Just what does it mean when we say that content is being “repurposed”?
In a nutshell repurposing means taking existing content and using in different ways to reach a wider and more varied audience. The focus here is trying to get the most mileage out of the content that companies invest in. Rather than restricting production and distribution to a single product in either print or PDF online, take the whole work or even pieces of it and create an entirely new product to meet a different demand. XML (Extensible Mark Up Language) plays a large part in the ability to be flexible when these opportunities present themselves.
For example, in a recent author discussion about a forth coming book, which surveys topics in American Law for first year law students, the following repurposing opportunities were identified:
- Content Feed to Open Web Projects – Using parts of the book to provide content in practice area primers on the New Attorney Hub, a LexisNexis open-web site that caters to the needs of 3Ls and recent graduates. While there is no revenue attached to such an effort, excerpts can be used to promote the original book, the authors and their projects outside of the Lexis system. Here, the author gets exposure for their projects, the book gets exposure, and the New Attorney Hub gets content.
- Introducing the Content in an Online Menu to the International Market – a book like this, which is not your typical case book, could easily be adapted as part of an International menu on Lexis.com b/c attorneys around the world are always looking for comprehensive and condensed overview material on U.S. Law.
- Creating Forms for Practitioner Use – original commentary or checklists could be extracted into forms that can repackaged to the practitioner market.
- Podcasts of the Book – in the Millennial generation (today’s average law student) everyone wants to multitask and learn how they want to learn. Offering a downloadable podcast of the book which could be created easily by the authors with simple and inexpensive tools. These can even be automated through a service like Odiogo (see my post about this & subscribe to my audiofeed to the right).
- Contribute to Rule of Law Knowledge Banks – there are many sites devoted to the Rule of Law around the world. Often attorneys working to establish or defend this cause do not have the funding to access premium information. Content can be donated to knowledge banks or open web projects like the LexisNexis Rule of Law Resource Center to promote these worthy causes.
The point is this: traditional publishing involves a receipt of content from the author, a period of editing, production of the content into a PDF file, and the publishing of a single book. When a new edition is needed rinse, lather, repeat …
With new technologies we have an opportunity to stretch the life of the same content across platforms and audiences. When it comes to repurpose, we are only constrained by imagination and willingness to be think in different boxes. Opportunities like the ones cited above embody the essence of repurpose. This is not a call for abandoning the current course blindly for wild and unpredictable trends. It means positioning content development to use current resources in different ways to maximize value, while keeping relevant, profitable, and innovative.