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Leftovers vs. By-Product

Re-purposing content has been a favorite topic in the Digital Marketing sphere. It’s about up-ing the mile per gallon of content, to make your hardwork work hard for you. Among others, Wordstream, Pat Flynn and Neil Patel talk about it.

The guides to re-purposing generally run along this line: take x and turn into y.

Take blog post and turn into whitepaper.

Take podcast and turn into transcript.

Take slide deck and turn into infographic.

I talked to Jeff about this. Jeffalytics does a podcast and there are some real awesome content in those sound bytes, only if we can squeeze them out. So, transcribing them seems to be the next step forward. Jeff pointed out the feasibility and ROI of it: Is it worth our while?

Sure, we can spend some cash and have a machine and/or human help us turn audio into written words.

But for Jeff, it’s about efficient spending. We can afford to transcript it, but is it worth our while?

For us, at this moment, that’s a no.

Why not?

Well, since late 2014, Jeffalytics has been creating content. Content of varying topics and format. It is not until Jeff shared the Dropbox folder that I realised how much content has accumulated since.

We decided that we should fully harvested the powers of these not-yet-public content.

These stuff are not exactly the sawdust of Gary Vaynerchuk, but the wood scrap.

I want you to take a step back and ask yourself how you can create a weekly podcast or a daily video show that can lead to other pieces of content or micro-content. It’s all sawdust. I’m fascinated by sawdust. It’s the byproducts of your output whether you’re a podcaster or a writer or entrepreneur. It’s someone who took the sawdust after cutting a bunch of 2x4s, repackaging it and then selling it. Figure out your sawdust.

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Vaynerchuk’s sawdust is a by-product, but wood scrap is the leftovers.

So, what are these leftovers exactly?

  • They used to be paid content: Before there was Jeffalytics, Jeff runs Knowledge Land. It was also an online marketing and measurement resource. As far as I know, some of the content on Knowledge Land was pay-to-view.
  • They used to be on another page: Either the 301 redirect links weren’t done perfectly or Jeff decided to not use them anymore.
  • They used to be for another audience: Content created for guest posts and partnerships over the years.

In other words, these content had seen brighter days but are now no longer publicly shared for one or more of these reasons.

Leftovers vs. By-products

Let’s think about them in food terms.

Leftovers are easier to whip into a meal. Just zap it in the microwave, usually. In our terms, that means dusting it off and making it relevant again. This usually doesn’t take much effort or time. Open door, push leftovers in, close door. DING.

By-products need more effort to make them eatable. Body-builders don’t eat whey (a by-product of cheese making) before its processed. Microwave usually won’t do it. In our terms, we can’t package and sell the by-product just yet. We need to transform it.

Yes, I realised by-products need to change form (audio into written words, for example) for it to be marketable.

It is this changing of form that’s not worth our while. At least not at this moment.

So, in comparing the two, we went for the lower hanging fruit. It makes more sense to us.

The fork in the road

Upon reflecting on this, I came up with some points to consider should one come across a leftovers/ by-product fork in the road.

Take the leftover path if:

  • You have too many drafts in your CMS. This is the time to de-clutter and push out more value to your tribe.
  • You publishing content on a freemium basis. This is the time for a content upgrade, at all levels. By making the paid stuff free, you’ll push content down the food chain: free-people gets new stuff, paid-people gets new stuff. Everyone’s happy.
  • You had a re-branding and don’t know what to do with the slightly un-streamlined content (which there are quite a few). Don’t discard. This is the time to zap them into fitting with your new brand image.
  • You produced content that’s not for your main tribe. This is the time to zap them into something your main tribe can appreciate. They may be slightly off tangent, but it’s very fixable.

Take the by-product path if:

  • You just setup a new social media channel and you need to fill it up with content, fast. This is the time to transform your blog posts into 3 minutes YouTube tutorials. Or chop up your podcast recording into 15 seconds teasers on Clammr.
  • You’ve been producing and growing something for awhile now (guest interviews, for example). This is the time to do a compilation/ round up of the ideas. Make the compilation into a themed content.
  • You want to up your publishing capacity. More stuff, more channels, more frequently. This is the time to double and quadruple your capacity.

It all comes down to if the time and effort are worth your while. Reaching for the lower hanging fruits in life is not necessarily a bad thing.

So, I moved onto microwaving the leftovers.

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