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A Lesson in Content Repurposing

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May 06, 2016
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You’ve heard it before: You don’t need an army to be successful at content marketing. You just need to get really good at making the most out of the content you produce.

So many content marketing pros continue to do things the hard way though for one (or all!) of the following reasons:

  • They view repurposing as “cheating”
  • They worry about alienating their audience with too much of the same old story
  • They don’t know how to do it effectively

Let’s start from the top.

Content Repurposing is NOT a Shortcut

After decades of being told that anything but 100% original work is cheating and that the only way to achieve success is through blood, sweat and tears, it’s no wonder that so many content marketing professionals resist the concept of repurposing. But it’s a fallacy that has to die if you want to maximize your efficiency and the effectiveness of your content.

Far from being an ethical compromise, repurposing an informative piece of original content into multiple formats is a demonstration of resourcefulness and strategic planning. Done right, extending the life of each piece of content you produce raises the bar on overall quality by allowing you more breathing room between large, time and resource intensive “anchor” pieces. But it’s not just you that benefits…

Repurposing=Options

Another major stumbling block in content repurposing is a common fear among marketers that re-working the same idea over and over again will alienate their audience and dilute the message. But there’s a blind spot in reasoning that assumes your entire audience consumes every piece you produce.

For the vast majority of us, that’s not the case due to personal preferences, limited time and attention spans and even the mood of whomever we’re trying to target on any given day. The same (or similar) content in a variety of formats, on overlapping timelines and across different platforms offers your audience options. Having more choices about how and when and where they consume your content makes it much more likely to be consumed and appreciated fully.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Truth be told, both of the previously discussed strikes against repurposing content have strong ties to this last one, which is that, more often than not, marketers just don’t know how to do it right.

If you really are just cutting and pasting copy wholesale or swapping out titles and lede paragraphs on the same old blog post, then yes, that is just a lazy shortcut that your audience will likely not appreciate. But, if you’re being thoughtful about putting a new spin on an existing idea, it’s a recipe for success.

Here’s an example of how we use repurposing to reach a wider audience and increase our own efficiency. Obviously, it starts with a good idea. In this case, it was a topic for a webinar at the end of last year: “16 Simple Ways to Improve Your Website in 2016.” Right off the bat, we start the repurposing ball rolling by recording the session and uploading it to our YouTube channel.

In the meantime, we worked on an Ebook that expanded the idea a bit further and provided our audience with something that could be downloaded and read at will. Once the Ebook launched, we began breaking it down into smaller pieces on our blog, resulting in four related posts in total.

In about a month, we’ll be releasing an infographic that drops the “new year” angle but keeps the still-relevant content in a brand new format. All the while, we publicize and reference the various iterations of this piece across social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s also worth mentioning that we’ve since started up a videocast, in which you’ll find pieces of this same content sprinkled across several episodes.

So, if you’re counting, that’s 8+ formats on at least six different platforms over roughly a six-month period – during which time we’ve produced twice-weekly blog posts, a handful of additional webinars, six videos and another large piece of anchor content – with a single writer on staff. It can (and should!) be done!

Do you have any useful or practical repurposing tips to share? Help a sister out and leave them in the comments!

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