As a freelance writer, the articles you write are usually either one you pitched or ones you were assigned. There are benefits and challenges to both pitching and being assigned projects. While you can’t control how many stories you are assigned, you can control how many stories you pitch. The challenge is coming up with great stories to pitch on a regular basis. Sometimes you hit a wall, here are four ways to ensure you always have great ideas to pitch.
1. Reach out to a friend involved in the topic
Writing about entrepreneurship? Reach out to a friend who is an entrepreneur and catch up. While you can certainly ask them if they have ideas on topics, I find it’s best to just talk a friend. Find out what is new. See what challenges they are facing or decisions they are struggling with, any one of the things they mention could inspire an article to write. While your friend may come up with a post idea, chances are you’ll be more successful finding story ideas by letting your friend’s experiences inspire you. If the story might lead back to them directly, it will also be a good idea to make sure they are okay with being the source of your inspiration.
2. Read other posts and see if there is a gap
It’s great to read articles to learn new things. However, by tweaking your approach to reading a new article, you could come up with a never ending list of article ideas. Next time you are reading an article in your subject area, see if there are any angles or other sides to the argument not considered or covered. Look for gaps; even small ones can lead to great story ideas. Since the articles you are reading have already been published, there is already some interest in the topic. It may lead to a direct opposition article or something that branches off of the topic. Or you may come up with a story that just provides more complete information.
3. Reflect on your experience
When push comes to shove, if you are struggling to come up with stories to pitch, you can always use your experiences to come up with story ideas. What did you wish you knew when you started out in whatever area you are writing? What are some mistakes you made, things you got right, or things you could have done better? Any of those instances could be the source for a story idea. Ultimately, you may not end up using yourself as an example in the story, but if you have been through it, chances are others have as well. You’ll be able to find plenty of sources to quote.
4. Re-pitch stories
Keep track of all your article ideas and who you originally pitched. Just because who you initially pitched it to turned it down it does not mean it is not a good idea. It may be the story just was not the right fit for that audience. You could be successful pitching that story idea elsewhere. Keeping track of your story ideas and having a list of previously rejected ideas means you will always have a reserve of ideas. Making those days when you just cannot think of any other story ideas much easier. The list of ideas can also come in handy when you need to post to your site.