On January 11th, I published my most successful article — How to Make $17,000 a Month Passive Income from Udemy Courses. It’s made $1,105.88 from 37K views, with an average read time of three minutes.
It takes the advice of one of my podcast guests, Louise Croft. She’s a course creator with over 40 Udemy courses who’s been on the platform since 2014. What she doesn’t know about Udemy isn’t worth knowing. Best of all? The first draft took me two hours to write.
Because my podcat is about entrepreneurship, I’ve been able to repeat this process of turning podcasts into articles and have them published in Entrepreneur’s Handbook. Other articles include How to Build an Amazon FBA Business Worth $1.1 Million and How These 24-Year-Olds Have Million-Dollar Brands Lined up to Work With Them.
Assuming you’ve got a podcast, here are five simple steps to repurpose episodes into articles that grab people’s attention.
1. Transcribe using rev.com
Rev’s AI technology means automated transcriptions cost $0.25 per minute of audio, and they can be produced in under five minutes. As a result, a thirty-minute podcast can be transcribed for $7.50. From my experience, the transcriptions are also accurate.
To get started, sign up for an account and upload your content. Alternatively, if you’ve published your podcast online, you can paste the URL. Rev will find the audio to transcribe.
Once you’ve uploaded the content or pasted the URL, Rev will estimate the price. You then agree to the transcription, enter your payment details, and wait for an email to tell you when the files are ready. Helpfully, the final transcription file distinguishes between speakers. This makes repurposing content a whole lot easier.
Note: I’m not affiliated with rev.com. I just find their services extremely useful.
Screenshot by author
2. Edit ruthlessly and pick out 5 key lessons
It can be intimidating facing a white screen. As American writer Jodi Picoult says, “you can’t edit a blank page.” Repurposing audio content, however, means you don’t have this problem. The challenge instead is stripping content down to the most important points.
How I like to do this is to structure an article first and then pick out quotes from my podcast guest to support five key points. From here, it’s an exercise in stitching a story together, as well as adding an intro and outro.
It took me two hours to write the first draft of the Udemy article, and then I left it a couple of days. With fresh eyes, I hunted for typos. In the fourth pass, I removed words and sentences. This took another couple of mornings. I then checked that Louise was happy with the piece, made further tweaks, and only then did I submit it to Entrepreneur’s Handbook.
All in all, the editing process lasted five days.
If you don’t like editing, consider hiring someone who does, just as Michael Leonard suggests. Failing that, ask for feedback from friends. At a minimum, I’d recommend Grammarly.
3. Weave in your own experiences to give an article bite
This is one of the most important (but arguably most difficult) lessons to implement. In the three and a half months I’d been writing on Medium, I hadn’t seen many articles breaking down how to make passive income from Udemy courses. Those I had weren’t very good. They were vague, fluffy, and didn’t offer proof. I knew I could do better.
Using my own experiences of making money on Udemy and exploring Louise’s lessons, I hit a sweet spot. If you can provide valuable, evergreen advice that has practical applications, you’re onto a winner.
4. Make a big promise in the headline and include a number if possible
Headlines are 90% of the game. This New Yorker article suggests they can even change the way we think about content. How to Make $17,000 a Month in Passive Income from Udemy Courses is direct, mentions a significant sum of money, and there’s a clear takeaway for the reader.
Compare this to How I’ve Made $305.13 from My First Udemy Course in 12 Days. The content is equally strong but the article was passed up by three publications and has performed poorly since. It turns out people want to know how to make $1,000s — not $100s.
A number of editors have also mentioned the importance of numbers in headlines when I’ve received feedback on work, making me believe there’s something in it. They’re not alone. As marketer Neil Patel describes, one of the reasons using numbers in headlines works is because they’re “brain candy.” We’re attracted to them because they automatically organise information in a logical order. According to Content Marketing Institute, the brain also seems to believe odd numbers more than even ones.
This is why I included $17,000 in the headline. It gives brains the sweet stuff they so crave.
5. Submit to a top publication on Thursday or Friday in the hope they’ll publish on Monday
This is the one thing you can’t control. If publications have gaps to fill, they’ll publish your content sooner than you would like. However, I’d recommend submitting your work on a Thursday or Friday night in the hope it’ll be published on Monday.
Why Thursday? Most publications you’ve worked with before will get back to you within 48 hours, but they may want to make changes. Thursday night gives you a window to make this happen. Monday is the best publishing day because your article has a whole week to build momentum.
I should note I got lucky being published so early into the New Year. It’s in January that people are looking to make positive changes, so I suspect they’re more open to reading about how to make $17,000 a month passive income.
If you’re not writing with the intention of submitting to a publication, you can ignore this step. However, as Shawn Forno points out:
“Each of the top tier publications… reaches tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers every single day, both on Medium and with their newsletters and websites. Leverage that massive audience and grow your readership with a few well-placed articles.” — Shawn Forno, Medium Writer
I’ve managed to have a viral hit in a relatively short space of time based on a podcast episode. I only started writing on Medium towards the end of September 2020.
This only paints half the picture, though. I have a U.K. top-10 rated podcast that’s been listened to in 72 countries to date, helping me attract inspiring entrepreneurs. These guests have shared so many valuable tips with me and my audience, which I’ve been able to repurpose.
I’ve also been writing consistently since the age of 11 through stories and blogs. Since joining Medium, I’ve also been writing for an hour a day, every day.
When I first started on Medium, I submitted an article to Inspired Writer. I stumbled on the publication by accident, and my first few pieces were terrible. One didn’t even have a subtitle. Fortunately, the editors helped me re-work my pieces, format them correctly and give them more bite.
My suggestion? Put in the work to repurpose content. Once you’ve nailed the basics, sprinkle the tips above. Rinse, repeat, and enjoy the process!