Organizing Your Content Archive into a Book

Repurposing comes up a lot when it comes to content. I'm not suggesting that you can cut and paste a bunch of blog posts together, slap on a book cover, and consider yourself an author-entrepreneur (PLEASE don't do that). You probably have a lot more content than you think that is appropriate for a book, with some tweaking. One of the first exercises we do when I work with book coaching clients is to look at their content archive compared to their book brain dump.

If you’ve done a brain dump on your topic, you have an idea of what your book will be about. You might not have it completely nailed down yet, but you have a direction. That’s your starting point.

If you’ve done a brain dump on your topic, you have an idea of what your book will be about. - @jodibrandon

Use Your Content Themes to Take Inventory

You likely have your content organized into themes — those things you regularly write and speak about. (Often these are your blog categories.) If you aren’t set on your book’s focus, but you do have an idea of theme, look at your content archive to see what you have in that focus area. Maybe you have five posts about one focus but 20 about another. Choosing the latter focus area will give you more of a head start.

Think Beyond Your Blog

Repurposing isn’t JUST for blog posts. Think about podcast interviews you’ve done, newsletter content you’ve written, presentations you’ve given, social media posts you’ve shared, videos you’ve made, and more. Less important than where the content came from is that it’s useful/relevant.

Ask yourself these five questions when you think you’ve found a piece of content to repurpose:

  1. Can I expand on this and make additional points supporting my assertion/statement?

  2. Can I pull out one aspect of this point to do a deep dive?

  3. Can I apply this point to a different audience?

  4. Is there enough material to write follow-up content?

  5. Has anything changed since I wrote this, allowing for an update?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you can probably repurpose that piece of content is into book manuscript text. If you answered yes to several of the questions, even better!

Repurposing isn’t JUST for blog posts. - @jodibrandon

But How?

What does the process actually look like to do this? Think about the structure of your piece of content, whatever it is. If it’s a blog post, you have a title, headings, and maybe subheadings or bullet points. If it’s a presentation or a video, you have essentially the same format; it just looks a bit different. Does it sound like I’m suggesting you have part of an outline? (I am. High five!) If it’s a newsletter or social media caption/post, perhaps that becomes supporting text somewhere. Once you’ve used your brain dump to create an outline and heading hierarchy for the book — AKA a structure — you can see where the various pieces of content you already have fit. This will also help you see where you need new material.

Want to learn even more about repurposing your content for a book? Check out this video and let me know what your biggest takeaway is in the comments.