Contest: Come Up with the Best “Opposite Idea” and Win a Free Copy of Get Unstuck! for Freelancers
In my 8-week Write for Magazines e-course (next one starts January 9!), one problem I see with many of my students’ article ideas is that, while they’re solid ideas, they’re basic evergreen ideas without a twist.
An evergreen is an idea that magazines run frequently in some fashion: How to save money, how to lose weight, the top 10 healthiest foods. The trick to freshening up an idea for a jaded editor is to give it an angle or a presentation that the editor hasn’t seen before. For example, I recently posted about unique packaging ideas and how to turn a ho-hum service idea into something special by offering surprising tips.
Another of my favorite ways to turn been-there-done-that into a salable idea it to change it into what I call an “opposite idea,” where you take a basic idea and turn it on its head.
For example, years ago when peanuts were making news because schools and airlines were banning them to protect people with allergies, I sold an article to Oxygen called “In Defense of the Peanut,” about the health benefits of this humble legume. And during a period when every writer was pitching “The Top 10 Healthiest Foods,” I sold “Hidden Health Stars,” about foods that seemed like nutritional nothings but were really good for you: Mushrooms, iceberg lettuce, and so on.
Another one: When everyone was writing about ways to save money, I sold “When It Pays to Pay More” to Family Circle, about the long-term cost-saving benefits of springing a few more dollars for quality clothes, furniture, appliances, and more.
Here’s an assignment for you to do right now: Take any of these evergreen ideas and use the “opposite idea” approach to turn them into fresh, salable ideas. Or, feel free to take any idea you’ve seen a lot of lately and turn it into an opposite idea. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be literal about it; for example, the opposite of “Potty Training Made Easy” is not necessarily “Potty Training Made Difficult.”
Post your ideas in the Comments section below by Thursday, October 20 at 7 am ET. I’ll select my favorite idea, and the winner will get a free copy of my e-book Get Unstuck! For Freelancers: A 6-Week Course to Boost Your Motivation, Organization, and Productivity—So You Can Do More Work in Less Time, Make More Money, and Enjoy the Freelance Lifestyle.
“Top 5 Ways to Save Money”
“How to Squash Sibling Rivalry”
“Natural Beauty: How to Look Great — the Green Way”
“Potty Training Made Easy”
“Protect Yourself from These Common Scams”
“The Bride’s Top 5 In-Law Problems — Solved”
“Decorating on a Dime”
“Build Your Business Through Referrals”
Let’s see what you’ve got — and have fun! [lf]