By Arnie Kuenn published October 28, 2013

Create Great Content? How to Get More From It Through Repurposing

repurposing-fresh contentDeveloping new materials for content marketing requires a great deal of effort, from coming up with an idea and researching the topic to content creation and promotion. There are often multiple people involved in the process: copywriters, designers, SEO specialists, social media marketers, and others, which can make content marketing quite the investment. Fortunately, great content can be repurposed into something new and different, continually furthering your investment along the way.

The benefits of content repurposing

benefits of content repurposing

Content repurposing requires altering a piece of content to make it fresh by changing the angle or switching up the format. Integrating repurposing into your content marketing strategy can lower costs, advance production, expand audience reach, and provide myriad additional benefits, including:

  • Expanding one idea into several content pieces: For example, the topic of a popular blog post can be used for a slideshow, a video, a free information guide, a white paper, a podcast… you get the idea. Repurposing allows you to leverage the research you conducted for one piece of original work across additional content projects.
  • Substantially cutting content creation time: Certain elements that have already been created or curated — like images, quotes, or text — can be applied to new works.
  • Serving multiple different audiences: Some people are visual learners, while others may prefer reading a document. Further, some people love to read in-depth research articles, while others wish to quickly skim blog posts to gain information. Content repurposing allows you to appeal to multiple audiences with different content preferences. For example, if you’ve created great video content, your script can be used as the basis of text documents, such as blog posts or downloadable PDFs. Similarly, statistics, facts, and figures can be illustrated through data visualization and delivered as infographics or charts.
  • Cross-promoting content: Through repurposing efforts, you can cross-promote your great content pieces across multiple channels. For example, in a YouTube video description, you may link to a blog post, a slideshow, and an infographic about the same topic, which sends traffic to your website or other owned media properties. This targeted traffic reinforces branding and increases the likelihood of conversion.
  • Extending content’s longevity: With so much content being published every day, people are bound to miss a blog post or video once in awhile. However, through repurposing, your audience may come across your content after it has been altered, through a different channel. Additionally, repurposing evergreen content expands the life cycle even further, as it can remain relevant for years to come.

The content repurposing process

the process of repurposing

Creating a repurposing plan at the beginning of your content marketing strategy development will help you brainstorm and produce content efficiently, while keeping your repurposing process streamlined and in alignment with your other great content efforts.

When beginning a content project with hopes of repurposing in the future, consider the following four steps:

  1. Start by brainstorming an idea that multiple content pieces can be based off of. Even in this initial phase, it is important to consider how one topic can be translated across multiple types of content. For example, if you have a store that sells sunglasses, your topic may be Sunglasses Trends for 2014. Though broad, this topic can be the focal point of many content projects.
  1. Once you have a general topic, think of how it can be altered and applied across content types to appeal to numerous audiences. In the Sunglasses Trends example, a few content pieces you can create might include:
  • Blog posts on women’s/men’s sunglasses trends for 2014
  • An infographic illustrating different styles of sunglasses predicted to be popular in 2014
  • A video interviewing your expert employees about 2014 sunglasses trends
  • A slideshow featuring images and descriptions of the top sunglasses styles for 2014
  • An eBook on how to choose sunglasses for 2014 that fit your face and style

And that’s just the beginning. With a wide-ranging topic like Sunglasses Trends for 2014, it is easy to see how researching one concept can lead to multiple content pieces. Each piece has a different point of view and is transformed to appeal to a specific audience, but the core idea remains the same.

  1. Now that you have assembled a list of different takes on your core idea, start researching, keeping the first piece you want to create in mind. Start with whatever piece makes the most sense. If you create a slideshow, can you easily adapt it to create an infographic? Can a video script work as a blog post? The first piece of content you construct will take the most work up front, as it requires the greatest amount of research and development. However, know that when you’ve finished researching for your first content piece, you can undoubtedly apply your findings when creating additional content in the future. 
  1. After you have created your first piece of content, repurpose your research and other elements from the project to make new works. You may need to research more specific facets of your core idea as you go, but most of the grunt work should already be completed.

Key content types

types of great content

There are a variety of content types you can utilize in content repurposing projects, and it’s possible for one idea to be used across all media. Consider the following:

  • Blog posts: Every content idea you have should be featured in a blog post, if not multiple posts. Most businesses have a blog, and with good reason — as small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads. Blog posts are a great place to start when creating content, especially if you have an active blog with lots of audience participation. You may be able to garner feedback about your core idea from readers, and audience participation may spark additional inspiration on how to take that idea further.
  • eBooks/Free guides: You can create eBooks and free guides by compiling all of the blog posts you’ve written about a certain topic and adding additional components, like a table of contents, images, more in-depth research, an index, etc. Often eBooks and free guides are more detailed than blog posts and are considered high-value pieces. When offering a high-value piece, you may be able to collect visitor information in exchange for access. For example, you may offer an eBook to people who sign up for your email newsletter, or make a free guide available for those who enter basic visitor contact information.
  • Video: Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have a professional recording studio to produce a captivating video. A cell phone or everyday portable digital camera can record compelling video to be used in content repurposing projects. When thinking of video ideas, consider interviewing your employees or industry experts, or creating a skit based on a facet of your core concept. Keep in mind that you can also produce a video without recording anything live — through moving graphics and voice-over audio.
  • Infographics: Infographics are excellent vehicles for data, processes, and visual content. They can be used to explain a topic in a step-by-step fashion, showcase data in an interesting way, or illustrate a story. When a topic lends itself to visual interpretation, creating an infographic is the way to go. 
  • Slideshows: Slideshows are not just for presentations anymore. Creating a slideshow can often challenge you to simplify an idea, as you don’t want to create a text-heavy slideshow. If someone wants to read a text document, they will seek out a blog post or free guide. Slideshows cater to visual learners, featuring images and short descriptions.

Get the most out of your content

In summary, content repurposing can be a very efficient way to make the most of your great content creation efforts. Numerous content pieces can stem from just one main idea, each catering to a different audience in a unique way. The process of repurposing can save you time and money and extend your initial content marketing investment, making it a worthwhile strategy.

How have you been successful with content repurposing? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

For more details on how to get more value from your content, read Joe Pulizzi’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, & Win More Customers by Marketing Less.

Cover image via Bigstock

Images courtesy of Vertical Measures 

Author: Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, a content marketing agency with an SEO foundation, focused on helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 25 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Content Marketing Works. In 2014, Arnie was honored as the Interactive Person of the Year in Arizona. You can find Arnie on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

Other posts by Arnie Kuenn

  • Pontus Staunstrup

    Arnie, reusing and repurposing content is key to successful content marketing and content strategy. This is a very useful post on how to actually go about it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Thanks Pontus, glad you liked it.

  • Zach @ ReferralCandy

    At first, the title of the article seemed a little obvious to me. The little voice in my head went “Of course repurposing content will allow you to get more out of content.” But I clicked through to read the article anyway in case the article had a new angle that I missed out, and boy was I glad I did.

    The real insight that I got from the article was to work in a repurposing plan BEFORE the content generated and planned. I’ve only always done it the other way around: Push out content in one format, and figure out how to repurpose it into another format after that.

    Mindblown! Ok I exaggerated a little in my comment, but thanks for the insight Arnie. This will change the way I plan and develop content for sure!

    • Arnie Kuenn

      Hi Zach – yes the key to repurposing is to think it out in advance. Of course you can do it the other way around (which most of us probably do most of the time), but you can really leverage it by planning.

  • Greg Elwell

    Bravo Arnie! Planning for and repurposing content is a powerful and underutilized technique that can help make your content stand out and be Epic! You’ve given many great ideas and ways to do it.

    One thing I would add is to look for ways to involve others from the get-go and incorporate a strategy of influencer marketing that can help expose and promote your content to more audiences – those of your contributors/influencers.

    A personal example: I reached out to several past guest experts to my podcast and asked if they’d like to contribute a question for an upcoming episode (interview with Joe Pulizzi on his new book Epic Content Marketing). I then used their questions (recorded via SpeakPipe) during the interview….Joe loved it and so did the experts…

    This week I’m putting together just the questions from the experts into a SlideShare slidecast (audio and slides) and will publish as a blog post along with sharable tweets, etc.

    The possibilities to repurpose, or purposefully create and expand content ideas into various mediums involving other people and channels is only limited by your imagination!

    Thanks for sharing this very helpful post!


    • Arnie Kuenn

      Hi Greg,

      Glad you liked it and great recommendations. I totally agree with looking for ways to involve others from the beginning and incorporating a strategy of getting influencers to assist in the marketing effort.

  • sylvie

    content repurposing is just nessesary with all the changes happeing when Google or the other search engines change their Algorithms for a better search quality product. But comming up with a great content depending on the feild can be a challenge on occasion. Changing content in to its variety of forms keeps a company in cusomers minds in particular social media and the new platforms coming out. Great ideas and article worth printing out.

  • Catalog-on-Demand

    There are also many opportunities to repurpose content in print. Once you get a print publication in the hands of a customer, there is a far greater chance of them reading the content — it will not disappear with the click of a mouse. In your sunglasses example, why not include some of that great content in a custom catalog? Here is more on that idea: Hey Content Marketing! Say Hello to Print Catalogs!

  • Ann Bevans

    Nice post, Arnie. All too often, we run around searching for the next shiny thing, forgetting we have acres of diamonds in our own backyards! (Thanks to Earn Nightingale for the metaphor). Re-purposing content is not just a way to stretch our ideas. It’s an opportunity to go deeper and develop a more complete understanding of what we already know. Thanks!

  • Adella @ Wishpond

    Hi Arnie. Great tips! As you slightly mentioned about podcasts, recording audio is another way of repurposing your content. I’m seeing more and more top bloggers creating podcasts like Joe Pulizzi and Shane Gibson. There are dozens of podcast directories, and of course the biggest is iTunes. About 13% (27 million) of U.S. Internet users listen to podcasts. Many of them may never visit your blog, but they can find your content on iTunes.

  • JimYoungPRBrigade

    Excellent points, Arnie. I also like the idea of taking past evergreen content and creating a blog post series, such as a how-to series. For instance, in a past post, you may have discussed the advantages of creating a podcast to share your message, but perhaps you can re-visit that idea and actually tell people how to set up podcasts, then what to do when you’ve recorded your first podcast, how to leverage the recording, etc.