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Repurposing Content for New Materials

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