By Peter A. Schaible • 02/05/2007
A freelance writing formula suggests a time management model for online publishing success
Years ago, long before the Internet and the birth of online publishing, my old friend Alden Todd was a full-time freelance writer.
He had a regular desk at the Library of Congress and he spent his days researching subjects about which to write books and magazine articles. Making the most of his time was essential to making a decent income. So early on he learned how to maximize every research project into at least three saleable products.
For instance, if he became interested in retracing the steps of a Confederate Civil War regiment, Mr. Todd might do some initial library research and then take a hike. The hike would be a recreational experience to enjoy with his family on the weekend.
When it came to writing about the experience, Mr. Todd might produce a formal historical piece for American History magazine, complete with lots of detail that was of interest to amateur historians and Civil War buffs.
Then he might write another article slanted to the interests of recreational hikers. He might sell that story to Hiking magazine.
Next he would produce a shorter, less detailed story for sale to Boy’s Life magazine, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America.
And maybe, finally, he would carve out a very brief piece about what to look for on a nature or historical outing for My Weekly Reader, which was a mini-newspaper for young grammar school students.
One recreational experience with his family, plus one library research project resulted in four saleable stories for the freelance writer.
The online publishing recycle, reuse, republish system should be part of your Internet marketing strategy
Today, online publishers should try to maximize their time, experience and content similarly.
Each bit of information your contributors write should become a unit of content with several lives—created once and used, repackaged and reused many times and monetized over and over again.
In this “re” system of publishing—recycle, reuse, republish—an online publisher also uses content written for, deployed to and even contributed by readers to create additional products.
Consider the how-to story—a basic staple of many publications.
First, you could write the basic how-to article for dissemination in print or online through your membership website, or both.
Second, you could use excerpts of the how-to article on your blog or email newsletter, with links to your membership website.
Third, you could use the information contained in the how-to article to produce a wholly new and different information product, for instance a video, DVD, or audiotape interview.
Next, you should be able to create an abbreviated how-to article for the free use of other email newsletter publishers, in exchange for a link to your email newsletter sign-up page or membership website. So, post the abbreviated how-to article on any of the numerous “free content” websites.
And finally, you should create a press release for general distribution to both online and traditional print media. The focus of the press release should be on the information you learned and published in the how-to article, not on trying to sell the audio or video product.
Make the content of the press release so compelling that it results in journalists calling you for an interview and more details. If you craft the news release properly, the news media may end up linking to your membership website and helping you to market your how-to audio or video.
One research or information product creation experience can result in at least three additional spin-offs. That’s the way to make the best use of your time and efforts, and help to maximize product sales or new membership website subscriptions.
Posted in Online Publishing