By Amanda MacArthur • 06/22/2009
Last week, Don gave seven reasons why all your products should be digital, to compliment his predictions on how all content will have a digital platform by 2025.
Whether or not print will completely die out is debatable, but what’s for sure is that as information becomes easier, faster and cheaper to consume digitally, the need for print becomes less and less.
The good news is that all it takes is a change in thinking to start adapting.
The good folks over at Mother Earth News have an admirable approach to thinking about content development.
“We think of an idea first, like energy-efficient lighting or solar power, and then we start asking ourselves how to best present that idea in a magazine article, in a blog or in a video. We think of the idea first, then we think of how to convey it to the various mediums that we have,” John Rockhold, Managing Editor told us, who increased his traffic 114% last year with free content.
So, what does it take to start with an idea, or a concept, rather than a story, or an article? A dramatic change in process.
Here’s a one sample project plan for repurposing one idea into many platforms:
You’re a gardening magazine and one of your topics is roses. Here are some items you could generate from this single idea:
Handbook: This is likely your main research project, if your specialty is research and developing content. If your specialty was producing video, you might write this, extracting from the video. The handbook will be around 200 pages long and be the “complete guide” to Roses.
Handbook quick-guides: Extracted from the handbook, focusing on one topic, such as “growing roses” or “where to buy the best roses”.
Complimentary “special report”: This is an extraction from the handbook, possibly a very condensed “10 tips” version. At the end of the report, it promotes the paid handbook. The orderflow for this complimentary report collects an email address for your list, and it also upsells to the handbook on the “thank-you page”.
Website articles: Articles are extracted from the paid handbook, and inline text ads promote it, or the complimentary report, or both.
Email newsletter: Just like the website, tips here are extracted from the handbook. The email newsletter promotes the handbook and any related products. It may be a single-topic email and sponsored by an online vendor of roses.
Webinar or “workshop” (paid): Content and graphics are extracted from the handbook. Suggestions on content are taken from blog comments.
Webinar or “workshop” (free): A short extraction from the paid webinar. This free webinar promotes the paid webinar where they can “get even more actionable tips” when they register.
Video: Original content based on the “roses” concept. The handbook may include a “step-by-step” tutorial, which can easily be translated into video. Video can accompany blog posts, or can be turned into a video membership site.
Membership site: Digital copies of your paid handbooks can be kept here in HTML format, with the videos that compliment them.
Live event: You might sponsor, or gather sponsors for a rose gardening event or workshop.
When you start at the moment of “content conception”, you can decide your lead product, and where your original efforts might go. In this case, because the hypothetical publisher decides that a handbook can be repurposed most easily by his team, it becomes the first product.
Since the handbook was created with all of these extra content platforms in mind, it is more easily re-purposed into video, email newsletters and webinars without the need for new research.
So have I made this sound too simple? Too complicated? How have you or your company started re-purposing content?
Posted in Audience Development Strategy