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chatham county gardening

Fall gardening class provided by NC State Chatham County Extension

Earlier this year I reviewed a few ways writers can expend less effort and produce more content (and make more money). Check out my piece for the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Member Blog “It’s Not the Words, It’s the Mileage.” (Kudos to you if you know the movie reference re-phrased in the title.)

fall gardening

Gardening samples supplied by the instructor.

Below I offer an example how one idea or event can spawn three separate article ideas. This morning I attended a free fall planting class organized by the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension in Chatham County. I attended this for personal and professional reasons. One, I want to ensure the livelihood of all the plants, trees, and shrubs I am adding to our yard this fall. Two, I am looking for interesting article angles. Both of these goals were met!

Here are three article angles I took away from this morning’s session. Now I must write a few magazine queries. The next time you attend an event – think about it with an editor’s eye. What connected with the audience? There were times this morning when the entire room nodded and hummed as they learned something interesting and new. That’s when I took notes!

  1. What to avoid in fall planting. Yes, this is good information to know now, but since magazines need to receive pitches months in advance…I can spin these facts into ‘Spring Gardening Tips: The Only Time for These Methods”. I can pitch this idea now for a spring magazine issue. In the spring I can pitch “Fall Gardening Myths” for publication at this time next year.
  2. Soil testing options. I did not know that North Carolina Department of Agriculture provides free* soil testing. (*During peak seasons there is a nominal fee.) An article reviewing this and how to mitigate acidic/basic soil would be attractive to editors for spring issues too.
  3. New plant species. The instructor introduced a new plant species that was developed here in Chatham County. It took the cultivator 10 years to create this new species. This would be attractive to magazine editors on a local, regional and national level.

One free event this morning will likely turn into a few checks from magazines! Always keep your eyes open for article ideas.