Once you’ve invested the time and energy in researching, writing, and editing an article, it’s a pity to get just one sale out of it.
Now, if you maintained some rights to the piece, then you can resell it as-is in non-competing markets. (We’ve written about this option before. Go here for an article by my colleague, Steenie Harvey, on rights and reselling: Sell Everything But This…A Lesson on Buying Rights)
But what I want to talk about today is how to take what you know and repackage it — massage it, change it a bit — and then resell it, even if you sold all your rights to your original article. It’s a lot easier to take information you already know and work with that than it is to start entirely from scratch. So here are three ways you can repackage an article you’ve written and turn it into multiple pay checks…
** 1.) Take an article you sold some time ago and update it. Start by contacting all the places you recommend in your original piece and make sure their information hasn’t changed — do you still have the correct website address, phone numbers, hours, pricing? Also, ask what new things they have going on. (This can give you ideas for a new lead.)
After you’ve collected all this information, create a new opening. Start your piece with something different — preferably with a timely hook. You could peg your updated piece to a current trend, a holiday, or simply some time-sensitive event. And also change the order in which the information appears in your article.
This will render your new article 60-80% different than the original, so you’ll be free to resell it even if you sold all the rights to your earlier version.
When you’re done, target a slightly different publication with your new article. Say you sold the first one to your local newspaper. Well, this time target an online publication or a magazine.
** 2.) Dissect your article. If you wrote a long article, think about chopping it up and selling sections of it as stand-alone pieces. If you have a sidebar, think about selling that as its own article.
Sure, you’re likely to have to add an introduction to this new, shorter story you’re creating. And you’ll have to reword things a bit so your sentences don’t read, word-for-word, as they do in your longer piece.
But you’ve already done the research. And, in all likelihood, there were great gems you couldn’t fit into your first article, things you had to cut for space and for flow.
Now, here’s an opportunity to resurrect them. As you’re creating new articles from pieces of your old one, integrate some of that great material you couldn’t use the first time around.
** 3.) Focus on a niche market and tweak your article to appeal to that “subset” of reader. In other words, if you sold your piece the first time to a general-interest publication, then look now for a niche audience that might appreciate the information.
Just this past week, for instance, I wrote a piece on the Garden of the Gods, here in my hometown of Colorado Springs, for an in-flight magazine. I mentioned in it that the Visitor and Nature Center has hands-on, child-friendly exhibits.
Now, I could certainly rework that article with a parenting audience in mind and focus more on the exhibits themselves, include information on which walks in the park would be best for kids, and talk about the Junior Ranger program — none of which I did in my first article. (But all things I know about from my research.)
Then, I could also include lots of the material I did mention in the article I just wrote. I could talk about the guided evening walks to see prairie falcons, the size and history of the park, the animals that live there, and so on.
My point here is that I have all this information fresh in my mind. I culled through lots of it in choosing what to include in my first piece. It would take only a small fraction of the time and energy I spent putting that together, to turn what I now know into a second article for a different audience — and get paid again.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]