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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

How to repurpose your book’s content and make it work for you again and again

The work that went into your book shouldn’t only see the light of day within the pages.

How to repurpose your book’s content and make it work for you again and again
[ClaudiK, Shawn Hempel/AdobeStock]

Writing and publishing a book can be a labor-intensive, draining, and lengthy process. (Of course, being an author is rewarding in a multitude of ways, so it’s well worth it.)

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But what many authors fail to realize is that all that work that went into their book doesn’t have to only see the light of day within the pages of the book.

Since everyone consumes content in different ways, repurposing your writing—whether through courses, social media, blogs, video, audio, or any other way—could actually be considered part of the book publishing process.

Better yet, repurposing can do much more than spread the word about your book. It can help you grow your audience and provide a way for you to stay relevant long after your book launch.

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This is one of the many topics I’ve dived into on my podcast, and I’ve heard from many entrepreneurs about the creative ways they’ve managed to make the same content work for them again and again.

CREATE BLOG POSTS

Top business consultant and speaker Cameron Herold has not only made all of his five business books into keynote speeches but also divvied up a lot of the content within those books into blog posts. With Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years Or Less, for example, he divided each chapter into 10 separate blog posts, which netted him 300 blog posts and gave him content for a few years.

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With over four million blog posts created on the internet every day, the chances of someone—even an ardent fan—seeing one of yours may be minimal. But because you’re not reinventing the wheel and instead simply using content you’ve already created, this method guarantees that you’re not wasting time screaming into the wind.

Keep in mind that blogs can not only be on your own site but also used as a LinkedIn newsletter, Facebook update, Twitter thread or anywhere else. You could record an audio of each post and release a short series podcast or create videos for YouTube, TikTok or Instagram. Truly, the sky is the limit.

SHARE VALUABLE EXCERPTS IN FORUMS

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Nicolas Cole, the author of The Art and Business of Online Writing: How to Beat the Game of Capturing and Keeping Attention, among many other books, is an advocate for circulating content to places like Quora. The method for posting on Quora, he says, is to just search for someone asking a question about one of your topics and then paste that section of your work as an answer.

In 2013, when he wondered what would happen if he committed to answering one question on Quora a day, within a few months, he had a post that netted 100,000 views. Then another one of his answers was re-posted on the front page of Reddit and hit 1 million views. This was the start of him building his online audience, which is now in the millions.

One of the greatest ways to gather an online audience for your book is to provide value with no strings attached. While it may seem counterproductive, the reality is that most readers are so inundated with promotional content that they tune it out. But if you show up in a community—whether that’s a Quora forum, a Facebook group, or a Twitter thread—simply offering up your expertise, you’re going to generate the most interest in you and your work.

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TAKE IT TO THE CLASSROOM

While many authors turn their books into courses themselves, you can have others teach your book’s content in schools. The benefit isn’t just that your thoughts are being shared with the next generation of leaders but that schools may begin to order your book as a part of their curriculum; in other words, you’ve got a built-in annual order.

When I published a book of essays on reality TV, a marketing professor at San Jose State didn’t just assign the book to her students; she developed an entire project around it. Students were to create a marketing presentation for me and my book as their final exam. I came in for the day and got to witness passionate college students having spent months preparing what they thought I should do. (It was over a decade ago, but I still have a lot of the swag they created.)

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One way to make your book more appealing to those who would teach it is to create sections at the end of each chapter that break down your book’s content simply and concisely. Think of it as a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary for those who want the insights but don’t have time to take in the entire story. I did this for my book, Make Your Mess Your Memoir, and it actually motivated readers to hire my company (because, in short, they realized they needed help with the “lesson plan”).

In the end, repurposing your book’s material in as many ways as possible is not just going to help you spread your message far and wide; it also ensures your hard work pays off again and again. Whether it’s recording your chapters as podcast episodes, turning them into Instagram captions or joining a Facebook group where you share your book’s material with people already interested in the topic, why not make your book keep working for you?


NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of eight books, founder of Legacy Launch Pad Publishing, TEDx speaker, TV book critic

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