Producing failed content can feel similar to designing a dream house that veers dramatically from the original blueprint. Maybe the soil is not firm enough where you wanted to build or you can’t build it as tall as you envisioned because of local zoning laws. In the end, you have to change your original design or scrap it entirely.
Writers feel frustration when a good idea falls to pieces in similar fashion because it just will not translate onto screen or paper like they hoped. Still, there’s no reason to toss a good idea on the scrap heap. Ideas do not always become workable content on the first attempt. Sometimes, it requires trying different approaches to the idea before discovering what works best.
Make Lemonade from Lemons When Writing Articles
There can be many reasons why a content project does not work in its original incarnation. Your needs may have changed and now it doesn’t meet specific goals you have in mind. It could be inferior to your usual quality standards and you are just stumped on how to fix it.
Whatever the reason is behind failed content, ideas can still be salvaged from it. You can re-animate dead content and use it as the foundation for building your next article by simply extracting the parts that work and discarding the rest.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can use failed content in creating new content:
- Blend with other content: Maybe the idea behind your content isn’t strong enough to stand alone. But it can always be used to help flesh out another idea. This is a great way to use quality paragraphs and sections you had to cut from other content because they didn’t fit the topic at hand or needed to be excised because of word count constraints.
- Alter the format: An idea won’t work equally well in all communication channels. Some content is better suited for a visual or audio medium than a written one. Examine your idea carefully and see if it can be developed more fully by creating a video, a podcast or some other multimedia offering with the written portion of the content.
- Explore new angles: Sometimes, it can get your creative juices flowing to look at a topic from a new perspective. Ask new questions and expand your research. It will spark your curiosity and unleash a stream of new thoughts. If you’re a science writer reporting on the discovery of a new extrasolar planet, for example, maybe exploring how the process for finding these planets has evolved might provide better content than simply reporting on the new planet itself.
- Examine your own standards: Failed content can be a result of a writer’s own quest for perfection. Ideas don’t always find their best written form on the first try. Be patient and give yourself enough time and space to really find the right words before throwing in the towel.
John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.