I was interviewing Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully (an AWESOME blog, btw) for my somewhat-neglected podcast, Write Your Business Book Fast. Tara and her writing partner/editor Rebekah Welch wrote and published a book a week for half a year. Yes, that’s insane. But not impossible.
When they decided to embark upon the writing crazy train, Tara went through her hard drive and looked at all of her files that ended in .doc. She found eBooks that she had used as freebies, email series, articles, tip sheets, seminar talks and handouts, etc. The first book they put up was a reworking of one of her eBooks and the next few were reworkings of some of the files that she had on her computer.
Is Repurposing Content Cheating?
It’s a classic example of repurposing content you already have into something else. In fact, I am repurposing (a bit) some of the content from the podcast to use here on my blog. Is that cheating? Not really.
For starters, people like their content delivered in different formats. I learn best by reading and I’m a fast reader. I get totally distracted listening to audios or watching videos and I usually end up hitting rewind to go over stuff again. It’s a very slow process for me. But a lot of people learn by listening, which is why I also do a podcast. If it’s easier or more convenient for them to listen than to read, then I want to give them information in the way they best process it.
Second, you can repurpose content by using one aspect of something and either taking it in another direction than you did in the original material or just do a deep dive if you weren’t able to do that the first time around. Many times the purpose of a blog post or podcast or even a book doesn’t allow you to delve into all the fun places you could take people to. I have started writing so many blog posts that all of a sudden take off in a whole ‘nother direction and end up as a separate piece of content. The topic might be the same but we are exploring different sides that maybe weren’t a good fit for the original piece.
Last week on this blog I discussed spoking a topic – finding different angles in order to come up with more material, cover as many contingencies as possible, and to re-use research from one project to another. You can use the spoking concept as a tool to re-purpose research and the content that you have.
The one big caveat I have for repurposing content is that your second (or third) incarnation of that content must say something new and/or different. You can’t just keep rehashing the same old stuff.
Side Benefit of Repurposing Content
There’s also a side benefit of repurposing content. Sometimes people don’t understand something the first time around. The way it is explained doesn’t work for them. But, say it in a different way or under different circumstances, all of a sudden the light bulb goes on and recognition clicks in their head.
The old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is one of those adages that I took for granted. Then one day I heard those same words, but I somehow heard them differently. I heard, “When the student is ready, the teaching becomes apparent.” The teaching was always there; the student just couldn’t see it. It’s a different take on what is basically the same content.
Repurposing content can make the teaching apparent. By changing the medium that you use to deliver the information or stating a concept using an example you’ve never used before, you can reach and help more people. So go forth and repurpose.