Doing What We Can With What We Have

Doing What We Can With What We Have

Hello all,

A couple of weeks ago, I let loose and ranted about my "greige" life in Winnipeg... well, Mother Nature must have heard and decided to teach me a lesson about honouring what I have... the greige has been replaced with a cold, wet blanket of "white"!!! It has been snowing steadily since 3am yesterday...

I've been holing up to avoid the blizzard gales and have been puttering about the place, and rummaging through old boxes. I've unearthed a few old sketchbooks and files with such delight! There is something to be said for finding a phrase or tool from your past and realizing that it's still relevant. The meaning you get from it might have shifted, but there's a timeless nugget in it.

We can end up feeling stretched because of the pressure to keep "creating content" with new songs, new albums, new cycles, new this and that... When the inclination to create comes from within, it's glorious. When we're feeling forced to produce new art, it can feel stilted or even contrived. We live in a world of fast food, fast fashion and fast music... and it can feel that we're just adding more stuff and more noise to an already stuffed and noisy place!

We may need to quench the thirst for content and communication (and feed our own revenue streams) but it doesn't need to take up all of our creative juice. Instead, why not REPURPOSE what we already have?!



Repurposing is the art of giving new life to content you've already created or a message you've already crafted. The benefits or reusing or revisiting old artistic and marketing content are aplenty:

  • saving time,
  • reaching new audiences,
  • sharing a part of your past journey with new fans,
  • reinforcing a key message,
  • getting a better return on your initial investment in an album or photos, etc...
  • and it's easy! In fact, so very often, it can feel organic...

A fun example I have of repurposing started in 1995 when I was hired by a French multinational to find a way of teaching Americans to speak English in a way that non-Americans could better follow them. Baseball references about "striking out" and "ballpark figures" were met with blank stares! It took me a year, but I created an approach to speaking English called "Borderless English" which explained to native speakers what might be difficult for non-native speakers of English to understand. (Things like how the phrasal verb "to be up to" can be used three different ways: '"What are you up to? Are you up to it? It's up to you!" which confuses even those who've studied English for years!) They printed up and distributed thousands of the guidelines. Then I was asked to run a workshop for the European Executive Team of Ameritech who'd just bought out a Belgian phone company. Then I was interviewed about it, and then asked to write articles... which lead me to regular conferences for the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Embassy, welcoming British managers doing business in France... and from there, I developed specialized courses and glossaries for companies, published a small booklet, and did some speaking gigs as well... I've earned at least fifty times the initial $5K I was paid for coming up with the concept! That example inspires me today in my work with artists...



I love the quote below because it reminds us that artists already practice repurposing by the very act of revisiting their emotions or parts of their life (or regrets!) into the form of songs - lyrics and melodies!

Taking it one step further should be easy. First thing to do is to scan your world and take a quick inventory of what you have. Most content falls under two categories: Time-sensitive, or Timely content (news, trends, quick notes) and Evergreen content (timeless, quality content). Focus on your evergreen content...

Evergreen content doesn't mean that it can necessarily be reused as it was. Rather, it's about taking something that is still relevant and reframing it so that it resonates with the current situation. For example, you might have a song that you wrote for your first love when you were a teen, and now, as a young parent, find a connection with it in relation to a new baby, for example. Or it might be a photo you loved from a photo shoot that is turned into an illustration for merch... The important thing is that you want to share it again! That would be my only advice about repurposing: listen to how you feel and if there's a tickle of delight, have fun!
What can you do as an artist? How can you find more time to create (art) rather than creating new content? Take a break from creating online content by repurposing something you already have! Here, in no particular order, are some ideas to choose from:


  • Take a video of a concert and break it into individual song videos that you can post on YouTube
  • Take your facebook live shows and post those on YouTube
  • Organize your YouTube channels to sort through content about you from other sources, and share that
  • Use press quotes on your website (to highlight your recordings) and testimonials (to highlight performance)
  • Share your press release as blog or website content
  • Give new life to an old song by releasing a different version: acoustic, instrumental, remix, translation, etc.
  • Pitch a released song to playlists by associating it to a relevant event or date (this gives it an "angle") - for example, Kelly Bado's song Hey Terre was released as a single in 2019, as the title track for her album in an acoustic form in Oct 2020 and I'm pitching it for Earth Day, April 22 (next year and every April 22 in the years ahead because, Hey Terre is an amazing song to listen to on Earth Day!) For international days might be interesting for you to celebrate with your music, check out United Nations calendar of International Days and Weeks
  • If you don't mind children or teens, making some of your content available to teachers to support classes they might be preparing on topics that are close to you. In that case, you can create a google drive folder with an MP3 and wav file, lyrics, sheet music, charts, and even include worksheets if you're pedagogically inclined (or work with a teacher to do this) This might lead to paid performance work in classrooms, or not. But there's little that is as moving as to hear a classroom singing your song or writing to you with drawings they've been inspired to draw... ❤️
  • Fans might appreciate receiving a video tutorial on how to play one of your songs. Having lyrics and chords will make them even happier. These can be perks you offer on a Patreon page if you've created an online fan club, for example
  • Putting your catalogue into licensing sites might help you connect with music supervisors
  • Update info and key words in YouTube posts, socials and that will charge SEO (search engine optimization),encourage traffic to your page
  • While you're at it, declutter YouTube and social media spaces by taking out content that you no longer feel adds value or contributes to the narrative of your artistic and personal journey
  • Create video content for released songs. If you're feeling uninspired or too broke to come up with something innovate, ask your fans to help! There are plenty of unofficial official songs on YouTube that bring great joy to fans!
  • Mark memories by sharing. If you had a video go viral, or if there's a video announcing your win in a content, or you leaving on tour - anything really, as long as it mattered to you - sharing with - with your input on hindsight, can be meaningful. It also allows you to transform what had been timely into a timeless piece, but placing it in your storyline as a key milestone.
  • Share an old song that has new meaning for you, when with your growth, you feel you have more to say on the topic. You might find that your fans too, have grown with the song. For example, Fleetwood Mac's Landslide has featured in the soundtracks of my every decade so far. As much as I loved it as a teen, it absolutely guts me today. And I'm always happy to hear it played again... and consider this: the song was released in 1975, but the Official video (repurposed concert footage) was only released in 2009 (almost 35 years later!) and has collected 48 Million views!!! And I'm not even talking about TikTok's renewal of Dreams...
  • Read through your lyrics and play with these, for example, pulling a line and creating a meme! You can find beautiful and free images to create your meme on Unsplash or use some images that you've collected during some of your traveling days or in your immediate home or work environment
  • You can create a brilliant piece of merch by creating a lyrics book with illustrations or any content that speaks to you and makes sense with your genre and aesthetics: story behind the album type of yearbook, a scrapbook with first images of lyrics and ideas, beautiful line drawings to illustrate lyrics presented in poetic phrasing, etc.
  • And if that feels like a lot of work, you can have fun by creating a themed poster based on a collection of lyrics taken from songs. For example, if one of your albums focused on healing from a broken heart, you could create a poster on "How to get over him" with 6-10 lyrics from different songs and a beautiful image! 💔
  • If you have lots of random merch lying around, create and sell grab-bags with a "a bit of everything" (Carsie Blanton added something in that vein as a last-minute perk on her kickstarter campaign and raised an extra $2125) and that'll help with decluttering too!
  • Repurpose a song into a 150-word "postcard" story. And print it on a postcard as merch for a donation box. I actually submitted a song I'd revisited as a 150-word story and it ended up in a published collection of 150 Francophone 150-word stories for Canada's 150th! 😳 Aside from the obvious pleasure in having been published, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative exercise... you'll see that it's a lot of fun to do!
  • Create a conversation with a behind-the-scenes photo taken from a moment in the past and the "what I never told you" about it. This can be meaningful content for a Patreon page, for example
  • A more lighthearted approach could be to include a "throw back" feature in a newsletter you write to fans, so that in each issue you include a fun photo referencing back to a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, etc.
  • In fact, any of your childhood photos can be shared at the right time to announce something in a fun way...
  • Do a mini-makeover of your website by using one of your favourite photos and creating a colour palette using some of the colours as main brand or accent colour and generating the rest with
  • Call up a song-writer friend who might be interested in collaborating with you. There are all sorts of ways of repurposing content like each of you doing a cover of the other's song. Rosemarie Records in Montreal recently launched Les Sessions Impossibles, with a formal approach to this concept. It can be less formal too.
  • Or you can pull out some of the song fragments that you've been carrying around with you and collaborate on pulling together a song from them.
  • At the end of the year, or a cycle, post "Top 5 Memories" with photos of those moments
  • Create a highlight reel using videos of your different shows to help promote your live act - or create a version for live stream shows if that's what you're focusing on.
  • Some artists share bloopers. They're a pet peeve of mine but I do recognize that some people enjoy watching a process... especially when there's laughter and light-heartedness involved...

As you can see, the list goes on! And again, you don't (and shouldn't!) do everything! Choose whatever feels most appealing and easy to do, and do that... or take inspiration from these to repurpose artistic or marketing content you have. You'll see that you'll be able to make something marvellous from material you might have written off!

Your ability to share meaningful, fun, and steady content means you'll become that favourite notification - you know what it's like when you receive a notification that someone you appreciate has posted something and you can't wait to check it out?! That's what I mean! And best of all, by repurposing, you won't burn yourself out in the process - and you'll save the best of your creative energy for your artistic work!
I'd love to hear your ideas on ways you repurpose or great examples you've seen. 


xo Nat

Nathalie Kleinschmit

Article by Nathalie Kleinschmit

Published 13 Apr 2021