Repurposing and upcycling is all the rage right now. It happens even in my own house—my youngest daughter is exactly what would happen if Martha Stewart and MacGyver had a love child. She has been known to make art from a three paper clips, scrap paper, and a dust bunny.
But is it possible you’re missing a great opportunity for repurposing your content?
If you’ve been blogging, publishing a newsletter, speaking, or doing any kind of repetitive content production for any length of time, chances are excellent that you already have the great beginning of an e-book right under your nose.
If you have a process, method, or idea that serves as a running theme through all of your work, you could be ready to start taking all of that content and putting it together into a long piece.
But where do you begin?
1) Start with the basics. Maybe you already know some of your themes right off the top of your head. Make a list of the most common themes that you write or speak about.
2) Look at your most viewed posts, most successful newsletters, and most viewed videos. What do they have in common? Are the topics timely or important in some way that you can tie them together?
3) Consider the most requested topics. Are there topics or themes that your audience asks about again and again?
4) Create an outline. It doesn’t have to be formal—you can just scratch it out in a notebook, or you can even do a mind map. Begin grouping your posts, topics, themes, ideas into categories and subcategories.
5) Start compiling your content. Take some of those blog posts and just cut and paste them into a new document. Group them by category, topic, theme--whatever makes sense. You will have a lot of redundant content this way, but that's okay for right now--just group these posts together into your loose outline.
6) Look for gaps. Now that you have a rough outline and some basic content, you can probably look at your book from the proverbial 30,000-foot level and begin to identify gaps. Are there places where you've written almost nothing on a topic? Do you need some transitional content to get you from one topic to another?
7) Look for structural flaws. This stage is also a great place to look for basic flaws in your outline's structure. Do you need to move an entire section to some other place in the book? Do you need to combine sections? Or is there a section that can be entirely deleted?
8) Start writing and editing. Now you're ready to start reading through your cut-and-pasted content. Look for redundancies and eliminate them. Write transitional copy that bridges the gaps between ideas. If it makes sense, you can even use some of this "gap" material for your blog.
9) Research supplemental details and information. Talk to your top fans, online group members, colleagues, and clients. Begin interviews or ask for source recommendations to shore up your book's content. Use this new information to give depth and detail to the content you already have.
10) Read it again. After you finish your first draft with its new content and supplemental details, start at the beginning of the ebook and read again. Look for any redundancies or gaps that you missed and fix those. Add any final new content that makes sense.
And there you have it--a basically complete draft of an ebook repurposed from old blog posts!
Is the ebook done at this stage? Probably not. It's a good idea to have someone else edit it. And you'll want to be sure to have a professional designer put your draft into a visually appealing form for distribution.
But when you're done, you'll have a new piece of long-form content that can shore up your marketing efforts and add value for your audience.
Need help repurposing your blog into an ebook? Call me for a consultation!