How to Extend The Shelf Life of Your Content by Repurposing It

Most of us assume that prolific content creators are always creating something new. But that’s far from the truth. As I’ve observed some of the most successful content creators on the web I’ve noticed a pattern.  They think like media producers instead of bloggers or online marketers. If we look to the mainstream media we see this pattern of repurposing content throughout it.

  • The news isn’t created, it’s curated.  Somebody creates the content by doing something newsworthy,  and another person repurposes it by reporting on it.  
  • Books are turned into movies and TV shows. Friday Night Lights  started as a book. It was made into a movie. Then it was turned into a 5- season TV series. The shelf life of one piece of content was extended because it was repurposed. 

By taking this kind of an approach to your content, you can be more productive and strangely more creative.

Mine Your Blog Archives

If you have been blogging/creating content for any extended period of time, dig through the archives . This is one of the secrets of many published authors. If you read there books closely you’ll even find blog posts that are included in the book.   However this is just a starting point. When you look through the archives you’ll find common threads, themes,and material for extending the shelf life of your content.


One Idea could be The Seed for  Something Bigger

Roughly a year ago I wrote a blog post titled How to Turn a Small Audience into a Small Army. That single post ended up being the seed for my book The Small Army Strategy.  Go back to your old posts and look at which ones you might be able to expand on.  Brainstorm ideas for what else you could say about that particular topic.  You may have plenty more to say about something you wrote a year or two ago. Consider which pieces of content could be turned into a larger body of work  and use them to build a more loyal community.


Look at Your Tweet Stream/Social Media Updates

Maybe you’ve had one liners that could be expanded on.  Rather than let it die as a tweet, turn it into a blog post. Sometimes other people’s content will inspire your best ideas.  Go back and look at what you’ve read, and what you’ve shared in the last few weeks. If you shared it, it clearly struck a chord with you for some reason. Use that as a source of inspiration or create a compilation of things you’ve read (in which case you must give the creators credit).


Consider the Same Message in a Different Form

Another pattern you’ll notice with some of the most prolific people in the world is their ability to take one message and express that message in different forms.

  • You could take an existing piece of content and convert it into audio or video.  Obviously you don’t want to just read what you’ve written verbatim. If you want a great example of content turned into audio effectively, listen to the newsletter edition of Chris Brogan’s podcast.
  • The seed for this post was a full 22 page guide on repurposing content for fortune and fame.
  • A series of blog posts could be turned into a speech or a slideshare presentation.
  • A speech could be turned into a book. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch was originally video content, but is now also available as a book on Amazon.


While repurposing content will allow you to extend the shelf life of your existing content, don’t assume that you can just throw things together and reap the benefits. For repurposed and repackaged content to work it must be polished, expanded upon, and treated as your art.  Have you had success with repurposing your content?  Let us know in the comments below.