Monday, 29 September 2008

#28 – Re-using information in round-up articles

Or how to milk your research.

Re-selling... or re-working?
Unless you’ve been foolish and signed away all the rights to a story and the research related to it, there is usually a way of re-using the material. The obvious one is selling the story a second (or third, or fourth...) time, but we’ll come to that at a later date.

Round-up articles
The best way of re-using information is to make it part of – my old favourite - a round-up article. This is often a case of cutting down what you have already written, or picking out an aspect of it, then matching it with some other things that fit.

Celebrities in Anguilla
For example, when I was in Anguilla in April 2008, I was researching a couple of stories. One was on how celebrities have recently adopted the island as their getaway of choice, another was on the oldest hotel on the island (and coincidentally, one of the few places that is suitable for those on a budget).

Adapting articles
I wrote those two pieces up, and then thought about ways of adapting them. The celebrity one was easy – I took out the relevant information, then put it together with other information I’d got from elsewhere in the Caribbean. Et voila, there were pieces on Celebrity Caribbean Hideaways and Celebrity Honeymoon Destinations.

Travelling independently in the Caribbean
For Lloyds’ Guesthouse, it was a case of extending the budget theme through the Caribbean. I ended up incorporating it in a piece about travelling independently in the Caribbean, as well as an advice piece on where to look in order to find good value, non-resort style accommodation in the region.

Top 10 Beaches
I’ll probably end up using other aspects of original article somewhere else too – the restaurants are prime candidates, and if ever I sink low enough to do the archetypal Top 10 Beaches piece, then there are a couple of candidates for that as well.

Turn the detail into a general theme
This process can be applied to just about every destination article you write. Turn the detail into a general theme, then look to see what else fits that theme. If you do a feature on glass-making in Venice, then how about a round-up of other places in the world where you can see glass made?
If you’re doing a story about white-water rafting in the Czech Republic, why not convert it into a piece on Europe’s white-water rafting hotspots?
It’s often a simple way of getting more mileage out of the same material, and making your trips more cost effective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to know how you knew that I was looking for Tunisian elephant tamers” on google??? Just by chance, I happened on to your #28 Re-using information in round-up articles, and was very impressed with the information.

I have written press releases, and a few feature stories for technical pubs, but have never tried travel writing.

I appreciate the expertise you have gathered through the years, and know that it is not quite a easy as you make it out to be, but...I do think I would like to give it a try.

Thanks for sharing with all of us, what you have learned through the years.

It is very much appreciated, even if I didn't find the info I wanted on Tunisian elephant tamers. Guess I will continue my search another day. :)

Warmest Regards,
Susan Blair