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Information Products: The Limits of Repurposing

by Marcia Yudkin

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Published on this site: July 15th, 2009 - See more articles from this month

Today I visited the giveaway page of a group promotion and have a lesson to share about do’s and don’ts in reusing previously created material for purposes such as this. Simply put: Make sure reports and recordings present you in the best possible light to first-time readers or listeners. Don’t go rummaging among the content you have hanging around without first considering whether or not the material makes sense apart from the occasion for which you created it.

The first recording I listened to from this giveaway page was a preview teleseminar for a weekend workshop that took place last February. The recording did have some useful content. However, at least 35% of the audio consisted of promotion for an event that took place last year. This created a poor impression by wasting my time. It made the person who had selected this item to be given away now seem thoughtless and absentminded.

The second recording made an even worse, self-sabotaging mistake. It was a teleseminar interview of an expert in which the interviewer did not introduce himself. He merely introduced the expert. In the original context, this may have made sense, if those who signed up for the call knew who he was. (Note, though, that on professional radio and TV, even the most famous interviewers always introduce themselves or are introduced.) On the giveaway page, the interviewer is named and appears to be the one who contributed the interview. But when listeners hear the interview, they are normally far away from the giveaway page, making this contributed item useless for the interviewer’s self-promotion.

I am pretty sure that both of these giveaway participants did not take the time to listen to what they had decided to give away. The presentations were probably originally well received, so they figured they could reuse them for the current purpose.

Four Repurposing Criteria

Don’t make their asinine assumption! Before reusing something you previously created, take another look or listen with the following questions in mind.

  1. Audience. Compare the original audience for your item with the proposed repurposed audience. Did you present your ideas in a way that made sense for the first and will equally make sense for the second? You may think that dentists have the same cash flow problems as acupuncturists, but if the acupuncturists keep hearing or reading “dentist, dentist, dentist,” they might not be receptive. If the new audience won’t know you, are you properly introduced in this piece?

  2. Promotional offer. Normally it’s rude to reuse material designed to promote an event that is no longer valid and expect that readers or listeners won’t mind. I always edit promos out of teleseminar recordings before repurposing them, out of consideration for the audience, unless the promotional offer remains in force. You should do so, too.

  3. Content. Besides an offer, is there anything else that’s now seriously out of date in your product? To take an extreme case, something discussing online marketing that refers to CompuServe and Prodigy (services that were popular in the early 1990s) would be dismissed as dinosaur food now. Likewise, repurposed material should make little or no reference to current events.

  4. Quality. Is the technical level of your product either adequate or excellent? Sometimes things work well for one purpose but backfire in another setting. A video that explains something well within a longer how-to product might not be looked on as kindly out of context, or vice versa. People who already know and trust you may hardly notice sound interference or garish images that distract and turn off strangers.

“Create it once, reuse it a thousand times.” This saying contains important wisdom for information marketers as long as you also stop and think before repurposing!

Marcia Yudkin: The author of 11 books and five multimedia home-study courses, Marcia Yudkin has been selling information in one form or another since 1981. Download a free recording of her answers to the most commonly asked questions about information marketing by entering your information into the privacy-assured request box at

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