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How to Repurpose Content to Make More Money From Writing

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing advocate and author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. She is a former trade newspaper editor.

Here's how to repurpose your written content to make more money off of it.

Here's how to repurpose your written content to make more money off of it.

Churn and Burn

Worn out as a blog writer? You're not alone. Many writers operate on a churn-and-burn writing pace that will leave them with a pile of posts that may never see the light of day again after the initial rush of traffic and advertising revenue subside.

But what if you could repurpose your old writing, giving it new life in a new context? Blog posts are just blog posts until they become something else to generate revenue. Writing with "something else" in mind can help writers make more money and be more profitable content creators.

Is Repurposing the Same as Reselling?

One of the ways that writers can use to optimize income from their writing is to resell article content through syndication. This is certainly an option that writers should explore.

But repurposing is a bit different than syndication. Writers can repurpose their existing written materials in different forms. Some examples would include:

  • Including the writing in a book or ebook. See the following segment for ideas on creating a book with very little extra effort.
  • Compiling related articles into a report or guide. This doesn't have to mean creating a book of your work. These compilations can be white papers or other documents that would have value.
  • Creating audio recordings to share or sell as an audio program or podcast. By recording articles as MP3s or podcasts, people can download and listen to the content on the go.
  • Creating a video version of the article. This is a great way to demonstrate techniques or show examples. It's best for visually oriented content.
Repurpose your old content into a new book.

Repurpose your old content into a new book.

How to Write a Book Without Really Trying

Struggling to write a book? You may have already written one without even really trying. How?

Bloggers often write posts as, well, one-off posts. Yet, if these posts thoroughly discuss a topic, each blog post can become a chapter in a book.

This is how I wrote the majority of my first book, SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business, in 2011. Then, in 2014, I updated, republished, and moved it to the Amazon Createspace platform.

What I did was group dozens of old blog posts on similar topics into sections of the book. I formatted and edited it, added copyright, disclaimer, and about sections, created a cover, uploaded it to Amazon Createspace, and just like that, my book AND Kindle ebook were done.

I didn't actually sit down and write the book. I merely repurposed what I already had created into something that can generate income and leads for my business. (As a side note, a published or even self-published book is a great "business card" and promotional product to use with customers.)

Writing and Creating With Purpose and Repurpose

There are two key ingredients of a blog post or other creative work that have the potential to be resurrected or repurposed for future use:

  1. Evergreen Content. If the content is on current affairs, news items, fads, or rapidly evolving topics, the potential for future use will be VERY limited. It's not that it can't be used; it's just that the window of opportunity is small. Given the time it takes to repurpose content and get it into the market—even if it's self-published—that window may already be closed or closing. For greater repurpose potential, stick with topics that have long-standing relevance and appeal or "shelf life," often referred to as evergreen content.
  2. SEO Friendly. Blog posts and other written work on subjects that have a decent amount of continuing search engine traffic have a better chance of extended life beyond the initial posting. This helps in two ways. First, if search engines deem it as worthy content, traffic from search can help keep the original post alive for longer. Second, for posts on frequently and continually searched topics, investment in repurposing into other works makes more sense since the market may already exist for it.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on November 22, 2016:

Heidi, you're welcome. My pleasure my friend. You too!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on November 21, 2016:

Hi Kristen! Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for being a member of my HP tribe. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on November 21, 2016:

Great article! This is so new material for me! Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on August 03, 2015:

Hi Glenn! Yes, a lot of us active writers have archives full of material that can easily be repurposed in books, other blogs, short ebooks and more. Glad this gave you the inspiration to put all your past hard work back to work. :) Thanks for stopping by and have a delightful week!

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 02, 2015:

I had deleted dozens of my articles from Bubblews when they reneged on making payments and I was planning to reuse them someday by combining into several articles. But now, after reading your ideas here, I'm considering repurposing them into a book form. That's a very useful idea, especially for those of us who have old articles or posts from blogs that can be reused in this way.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on June 18, 2014:

Kalinin1158, I feel your pain! Even though lots of my writing centers on sales, marketing, promotion and advertising, the topics are sooooo expansive that it's difficult to narrow the field. One thing that has helped me in repurposing is to focus groups I want to reach. For example, a lot of my hubs are geared for small business. So when I rewrote a book on sales for small business, I was able to draw in several hubs (or parts of them) into the revised edition making it a much stronger work than it was before. Thanks for joining the conversation and good luck with "recycling" your writing!

Lana Adler from California on June 18, 2014:

Re-purposing your content (even hubs) into a book is a great idea, Heidi. My problem is narrowing down a topic. I write about different things - whatever I find fascinating at the moment. There are "themes" to my writing I suppose, but I am stumped to choose one and write a book about it... Does anyone else have this problem? Thanks for the hub!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on June 18, 2014:

Hi literal! Glad you found it helpful. Good luck with your repurposing & have a great day!

Rangiiria from New Zealand / Aotearoa on June 18, 2014:

Thanks for the great idea. Voted - thumbs up and useful.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 21, 2014:

Hi Greensleeves/Alun! I can totally appreciate the situation where you've spent a good amount of time on a post, video, etc. and it has low traffic... even if it's fantastic info. All of us writers have to find ways to optimize and monetize our time investment in our craft. Thank you so much for adding your experience to the conversation and sharing! Cheers!

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on May 21, 2014:

Sounds like very good, practical advice Heidi, which I really like for two reasons:

1) For most amateur writers, writing and publishing a first book is an extrememly daunting process, not least for the length of time one has to devote to it, without any guarantee of a profitable return. Combining together related, already written articles into a new book seems like a relatively easy, risk-free way of taking that big step into writing books.

2) For me it seems very disappointing if an article I've taken a long time writing receives just one or two page views a month. This advice of yours offers a chance of breathing new life into a piece of writing one has done in the past, and bringing it to a new audience.

Thanks for the advice and links. Voted up in several categories. Alun

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 08, 2014:

Hello B. Leekley! Yes, working backwards and repurposing from a larger work is another awesome strategy! I've seen a lot of big name authors do just that, thereby extending the life of their body of work. I would've loved to see what Melville (or Twain) would have done here on HubPages. :) Thanks for adding that important insight to the conversation! Have a wonderful day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 08, 2014:

Hi AliciaC! We writers often don't capitalize on all the great work we've already done. Glad this was a timely post for you. Let us know how it goes. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 08, 2014:

Hello, girlonfire! Glad you found the ideas helpful. Keep us posted on your repurposing. :) Have a great day!

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on May 08, 2014:

Good suggestions for repurposing writing content.

Just as blog posts and other short pieces can be compiled and edited into a book, the flip side is also so—the research that went into a novel or a nonfiction book might be repurposed as articles, posts, opinion pieces, and essays. Like, if Melville had the opportunity to be a HubPages writer, he could have written articles on how to process a whale on a whaling ship to get whale oil, on the color white as a symbol in different cultures, on management and labor issues on whaling ships, and more.

Up, Useful, and Interesting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 07, 2014:

This is great advice, Heidi. I've been thinking about this topic lately, so your hub has appeared at just the right moment!

girlonfire on May 07, 2014:

I've always believed in the "reduce-reuse-recycle policy", and your article just gave more practical ideas. Thanks!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 07, 2014:

True, travmaj, repurposing what we already have created can be less effort than constantly coming up with new material. But, you're right, it does take some planning and thought to get into the repurposing groove. We'll be anxious to see what you do with some of your great info that's already out there. Thanks for commenting and have a great day!

travmaj from australia on May 07, 2014:

What a great hub, packed with information I need. Big effort needed here but will certainly be working my way towards some of your tips. Thanks.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 06, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, you've got so much great material that it should be easy to find new ways to repurpose it elsewhere. Keep us posted on your "recycling" efforts. Have a great day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 06, 2014:

Got that right, ologsinquito! It's stressful having to come up with new ideas all the time. So we're better off going with a reduce-reuse-recycle policy here, too. Have a great day!

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 06, 2014:

This is wonderful advice, Heidi! I've started to cluster some of my writing in order to take advantage of some of these techniques. You provide some ideas that are new to me, so thank you!

ologsinquito from USA on May 06, 2014:

Recycling is much more efficient than starting from scratch.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 06, 2014:

Hi Suzanne Day! It so much easier to write a book that's a compilation of already finished work. Plus, writers can get an idea of what content resonates with their audiences before investing their time and energy in a book. Thanks for stopping by today and for your vote! Have a great day!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on May 06, 2014:

It's certainly a much easier way to write a book, recycling the churn and burn! Thanks for the tips on making more out of writing - voted useful!