Repurposing Writing to Grow Your Business and Career
By Cathy Fyock
Jeff is a busy executive who has always wanted to become a published author. He’s seen his colleagues’ work published and envied their newfound recognition as authors and thought leaders. Jeff knows that having a book can be a way to stand out from the competition, get speaking engagements, create new revenue streams, and move his business to the next level by providing him with a first class business card.
Jeff is typical of so many business professionals today who know the value of publishing, yet don’t understand how to leverage the value from writing.
The good news is that Jeff can repurpose this writing—that is, he can create content once and use it for many different mediums.
As a professional or thought-leader, you are constantly selling your intellectual property (IP). There’s no reason that IP can’t be repackaged for many different media, like speaking, writing, training, consulting, coaching, and so on. If you can create the content for a major presentation, for example, you can reuse that content for a post on LinkedIn, an article in your professional journal or trade publication, or rewrite it as a component of your book.
Even when you’re focused on the material itself, be aware that you can publish that written material in many forms and formats: blogs, articles, books, training materials, and whatever others make sense for you.
Let’s say that you’ve just written a weekly post of 350 to 800 words. That’s a short piece of content, but even so, there might be numerous purposes for that short bit of IP. The blog post could become part of your next book. It could be incorporated in a new training program. You could tailor it for a specific industry publication—or generalize it for multiple industries. You could write it for staff, and then change it up for managers or senior leadership.
- Review materials that you’ve created: presentations, articles, blog posts, workbook materials, or templates, and determine what is relevant and offers value. Create a folder—electronic or paper—that organizes these materials.
- Analyze where you have used these materials, and what other purposes they might serve. As suggested, a short article published in a trade publication could now be published on LinkedIn. A presentation could become an article. An article can become a chapter in your book.
- When moving from one genre to the next, you’ll need to see what works and what doesn’t. For example: when converting training materials into a book, you’ll need to flesh out the stories or the narrative that wasn’t written. When turning a short blog into a longer academic article, you’ll likely add research and cited sources and beef up the content. If you move from a blog to a training session, you’ll need to consider how to make the material interactive and engaging to make that material “sticky.”
- Similarly, but in reverse: a new exercise you develop for a client program could be repackaged and used as a series of shorter blogs, or incorporated into your book. Or, if you’ve already published a book, you could extract chunks of that writing for short blog posts.
- Is the material current or relevant? Is it evergreen? While your original content was certainly current when it was published, does it still hold water today? If, for instance, your blog post featured Lance Armstrong or Bill Cosby as examples of strong character and leadership (as they once seemed to be), you might need new examples. While most material will retain its relevance, some will become noticeably dated over time—especially if it involves technology or anything else that changes quickly.
- Does it reflect your own current thinking on this topic? While you may have felt strongly about an issue at some point, more recent events may have changed your perspective or adjusted your thoughts. When your material is published, you want it to reflect your most current philosophies and ideas on the issues—or, so far as possible, the ways you always have always thought and will continue to.
- Does the material’s thesis fit with your business strategy? If you’re repurposing material to support your business or career, your material should be closely aligned with your business strategy. In other words, whatever you write should serve your business in some direct way: it should bring in customers, raise your position or credibility, or provide you with media attention. Your writing can take you where you want to go, but only if the writing and the thesis which defines it points in the same direction.
If you’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into your writing, then repurposing your writing is a great strategy to ensure you’re squeezing the maximum value out of your own work so that you can realize the benefit of being a published professional.
Activity: Have you been repurposing your writing? Consider the last article, blog post, or chapter you’ve written. What other formats could apply to this writing? Could it become an article, blog post, book chapter, white paper, eBook, special report, workbook, handout, or something else altogether?
Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with thought leaders and professionals who want to write a book as a business and career growth strategy. She is the author of eight books, including her most recent, Blog2Book: Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve Already Written.