No matter how you go about building your online community, there is no way around the fact that you are going to have to produce more content. Whether it’s your email newsletter, blog, Twitter or anything else, you have come up with something to fill these mediums.
This is often the last thing our clients want to hear. For authors especially, there is already so much being asked of them in this area. Whether it’s their manuscript, a magazine article or writing a speech, their words are already tied up in plenty of other places.
So how do you get around this?
Use your leftovers and easy to produce stuff. Or, as I like to call them, your DVD extras.
What is in the “extras” menu on your DVD? It’s content like deleted scenes, interviews, behind the scenes footage, etc. In other words, it’s a bunch of stuff the studio had lying around that was really easy to repackage into an “extras” section of the DVD.
What are your DVD extras? Here are a few ways to come up with them:
- What got cut from your book? When putting together your book you end up doing tons of research, interviews and writing that doesn’t make it into the final manuscript. This is content you’ve already put the hours into producing, so use it!
- Q&As Every author, no matter the genre, gets peppered with questions about their book. “Where’d you get your inspiration?” “Does this apply to my business?” “How did you come up with the idea?” This is fantastic content. You already know people are interested (you’ve been asked the question a hundred times) and you already know what you can write (you’ve answered the question a hundred times).
- Stories from your fans Ask people to submit stories about how they’ve used your book. How has it helped them become happier, make more money, etc.? Have them send you these stories and then turn them back around and publish them to the community. It is great social proof for your ideas, inspiring to the members of your community and, best of all, content you didn’t have to write!
- Audio/video from speaking Whenever you can get the permission, release the audio and/or video of your various speaking engagements back to your whole community to enjoy.
- Interviews with colleagues Ask other authors and experts in your industry to do short email or phone interviews. All you have to do is come up with a few thoughtful questions and they produce the rest.
Overall, think about the content you’re already producing (even if it’s just answering a fan’s question) and consider how you can repurpose it as a blog post, podcast, email newsletter or tweet. This will save you the long, arduous process that goes into producing new content from scratch and allow you to continue building your community.
July 14, 2010