Organising and repurposing your content and knowledge

Organising and repurposing your content for your book or online course, is a great way to efficiently use content that you already have. Often we forget that we have this ‘stuff’. I bet if you start to look you will be amazed at what content you discover.

The knowledge challenge

We all know a lot, however, knowing what we know can be a challenge.  Plus some of what we know is already articulated and some remains in our heads, its stuff that we just know and do on an unconscious level and for the purpose of our book needs documenting. In a ‘knowledge management’ environment the things that have been articulated are called explicit knowledge and those that are in our heads are called tacit knowledge.

For your book (and course), you may be thinking of leveraging existing articulated content (explicit), existing unarticulated content (tacit) and formulating new content from your thinking and research.

The knowledge formula

To make sense of our knowledge we need to locate it and create a map of where it is and how to access it. To do that we start with the knowledge formula.

Knowledge = Knowledge (explicit) + Knowledge (tacit)

Explicit = you can touch and feel it because it has already been expressed – you can lick it.

Tacit = it’s in your head, it is your unconscious competence (you just do it without thinking).

To make the formula work we need to gather together what we know we have, along with the stuff we know but don’t always know that we know, or even know how to articulate to others and therein lies the knowledge challenge. Confusing isn’t it?

The knowledge challenge and the unconscious competence model

The learning model unconscious competence explains what stages we go through to acquire new knowledge.

 Unconscious comptence

Unconscious incompetence model

Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know, be kind to yourself.

Conscious Incompetence – Give yourself plenty of space, time and encouragement.  It will get better.

Conscious Competence – Stay focused and keep practising.

Unconscious Competence – Well done. Remember how tough it was to get here, stay on track and try not to get complacent.

One way to understand how this works is this.

Stop and think about how you might make a cup of tea.  Now write all of the steps down and then teach someone else what you do.  Easy?  Now find a subject that you are an expert in, try it again.  Still easy?

Think it through, walk it through, break it down into chunks, map it out and test. Keep refining and changing your processes until they work for you.

Understanding this model will also help you when it comes to outlining your book and establishing flow and trying to get your points across.

Keeping a track of your knowledge for your repurposing your content strategy

If you haven’t already done so, create a master spreadsheet of your knowledge / content – create columns, such as:-

  • Category (chapter or Book and chapter)
  • What it is (blog, report, video, presentation)
  • Type (facts, concepts, procedures, know how)
  • Where it is?
  • Explicit or tacit?
  • How you will use it?
  • What questions will this answer?
  • Research needed?

Discovering your knowledge with a knowledge audit

Go and find your content / knowledge and list it in your spreadsheet, then specify if it is explicit or tacit. After you have made you list the next step is to pull it together in some kind of a system, be that something electronic like a file folder or Evernote or by putting it into a document folder or a combination.

Your tacit column will tell you what you have to find a way to articulate it, and possibly undertake some research.

Organising your content with a knowledge Map

A knowledge map is useful for organising related information in a structured manner that facilitates comprehension by showing the connections between the information pieces. In your spreadsheet this is the category, how you will (re)use it and what questions does it answer?.

E.g. think of your book outline, you could organise your ‘stuff’ by chapter and in doing so you can see a logical flow and know how it will address your readers needs.

When you know what you have, you can plan how you will use it.

What is re-purposed content?

In simple terms, it is taking what you have and reusing it in a way that fits the new purpose – repurposing your content. E.g. The content you have pulled together from blogs and articles can be reused as part of your book and vice versa what you write for your book can be reused for blogs, videos, tweets etc.

If you are an entrepreneur you will probably have enough material on your blog to write many books. If you are an author you already have masses of content with which to create your online course.

When you are collecting your knowledge and content think of all the ways, not just as a book you can use it. Identify your reuse purpose in your spreadsheet.

Being critical about your content

Undertaking the organisation of your knowledge and content is a brilliant way to keep on top of the content for a book, but it is really important that you also know how that content fits with a) your book (and course) and b) fulfils a need for your reader. In other words, don’t reuse it if it doesn’t fit, hence the category and what questions does this answer. And be tough!

Do not throw anything away

Keep it all, even if it doesn’t seem to be useful right now, you never know!

Which book

Once you have all of your knowledge and content mapped out, you will be able to see if you have one or many books and stuff for blogs etc.

What is your repurposing your content plan?

Book in for an open book surgery call – you can ask anything to do with planning and writing your book, blogging your book and turning it into a course.