Pre-Written Content? Is This Really a Thing?

Have you heard of Pre-Written Content? Would you like to know more about it and how you can use it in your business and blogging? Yes? I'm thrilled that you're open-minded to having this conversation. Pre-written content isn't actually anything new. In fact, it's probably the most misunderstood type of content on the internet. It's like ghost writing, but instead of hiring a ghost writer or booking a content writer to write exclusively for you, you share the content with other purchasers. 

Did the thought of sharing the content with others just raise your hackles? Let's explore more about what pre-written content is, it's pros and cons. 

What is Pre-Written Content?

Pre-written content is content that's already written for you.

Wait! That's a thing?

Yes, it's a thing. It's a thing that's been around now for a very long time. It's simply a framework that you add in your own experiences and make it into your own. It's a bit like buying a cake mix kit from the store. You just add in an egg, beat it up and pop it into the other for 30 minutes, let it cool and then ice it. No faffing about measuring ingredients, looking up how much a "cup" is in grams, or worse than that - losing an ingredient in the cupboard, only to find out your husband threw out those rare saffron flakes because they didn't look right

Pre-written content is exactly the same. It's the ingredients to make something tasty, with little inconvenience or worry about time/ingredients. We will come back to time in a minute. 

How Do You Use Pre-Written Content?

Let's stick with the cake mix analogy as it's working for me right now. You download your pre-written content and unzip it. The folder you're unzipping will contain various documents, and a license. If you have good quality pre-written content, then there will be guidelines on how to get the most from it. There might also be recommendations for tools and resources that will help you become a better content creator. It varies from provider to provider. The same will be with the cake mixes. Some of the cartons will have recipes on them, all of them will have instructions on how to make your cake. Some will recommend adding icing (like frosting) and what brands they think make great icing. 

Once you've checked over your pre-written content folder, the next step is to look at it as a whole. What do you want to create with it? Is it a course? an eBook? An autoresponder series? Something else? 

The same applies with the cake mix. Do you want a cake? Fairy cakes? Cup-cakes? A birthday cake? 

Once you've determined what you're using your pre-written content for, you need to look at each part individually. For example, do you want to use the content as a blog post? If so, check the license. Are you allowed to use it as web content? If you are, then the next step for you is editing the pre-written content.

When you share your content, it's in your voice. My voice is friendly, informal and when you read it out loud leaves you short of breath. This is how I talk in real life. So if we ever meet you will gasp "you sound exactly like you write!", and that's my goal.

The same goes for you and your pre-written content. If the content contains the phrase "awesome" and you say "terrific" just swap all the mentions of awesome for terrific. Like your cake mix, you can add and remove any parts you don't like, that are not your flavours, or just plain get on your nerves. 

Once you've edited your content, you publish it in your chosen format. It's that simple.

When Can you use pre-written content?

Whenever you want. Providing you use it properly, and you have the knowledge to back it up. You cannot use a cake mix to make a wedding cake and then enter it in a contest. The judges will ask about the ingredients, and you won't know the answer. But, if your hand-made wedding cake gets eaten by your German Shepherd, you can use the cake mix to make another. Not only do you know the ingredients, you also know how it's constructed and why it's the tastes and flavours that it is. 

Does This Mean Only Experts Can Use Pre-Written Content?

Of course not. It's said the best way to learn something is to teach it. 

So you can use pre-written content to learn from. It's often cheaper to purchase a pre-written course than to invest in one from a strategist. 

One of my clients, Sharyn Sheldon is an expert in Pre-Written Content, and she creates several products a month that helps coaches, trainers and consultants deliver an online course. With over 25 years instructional design experience, her content helps you formulate various strategies. A typical course from Sharyn's store (scroll to end of post for a discount code) is $297 and it contains

  • Course books, student guides, learning aids
  • Marketing materials like tweets and blog posts
  • Course Slides and speaker notes
  • And various other time-sensitive bonuses and goodies

Learning From Pre-Written Content

As I mentioned above, learning from pre-written content is often more cost effective than hiring a strategist. If you're bootstrapping your business or not yet ready to invest with someone, then this is a viable option. It will give you the skills to create your own specific strategy, and from there you can implement it. As you grow with more experience and results you can teach the content to your own audience, or you can afford to hire in a strategist to support you in different growth areas. It's a bit like buying a cake mix for baked Alaska to decide if you like that sort of cake BEFORE you hire a chef to make it for you.

Where do You start With Pre-Written Content?

If you're learning the content, I'd start with reading the course book. And I'd read it out loud. What do you feel comfortable saying? What feels new to you? What don't you like?  Make notes. When you've finished reading your course book, let it permeate your brain for a few days. 

What do you remember after 2 days? Why do you remember it?

Next take a look at the slides. Delete anything you don't like. Add in your notes from your course book.

What did you feel the urge to expand upon? Add that in. 

What do you need to try? If you're reading a course book about social media audience building what's the first thing you want to do? Go and do it. This not only means you know how this aspect works, it also means you can use your experience in your course (should you wish to teach it). It's also the opportunity for you to grab some screenshots of it all in action, and add your own spice to it. If the course book says to do something 5 times, what happens if you only do it once? What happens if you do it 15 times?

As you go through the learning and testing phase you start to adapt the content to fit your style. At the end of your tweaking and testing you have something unique to you. If you went to a social media marketing expert you'd be looking at around $597 for an hour's worth of strategy. With Sharyn's courses you get maximum value at half the price, with the added bonus that you can legally teach others what you know without copyright infringement. 

Surely it's Faster to Create From Scratch Than Use Pre-Written Content!

You'd think so... but actually, when you plan your content purposely from scratch it does take time. It's always faster to edit than start from nothing. If you're finding that pre-written content is taking a huge amount of time to edit and make your own, then it's time to look for a new supplier. 

Last summer Sharyn and I interviewed 14 people about how they used their pre-written courses, and every person said they'd brought down their course creation time from 3-6 months to 7-10 days. This means you can deliver more online courses and have more revenue from courses rather than 1-2-1 work, just by adding a course a month. At the end of the year you will have a 12 course curriculum.

Not all pre-written content is created equally. Some of it isn't well researched, or contains out of date info. 

Won't Everyone Else Have The Same Pre-Written Content as Me?

Imagine for a moment you own a Tesla. Almost 500,000 of those were sold in 2020. Do you worry that your neighbour has a Tesla? Hell no. So why are you worrying about 500 other people having the same pre-written content as you?

When you got your Tesla, I bet you customised it. At the very least added an air freshener. Do all Tesla have the vanilla-coconut smell that you love? Nope. Do they have the same battery as you? Nope. The same colour? The same interior? Nope. Each car is unique to their owner and the way they drive.

It's the same with pre-written content - you change it the moment you start using it. 

What Can't You Do With Pre-Written Content?

You need to check your license that comes in your content pack. This will tell you where you can publish your content. 

You're not allowed to publish pre-written content on Amazon Kindle unless it's substantially re-written, although you can create print on demand books using the content. Given how fast it is to brand and make your own, I can't see any advantage to you publishing as-is. 

Who Supplies Pre-Written Content?

A Discount on Pre-Written Content

Meet Sharyn, she is the CEO of the premier company for pre-written courses and other pre-written content. She's brilliant. I'm not just saying this because I'm a consultant there, I'm saying it because it's true. I've looked at a lot pre-written content over the years for myself and clients, and Content Sparks is always the place I recommend. I've asked Sharyn for a coupon code so you can dip your toe in the water, and she's generously agreed to give you 40% off of her non-sale products. Just use the code PrewrittenCourse40 at the checkout.

Your Mindset and Pre-Written Content

If you're a content writer, writer, strategist, course creator or even an instructional designer I realise this post is very triggering for you. You will be thinking that this kind of content is dirty, or just wrong because it might put you out of work.

Hell no. Stop that thinking right now. 

Content whether pre-written or otherwise will always need writing and creating. Bakers, chefs and patisseries do not feel threatened by a cake mix.  

It's time to open your mind to the possibilities that pre-written content provides you...

  • For the best use it needs re-writing, and if you have writing skills then you can do this. You can even offer this as a service. 
  • If you're a strategist and someone cannot afford you, then become an affiliate for Sharyn and recommend an appropriate product to help the person get started.  
  • If you're an instructional designer you can show your clients how to add to the content so they can achieve different results
  • If you're a blogger you can use the blog post content to cover periods of growth to keep your blog thriving.
  • And if you're a coach, then this is an opportunity to get some of your clients creating courses and programs without stress or limiting beliefs. 

Pre-Written Content Creates Many Winning Scenarios

It's not something that puts people out of work, any more than a cake mix threatens the job of a baker. It's not "ruining" the internet, used incorrectly and you'll probably have nightmares for years to come. Used properly it's something that can be leveraged for business growth.

Sarah Arrow

About the author

Sarah Arrow created the popular 30-day blogging challenge back in 2007. Since then 750,000+ business owners have learned to blog and grow their business through her content, her challenge and her blogging books.

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