There’s nothing new under the sun, but that does not mean freelance writers aren’t constantly pitching ideas to editors and clients. A key part of a savvy and successful freelance career is acknowledging that you can always build on an initial idea and create a new article out of it. Rewrites, or spin-offs, let a writer re-use her research to market a fresh take on an idea.
Rewrite, Don’t Repeat
It’s useful to define rewrite. A successful rewrite approaches an idea with a new angle. It’s not the same as rephrasing the words of an article or rehashing the idea using a different format. A rewrite should be significantly different than the source. It should appeal to a new audience or give the original audience new and useful information.
Fill in the Blank
A simple way for a writer to come up with an idea that can be rewritten to think of a fill-in-the-blank sentence. For example, a writer well versed in food and travel can get a large number of original articles out of “Best Pizza Places in _____.” The article would vary from city to city. “Best Pizza Places in Manhattan” would not appeal to the same audience as “Best Pizza Places in Kansas City,” though both might appeal to pizza aficionados around the world.
Change the Demographic
Another way for a writer to re-use an idea and research for a fresh article is to change the demographic. Teenagers want different information than adults, for instance. Articles written for women tend to take a different slant that articles targeted at men, even if they contain the same general information. For example, an article on the dangers of drinking and driving can be re-written for teenagers and focus on the dangers of underage drinking and driving, especially around prom and graduation season.
Zeroing in on an area briefly touched on in the original article is another common rewrite method. A writer can create an entirely new article on a person or piece of information that she mentioned in the first article. Zooming in on a specific area lets a write explore a subject that may be of particular interest to her and lets her build interest with an audience.
Change the Slant
A factual, non-fiction article can be transformed into an op-ed piece. An article providing an overview of a subject can be turned into a how-to. Once a writer has finished writing a non-fiction piece, she can spend time drafting her reflection on it and market the reflection on its own or along with the non-fiction account.
Keeping It Fresh
The online world demands constant, fresh content. SEO-friendly articles need to feature new, non-duplicate content. Rewriting and spinning off articles allows freelance writers to constantly produce new content for their clients without risking plagiarism or repeating themselves. Fresh content keeps readers happy, it keeps the search engines happy, and most importantly, it keeps the client happy.
Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.