Needed information and great article! Also, I've read a few of your others and feel your writing is really strong (it's great word porn for me).
In the same boat here. I've been focusing too much on creating strong, vivid, imaginative writing with issues I personally care about but it's not everyone's cup of tea. You hit the nail on the head with saying the articles should be unique and written for a specific audience (based on what's working for other popular writers).
I've decided to infuse my interest in mental health issues/relationships into pop-culture trends. So, we'll see how that goes.