As a freelance writer, you may find yourself in the position of needing to pitch the same story to different publications. While it may seem like a daunting task, tailoring a story to fit the needs of different publications is actually pretty simple. The key is to focus on the details in your story that make it unique and interesting, which might mean changing a particular setting or including additional characters or plot points, depending on what you are trying to highlight or emphasize.

So, if you have ever found yourself struggling to tailor a story for various purposes, today’s post is for you.

How to Tailor One Story for Different Purposes

How to Write for Your Audience
Photo by George Milton

When you have a great story idea, it can be tempting to try and write it all at once. However, if you want to get the most out of your story, it’s important to take the time to tailor it for different purposes.

Carefully tailoring your content will allow you to pitch the same story to multiple publications, while highlighting different aspects of your experience or idea. Some key things to consider when tailoring a story include:

1. Know Your Target Audience

Each publication you pitch your story to will have a different audience, which means that each publication will want different elements of your story. For example, a local newspaper might be interested in human interest stories about the individuals and families in its community, whereas an online magazine or blog might be more focused on sharing actionable advice or tips for readers.

Or, if you’re pitching a travel story to a publication that targets budget-minded travelers, be sure to focus on the cost-saving aspects of your trip. On the other hand, if you’re pitching the same story to a luxury travel publication, you’ll want to focus on the upscale elements of your trip.

Knowing your target audience will help you to narrow in on the key details of your story that will resonate with different readers, while also appealing to the interests of your specific publication.

2. Choose Your Tone and Format

Depending on the type of publication you’re pitching your story to, you may need to adjust the tone and format of your piece. For example, if you’re writing a guest post for an online magazine or blog, it’s typically best to keep your tone fairly informal and include plenty of actionable tips that readers can easily implement in their own lives.

In the meantime, if you’re pitching a story to a print publication, such as a newspaper or magazine, your tone will likely be more formal and your content should focus more on in-depth analysis and research rather than tips or takeaways.

Additionally, consider the format that works best for each outlet. For example, if you’re writing an opinion piece or personal essay for a blog, you might structure your piece as a short story or narrative. Alternatively, if you’re pitching the same idea to an online magazine or newspaper, it’s typically best to present your findings through data and analysis.

By changing your tone and format to fit the needs of different publications, you will be able to capture the interest of a wider range of readers, while still highlighting the key elements of your story.

3. Highlight Different Aspects of Your Story

Another thing you might want to do is put a different emphasis on something in the story to set it apart. In one story presentation, you might be focusing on one particular character or setting, while in another story you might want to focus on the other characters involved in the situation. Or, perhaps you want to highlight a specific element of your experience that is more important than anything else.

Once you’ve identified your audience, you can begin tailoring your pitch by highlighting different aspects of your story. If you’re pitching a profile of an up-and-coming musician, for example, you might highlight his or her unique sound for a music magazine, while emphasizing the artist’s fashion sense for a style publication. It’s all about knowing what will appeal to each publication’s readership.

4. Consider Your Story’s Vibe

Your story should have its own “vibes”—a unique tone, voice, and style that makes it stand out from other stories. Different vibes can be achieved through a variety of techniques, such as adding humor or sarcasm to your writing, using descriptive language and imagery throughout your piece, or incorporating quirky anecdotes or references.

Ultimately, the vibe you choose for your story should match the tone and style of the publication you’re pitching it to. So if you want to pitch an opinion piece to a popular online magazine that is known for its lighthearted and humorous writing, you’ll want to focus on using witty and satirical language throughout your piece.

In order for your story to stand out from others in the same category, it’s important to carefully consider its vibe. By tailoring this element of your pitch to match the tone and style of the publication you’re targeting, you will be able to capture the attention and interest of their readers.

5. Choose Different Photos

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So if you’re trying to sell your story to a publication, it’s important to choose different photos that highlight the main elements of your piece.

A food magazine is going to be interested in mouth-watering photos of the dishes from the place, while a travel magazine will be more interested in atmospheric shots that capture the feeling of your destination. By selecting photos that complement each publication’s specific interests, you’ll increase the chances that your pitch will be accepted.

6. Keep the Different Purposes of Your Story in Mind

Finally, when you sit down to actually write your story, it’s important to keep the different purposes of your story in mind. Many times, it’s quite easy to get caught up in the details of your experience and start focusing on things that aren’t at all relevant to the main purpose of your story.

To avoid this trap, you should always be asking yourself why you’re writing the piece in the first place. Is it because you have a pressing personal story to share? Or is it simply to get your name out there and boost your profile within the industry? Whatever the case, always make sure that you’re communicating your main purpose in a clear and compelling way to ensure that all of your writing efforts are worthwhile.

By keeping the different purposes of your story in mind as you write, you’ll be able to produce a better final product that is more likely to find success in the world of publishing.

Final Thoughts

Tailoring one story for different purposes is an important skill for any writer to master. Not only will it help you sell your stories to more publications, but it will also enable you to communicate different messages and ideas across various platforms.

By focusing on your target audience, choosing the best vibe for your story, selecting appropriate photos, keeping the main purpose of your story in mind at all times, and considering what information is important versus superfluous, you’ll increase your chances of having your pitch accepted – and landing more assignments overall.

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