Four Types of Repeat Writing Business

Pen in hand above journal pages with the words repeat sales to the same customer

Everyone knows repeat business is wonderful, especially when you write B2B content.

“Repeat business equals profit,” says Entrepreneur magazine, noting that it costs 6 to 8 times as much to land a new client as to sell more to an existing one.

When a client already knows, likes, and trusts you, you don’t need to prove yourself, submit samples, or send in much of a proposal. Your client can just dash off an email asking you to do another project. And you can say, Yes! because you already know, like, and trust them as well.

Yet while everyone likes repeat business, not all repeat business is created equal.

In fact, I believe there are at least four different types of repeat business.

The difference depends on two significant variables:

  • whether you’re writing on the same topic
  • whether you’re writing in the same format

Here are some tips on the upside and downside of each type.

Repeat Business Type #1: Same topic, same format

This is when a client asks you to write more about the same topic, in the same format. Perhaps that means another blog post or press release saying essentially the same thing as the last one you wrote.

For example, your client’s industry may be facing new regulations they need to describe to their clients. Or a new technology is reshaping a sector, and you’re often asked to explain it. If you specialize in a certain topic, this is your ideal type of repeat business.

Upside: Since you already know the material, there’s little research to do. You can bang out another piece as fast as you find a novel way to restate the same idea. That means quick and easy money.

Downside: While this is the easiest type of project, this can get boring. Personally, I can only write about the same topic five or six times. But, to each his own.

Repeat Business Type #2: Different topic, same format

This is how most people think about repeat business. A client asks you to write up some new topic the same way you wrote up the last one. This could be their new offering, a new development in their industry, or whatever.

One thing doesn’t change: Your client wants the new piece in the same format you wrote before. If you specialize in a type of content, such as blogs or case studies, this is your ideal type of repeat business.

Upside: You already know to organize your content. So you just have to research the new topic, and write it up using all the tricks of the trade. That makes this type of project interesting but not too difficult.

Downside: You have to do some research, so this is more work than Type #1.

Repeat Business Type #3: Same topic, different format

This is called “repurposing.” In other words, you recycle the same content in a new format. For example, you make a press release out of a case study. Or a slide deck out of a white paper.

Upside: You already have the content, so there’s no research to do. You just need to spin out the story in another form. If you already know that format, this can be easy money. If you don’t, at least you’re getting paid to learn a new format.

Downside: If you’ve never written the new format before, you have a learning curve ahead. You may be looking at a few hours of googling “how to write …” and then sifting through hundreds of articles to find helpful nuggets of advice.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

You can use AWAI’s Crash Course in B2B Content to get a quick introduction to any of the 12 most popular forms of B2B content, from blog posts to white papers. You can find samples, tips, and links to handpicked resources that will save you hours of searching on your own.

Repeat Business Type #4: Different topic, different format

This is the most challenging of all four. Why’s that? Because you have to research the new content, and learn how to write it up in a new format. And you probably can’t charge extra for that additional learning curve. Remember, you told your client, “Sure, I can do that!”

Upside: Once again, you’re being paid to learn a new format.

Downside: You face double the learning curve. You risk making newbie mistakes the first time you write the new format. And this is the least profitable form of repeat business.

This is another case where the Crash Course in B2B Content can help.

You can quickly turn to the format you need to write, check out successful samples, and learn the most common pitfalls to avoid. In about an hour, you can be up to speed on the new format — far more efficiently than if you cast about the Web looking for tips and advice.

As you gain more experience with different forms of B2B content, Type #4 will become less and less common. And then all the repeat business you attract will be easier and more profitable.

Do you feel confident asking for repeat business? What other resources would help you? Let us know in the comments below, so we can point you in the right direction.

Crash Course in B2B Content

Crash Course in B2B Content

Dive into the lucrative world of B2B content writing. Expert Gordon Graham will show you the top 12 content types in high demand by B2B firms and how to complete each one like a pro. Learn More »


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Published: September 14, 2017

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