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How to Turn One Piece of Content into Nine (and Increase Your Return on Effort by 568%)

This week I launched a new podcast, called Lifestyle Business Weekly (listen on iTunes here). It’s based on the weekly curated email and video series I’ve been publishing for the past five weeks.

If you’re interested in independent entrepreneurship and lifestyle businesses, check out the podcast, I think you’ll like it. And if you leave a review in iTunes, I’ll love you forever, because your review will help the show get noticed during the essential first couple of weeks.

In this post I’m going to show you how I turn one simple piece of content into nine different formats, and how those nine content types lead to 568% more pageviews/downloads/plays than the original would on its own.

This entire process takes around 4-6 hours per week. If I only produced one of these content types, it would take around two hours (a little less for written content, a little more for video). If I created all nine of the content types listed here, on completely separate topics, with no reuse, I might be looking at 15 hours of creation time.

Instead, by using the same base of content to create all of this, I increase my return by 568%, while only spending an additional 2-3 hours publishing the content in additional formats. This is turning out to be a fantastic return on effort, and it’s helping me grow the audience for my new newsletter and show much more quickly.

Content Type #1 — The Curated Weekly Email

A few months ago, I started curating a weekly email about lifestyle business and independent entrepreneurship. It’s called Lifestyle Business Weekly, and we’re now up to 14 issues.

The email typically contains a note from me, links to the best things the Fizzle team and I have created in the past week, along with links to the most useful articles I find around the web about lifestyle businesses, marketing, motivation, creativity and bootstrapped entrepreneurs.

I use a tool called Curated to publish the email. Curated makes it easy to collect links and send them in a digest format with notes from me. I found out about Curated from Hiten Shah who publishes SaaS Weekly.

I’m a big fan of reusing content in different formats, to maximize the time and effort you put into a single blog post, podcast, video, etc.

When I started publishing the newsletter, I quickly wondered how I might turn the content I sent via email into other formats, and other opportunities.

Content Type #2 — Issue Archives

Curated was one step ahead of me. They publish a full archive of the newsletters I send, for people who prefer to view on the web, and as importantly, for SEO purposes.

Curated allows for custom sub-domains, so I use curated.corbettbarr.com to make sure everything falls under my primary domain (and so the SEO benefits are tied to my site as well).

Here’s what the archive looks like:

The full archive of my email newsletter, generated by Curated.co

The archive happens automatically, which means I get additional pageviews for no extra effort. The results are early, but you can see from Google Analytics that people are already viewing the archived issues regularly:

Curated Archived Issues Pageviews

On average, I get about an 8% boost from the web archive, over the opens I get on a typical email (if 1000 people open an email, the issue archive on the web gets about 80 views).

Return on effort increase from issues archive: 8%

Note: throughout this article, I’ll quantify the average increased return on effort I’ve seen from each additional content type, expressed as additional pageviews/downloads/plays, etc., versus the open rate I get on a typical email.

These are the average increases I’ve seen, but your mileage may vary, based on your content and how many followers you have on each platform. Likewise, my own numbers are skewed based on the platforms I have developed more friends and fans on.

Content Type #3 — Blog Post

In some of the issues, I write a longer intro that could easily stand on its own as a short blog post. When I do this, I simply republish the intro as a post on my site, like this one: That yearning you have to be better and accomplish more? It never ends.

This post can then be shared separately, and it can be seen by people who may not subscribe to my email newsletter. Some of these posts become very popular.

Average return on effort increase from additional blog post: 63%

Content Type #4 — Medium

Medium is one of my favorite places to read articles online. The experience for the reader is simple, and the articles on Medium have gotten quite good. Medium does a good job of curating the best articles and guiding you to them in various ways.

Anyone can now publish on Medium, and you can build a following there much like you do on other social platforms.

When you publish on Medium, some of your followers will see your story. If those followers recommend your story, more and more people will see it.

Some articles can really take off, gaining more viewers than you would probably get on your own site (depending on how popular your site already is). I’ve seen articles on Medium get 10x more views than the same article received on my own site. This doesn’t happen to every article, but the average pageviews for all articles is raised significantly by these viral hits.

I had this article, How to Create a Vision for Your Life, hit the top 100 for September 2015 on all of Medium, and nearly 9k people viewed it, vs. 2,290 on my own site. Around 200 people visited my site from that Medium article, and I gained 32 email subscribers.

This isn’t an overwhelming number of email subscribers, but keep in mind that syndicating an article on Medium takes almost no effort these days. They allow you to import a story from an existing URL. After a few minutes of editing, your story is ready to go. And please, don’t start whining about some duplicate content penalty, it has been repeatedly debunked as a myth.

So far, I only syndicate via Medium, but publishing on multiple sites can be a great way to grow an email list. Syndication was the foundation of the strategy James Clear used to grow his email list to over 200k in a couple of years.

Watch James explain his strategy, along with ideas from me and Brennan Dunn in this roundtable hosted by Nathan Barry.

Use this resource to get published on other big sites (you may be able to reuse much of existing articles on some of these sites) – From HBR to Mashable: How to Be a Guest Writer on 11 Popular Sites

Average return on effort increase from syndicating on Medium: 95%

Content Type #5 — YouTube

So far, we’ve talked about written content turning an email into a searchable archive, a blog post, and a syndicated article.

Now, we’re going to switch gears and tackle other media forms altogether.

About a month after I started sending the newsletter, I began thinking through concepts for creating a podcast to tie in with the show. At first I considered having guests come on each week to talk about the links in each newsletter. I dropped that idea mostly because I didn’t want the hassle of scheduling interviews.

Then I started thinking about not just podcasts, but whether I should consider weekly videos, something like Marie Forleo or Gary Vaynerchuk are known for.

I knew I wanted the format to be closely tied to the email newsletter, so I’d have a reason to send people to sign up for the newsletter. I also figured that if I did a good job with producing the video, I could probably turn the audio (or video) into a podcast as well.

So, the Lifestyle Business Weekly show was born. I publish weekly episodes where I cover the hottest topics from the weekly newsletter, along with some viewer questions. The show takes a few hours to prep, record, edit and publish.

Here’s episode 5, 7 big lessons from 10 years of entrepreneurship:

I haven’t done much on YouTube in the past, so this is fairly new to me. I only had around 400 YouTube subscribers when I started, but I’ve still managed a few thousand total views for the first five episodes.

Average return on effort increase from publishing videos on YouTube: 56%

Content Type #6 — Facebook Video

Once I have the video exported, it’s easy to publish to my Facebook feed as well.

And so far, I’ve gotten more views per video on Facebook than I have on YouTube, most likely because I have many more followers on Facebook. The engagement has been great on Facebook as well, in terms of comments, likes, shares, etc.

This really only takes a few extra minutes to publish on Facebook, so the return on effort is great. There are some nuances to Facebook video (the quality doesn’t seem to be as good, and the time limit is 15 or 20 minutes I believe), but it seems to be growing quickly as a video platform.

Average return on effort increase from publishing videos on YouTube: 56%

Content Type #7 — SoundCloud

After I have produced the video, it’s trivial to export the audio separately. Keep in mind, audio that is pulled from video may not be as compelling as audio that is produced as audio in the first place. Obviously, if you mention visual elements, the audio listener may be confused. You have to be careful to make sure the audio can stand on its own.

My process is to first publish to my SoundCloud feed, where people can listen directly, and from there I can embed the sound on my own site. SoundCloud also supports podcasting via iTunes, which I’ll explain in a minute.

Here’s what the SoundCloud embed looks like:

I just started publishing audio this week, so the results aren’t totally in yet. From our experience with The Fizzle Show on SoundCloud, I don’t expect many direct listens on the platform, but again, the extra effort is very small, so the returns are worth it.

Estimated average return on effort increase from publishing audio on SoundCloud: 10%

Content Type #8 — iTunes Podcast

I saved iTunes for late in this list, but it’s certainly a big deal. We estimate that over 25% of our new members at Fizzle come from our weekly podcast.

Even though I just started publishing the Lifestyle Business Weekly podcast this week, I expect downloads via iTunes to exceed all of the other platforms we’ve talked about so far. This is based on my experience with other podcasts, and from what I know about other shows run by friends.

If you publish to SoundCloud, setting up a podcast feed in iTunes is simple. SoundCloud has a whole guide to podcasting, and they really do make things easy. I had my new podcast ready for iTunes within an hour.

If you’re interested in podcasting, we have two big podcasting courses inside Fizzle, including a beginner’s course by Caleb Wojcik and an advanced podcasting course from John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire.

On a weekly basis, there is very little work involved in publishing to iTunes, beyond what you have to do to publish to SoundCloud.

Estimated average return on effort increase from publishing podcast on iTunes: 200%

Content Type #9 — Announcement Blog Post

And finally, once the video and audio has been published, I create a blog post on my site announcing the new episode. In that post I embed the video from YouTube and the audio from SoundCloud, and share what people can expect from the episode (here’s an example).

These posts take a few minutes to create, but they generate another opportunity to share the work and for people to discover it via RSS or search or social media.

Estimated average return on effort increase from publishing announcement blog post: 56%

Putting it All Together

In total, these gains add up to a 568% increase in “views” (or downloads, plays, etc.) over the number of people who view the original email I send. And yet, the increase in effort to produce these additional eight content types is somewhere around 150%, or about three hours.

Here’s what the process looks like:

weekly newsletter » automatically generated archive » blog post from intro » syndicate on Medium » create video » publish video on YouTube » publish video on Facebook » publish audio on SoundCloud » publish podcast on iTunes » publish announcement blog post

There are other places I could be publishing as well, using a derivative of the original content to save time.

I’d love to hear from you below. Have you used a strategy like this? What has your experience been, in terms of results and effort? Where else have you or would you publish content?

And, if you have a minute to check out my new podcast, I would really appreciate a comment on iTunes. If you like the show, click subscribe in iTunes. It’ll help the show get noticed and off to a good start.




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