Are you reading this during a break from creating content? Wish you didn’t have so many pieces to write or edit? Challenged by having to develop original content for multiple channels?
No matter how large your team, repurposing can be the solution to lighten the content creation workload. It’s also a good way to get your content in front of more people in formats they might prefer better.
Let me explain how you can tackle repurposing content too.
What is content repurposing?
By repurposing content, you refresh, transform, or recycle existing content. It works with a lot of formats: ads, blogs, data visualizations, infographics, videos, webinars, etc.
Successful repurposing requires some imagination and practice, but it usually isn’t as labor-intensive as the original creation.
Repurpose to get more out of the original content you create. For example, a blog post can have a lot of information, but it’s only one channel. By repurposing that content into other formats and for distribution on other channels, you use the same information (or a portion of it) and reach a wider audience.
It also can save time and energy because you aren’t creating the content from scratch. However, you need to invest some time to develop a set of criteria to transform existing content for different channels.
What are the repurposing criteria?
Repurposing is not something you can wing, at least if you want to do it successfully. Here’s what you should decide:
- Determine your goals: Do you want to publish more original content in less time than it takes to create all that content from scratch? Do you want to repurpose to reach a new or different audience? Do you need the content for another channel? Is it intended to help sales-qualified leads?
- Detail your channels: What distribution channels will host the repurposed content? What does that channel’s audience want to know, think, or do?
- Identify content repurposing criteria: Not all original content should be repurposed. Do you want to maximize content that has performed well? Is there content that could be easily updated with fresh data? Do you want to use evergreen topics that don’t change over time? Be careful to avoid content that is too specific or timebound as it is less likely to work for repurposing.
Once you have your criteria, you can plan how to repurpose content and reach new audiences.
What are some content repurposing options? I’ll walk you through some of the top ways to transform posts and videos, along with some content repurposing examples for inspiration.
1. Blog posts
Blog posts often present good repurposing opportunities. It works well for high-performing posts with outdated content or old SEO targets. You can repurpose them with minimal updates of data, news, and best practices.
Backlinko’s Brian Dean wrote this post on YouTube SEO in 2016:
In 2021, he updated the guide, removing outdated sections and adding new and relevant strategy and screenshots:
Other ideas: Spin off a larger piece of content into smaller pieces. Or combine several blog posts into a comprehensive guide.
2. E-books and white papers
Speaking of combining blog posts, e-books, and white papers are great for repurposed content and lead generation
By hosting all the content on the topic in a single format, your audience doesn’t need to look elsewhere. It’s a helpful tool to generate leads. But if you gate the content, make sure to offer additional value, not just a repackaging of free content. You also may even want to sell it to expose it to a wider audience searching for books on the topic.
Neil Patel repurposed his blog content about scaling a business into a cohesive guide e-book:
You don’t have to limit your repurposing to text-based transformations. Since my company is about data visualization, we often turn text-based content into infographics. It appeals to a visually-oriented audience.
The key to repurposing content into an infographic is knowing what to keep and what not to. Headers become sections of the infographics. Text gets condensed into bullet points or icons.
The point is to make the information bite-sized so users will want to engage with it.
Here’s one we did for a blog post about repurposing:
Yes, you can send a roundup of your latest blog posts, but that probably isn’t enough to keep your email recipients engaged with your brand.
Instead, repurpose existing content to send them a more tailored email.
In this example, Harry Dry from Marketing Examples reworks the content from his blog post about content promotion. Without leaving their inbox, the recipient gets the new content in an approachable way (without ever having to click):
Boring slide decks are commonplace. But you can jazz up a presentation by repurposing content.
Already have charts and graphs for a blog or social media on the topic? Use them in your presentation to recap or illustrate important stats.
Take a leaf out of Copyblogger’s book for this repurposing method. They transformed their blog post into a short but memorable slideshow. It’s racked up almost 100,000 views:
6. Social media posts
There are so many possibilities when it comes to repurposing content for social media. It must be visual and have a good story to stop the scrollers.
A tweet can become a screenshot on Instagram. A quote in a blog post could become a standalone Facebook post. A screencast of a post on one channel can become a Facebook story or Instagram story, on Twitter Fleets, Snapchat, or TikTok.
Ricardo Molina repurposes his webinars for numerous social channels. Here’s a LinkedIn slideshow summarizing an interview he conducted as part of a webinar.
Repurposing a video can take a bit more work because of the audio/ visual component, but the reach is worth it. Existing videos can be transformed into short videos for social media posts and ads. These mini-videos also can be shared in a series of emails. Videos make for great GIFs to share on Twitter or within blog posts.
The audio component of a video can be shared as a podcast. On the flip side, you can capture by video a podcasting recording, using it as a livestream, or posting it later.
Do more with what you create
Repurposing content can take many paths. To do it successfully, you need to know your purpose – why are you doing it, what do you hope to achieve, etc. You also need to have a plan to make the process easily repeatable – what are the criteria for content to be repurposed, what repurposing options exist, etc.
By identifying the reasons and the options, your content creation team will be able to enjoy a break from the pressure of developing all original content all the time. More people in your audience are likely to see the content and engage with it in their preferred format.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute