Make Your Research Work for You – Over and Over Again By Jill Pertler

One of the best parts about being a freelance writer (besides seeing your words in print) is learning about new topics. I enjoy researching a subject and becoming enough of an expert to be able to write about it.

Trouble is, the research end can be time-consuming. I may love learning about new things, but I have to keep productivity in mind. So what do I do? I engage in the party faux pas we all try to avoid: I double dip.

Not in the literal sense, of course. There are no hors d’ oeuvres anywhere near my computer screen. I double dip in the research department. That is, I take my knowledge and rework and rethink it so that it can take on any number of forms.

For instance, let’s take the favorite topic of cocktail party guests worldwide: the weather. I have a weekly syndicated newspaper column. I recently wrote about the heat wave that was dominating our summer. This got me thinking about summer weather. I ghost write a monthly medical column. Guess what my topic was? Beating the summer heat. This morphed into another article on sunscreen, which, when reworked, became an article for a children’s publication regarding sunscreen and kids. The beating the heat idea could lend itself to a travel article: Beating the heat while on vacation. It could become an article on summer activities for kids, or ways to help your pets keep cool.

I did a similar series with Lyme Disease. Both my husband and dog got the disease, so after living (and researching) it in real life, I wrote a newspaper column, a medical column and an article for a glossy dog magazine. In case you’re keeping track, that’s three for the price of one.

You have the information. You can spin it in different ways, with different words to create completely different article for different publications. It doesn’t matter what the topic, if you’ve researched it (and lived it) you can create articles (note the plural there) by looking at your subject from different angles. And each time you do, you use your knowledge and research to your advantage. Take that to the bank.

Jill Pertler has touched people’s hearts and funny bones with her well-loved column, Slices of Life, since 2002. She self-syndicated it in 2009; it currently appears in over 120 newspapers in 20 states as well as on Facebook at Slices of Life. (Go ahead, be a fan!). Her book on the subject, “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is now available online through, Barnes and Noble and Visit her website at:

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