Not enough time for all your business writing?

Regardless of the writing topic I’m teaching about – whether it’s sales pages, opt-ins or social media posts – someone always asks, “How do I find the time???”

I get it. I really do. You’re a busy entrepreneur juggling an ever-increasing task list. Even AFTER you prioritise and apply the 80/20 rule, the 20% that’s left takes up more time than you have available.

And let’s face it: you didn’t go into business to sit behind a computer writing all day. But by the time you’ve:

  • Updated the copy for your website…
  • Crafted your opt-in gift…
  • Published your regular blog post…
  • Sent out your latest newsletter…
  • Posted to all your social media accounts…

… it can often feel like there’s no time left to actually see clients or create any products.

My favourite “work smarter” tip: repurpose like crazy

Wherever I can, I prefer to work smarter, rather than harder. It’s not about being lazy: it’s about efficiently allocating my limited time and energy. And while I have a range of tools in my “working smarter” toolbox, my favourite (by far) is repurposing.

Repurposing – much as you’d expect from the name – is about taking the same fundamental content and using it over and over again in different channels.

It’s simple, at least in theory. There is, however, a knack to repurposing well. For example, it doesn’t (generally) just mean copying and pasting text from one channel to another.

So in this post, I want to share why, when and how to repurpose effectively.

Repurposing is more than just a time-saving technique

As you can probably tell: my #1 reason for repurposing is the time, effort and sanity it saves me. However, that’s not the only reason I use it. Done right, repurposing also:

  • Stops me committing “Random Acts of Marketing”: if I start with a core piece of copy and repurpose it, I know that the messages in each channel support each other in achieving the same goal. That keeps me from indulging in the “spray and pray” marketing that dilutes my message and confuses my audience.
  • Gets my message out to a wider audience: not everyone follows me on every channel. Folks who subscribe to my newsletter haven’t necessarily liked my Facebook page. People who read my blog aren’t always in my free community. Publishing something to multiple channels increases the likelihood of any one person seeing it.
  • Reinforces my message: even if someone *does* see something more than once, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s generally accepted that folks need to see a message repeatedly (I’ve heard “seven times”, but never seen a source for this) before it sinks in. Repetition actually reinforces the message in people’s mind.

So, put like that, why WOULDN’T I repurpose my content?

What kind of content can you repurpose?

The short answer to this question is “almost anything from any channel”. Seriously: once you’ve written something for one channel, there’s almost nothing stopping you from reusing it anywhere else.

The long answer is much the same, but with specific examples. Repurposing paths I’ve frequently seen people walk (and travelled myself) include:

  • Writing an opt-in, and then pulling out one or more sections to create a blog post series
  • Writing a guest blog post, and pulling out key points to create a series of tips to use in online communities
  • Transcribing a podcast, and creating an opt-in PDF from it (ask me about the time I did this for a client and got her a 600% increase in her signups in the first week)
  • Expanding out a comment you left on someone else’s Facebook post into a full blog post for your own tribe
  • Writing a course workbook, and then creating a couple of lead magnets, a blog post series AND a social media campaign from it

Like I said above: the possibilities are endless.

How do you REALLY make repurposing work?

The key to repurposing well, which I alluded to earlier in the post, is to avoid simply lifting the text directly from one channel to another.

Instead, you need to start by recognising that each piece of repurposed copy needs to be complete in itself. (Because, after all, your the reader may never see “the rest of” whatever you’ve repurposed it from). And that means you need to structure each individual piece so that it contains a clear:

  • Why: why is this thing important for your reader? Why should they spend the time reading what you’ve written? What problem will it solve, and what difference will that make in their life?
  • What: what exactly are you teaching your reader with this post/article/opt-in/whatever? What’s the essence of the point you’re pulling from your original piece of copy?
  • How: how do they put whatever you’re teaching them into practice? How do they take action? What practical step/s do they need to follow?
  • Next: what’s their next step after reading your repurposed piece? What further action do they need to take? It might be to get in touch, follow a link, leave a comment, or even check out the original piece you repurposed from.

Then, once you’ve figured out the structure for your repurposed piece, you need to write – and format – it so it’s easy to read in your chosen channel.

That means understanding how people read onscreen, AKA “F-pattern reading”. It also means understanding the limits of that channel: e.g. knowing that a tweet is <140 characters, and that a Facebook post doesn’t allow character formatting.

(Not familiar with F-pattern reading? Check out my free guide!)

Where can you save time – and increase effectiveness – through repurposing?

OK, now you know why I’m such a big fan of repurposing. And you also know how to do it as effectively as possible.

So before I finish, I’m going to leave you with a challenge.

Look back over the copy you’ve written in the past month or two: the blog posts, emails, Facebook posts and anything else. What have you created that would be useful for people who don’t have access to the original copy (or do, but didn’t see it)?

Where could you provide more value to more people, and save yourself time and energy while doing it?

Then go ahead and actually repurpose some of that stuff.

Trust me: your tribe will thank you for it!