Repurposing Content for Different Contexts

One of the essential skills that allows you to reach more people with less effort is the ability to repurpose your content for different contexts. Some examples:

– Take what you write in a private e-mail, expand on it and post it in a discussion forum
– Adapt what you wrote in a mailing list to work as a stand-alone piece and put it in your blog
– Use excerpts from your best blog posts and link to them as an e-mail newsletter
– Formalize your best blog posts into articles for publication on other sites
– Compile your articles and blog posts into a book
– Take old articles or excerpts from your book and re-frame them to fit the context of a new publication venue

This is all stuff David and I practice routinely, to the point that I’ve practically forgotten about it as a “practice”. I was pleasantly reminded of it this morning by John Stephen Veitch, who wrote four reviews of The Virtual Handshake on various sites: two of his blogs, his Ryze network and Amazon. What intrigued me was that he used the same basic review for all four entries, but framed each one for its context so that it was relevant to that readership.

In his Step by Step for Newbies blog, which provides simple, how-to instruction for people new to the Internet, he writes:

Until now too many people have been unsure what to do “now that I’m online”. The Virtual Handshake is a solution to that problem. It’s plain and clear that what you choose to do online is important, and the authors give you strong, specific and easily understood instructions about how to “do it” right.

For internet newbies The Virtual Handshake has detailed instruction on the simple things you need to do to get started. The Virtual Handshake also tells you how to create an online presence that will attract to you the people who are most likely to help you to succeed. Read more…

On Open Future, his blog which looks at innovation and adapting to change, he starts differently:

CEO’s and business managers is general have been slow to get online. Those who have been early might have made all the mistakes, but a good number have also made significant money by trading with or doing services for somebody they first met online. Until now too many people have been unsure what to do “now that I’m online”. The Virtual Handshake is a solution to that problem. It’s plain and clear that what you do online is important, and the authors give you strong, specific and easily understood instructions about how to “do it” right.

For the business executive The Virtual Handshake has detailed instruction on the need to maintain both face to face and virtual communications. Managers tend to be siloed by their work. The Virtual Handshake tells you how to create an online presence that might attract to you the partners you need to succeed. Read more…

On his Ryze network, Veech Innovation Network, he frames it yet again differently:

Chapter 30 of this book tells a story of innovation. People in every part of the USA have worked hard on the internet for many years and developed understanding, skills and abilities that most other people do not yet have. Scott Allen in looking for success stories for his book about success online wrote a request to a Yahoo Group. David Teten in New York who was also planning a book saw that request and responded.

The books each author had planned were not the same. The skill sets of the two people were different. But they both had experience and expertise and they were able to work together on it. I’m sure the resulting book is stronger for that.

For the innovator The Virtual Handshake has detailed and specific instruction on the need to maintain both face to face and virtual communications. Innovators tend to be isolated by their work. The Virtual Handshake tells you how to create an online presence that might attract to you the partners you need to succeed. Read more…

From there, the reviews are all pretty much the same – almost verbatim. But by properly framing it for each context, John makes it relevant for each audience. Context creates meaning! By simply repurposing the same basic content, he was able to get four reviews done in a fraction of the time it would have taken to write each one individually, and yet each one reads as appropriate for that venue, rather than just a copy/paste job from somewhere else.

Of course, now the secret’s out… 🙂