the right Wikipedia page, then, ask yourself what do you want Wikipedia to help you with? Are you writing about a topic that you know very little about and therefore require a lot of facts and pure information? Or have you already written so many times about a topic that you are struggling with finding new blog post ideas?

You get it, Wikipedia can help with all challenges blog writers are facing, you just need to be clear about your expectations from it. As a reader, for any given Wikipedia topic, you can extract so many useful nuggets of information:

  • Information — read the article and extract the most important knowledge and facts
  • Outline — use the table of contents to structure your own blog article’s sections
  • References — study cited research papers and sources for more technical information
  • Internal Links — visit related Wikipedia articles that are linked from your original
  • External Links — some Wikipedia pages have a section with a few relevant external articles

These pieces of information can then be used in so many ways but will only be found in a source page that is somewhat broad enough. If your article discusses a very narrow and precise topic, consider using a second page that is broader and meatier in terms of sections, references, external links, and citations.

Use Wikipedia Table of Contents for Blog Post Series

Series of blog articles are great to increase loyalty and retention of otherwise bouncy readers. Such readers (most of us belong to this group) find their information by reading an article and leave the website. Generally, never coming back to it again. A great way to increase retention is by getting the visitor to visit another page, e.g. reading another article.

By publishing series of blog posts pertaining to a particular topic or problematic, you are using a surefire way to get your reader interested in that next article in the series. Both articles, the one just read and the next one, are very much related and are even grouped together explicitly. The reader has almost no choice but to click and read up the other piece.

The issue with blog post series is how to create them responsibly. Should I split a blog post into three and publish them separately as a series? How long should each article be? What about keywords being scattered?

Example

Let’s say you are writing an article about Content marketing. Your blog has covered this topic already so you want something novel yet informative and serious. You should absolutely start with a cornerstone and evergreen piece of content in the n-thousands of words. However, you should also create a new blog post series on Content marketing to reinforce your authority on this topic but also to attack the problem in a different and perhaps more digestible way. Not everybody enjoys chunky articles, some people prefer to read a series of three or five shorter posts that are more to-the-point.

So, how to use Wikipedia to write series of articles on a particular subject matter? Start by visiting its main Wikipedia entry. Then, the easiest way is to only focus on the table of contents and read each section’s title, even the nested ones.

Table of Contents for Content Marketing's Wikipedia page

Example of a table of contents from Wikipedia’s page about Content marketing.

If you are lazy, you could stop there and turn each section into its own blog post, all of which belonging to the same series. Research each article, use references and related Wikipedia pages, and you have got your articles’ meat and potatoes.

If you are determined to provide a strong content quality, you may want to skip some generic or useless sections and create two or three articles out of one sub-section. Sure, that will require more research for each article, and skill to make sure you do not repeat yourself too much, but you get three pieces of content out of a single sub-section of a Wikipedia page.

For example, take the section titled Common metrics on the Content marketing page, and take the following article ideas:

  1. Top 12 Common Metrics In Content Marketing
  2. Guide to the Most Common Content Marketing Metrics
  3. How Reliable Are Brand Health Metrics?

The point is, you could write the three above blog posts without repeating yourself and still provide so much value to your audience. The article types are varied (listicle, in-depth guide, question answering) and all related to a single subsection of a Wikipedia article. Imagine how many more you could write with the other sections.

Again, this is without reading the article at all — we’ve simply perused over the table of contents!

Wikipedia Content Is a Reliable Resource

Fun anecdotes aside, content on Wikipedia pages is very much reliable, fair, and very informative. It’s a content marketer’s best friend to improve your topical SEO. The most obvious way a content marketer or content writer can use Wikipedia for writing blog posts is by simply basing your content on the matching entry. Some people simply paraphrase Wikipedia and hit publish; which I would surely never recommend.

Instead, use Wikipedia as a guideline to make sure you stay on track. As writers, we often tend to go a little broader than what we initially planned to. That’s why multi-layered editing and proofed is required, ideally by different people, but not every content marketing department has a whole team behind it. Oftentimes, it is run by the founder himself, or by a one-person army.

Wikipedia articles have been perfected over time by dedicated and knowledgeable people. Trust them to be to-the-point. Use them to be sure you touched on all the most important concepts and problematics readers would love to read about.