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12 Places to Look for Story Writing Ideas to Use in Your Content

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Where can you find great story writing ideas for your content?

12 places to find story writing ideas for your content with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #FreelanceWriting #Storytelling #ContentWriting #WritingArticles

By “story ideas,” I mean any idea that you can develop as a full-length feature or that you can use as an illustration or example in articles, blog posts, web pages, appeal letters, sales letters, email campaigns, sermons  – event grant applications.

Story writing ideas are everywhere … in anything that grabs your attention. 

Where can you find those luscious little snippets? These are my favorite sources.

1. Current Events

Trends, press releases, town meetings, athletics – news is breaking all the time. The internet allows you to look beyond the headlines to find interesting stories to use in your content and copywriting.

2. Beneficiaries

Are you a nonprofit or ministry? Keep careful tabs on how your work impacts those you serve. Share their stories in your newsletter, appeal letters, on your website, and in case studies. I’ve even used beneficiary stories in grant applications as an example of the agency’s impact.

3. Conversations

Friends, family, and their antics provide illustrations ranging from every day, solid examples to wacky, interesting tidbits.

4. Historical Events and People

Quotes and experiences from people in the past are one of my favorite ways to make a point, offer comparison, or draw a contrast.

5. Interviews

When you’re interviewing a subject to write Story A, take good notes and ask good questions. You can use the ideas you get from the interview to spin off a different slant for Story B or use a snippet as a quick illustration in an article, blog post, or other project.

6. Facts, Numbers, Statistics

Look at what the numbers tell you. Behind the numbers is a story.

7. Ads and Commercials

They’re excellent examples of popular culture.

8. Movies and Books

Cinaphiles and bibliophiles: use scenes and characters as examples. (Here’s how I used a scene from a movie to explain how to write an elevator speech.) 

9. Nature and Outdoors

Fun facts about animals, plants, weather, and minerals can spark illustration ideas and even full-length feature articles.

10. Academic Journals

You don’t need to geek out and read every word. Instead, review academic journals and research as a springboard to create general interest anecdotes or full-length stories.

11. Trade and Industry Publications

New products, services, trends: the trades are packed with story writing ideas that you can quote or expand upon to use as an illustration or example. Or rework and expand an idea into a longer piece for a general audience.

12. Social Media

Right now, grab a notepad or open a new document or jump over to your note-taking app and write down the gist of a good story and its details. (You do have a method for collecting  writing ideas, don’t you?) 

More Story Writing Ideas and Tips

A Simple 3-Part Story Writing Format for Powerful Content Stories ...

3 Tips for Writing Short Stories that Hook Your Readers ...

Why Telling Stories Sticks, Especially for Readers: It’s Science!

Illustrations: Capture Readers with a Slice of Life ...

How to Write a Story to Make a Point ...

3 Story Writing Mistakes to Avoid (If You Want to Make a Point) ...

The Simple 5-Step Story Structure for Writing Quick Content Stories ...

Using anecdotes: getting a collection system in place ...

20 interview questions that guarantee a compelling story ...

Story formats to use in nonprofit appeals ...

Tips for getting stories from clients ...

More tips on our Writing Stories Pinterest board ...

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