Re-version Your Content for a Wider Audience

The other night I was lounging about watching a DVD containing the first 12 episodes of “Sex and the City” — which I had never seen because I only recently subscribed to HBO.

I noted that it was based on a book by Candace Bushnell and wondered if the wonderful prose each episode seemed to convey might be even better in print. So I ordered a copy.

I can also assure you that I’ll be catching the most recent episode as soon as my schedule permits.

And by God, I’d buy or rent the DVDs that contain the other episodes were they available. But my preference would be to have a Yahoo-like interface on my TV where I could just order up an episode to watch whenever it caught my fancy… I know, it’s a few years off.

I say all this to point out that if you have great content that people want or need, don’t be too web-centric in your thinking. They might want to acquire your content in any number of ways, just like I did with “Sex and the City.”

Every way that you can “re-version” your content is another way that you can capitalize on your core asset.

We’re encountering that ourselves at ClickZ. We recently introduced the ClickZ Executive Summary, which is a case study in re-versioning all by itself.

We took our content — the articles you read daily — and created executive summaries of them that our busiest readers could digest in a single reading over the weekend. That’s re-versioning number one.

Then we combined all of them into a single newsletter that goes out Thursday nights and lands in recipients’ inboxes Friday morning. It’s a separate vehicle for our readers to access our content and for our sponsors to reach our audience. Re-versioning number two.

We sent out the premiere edition last week and got a ton of great feedback. A whole bunch of our readers said the same thing: “Could you create mini-versions of the Executive Summary for particular interests?”

So we did, immediately. We created five new versions of Executive Summary for the major interest groups within our audience: email marketers, site publishers, media planners and buyers, strategic marketers, and start-ups.

Each edition will be made up of summaries of that week’s key articles on those particular topics. And our sponsors will have another advertising opportunity that is high signal, low noise. Re-versioning three, four, five, six, and seven.

So out of a single input — an article — you can fashion together any number of different vehicles to serve your audience in ways they prefer.

And I haven’t even talked about doing print publications, books, CDs, e-books, seminars, or consulting services. Depending on your market, they are all possibilities.

So ironically, one of the ways that you can succeed and profit as a site publisher is to use the site as a springboard to enable you to get way beyond the site. And the further you get from the site — if you play your cards right — the more visible, valuable, and profitable your site becomes.

Take a look at your site publishing business today, and ask yourself what content could be easily and inexpensively re-versioned to suit the desires of a wider audience. How could you monetize each re-versioning? Do you have the resources to pull it off?

You may find you are sitting on a gold mine and never knew it.

Let me know how it goes for you. And if you already have some unique ways you’ve re-versioned your content to grow your business, let me know that, too.

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