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Repurpose Content to Make More Money from Writing

Updated on January 1, 2016
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Heidi Thorne is a self publishing expert, author of 21 (and counting!) business books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

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Churn and Burn

Worn out as a blog writer? Many are. Why? Because they're on a churn-and-burn writing pace that will leave them with a pile of posts that may never see the light of day again after the initial rush of traffic and advertising revenue subside.

But blog posts are just blog posts until they become something else to generate revenue. Writing with "something else" in mind can help writers make more money and be more profitable content creators.

Is Repurposing the Same as Reselling?

One of the ways that writers can use to optimize income from their writing is to resell article content through syndication. This is certainly an option that writers should explore.

But repurposing is a bit different than syndication. Writers can repurpose their existing written materials in different forms. Some examples would include:

  • Including the writing in a book or ebook. See the following segment for ideas on creating a book with very little extra effort.
  • Compiling related articles into a report or guide. These don't have to be books. These compilations can be white papers or other documents that would have value.
  • Creating audio recordings to share or sell as an audio program or podcast. By recording articles as MP3s or podcasts, people can download and listen to the content on the go.
  • Creating a video version of the article. This is a great way to demonstrate techniques or show examples. Best for visually oriented content.

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How to Write a Book Without Really Trying

Struggling to write a book? You may have already written one without even really trying. How?

Bloggers often write posts as, well, one-off posts. Yet, if these posts thoroughly discuss a topic, each blog post can become a chapter in a book.

This is how I wrote the majority of my first book, SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business, in 2011. Then, in 2014, I updated, republished and moved it to the Amazon Createspace platform.

What I did was group dozens of old blog posts of similar topics into sections of the book. Formatted and edited it, added copyright, disclaimer and about sections, created a cover, uploaded to Amazon Createspace and, bam!, my book AND Kindle ebook were done.

I didn't actually sit down and write the book. I merely repurposed what I already had created into something that can generate income and leads for my business. (As a side note, a published, even self-published, book is a great "business card" and promotional product to use with customers.)

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Writing and Creating with Purpose and Repurpose

There are two key ingredients of a blog post or other creative work that has potential to be resurrected or repurposed for future use:

  1. Evergreen Content. If the content is on current affairs, news items, fads or rapidly evolving topics, the potential for future use will be VERY limited. It's not that it can't be used; it's just that the window of opportunity is small. Given the time it takes to repurpose content and get it into the market—even if it's self published—that window may already be closed or closing. For greater repurpose potential, stick with topics that have long standing relevance and appeal or "shelf life." Click here to discover what is evergreen content.
  2. SEO Friendly. Blog posts and other written work on subjects that have a decent amount of continuing search engine traffic have a better chance of extended life beyond the initial posting. This helps in two ways. First, if search engines deem it as worthy content, traffic from search can help keep the original post alive for longer. Second, for posts on frequently and continually searched topics, investment in repurposing into other works makes more sense since an interested market may already exist for it. Click here for information on choosing relevant keywords for SEO.

Disclaimer: The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne

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    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      It's certainly a much easier way to write a book, recycling the churn and burn! Thanks for the tips on making more out of writing - voted useful!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Suzanne Day! It so much easier to write a book that's a compilation of already finished work. Plus, writers can get an idea of what content resonates with their audiences before investing their time and energy in a book. Thanks for stopping by today and for your vote! Have a great day!

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Recycling is much more efficient than starting from scratch.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is wonderful advice, Heidi! I've started to cluster some of my writing in order to take advantage of some of these techniques. You provide some ideas that are new to me, so thank you!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Got that right, ologsinquito! It's stressful having to come up with new ideas all the time. So we're better off going with a reduce-reuse-recycle policy here, too. Have a great day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      FlourishAnyway, you've got so much great material that it should be easy to find new ways to repurpose it elsewhere. Keep us posted on your "recycling" efforts. Have a great day!

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      What a great hub, packed with information I need. Big effort needed here but will certainly be working my way towards some of your tips. Thanks.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      True, travmaj, repurposing what we already have created can be less effort than constantly coming up with new material. But, you're right, it does take some planning and thought to get into the repurposing groove. We'll be anxious to see what you do with some of your great info that's already out there. Thanks for commenting and have a great day!

    • girlonfire profile image

      girlonfire 3 years ago

      I've always believed in the "reduce-reuse-recycle policy", and your article just gave more practical ideas. Thanks!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is great advice, Heidi. I've been thinking about this topic lately, so your hub has appeared at just the right moment!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Good suggestions for repurposing writing content.

      Just as blog posts and other short pieces can be compiled and edited into a book, the flip side is also so—the research that went into a novel or a nonfiction book might be repurposed as articles, posts, opinion pieces, and essays. Like, if Melville had the opportunity to be a HubPages writer, he could have written articles on how to process a whale on a whaling ship to get whale oil, on the color white as a symbol in different cultures, on management and labor issues on whaling ships, and more.

      Up, Useful, and Interesting.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello, girlonfire! Glad you found the ideas helpful. Keep us posted on your repurposing. :) Have a great day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi AliciaC! We writers often don't capitalize on all the great work we've already done. Glad this was a timely post for you. Let us know how it goes. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello B. Leekley! Yes, working backwards and repurposing from a larger work is another awesome strategy! I've seen a lot of big name authors do just that, thereby extending the life of their body of work. I would've loved to see what Melville (or Twain) would have done here on HubPages. :) Thanks for adding that important insight to the conversation! Have a wonderful day!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Sounds like very good, practical advice Heidi, which I really like for two reasons:

      1) For most amateur writers, writing and publishing a first book is an extrememly daunting process, not least for the length of time one has to devote to it, without any guarantee of a profitable return. Combining together related, already written articles into a new book seems like a relatively easy, risk-free way of taking that big step into writing books.

      2) For me it seems very disappointing if an article I've taken a long time writing receives just one or two page views a month. This advice of yours offers a chance of breathing new life into a piece of writing one has done in the past, and bringing it to a new audience.

      Thanks for the advice and links. Voted up in several categories. Alun

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Greensleeves/Alun! I can totally appreciate the situation where you've spent a good amount of time on a post, video, etc. and it has low traffic... even if it's fantastic info. All of us writers have to find ways to optimize and monetize our time investment in our craft. Thank you so much for adding your experience to the conversation and sharing! Cheers!

    • literal profile image

      literal 2 years ago from Aotearoa

      Thanks for the great idea. Voted - thumbs up and useful.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi literal! Glad you found it helpful. Good luck with your repurposing & have a great day!

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Zakinov 2 years ago from California

      Re-purposing your content (even hubs) into a book is a great idea, Heidi. My problem is narrowing down a topic. I write about different things - whatever I find fascinating at the moment. There are "themes" to my writing I suppose, but I am stumped to choose one and write a book about it... Does anyone else have this problem? Thanks for the hub!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Kalinin1158, I feel your pain! Even though lots of my writing centers on sales, marketing, promotion and advertising, the topics are sooooo expansive that it's difficult to narrow the field. One thing that has helped me in repurposing is to focus groups I want to reach. For example, a lot of my hubs are geared for small business. So when I rewrote a book on sales for small business, I was able to draw in several hubs (or parts of them) into the revised edition making it a much stronger work than it was before. Thanks for joining the conversation and good luck with "recycling" your writing!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I had deleted dozens of my articles from Bubblews when they reneged on making payments and I was planning to reuse them someday by combining into several articles. But now, after reading your ideas here, I'm considering repurposing them into a book form. That's a very useful idea, especially for those of us who have old articles or posts from blogs that can be reused in this way.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 22 months ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Glenn! Yes, a lot of us active writers have archives full of material that can easily be repurposed in books, other blogs, short ebooks and more. Glad this gave you the inspiration to put all your past hard work back to work. :) Thanks for stopping by and have a delightful week!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 6 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great article! This is so new material for me! Thanks for sharing.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 6 months ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Kristen! Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for being a member of my HP tribe. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 6 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Heidi, you're welcome. My pleasure my friend. You too!

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