A controversial topic amongst marketers globally is the idea of reworking or moulding an existing piece of content, be it blog, video or infographic into another form or media type to re-distribute. There are those that coin this concept as ‘lazy’ however, I quite disagree. Why wouldn’t you, where possible save time and energy on researching and producing content when you have done all of the hard work already?
I am still a huge advocate of content being king and the whole conversation that goes hand in hand with that. However, unless you have a designated social media manager or in-house writer constantly scouring the web for current newsworthy stories and trends this becomes overwhelming and ultimately, unmanageable. This is where repurposing swoops in to rescue you.
Even the experts agree with us. Emily Wilson, Managing Editor at Magnet Media Inc told me, ‘As long as you make sure your content is still current and relevant, or so long as you can tweak it to make it so, repurposing old content is a smart approach for any content creator. It gives your previously created pieces extended longevity and is a great way to reach an audience that may have missed your stuff the first time around’. The Internet is completely saturated with content, which results in your creative gems being quite easily missed. Repurposing is another solution to this problem, as it gives you more of an opportunity to be visible online. See? It really does make sense.
Just in case you are one of the few that wouldn’t dream of ‘diluting the value’ of your content by repurposing it, I thought I’d go in hard with some factual persuasion techniques. Ranking highly is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for most business and Google is continuously moving that pot of gold, whenever you seem to get close.
SEO, however, is a huge tick in terms of attracting search traffic by providing insightful content for visitors from a different angle or in a variety of formats. This is not an invite to change a couple of words and spam people to death, just stating that search engines do seem to favour the ideas of repurposing and re-sharing, when done properly. Let’s face it, the majority of companies and businesses aren’t present on social networks just to write twee comments on the weather or helpfully post links to a review on productivity apps, they are there to subliminally sell by creating engagement and interaction.
By repurposing you have some of your own content to shout about online and fingers crossed receive engagement and interaction from a new audience that may not have been privy to it when shared the first time. By altering the platform, headline wording, images or angle the post is written from an entirely new message is portrayed. Interestingly, this is also proven to increase retention and impact over time as your existing, and potential, clients are able to see your versatility and creativity by considering any given topic in more than one way.
Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures strongly agrees, ‘Some of your audience members are visual and some like text. Some like “skimmable” overviews, some like detailed summaries. Having a core topic presented in a range of formats means having the right approach for any given audience member. Someone who doesn’t like watching videos may download a PDF guide to read on their own time. Repurposing means not only extending content reach, but its overall lifecycle’.
Another benefit is that the repurposing process can be utilised as a testing ground for what you are sharing online. For example, try a variation of headlines for your blog and see which one receives more shares, retweets or clicks. Alternatively, try posting with or without an image, although it may be worth adding in at this point that certainly on Twitter research shows image based tweets are sufficiently more engaging than those without. Again, consider your platform in this case.
Finally, I want to reiterate again that I am by no means advocating any sort of ‘quick win’; however (after some persuading) I too can see the benefits to this process. All content is an investment, so ensure you get your return by re-shaping your existing content efforts into future opportunities.
So Where Do I Start?
Now that I’ve blinded you with the why, let me explain the how. Start off with the right mind set, which is that you want to add value and build on the piece of content you are editing and improving.
Ideally, create a mind map with the title of the existing piece of media in the middle. All arrows that out come from that central point should be other formats you could/would consider transferring the original piece into (video, infographic, podcast etc.).
Once you have a few feasible options set about crafting your new piece of content, using the current one to extract information from. If you build time in to make these regularly, when you may have a slow news day or week, these trusty repurposed pieces will be your saviour.
Consider the times your posts are published, or consider using one of the many free social media software to schedule it. This will also enable followers in other time zones to see your post during their commute to work, rather than having to sift through their timelines to ascertain whether indeed you do actually post anything worth reading.
Another aspect to bear in mind is the items context. Was it based on a breaking news story that happened months or even, years ago? If so, factor in some explanation of the background to the piece otherwise your audience won’t bother investing their time in reading or watching, let alone sharing it. Due to regular industry updates your article may be able to be explained in more depth or added to by describing alterations to the product or platform you were discussing. By re-sharing these updates, even if you only added a short paragraph, you are displaying up to date awareness which increases your audiences trust in your knowledge and abilities.
In this same vein the platforms via which we share are also continuously on the rise. Research where your desired demographic are ‘hanging out’ online and by repurposing you can produce a piece of content relatively quickly, and get it visible on whatever channel is in vogue that week. In case you are struggling to get going, some formats you might not have considered, are;
- Slideshare– a brilliant site that enables the sharing of presentations, as the name suggests,
- e-Books- a much simpler method than you may imagine and is a great way to become appreciated in your industry (everyone has Kindles or iPads where they can take the time to read your opinions and recommendations) so utilise it!
- Live events are another great opportunity; could you turn your brilliant presentation into an infographic or even add a roundup of the event from your perspective to your presentation and re-share, getting the idea?
Hopefully this blog has converted you into a repurposing believer, if not; at least I gave it my best shot! However, if you do give some of my ideas and tips a go, or see that your impact, interaction and engagement really do rocket, I’d love to see and hear about it so why not get in touch with me @steph_grove .