How to Leverage Your Work by Repurposing Your Writing

While repurposing may suggest something that’s environmentally friendly, it’s actually a technique practiced regularly by many successful non-fiction writers and authors. They’ve learned they can leverage their effectiveness many times over, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.

In fact, if you haven’t done this yet, you owe it to yourself and your future audiences who otherwise might miss out on your knowledge, expertise and talents to do so. And if you have, maybe you can pick up some inspiration here to get even more mileage out of work you’ve already created.

So who exactly are these “successful” people that repurpose their work?

Without naming names, have you ever wondered how certain authors can churn out so many bestsellers in rapid succession, year after year? Maybe they employ ghost writers. Maybe every word their fingertips produce on the keyboard springs forth clean and ready to print. Or just maybe they’ve mastered the copy and paste commands, sprucing up each rendition with a few new thoughts or current data. Go to the library, bookstore or World Wide Web and research a few of your favorite authors. Compare their offerings, and you’re likely to find at least some amount of overlap.

Isn’t this cheating?

Of course not, supposing you originated the originals to begin with. You can extract a certain idea and develop it further. You can combine individual pieces into a collection. By choosing different formats for your work, you can hit entirely new audiences. And think about this—aside from your Mother, few people are likely to read everything you write. In fact, many readers never completely read a single article or book anyway!

Repurposing is a good thing!

Repurposing something you’ve already created allows you to achieve several objectives at once. Multiple works presented in various formats increase your exposure in the marketplace. This furthers your credibility, as well, and helps establish your expertise. Best of all, your initial efforts can be turned into multiple streams of income!

Only your imagination limits how you can repurpose your work.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Create small things and combine them into something larger. Bestselling business author and marketing guru, Roy Williams, has produced a Monday Morning Memo every Monday for years. He then uses these shorter works as chapters, combining them to create books.
  • Blog with purpose. Plan so that you have direction to your blog. Use any feedback to zero in on the topics most in demand, and then you, like Roy, can compile your best efforts into a book.
  • Create a signature work and peel off the pieces. If you’ve already written a book, create individual reports out of the chapters. Offer one of the chapters or reports as a free download to showcase your expertise. Or, as Nicola Bird, creator of the online coaching tool, Jigsaw Box, suggests, add questions at the end of each report and combine them to create an entire self-study course.
  • Create mini-newsletters based on one idea. Shorter newsletters are more likely to get read, at least in part. Lynda Goldman, professional writer and author of 31 business and communication books, sends out “Communication Capsules,” each based on an idea from her body of works. Browse her Newsletter Archive for examples from a master communicator.
  • Create a new edition. With non-fiction, times change and data becomes obsolete. Often you can update prior offerings and add a fresh new look without having to create an entirely new work. Use collected feedback to refine and tailor your work to your audience.
  • Create a membership site. Say you’ve created a 12-lesson self-study course. In addition to offering customers the option of purchasing the course and working through it on their own, you could also offer a one-year membership service. For a monthly fee, they would receive this month’s lesson, submit their answers to the moderator, and be invited to participate in a monthly conference call in which they discuss the lesson. Endless possibilities exist as to how this could be adapted!

How have you repurposed your work?

If you have come up with an innovative way to repurpose your work, we’d like to hear about it! Your idea just might spark someone else’s creativity as well. Comment below!

Marilynn Hood is a career development and money coach, speaker, writer and financial educator.

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