Reusing Research: Making Your Work Twice as Useful

The thing about a well-researched article is that you’re probably only going to sell it once. If you’re really on top of the ball, you may sell the reprint rights or put it into a larger piece of work, but the bottom line is that you can do hours of research and still only sell an article once.

But the fact of the matter is that you can often make your research do double duty — you can use it to write more than one article, letting you improve the return on the time you’re investing.

Keeping Your Editors Happy

It’s a rare editor that will be happy to publish your article, then see an exceptionally similar article in another publication immediately and still send work your way. Honestly, as a writer, it can feel a little off to just rewrite a story from the same angle and submit it elsewhere, as well. But you can go far beyond simple rewrites if you’ve got good research.

The key is to change either the slant or the focus of the article. If your original article is on how crafters are making money selling their work online for a craft magazine, you can use the statistics you gathered about those crafters to write about how crafters are creating small businesses by selling their work online for a business magazine. The key is in how differently you can present the same statistics. You can go back to the same interview subjects for new quotes. It’s just a matter of coming up with new ideas.

Making the Most of Your Work

Many especially productive writers seem to crank out article after article in a certain niche. They may write about that niche from outside angles, but they tend to cover a fairly select topic area. Those writers often have piles of reference materials they’ve collected over time, that they can use in their articles over and over again. Heck, there are certain topics that I can spout off statistics and where I got them off the top of my head, because they’re relevant to so many articles.

The secret to making the most of your research is to keep your materials organized. If you make them easy to come back to as you find new ways to pitch the information, you may be able to use some materials three or four times, provided you create top-notch articles around your research every time.





3 responses
  1. JIm Kimmons Avatar

    This is really good advice. As I write or blog for multiple real estate investment sites, mortgage sites and newsletters, I can frequently write three or more articles with different focus on the same piece of research.

    And, with, my research is only a fast search away. I tag things for Evernote that I locate on the Web with client names to make it even easier to pull them up later.

  2. Phil Avatar

    Reminds me when I was able to use a term paper for two different classes (a few years apart).

  3. Issa Avatar

    This post reminds me to get back to my articles, thanks. I think a writer must maximize his or her writing, showcasing works as well as earning from it. Call it passive income where your articles can earn from royalty, web traffic, etc. Still, it’s better to specialize in a topic you know well than trying to write on everything you barely know. The second makes you look like an amateur.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Setting Work Boundaries as a Freelancer =-.

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