Thursday, 2 October 2008

#30 – Turn global into local.

Or how to re-use re-used information.

Recycling material
In recent posts I have spoken about turning trivia into articles and using snippets of material from longer features to make round-up features. All good recycling, but there’s nothing to stop you re-using material that’s already been re-used. In fact, the more ways you can use one bit of information, the better for your bank balance.

Most successful idea
As an example, I’ll use what has turned out to be my most successful idea ever. It was triggered, as it often is, by a simple bit of trivia. I read somewhere that the Jenolan Caves in Australia’s Blue Mountains were the oldest caves in the world.

Oldest city? Oldest restaurant?
I found that quite fascinating and it got me thinking about other ‘oldests’. I wondered where the oldest city is (Damascus, Syria); I wondered where the oldest country is (brilliantly, it’s San Marino); I wondered where the oldest restaurant is (Casa Botin in Madrid).

Oldest possible holiday
This continued until I suddenly had a piece on the world’s oldest possible holiday, complete with the oldest theme parks, golf courses, bars and national parks. Boy did that sell well – I think it’s been published in five countries so far. I guess it’s just one of those ideas that makes for an intriguing feature.

Selling one piece many times
Now I could have just remained deliriously happy about selling one piece so many times (it rarely happens, alas). But it had further mileage in it. I went back to the Jenolan Caves and started localising the concept. I’d found the world’s oldest holiday, but what about Australia’s?

Australia’s oldest
So, tweaking the categories where necessary, I went back and found Australia’s oldest pub, building, art gallery etc. Another feature, and another one that did brilliantly well – it sold in both Australia and the UK. I’ve also written about Italy’s oldests, and I fully intend to do the same for Spain, France, Portugal and Britain. In fact, I’ll shamelessly rehash the idea for any country/ region/ city or continent.

Global round-up into local round-up
By turning a global round-up article into a local round-up article, it’s possible to milk a bit of information for all it is worth. It’s a great starting point for further research as well – and this can lead to even more stories. I’m going to Tasmania in November, and I fully intend to visit Australia’s oldest pub while there. There’s a story in that, just as there was one on Italy’s oldest hotel and just as there will be on France’s oldest museum, whatever that may be.

Never-ending cycle
And therein lies the beauty – it’s a never-ending cycle. The information leads to a story, then a round up. Localise the round-up, and you find more information. Much of which can lead to more stories. See – recycling can be very good for your environment.


Mike Gerrard said...

Excellent advice. Even an experienced travel writer like me can learn stuff from David's generous hints and tips.

David said...

Thanks Mike - flattery will get you everywhere...

David said...

Thanks Mike - flattery will get you everywhere...