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Utilizing New Media to Find Article Ideas

The very first thing you learned as a freelance writer and journalist is advice on how to come up with article ideas. Look within, they say. Sounds almost yen like, but what it really means is to look at your experience, your interests and your hobbies. We learn the old tricks, come up with our own and yet at times, we end up with the same thought, I can’t think of a darn thing. If recently you’re running through your list of previous tried methods, but still coming up short, then try these methods, which can help you truly utilize the new media available today.

1. Social media Even if you’re new to social media, don’t sweat it. Even as a beginner you can make the most out of it. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all have community pages, groups and forums of various sorts that you can like, join and follow. Constantly review these groups’ pages and check for regular updates on local community events or potential story ideas. Likewise, you can also join community forums on these social media sites that are listed under your specific subject area. For example, you specialize in health and business articles; follow groups or forums of such subjects. Post on them regularly to introduce yourself and inquire about story ideas.

2. More Social media Follow or friend enough informed people and you end up with a world of resources. Facebook and Twitter members love posting articles, videos and websites all the time. Routinely check these pages and see what you can find, one, two or three articles might come out of it.

3. Subscribe to various newsletters. You can follow a plethora of them online these days on multiple topics, such as health, business, entertainment, political, food or gardening. You can subscribe to blogs, magazines and organizations. Business newsletter topics can lead to various ideas, such as financing a business or bankruptcy mistakes.

4. Convert national stories to local articles. Read national magazines and newspapers as well as watch network and cable news for how a national story has relevance locally. Likewise you can convert local stories into national trends. Doing a series of health article on women’s health for a local newspaper? Find out how that issue can affect women, nationally or globally. Review websites such as http://Orato.com, which bills itself as a “citizen journalism” site and The Women’s International Perspective. These sites can help you rethink aspects of a story idea.

5. Plan and focus on holiday topics or national awareness months. Keep track of the List of National Awareness Months, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and November is Diabetes and Family Caregiver Awareness Month. You can prepare and pitch articles for both local and national publications well in advance.

6. Review your email folders. If your emails are organized in a fashion where you keep certain messages saved in folders, this can help lead to ideas. Say, you keep all local business email contacts in one specified folder? You can review those emails and see if you missed something from a few months or a maybe a year ago. An article idea that might just work today. A helpful hint: create an email address just for email newsletters. Saves space on your main email address, which should only be used for those favorite editors you can’t live without.

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