One of the reasons we named 37signals as one of our 15 companies that get corporate blogging is because they often use their blog to share helpful case studies of their own experiences running a web startup. Today, company founder Jason Fried put up a great post about repackaging content for additional revenue.
According to Fried, much of the content you produce can likely live more than one life and make you money two, three, four, or even more times. To illustrate his point, Fried shared revenue numbers for one of company’s highest profile projects — the Signal vs. Noise blog itself — and illustrated how the blog’s content has been reused four times over the past two and half years to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars.
The first way that 37signals made money off their blog content was via advertising. They run a single, fairly unobtrusive 120×90 graphic ad on each blog post via an ad network called The Deck (of which they’re a founding partner). Over the course of the two years they’ve been running the ad, they’ve made about $100,000.
The second way that they’ve made money off that content, is by repackaging their best blog posts about running 37signals into a business philosophy book called Getting Real that they sold as a PDF download. Getting Real sold for $19 per copy and did about $350,000 worth of downloads.
The third way Fried and company milked their content was to put Getting Real out as a physical paperback book through print-on-demand publisher Lulu.com. They say they didn’t initially plan to release a print edition of the book, but enough people asked for it that they decided to give it a go. Good move: the print version brought in another $65,000.
The fourth way they made money from essentially the same content, was by holding a series of workshops and mini-conferences based on the material presented in their Getting Real book, which was based on material already published on their blog. They’ve done five conferences in the Getting Real conference series and each nets about $50,000 — or about $250k altogether.
All told, that’s $765,000 over the course of a couple of years from essentially repurposing the same content. It’s clearly not as easy as just republishing already published content verbatim in a new format, but Fried’s point is clear: your content can be stretched beyond a single use and with minimal effort it can probably make you money more than once.
“Repackaging allows you to earn money multiple times on the same content,” writes Fried. “It’s a great way to grow your revenues without significant marginal cost.”
Another reason to repackage your content is that you’ll reach new customers, says Matt Linderman, who works at 37signals and spoke up in the comments on Fried’s post. “Each time you repackage content and market it again, you breathe life into it,” he said. “To reach past the ‘front row,’ you often need to make multiple impressions before your message gets through. The fourth time you repackage (and market) something will, for a lot of people, be the first time they notice it.”
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.