Diana Kelly Levey

Fun Ways to Come Up with New Freelance Writing Article Ideas

A woman reading a book

November 28, 2021

Have you ever felt stuck when wondering how to come up with article ideas? Whether you’re a professional freelance writer who’s been publishing content for over 15 years, or, had to write a paper for college, or, needed to come up with fresh ideas for your company’s brainstorm session, we’ve all experienced that pressure of a blinking cursor on a blank page or a white lined sheet of paper that was full of promise, but void of ideas.

Sometimes you can’t come up with freelance ideas because you’re not feeling creative. Other times, it’s because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to produce The Most Original And Amazing Idea Of All Time. Admit it. You’re stuck. Freelance ideas don’t have to be so hard. In fact, the process can be fun. (Once you’ve come up with your story idea, look to these article pitch examples to turn it into an assignment.)

Here’s How to Generate Tons of Freelance Ideas

These are some proven methods on how to come up with article ideas.

Take any one of these tips on how to come up with article ideas and give yourself 30 minutes to an hour to come up with freelance ideas. Get silly and have fun! This is just for you, but it should help get you out of your own way so that you can produce a few quality article ideas that could become paid writing assignments. (Wondering how much freelancers can earn daily?)

1.  Address problems.

Think about what problems or experiences you’re addressing in your life now that you wish an article would solve. (I’m was through the process of buying a home and pitched ideas to an editor on topics I wish I read articles on to help make this experience easier.)

2. What are people talking about at parties?

What issues are friends sharing when you get together? What are friends posting about on social media? Dig to see what content comes up when you ask Google those questions and see how you could come up with better content.

3. What problems do friends and family come to you to help them resolve?

Explore the categories you’re well versed in and what people come to you for help with and see if you could come up with freelance article ideas in that area.Recall the conversations you’ve had with your friends about their issues and problems, maybe it’s babysitting, being a caretaker, health issues, this list can go on forever. Be a great listener!

4. Think small.

By that I mean read local newspapers and stories in small towns. Look for trends and inspiring stories that have the potential to be of interest to a national market. Set up a Google alert for a specific topic that interests you and follow experts in that field on social media.

5. Look to your favorite books, magazines and websites.

What do you read about for pleasure? What brands/companies/bloggers do you follow on social media? What do you Pin on Pinterest? (Here’s how freelancers should use social media to get ahead.)

6. Get freelance ideas from podcasts.

What podcasts do you listen to? Are there topics they discuss that could be researched, refined, and pitched to an editor?

7. Research dates, holidays and special months.

Look to upcoming holidays, anniversaries in the coming months. Is there a 20th anniversary of a cult movie classic this year? Is it a 50-year anniversary of a special event or 50 years since something was invented? This is just one exercise on how to come up with article ideas that I enjoy doing.

8.  Ask yourself what you are excited about in your life in the coming months.

Is it a vacation? A life event like a wedding, baby or new home? Explore the topics and come up with freelance ideas that others would have questions about.

9. Go niche for freelance article ideas.

Is there a smaller niche you’re interested in that you can become a freelance niche writer for? Not only are you a gardener, but you’re an expert in growing roses. Or, you’re into gaming and know a ton about tabletop games. Maybe you’ve been passionate about beauty topics and have your finger on the pulse in the eyeliner market. Jot down your areas of “expertise” or where you have a passion and write down some brands you could do content marketing writing for, or, editorial ideas for a magazine or website. (These freelance writing tips will help you boost your business.

10. Get personal.

What’s your spin or opinion on a current event? Some online outlets are looking for personal essays and experiences that coincide with what’s happening in the news. This could be a good way to break in as a beginner freelance writer and get published.

11. Flag interesting emails.

I have a folder in my Gmail for “story ideas.” When I get a pitch from a publicist or read a captivating  headline from a newsletter, I put the email in that folder to reflect on when I need article ideas.

12. Check out Google trends.

See what terms are trending on Google trends in the categories you write about and notice what’s new and hot right now. (As  of this publishing, “mental health” is up and then “telehealth” within that category is a keyword being searched.)  If you write quick-turnaround news stories for a client, you can use this as a jumping off point for freelance article pitches. (Still have questions? Check out my freelancer FAQ.)

Landed on a solid story idea and wondering how to pitch an article to a magazine? Here’s how to do it. And if you want to read more of my tips and freelance writing advice for beginners and experienced writers, check out my Freelance Writing Online Course on Teachable. Enroll today!

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