Repurposing content: The hows and whys of making content work hard for you
Repurposing content is a great way to attract more readers and keep people engaged in your brand. It is not cheating, nor is it simply a question of re-posting old stuff on social media and expecting everyone to go and read it again. It’s about taking a piece of informative or entertaining work, say a piece you wrote for your blog, and re-shaping it for a new medium.
Well for starters, the people who engage with your brand will not do so solely through your blog. They may do so through various other social media channels such as YouTube, through email marketing or good old fashioned print. Communicating one idea, then, can be done in several ways that suit the different types of people who favour different media.
This almost goes without saying, but repurposing content also gets you SEO brownie points. Shareable videos, slide decks, infographics and the like can encourage linking back to your site (the natural and good kind that everyone is after these days), and in turn more visitors. Hey presto, your brand awareness just grew a little bit.
For you, the creator, it also means a break from thinking up brilliant new ideas all the time. It gives you a chance to really try and focus your efforts on making readers or viewers or listeners sit up and take notice. Your audience is being bombarded with messages continuously, so it’s an opportunity for you to hone your communication skills and offer them several ways in which they can access your message.
Everything has its risks
Of course there are certain traps you should avoid falling into when repurposing content. One is to end up producing vast quantities of, for want of a better word, crap. It’s easy to get bogged down in how much content needs to be produced and therefore overlook quality. The best approach is to think of each piece as a new piece of content; think about the particular audience you’re talking to and what they will get from it. Just because you have written the message time and again and the message seems obvious, they may be experiencing it for the first time. Don’t shield the important part in unnecessary fluff.
The other pitfall is overdoing it – don’t repurpose every single blog post you write if you’re writing two or three per week. Overwhelming your consumer with content can be just as damaging as not communicating at all, so be thoughtful in how you create and distribute. Some types of content don’t lend themselves well to an infographic or a slide deck, so save them so those who like to read.
Doing it right
So what is the best way to repurpose content then? It all takes balance and a discerning eye. Oh, and that initial brilliant idea, obviously.
Choose content that doesn’t date easily. Time sensitive stuff is great for topical discussions, but the content you want to repurpose answers perennial questions or communicates a message that won’t have faded in three months’ time.
As I mentioned above, you also need to think about the medium you’re using and the type of audience who will be engaging via that medium. Is the content better presented as a graphic for social sharing or would it appeal more to those looking for an in-depth report. As part of the repurpose, could you take a small part of the initial post and present it in a fun way – a web comic perhaps – or drill down into more detail across the whole post and produce a white paper. Is the content suitable for a video workshop?
Finally, there’s no need to distribute all the repurposed content all in the same week. Spread it out over several weeks and monitor the visits and shares to see what worked and what didn’t. This will help you to choose your channels more wisely for the next piece. Don’t forget to cross link between pieces of content either. Using the example above, a web comic which presents a small part of the bigger picture could link to the initial blog post, which could in turn link to a full scale report you have produced. That way, those who are interested can really get their teeth into the topic without having to shop around.
Summary Points for Repurposing Content
- Repurposing content can have benefits – remember this
- Think of each piece as a brand new piece of content
- Remember your target audience as you write
- Don’t simply repurpose everything you find
- Preferably choose evergreen content – non time sensitive material
- Repurpose content topics that will evoke discussion and sharing
- Some content will be better in graphical form, or in video
- Spread out your distribution
What do you think?
Have you ever repurposed content before? How did you measure its success, and what potential pitfalls did you come across? Share your thoughts, ideas and case studies below!