When I started freelancing, I used to find a story idea and then locate a potential market for it. When I found a market where the idea looked liked it would fit, I wrote a query and pitched it.
That strategy worked for me for years--and led to me writing for more than 30 national magazines during my first few years of freelancing. When I started writing about freelancing, I recommended that freelancers take a similar approach.
Well, I was wrong. Or at least that approach is.
Today, I've flipped that script. Instead of starting with an idea, I start with the market. I find a market that I think I can write for more than once. With the market in mind, I start coming up with ideas--and I pitch the market until I get an assignment (or give up--more on that in a future post).
So don't start with an idea. Start with your target market instead. It's much easier to write for a market over and over than continually market to brand-new ones--and choosing markets over ideas makes you more efficient as a freelancer.
Your assignment? Locate a market that you want to write for--and start brainstorming ideas for it.
**Want more smart, proven freelance advice? Check out one of my books on freelancing:
- Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets is written for brand-new freelancers in search of their first clips.
- Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition is a freelancing classic that helps both new and experienced writers boost their bottom line.
- My newest book,Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition, shows how to break into the ghostwriting/content marketing field.