Researching and writing queries can be the most dreaded part of being a freelance writer. But the work and time that goes into creating pitches can go farther and net more income by taking one idea and reworking it for different publications.
To do this, freelancers must learn to look at stories, notes and interviews in a different way than they may be doing. Try implementing these seven tips.
- Shift the audience. For example, if a writer produces an article about an emerging science being studied on lab rats for one publication, they may be able to follow the research through its process and use the information for a consumer publication at a more advanced stage. If you are writing a piece for a women’s magazine, think about ways the topic might be slanted for different ages to fit into a parenting publication or one like AARP.
- Mine your notes. You never know when you might want to go back to get more information on a topic or find an idea that didn’t work in one article but might in another. Using tools like Evernote and Pear Note can help you organize notes and quickly search for topics or subjects.
- Turn your piece into a profile. If you are writing about a new study, one of the researchers might be a good candidate for a profile in another publication.
- Make yourself part of the process. Reported essays are in high demand at some publications, so injecting yourself into the piece can be a good thing. If there is a trend you have written about for one publication, for another publication you might be able to take part in it and give a first-person analysis.
- Use local markets to stretch a story idea. They often don’t pay as well as national publications, but if you are writing a story for a national publication about something in your area, odds are good that you can pitch it to a local outlet to piggyback your reporting.
- Think seasonally when covering a topic. If you are reporting on allergy season in the spring, then you may be able to revisit it in the fall or alter it for a travel publication in the summer.
- Rethink the article. Think about how you could rewrite content created for a business publication or an academic medical center to suit a consumer publication using a different slant, or vice versa..
Repurposing pitches can increase your income and allow you to explore interesting topics more deeply. And, once you have written several articles and have trusted sources in a particular space, you can use those published pieces when pitching to new editors. Show them you are an expert in that area. Keep in mind when repurposing content for different publications to be on the up-and-up with all editors who may be impacted. Editors don’t like to be surprised, so make sure to let them know upfront when and where other articles might be published.