How To Get 10 Pieces of Writing out of One Brilliant Idea - Craft Your Content
repurpose writing

How To Get 10 Pieces of Writing out of One Brilliant Idea

Companies and brands are expected to be everywhere online to engage audiences wherever they are. You have to think about blog and website articles, social media, visuals, and video content.

That can mean dumping a ton of resources and effort into your marketing. It could also mean a disjointed brand image if you or your team are working separately on strategies for each medium.

Thoughtfully repurpose content—especially around your best ideas—to squeeze the most value out of every idea and ensure a cohesive, comprehensive strategy.

Below are 10 pieces of multimedia content you can create from one idea without a ton of additional work or skills. This way, you can create several unique products that can help you achieve several goals.

Guest Blog Post or Freelance Article

I often like to start my ideas with a pitch to another publication, even though I create content on my own for my website and consulting work.

Pitching to another publication forces me to think about audiences and contexts outside of what I control, which is important for generating unique and useful ideas. Pitching also lets me get feedback on the idea from an editor, which is good protection from running too far with an ineffective idea before it’s well tested.

Not sure where to take your great article idea? I love freelance writer Susan Shain’s Where to Pitch, which helps you find publications looking for pitches in your vertical.

Your Blog or Website

repurpose writing
Using content on your own site means guaranteed publication

Always find a way to use content on a site you own. That’s guaranteed publication, and it helps you keep your site dynamic with new content.

You might face restrictions if your idea starts as a guest post or freelance piece. Maybe you have to wait a certain amount of time before reusing content, or maybe the terms just don’t let you reuse it at all. 

In the latter case, you could use the opportunity to post a summary on your blog that points to the published article. That keeps fresh content on your blog and helps you tout other sites that are promoting your work.

Anytime you give a presentation or training, think about how you can distill the information into blog posts—you’ll probably get several posts out of a one-hour presentation.

White Paper or Mini E-Book

Any informational article you write could become a digital freebie for your audience with a few simple tweaks to organization and design. Depending on your industry, you might create a white paper, an e-book, a report, a workbook, a cheat sheet … Get creative.

Whatever you call it, it can become a lead magnet to attract an audience to your brand, especially your email list.

The simplest way to publish and distribute for free is as a PDF. Create the document in Google Docs, and download it as a PDF. You can upload it as media to your website or email marketing service, which will give you a link to share with readers to download the freebie after they subscribe.

Email Newsletter Series

repurpose writing
Your content can also be used in your email newsletter

Break an article’s content into several parts, and promote it as a free onboarding series or course for your email subscribers.

It might be nearly the same content, but offering it in this different format gives your audience the option to receive it in bite-sized chunks. The actionable format adds a ton of additional value for your audience but doesn’t require much additional work from you.

If you don’t already have an email list, you can get started for free, including setting up an automated onboarding series, through Mailchimp.

Book Proposal

Once you’ve tested an idea with your audience through web content, think about taking it offline.

Could you turn your most viral blog post or most popular workshop into a book? Figure out how you might expand on the idea to add value, and use what you’ve already written on the topic to create a book proposal using these tips from Mark Gottlieb at The Write Life.

Paul Angone’s book 101 Secrets for Your Twenties is a great example, expanded from his popular All Groan Up blog post “21 Secrets for Your 20s.”

E-Course

repurpose writing
An e-course is an excellent way to reuse your content

Similar to an email newsletter series, you could potentially create an e-course from existing content without a ton of additional effort.

Organize related blog and video content into a package you can sell to help your readers achieve a common goal. You might add worksheets or resources to round out the course curriculum, but developing an e-course could otherwise be a low-effort endeavor if you already have a body of content focused on your area of expertise.

You can create an e-course on your site and manage it with a WordPress LMS (learning management system) plugin. Or set up your course on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to tap into their audiences.

Slide Deck

Like a white paper or e-book, an informational slide deck can be a cool freebie that’s easy to put together from something you’ve already written and easy to distribute to your audience.

It might not seem like much to you, but for some readers, a slide deck can outline and organize information much more clearly than a blog post can. It’s also something you can let them take away from your site, which they can’t do with a blog post.

You can create a slide deck for free through Google Slides, and distribute it right through Google Drive or upload to SlideShare to allow for discovery.

Workshop or Webinar

repurpose writing
Setting up a workshop or webinar turns your free content into a product you can sell

You’ve already created the slide deck, right?

This is an opportunity to turn your free content into a product you can sell. Set up a workshop you can pitch to industry conferences and community organizations, or present online to your audience as a webinar.

Don’t worry about leaving that blog post or free e-book out there where they can get similar information. Your presentation adds value worth paying for because it gives your audience direct access to you. Let them follow up throughout the presentation with questions—they might even spark ideas for new ways to expand on the topic!

You can run a webinar online for free through YouTube Live (formerly Hangouts on Air); blogger Mary Jaksch explains how at SmartBlogger

Social Media Series

Almost any content you create is fodder for social media. For a simple and coherent strategy, ring as many pieces of social content out of your original piece as you can, and create a series that’ll engage readers on the topic for a while.

For example, turn a blog article into a series of posts for Facebook by pulling out the strongest nuggets and tweaking them for the platform. It’ll let you offer clear value to your Facebook followers while also promoting the article for anyone who wants to learn more.

Add something eye-catching to your social posts by creating simple graphics using a free tool like Canva, where you can save templates and develop a brand kit to standardize and streamline the process.

Video

repurpose writing
Video is just another form of content, so embrace it!

Video can seem like a foreign entity for writers, which often leads us to outsource video, or, in the case of a company, to have editorial and video departments working in silos. That can easily lead to wasted effort creating two distinct content strategies.

We need to relax. Video is just another form of content attempting to achieve the same goal as your writing: to connect with and inform your audience. You’ll save yourself a lot of effort and money if you can meld the medium into your written content strategy.

Aside from the technical steps, video creation involves the skills you have as a writer: Know your audience, distill information, tell a good story.

You can translate those from the page to video without organizing a production crew. Start with Google Slides, and use a free tool like Screencast-O-Matic to record and add audio to create a simple informational video.

How to Decide Which Content to Repurpose

So, not every idea you have makes sense for every medium. You’re probably publishing to your blog frequently or writing a lot of freelance articles, but you don’t need to put in the effort to turn them all into videos and e-courses.

To figure out what’s worth the effort, pay attention to three key qualities:

1. Stuff that floats to the surface. Which blog posts consistently bring in the highest portion of your traffic? Which topics lead to a spike in traffic anytime you post about them? That’s your audience telling you exactly what works for them. Run with it.

2. What your audience asks for. Listen to the questions your audience regularly asks. You can provide extra value and reach more people by making the answers accessible in various formats.

3. Your brand’s core purpose. What do you want your brand to be known for? This is a good place to focus your multimedia efforts so your audience knows what you’re about no matter where they find your content.

Create Content in Batches for Easy Repurposing

repurpose writing
Producing content in batches forces you to look at the bones of each idea

If your content creation process is linear—idea, write, publish—you could have a hard time with repurposing. Instead, I recommend Craft Your Content contributor Ali Luke’s advice for creating content in batches.

Instead of that linear process, Luke recommends you streamline by producing multiple pieces of content in batches of brainstorming, then outlining, then writing, then editing.

Brainstorming, then outlining, a bunch of ideas at once will give you a chance to see opportunities for additional formats in a way writing straight through might not. The batching process forces you to look at the bones of each idea before committing to an arrangement.

Get the Most You Can From Every Idea

You’ll knock yourself out trying to reinvent new ideas for every piece of content you have to create for your brand. It could cost you a lot in resources and effort, and lead to a disjointed content strategy.

Instead, follow these strategies to use a single idea—and much of the same writing—to create several unique products and opportunities that’ll help you reach a variety of audiences and achieve multiple purposes.

About the Author Dana Sitar

Dana Sitar has been writing and editing for online audiences and digital media since 2011. She’s an editor at The Penny Hoarder, a columnist for Inc. and a freelancer with bylines including Slate, the New York Times and HuffPost. Her free mini ebook, How to Write Anything (Well) gives you the tools you need to understand who your readers (really) are and what it takes to share your message or story with the people who need it.

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