As a freelance writer, you need to stay on top of a lot of things: getting clients, sending pitches, building a prospect list, and more.
But there’s another issue that can be tricky, even for the most experienced of writers: coming up with things to write about.
Imagine you email the editor of your favourite blog or magazine (or just one you’d like to write for) and you get a reply. Great, right? Well, yeah, until you read it:
We’re looking for writers right now, and would love to work with you! Can you send over a couple of article ideas?”
Suddenly, you’ve forgotten how to spell words, let alone put them next to each other to form sentences.
Article ideas? What are those??
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make coming up with content a breeze.
Master these techniques and you’ll soon be known as a freelance writer who never struggles for ideas and is able to pull the rabbit out of the hat at a moments notice.
Ready to impress editors, respond confidently to your ideal clients, and have them chasing you for more work? Check out our seven amazing writing resources below:
I know you’ve heard of this one, and I can feel your surprise all the way from one end of the Internet to the other.
How can Google possibly be relevant to the creative, magical process known as freelance writing? It’s just a boring, dusty old search engine full of information, right?
Wrong. Get used to using it in a certain way, and it will become one of your go-to hacks for quick content creation.
Search for trends, topics and news in your chosen subject and see what you can find. Sometimes, the top results won’t give you anything interesting you can research or bounce around for ideas – but fear not.
Use the ‘tools’ button and tailor your search based on time. The ‘past month’ option is often the best for throwing up relevant stories or industry news items that might have otherwise stayed buried or fallen by the wayside.
By tweaking searches and making use of all the functions available, Google can throw up some real hidden treasure and become one of the best writing resources available to freelancers.
iBrainstorm is an iPad-based interactive collaboration tool that encourages creative thinking. If you’ve got a topic in mind for an article or blog post but are struggling for a different angle or approach, this app makes it easy to share ideas with others.
It’s ideal for working on larger projects in groups and has writer specific options such as word webs. Check out the basics here.
3. Weird News on Reddit
The Weird News section on Reddit does what it says on the tin, neatly collecting strange and unusual news stories from around the world into one thread.
This is another great option if you’re looking to give editors a different perspective, or want to stand out with an idea that hasn’t been covered a thousand times already.
Sift through what’s posted here once every couple of weeks and look for topics related (however vaguely) to your niche or industry, connect the dots to form an article, and you’re good to go.
Make a habit of it and you’re unlikely to ever be troubled by writer’s block again!
The industry & Trade section of Worldfolio tracks developments across business sectors throughout the world, and it’s a real gem for current writing resources and topics.
If you’re looking to find forecasts and trends in a variety of areas that could otherwise slip under the radar, especially in business writing, bookmark this one and check it out regularly.
It’s sure to give you the edge over the competition, and help you craft more winning pitches that land lucrative gigs.
MindX is another variation on mind mapping technology. Similar to iBrainstorm, it encourages idea generation in freeform style.
With features like the idea factory to capture inspiration when it strikes, a timer to control the length of your creative sessions, and in-built presentation structures for planning and sharing concepts with others, there’s plenty of ways this interactive software can inject some life into your next freelance writing pitch.
You could even use it for building an email list, or as a way to help you target different types of clients.
6. The Content Idea Generator
This handy Content Idea Generator from Portent is about as easy and simple as it gets if you need ideas right away.
Type in a subject and you’re immediately presented with a suggested title, broken down for you and highlighted to show exactly why each section is effective.
There’s even bonus content you can check out once you’re done, like more great writing resources on content strategy development. They also reference the great Ralph Wiggum no less than twice right on the Idea Generator page, and that alone obviously makes it a winner!
7. Topical Brainstorm
Topical Brainstorm is the no frills model of idea generation. A webmaster tool from online sales, you’ll get a deluge of results from feeding a single keyword into the app. There’s even more topics available for subscribers, but the default number of suggestions will be more than enough to turn the on the lightbulb above your head.
There’s numbered lists, links to social media searches and similar external websites for further inspiration, so if you’re struggling for that next killer title, visiting this one should be a no-brainer.
Providing quality content on a regular basis – and the ability to do so quickly – is a skill any freelance writer must get to grips with to increase their chances of success.
What’s your favourite way to brainstorm, craft unique pitches and come up with articles that leave editors and clients wanting more? Let us know your ultimate writing resources in the comments!