How to Make More Money: The Art of Repurposing

Leverage previously developed programs and content by repurposing it into other profitable products.

By Carrie Myers Smith
Oct 3, 2014

As a business owner, you have a lot of responsibilities, with little time to waste. In addition to training clients and teaching classes, you have marketing, paperwork, financial records, website content, workshops . . . and the list goes on. Such a busy schedule can make it difficult to boost business by developing new products and services. But what if I told you there was a way to save time on your marketing efforts and make more money, by using what you’ve already got in new ways?

“Repurposing” is simply a way to recycle the content you already have and use. According to an article in Inc. Magazine’s recent “State of Small Business” issue, “It’s a simple concept, but repackaging, repurposing, and recycling content is one of the only ways to make content marketing scalable at no extra cost,” explains the article’s author, Kevin Cain. “The idea is to ensure that every piece of content you create serves multiple purposes and gets re-used at least once or twice.” (http://www.inc.com/kevin-cain/why-content-marketers-need-to-go-green.html).

Amanda Vogel, MA—fitness writer, blogger and social media consultant for the fitness industry, based in Vancouver, British Columbia—says repurposing is a major part of her business. “For example, I might take a conference lecture that I teach about social media and repackage it into an article on the same or a similar topic for a similar audience. My expertise as a social media consultant helps me create content for both the conference lectures and the articles.”

“I hosted The Ultimate Fat Loss Seminar, had it filmed and now sell the DVD,” says Jonathan Goodman, owner of The Personal Trainer Development Center in Toronto. “I also wrote a blog post about online training, which then became a kindle book and then a course called 1K Extra. It all started with a single blog post.”

Make It Happen

What repurposing is not is cutting and pasting and simply copying content into various forms. Some effort must go into streamlining and tweaking the content to fit the new format. But compared with creating brand-new content for every aspect of your business, the time saved translates into money saved—and into money earned when the new format can be purchased by clients and followers.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Record your workshops. You teach live workshops, so why not keep the income flowing by recording the workshops and selling them on your website as DVDs or video downloads? Motivate viewers to purchase the entire workshop by posting teasers on YouTube that link to your site. A side note: Make sure that anyone who appears in the videos has signed a waiver. To learn more about producing DVDs, see the sidebar “The Nuts and Bolts of DVD Production, Sales and Fulfillment.”

Create podcasts from your workshops, articles or blog posts. This can be as simple as reading your articles aloud and transforming them into audio format. Or you can take that workshop PowerPoint file, add audio to it for a slide show with voice-over, and make this item available for download from your website. While you could charge for it, many business owners offer this type of product as a freebie to entice visitors and potential clients and customers to purchase other items or services.

Do the same for webinars. Take a live workshop you’ve taught, and use the PowerPoint or photos from it to create a webinar. Make this an informational marketing tool to give potential clients a chance to learn more about you and your services. Or create educational webinars on various topics. If you have enough relevant material, you can design courses that consist of a webinar a week over several weeks.

Got articles or blog posts? With a little fine-tuning, you can merge articles and posts into an e-book. Each article or blog post can be a chapter in itself, or you can combine two or more items for each chapter. Just make sure the book flows and the order of the articles makes sense.

Extract bits and pieces from your articles and blog posts to create social media posts. Every article and blog post contains snippets that make great tweets or other social media posts. This is also a good way to draw readers to your blog or website; use the first few lines of your blog post or article as a tweet or Facebook post, followed by a link to the rest of the article.

SIDEBAR: The Nuts and Bolts of DVD Production, Sales and Fulfillment

The cost of videotaping varies greatlyÔÇöanywhere from $2,000 to upward of $10,000 per event, says Jonathon Goodman, owner of The Personal Development Center in Toronto. He got lucky with the filming of The Ultimate Fat Loss Seminar, as he had a trainer who wanted to attend who also happened to be a videographer. Can you say ÔÇ£barterÔÇØ?

ÔÇ£[The videographer] attended for free and filmed the event and produced it for me. I paid for equipment rental, which cost around $300. I also paid for his travel to Toronto, and he stayed at my place.ÔÇØ

The two worked together to organize the video. Goodman recalls, ÔÇ£I sent [him] a list saying how I wanted the talks organized. He put the video files together on DVDs, developed a DVD menu and burned master copies of the DVDs.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Once I okayed the project, it was as simple as sending a copy of the receiptÔÇöwith [on-demand publishing company] Vervant├®ÔÇÖs part number and the buyerÔÇÖs mailing address and emailÔÇöto the fulfillment center,ÔÇØ explains Goodman. ÔÇ£I use gmail filters and forwarding. The sale [of the seminar] runs perpetually and is 100% hands-off. When somebody purchases through my site via PayPal, the email confirmation goes to a gmail account handled by my admin. A gmail filter picks up the Vervant├® tracking number, automatically forwards the receipt to Vervant├® and files the payment notification email in a receipts folder in my gmail account.ÔÇØ

For those who can afford more up-front costs, Goodman recommends another provider: ÔÇ£Shipwire is a fulfillment company thatÔÇÖs great for storing, managing and shipping inventory, for anybody who doesnÔÇÖt want to use print-on-demand.ÔÇØ

And the million-dollar question: How much does Goodman make on each seminar he sells?

ÔÇ£Vervant├® charges me a fee for fulfilling the [print-on-demand] order. I charge the customer whatever I like and keep the difference. In the case of The Ultimate Fat Loss Seminar, I charge $199 plus shipping. The cost to me is quite highÔÇögenerally, $60ÔÇô$90. ThatÔÇÖs the tradeoff with print-on-demand. If I were to order a few hundred up-front, my cost per unit would be much less but IÔÇÖd have to handle inventory.ÔÇØ

SIDEBAR: Copyright Your Work

It is illegal to steal someone elseÔÇÖs work and use it as your own, whether youÔÇÖre making money off it or not. To help protect your own work, print the phrase ÔÇ£Copyright Your NameÔÇØ somewhere in the document: at the end of each page of an article, at the end of the article or at the beginning of an e-book.

SIDEBAR: Get the Tools

ÔÇ£You can do simple training videos in PowerPoint,ÔÇØ says Susan Ann Wall, MAEd, instructional design consultant in Lisbon, New Hampshire. ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt think about PowerPoint just in terms of slides and bullets. It is much more powerful than that.ÔÇØ

Wall recommends several software programs and services to help make your job easier:

  • Audacity, a free software program, will allow you to record audio to accompany slides. ÔÇ£PowerPoint also has audio editing tools that let you apply different options once you insert the audio. You can do ÔÇÿvoice-oversÔÇÖ for each slide or for the video as a whole.ÔÇØ
  • In PowerPoint 2010 and later, you can publish the presentation as a Windows Media Video and put the WMV out on the Internet via webpages, Facebook, YouTube, etc. ÔÇ£If you already own the software, itÔÇÖs an easy and inexpensive way to make videos,ÔÇØ Wall advises. ÔÇ£On your individual slides you can have text, audio, video, images. There are endless ways to present your training content.ÔÇØ
  • Adobe Presenter and Articulate are plug-ins that give PowerPoint a little more educational power.
  • ÔÇ£If you have Microsoft Word, you can create an e-book,ÔÇØ suggests Wall. ÔÇ£Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords have made it very easy. For instance, in many cases you can upload your Word document, and the specific book retailers will do the conversion for you.ÔÇØ
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Carrie Myers Smith

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