Lately I have heard a lot of people talking about repurposing content and marketing materials: turning articles into blogs and podcasts, books into speeches, speeches into books and every other imaginable combination. It all sounds good and you should have lots of different materials out in the market, but I have an even better idea.
What about planning out every delivery mechanism for your message right from the start? That way, you can ensure that you have exactly the right content for each medium and save lots of editing time and effort.
In nearly ten years of working with clients on writing and publishing strategies, the best example of this I have seen was a young speaker and author who needed to get a lot of exposure quickly. We built a content plan with all of his objectives in mind, and highlighted right on the plan which items were intended to be articles, which were ebooks that stood on their own, and which were the beginning of keynote speeches. In the course of six months, he released 20 articles, a regular blog, three ebooks, one full-length book and several speeches of different lengths. And the best thing about it was that all of the messages hung together and supported each other, since they were part of the original plan.
How to Repurpose Content
If you already have materials in the market, of course you can look at new ways to package them up, creating extra products and marketing tools. You can also start, wherever you are now, a new plan of deliverables for the next six to twelve months. From my experience, here is the quickest and easiest way to do this:
1. Identify your desired outcomes.
Typically these are in the broad areas of awareness, influence and action. For example, do you want people to know about you, sign up to your list or buy something?
2. Give each of the outcomes a timescale.
This is really important and it will guide you in terms of what to release into the market, and when.
3. Look at the characteristics of your target market
Then ask yourself what they would really prefer. For example, if you have a primarily younger market, they usually want more online and fewer offline products.
4. Create a shortlist of products
Your shortlist of products could include ebooks, articles, books and speeches. Choose the products that will help you reach the outcomes you identified and are suitable for the market you identified. Aim for two to three under each area.
5. Finally, plan your content.
Start with a core message that you want to put out into the market. This message will run through everything you create, so take your time with it and get help and advice if you need it. Then, create lower level messages that will help you drive your main message home. Look at the scope of these messages and determine how much you have to say about each one. The ‘meatier’ ones will probably give you enough material for an ebook or even a slim book in print. Minor ones can be articles, blogs or short podcasts.
Be disciplined and rigorous with your planning, and it will support you as you build your message and your profile as someone who knows what they are talking about. This kind of planning can be done anytime; I just find that it is more efficient to do it as early as possible so you can release the right products and messages into the market in the right way and at the right time. You get a whole lot of efficiency and a fabulous big picture so you know exactly where you’re heading. And you shouldn’t need to spend valuable time ‘re-purposing’ anything.
Mindy Gibbins-Klein is best known as The Book Midwife (TM) an international speaker, writing and publishing strategist and leading book coach who has helped over 100 experts write and publish books, 12 of them bestsellers.