Our Thinking

Repurpose or Repeat?

Have you ever considered how many ways there are to express one of your ideas? Here’s a short list:

  • A book
  • A whitepaper
  • A case study
  • A brochure
  • A blog post
  • A newspaper op-ed
  • A voice message or phone call
  • A tweet
  • A magazine article
  • A TV series
  • A documentary
  • A sitcom
  • A news commentary
  • A TV (or radio) commercial
  • A comment in a web forum
  • A video or audio podcast
  • A real-world conversation
  • A meeting
  • A workshop
  • A course
  • A podcast
  • A social media group
  • and so on.

Have you ever considered why this list is so long? There are three primary reasons:

  1. Supply: we each may feel most comfortable using one method over another.  Not everyone can write (or wants to write) a book or deliver a speech, but writing an email is relatively easy for everyone.
  2. Demand: The audience for our ideas also have preferences. For example, some prefer to ‘consume’ in-depth, others prefer a short presentation, while others want it boiled down to a quick paragraph.
  3. Channel: The proliferation and innovation in social media means that new modes of communication are always being invented. Beyond the printing press, telephone and TV, we can now add Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Blogging to society’s grand inventions.

In contrast to the olden days of television, where the dreaded “repeat” meant that nothing was on, savvy communicators use the concept of “re-purposing” ideas to reach different audiences through different channels in different formats.