Repurposing Your Content

When Grace Lin contacted me and asked me to fill in for her while she was traveling for school visits, I was thrilled. I highly recommend you check out the Blue Rose Girls blog, but in case you’re thinking, “Well, I’m here now, Katie, so what’d you post over there?”, (Grammar Girl, how does one punctuate that?) here is what I gave them, which in and of itself is a great example of repurposing!
Blue Rose Girls Guest blog

How to Balance Your (Sheesh I Hate This Word) Platform and Your Writing.

Don’t freak out when you read what I’m about to write. I’ll tell you the trick in a second.
My platform consists of my blog, a monthly TV appearance on a local CT morning show to promote kidlit, a monthly newsletter, and a weekly podcast. Then there’s the usual tweeting, emailing, book promotion, Facebook distraction, and I also write and illustrate books, do a bunch of volunteer (literacy-based) stuff, and I have two teenagers and a very easy husband. And Mango the Adorable Dog.
When people hear about all this stuff I do they usually say, “Do you have extra hours in your day?” or “Well, you have more energy than I do!” or “You are insane.”
One of those comments are true and some are not but I’m not telling which. I do get a lot done, but it’s not as much as I make it seem. I have a lot of smoke and mirrors. It gives the impression that I’m doing everything all the time.
My new favorite word is “repurposing”. Right now, for example, I’m doing a screen recording as I write this blog post. It’s distracting me, for sure, because as I’m trying to write this guest post about how to balance your “platform” and your writing, I’m thinking about how the video is going to look once I post it and how will I edit it so it’s fast (and therefore not boring) to watch, and will it help anyone in their editing process? Because that is why I’m recording it.
This is appropo because that is a way to repurpose this blog post. Recording while writing it will serve as my next blog post, either here on BRG or on my own blog. Or maybe I won’t use it at all if it totally sucks and won’t help anyone at all. (Because frankly, this post is coming more easily than I expected. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I was asked to do a couple of guest posts. I love this blog and I am honored to be asked to fill in. When I wrote a post for a new blog I’m a part of called, I wished I’d recorded that process because I agonized over it, edited it like crazy, moved things around, and thought, well, I’ll surely agonize even more when I post as a guest for the BRG. So that’s how I thought of recording this…and it is about balancing, which I’ll get to in the next paragraph, so it’s on topic, and I haven’t digressed if that’s what you’re thinking.)
To answer the question set up by my title, think REPURPOSE. Actually, Grace Lin inspired this subject when she asked this very question on my podcast. She asked whether it was okay to re-use the same material for a blog post and a newsletter (or something like that). And I think it is definitely okay. And therein lies the smoke and the mirrors.
Even though it seems like I’m doing a lot – and don’t get me wrong, I am – I’m trying to make the most of what I do by getting more use out of each endeavor. I had an old boyfriend who used to call this time-deepening.
How does this work? Here are the steps:
Say my Good Morning, CT gig is coming up. I’ll read the books I’m recommending (duh), then grab the covers off the internet. I send my producer the covers and blurbs about a week in advance so they know what images to show while I’m on. While I’m doing that, I have my newsletter open, and upload the images there, entering in the blurbs – basically just the publisher’s description – at the same time, and link everything. I used to write my own blurb about each book, but now with the podcast, I’ve given that up. I send an email to the authors, illustrators, and sometimes the publishers telling them I’m taking the book on TV and could they please send me a unique bit on the book’s creation for my newsletter. These days I’ve been also interviewing an author on my podcast, so now I’ve repurposed (three times ) the novel I’ve read. Once, via the TV show, once, the podcast, and once through the newsletter.
Now, say I’ve interviewed the author for my podcast (and even if I haven’t, it still applies to any episode). Regardless of the episode’s content, it’s time to get the podcast out there. I write show notes for every episode and use them to help me with my blog post once the episode is ready to upload. I have started to time-deepen my podcast editing time by doing art while listening. When I hear something that requires cutting, say, I’ll click on Garageband, do my editing as necessary, and whenever any linkable comment comes up, I’ll make a bullet note in my blog post, because I always write up what’s in the episode so people will know what I covered…in case they especially do or do not want to listen!
Because this post is so long, and I’m writing in detail what I do, it seems like a huge complicated effort, but because I re-use content across my various delivery systems it’s not as crazy as it seems. I’m not trying to be disengenuous, I do know it’s a lot, it’s just not as much as it appears to be.
If you are going to repurpose your content, there is one important point to stress. I think it’s crucial to include unique material in each category so, though you’re repurposing, you’re just overlapping. In other words, my podcast will give listeners something more than if they just watched the TV clip, and if they read the newsletter, there is something unique there that they won’t see or hear in the podcast, the TV clip or the blog.

Doing all this re-using gives me time for my writing and illustrating. I try to schedule my time. I don’t always succeed. But I love doing all this stuff. It’s fun for me. When I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that I don’t have to do it. Or I let something slide. Because in the end, what really matters is doing what I love, which is writing for children and promoting other people’s books, and supporting literacy and…
I’m going to need to repurpose my repurposing.

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