When you write a brief article for the public or give a community presentation, you put a lot of time and effort into preparing and organizing your content.
With just a little more work you can repurpose that content to reach a wider audience and to help brand yourself as an expert.
Here are 3 basic ways to repurpose content:
1. Tweak similar content for different audiences
Consider the topic, "Stress management." This topic can pertain to everyone. But if you try to appeal to everyone, you'll end up with a bland set of generalities that comes across as academic and uninspiring.
Instead, take the topic of stress management and tweak it for specific circumstances and specific groups of people. For example, rather than a general article on stress, write about how to manage stress during divorce. Write a general outline; then customize it for different groups of people affected by divorce - parents, young children, teens, adult children, and grandparents, using examples and tips that pertain to each of these groups.
Thus, as illustrated below, you can easily churn out 5 similar articles, each targeted to a different demographic.
2. Present the same topic in different formats:
- An article
- A blog post
- A community presentation
- A podcast
- A video
- Handouts and tips sheets
- On your website
- On your Facebook page
- Book chapter
As illustrated below, you can do any or all of these formats for moms, for dads, for kids, etc. If you present just 3 different formats for each of the five subgroups, you'll have 15 helpful pieces - all from the same basic content!
3. Break apart and combine:
If you've written a lengthy article or given a half-day workshop, break up the material into smaller, stand-alone pieces. Each can be turned into a blog post, podcast, video, etc.
Several small pieces can serve as a framework for a book. For example, suppose you've written a few individual articles about teens - family stress, body image, sibling rivalry, etc. Look for a unifying theme and make that your book title - e.g., The Five Most Stressful Times For Teens. Each of your articles on this theme will be a chapter in the book. You'll probably have to edit and add more content to tie everything together, but if you already have the articles, your book is half-written.
Don't worry about being repetitive.
Each subtopic and each format appeals to a different segment of the population. There will be some overlap, but that's actually and advantage, because it helps to brand you as an expert on the broader topic.
Example: Albert Ellis had a simple message, which he parlayed in dozens of books, articles and presentations. Most people who read his writing or attended his talks knew what to expect, but they still kept buying his books and paying to hear him speak.
Is it "cheating" to repurpose your own content?
Not typically. Unless you have granted exclusive rights to someone else, your work is yours to use or copy as you wish.
If your work has been published in a magazine or on someone else's website, check the terms of your contract. There is probably a statement as to who holds the copyright, and the terms under which the content can be used. If the contract states that you cannot re-publish the same content, you can still use the same ideas, but change how you express them.
For more information on American copyright law, see the U.S. Copyright Office website.