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Think Like an Investigative Journalist to Improve Your Writing

“Either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.” — Benjamin Franklin

As freelance writers, we need to do both. If we stay stuck behind our computer screens, writer’s block can come to stay. It is in having experiences, being out in the world that the best ideas come.

Journalists get out where the story is for a reason. People love stories. They bring your writing to life.

Why thinking like an investigative journalist is beneficial to all writers

In his Fiverr Learn class: Stories That Sell, Jon Youshaei teaches writers to investigate beyond what a journalist does. To investigate like the detective Sherlock Holmes. Get out your magnifying glass because Jon knows what he is talking about. He was just named in Forbes 30 under 30 for marketing and advertising and, yes, effective storytelling.

Jon says there are three ways to make your writing more interesting:

  1. Have an experience related to the product or service you’re writing about.
  2. Conduct a survey that gathers new information about the product or service.
  3. Interview someone who already had an interesting experience with the product or service while sharing key takeaways.

Approaching his topic like an Investigator, Jon wrote a viral post for Forbes, The Uberpreneur: How An Uber Driver Makes $252,000 A Year.

An Uber Driver making over $200,000 a year is interesting as-is but Jon took it further. He rode around with the driver for a few weekends to see how he worked, what he talked about, and who this Uber driver was as a person. This allowed Jon to start his post with a story.

The magic is in the story.

He describes this Filipino Uber Driver, his car with diamond earrings dangling from the dashboard, and a jewelry catalog tucked into the seat pocket. We can see that this is not going to be just a “drive for Uber, make money” kind of post. As you read on, you realize that Gavin Escolar is not earning this much money by just being a driver. He is using the car-sharing service to also promote his jewelry business.

He is an Uber driver and entrepreneur leading Jon to coin the phrase, “Uberpreneur.” Something he would likely not have come up with if he had not investigated this story so thoroughly. The post now has over 1,600,000 views because it’s dynamic and engaging.

The article presents a trend of Uber drivers selling their wares while taking customers from place to place. But rather than focusing on this bigger trend, and giving stats, Jon focuses on one man and his story. Which is so much more compelling.

To make your #writing more compelling, pick a story angle and investigate. @lorihil @EveryVowel #storytelling #freelancing Click To Tweet

The next time you have an idea but are against a blank page, try thinking like an investigative journalist. Get in and behind the story. Look at it from different sides and explore how dynamic a unique angle can be.

Practicing this way will help you sharpen your skills and become a better storyteller whether you are writing product reviews, a biography, or anything in between. Happy Investigating.

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Lori Hil

About Lori

Lori Hil is a B2C writer helping businesses connect to Millennials through content marketing. She writes with a chihuahua on her lap and coffee close by and believes in the power of engaging content to improve the world.

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