Content repurposing has been a hot topic lately. I’ve recently fielded questions about how to create a repurposing plan that adds value, as well as how to repurpose consistently and effectively.
First, let’s define repurposing. It’s a term that’s often misunderstood -- and for good reason. In other contexts, repurposing can mean different things. I like “reimagining content,” a term coined by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapmann in their book, Content Rules.
Reimagining content means using existing content as a springboard to reach different audiences. It’s not lazy, which is the connotation that repurposing sometimes has. (I’d argue that’s because it is sometimes done in a sloppy way.)
If done correctly, repurposing means you’re reimagining or repackaging your content to help your end-user. For example, a listicle is going to appeal to a very different personality than a whitepaper. Some target customers love doing research and reading in-depth pieces; some would rather skim high-level information and then, if they’re interested, talk to an actual person. Some love video; others would rather read a blog or listen to a podcast.
Regardless, the first step is always a deep understanding of who your customers are. That allows you to create compelling content they’ll want to read. After you have a strong collection of pieces as a starting point, you can begin to think about reimagining content.
To do this well, you must consider three things:
Reaching the users in the way they want to be reached (for example, a podcast, blog, or video)
Providing information that will add value to their lives. Your role is to help potential customers, whether they buy from you or not.
Remembering that the customer is the hero, not your company or product.
Some of the benefits of repackaging are reaching a larger and possibly different audience, and directing interested prospects to your website, ideally to be part of your database. And let’s face it: constantly creating content and maintaining velocity isn’t easy. If both you and your target customer can benefit from reimagined content, it seems like a win-win.
So, now that the definition is clearer, here are some ways to reimagine existing content:
1. Refresh old content - This is probably the most obvious method, but it’s also the easiest to get wrong. Remember that “adding value” concept? You’re not refreshing just for SEO; you’re refreshing to update and improve. To do this well, you’ll need to review content periodically. For example, Imagine’s Demand Generation Manager, Hannah Munoz, is currently reviewing our content to see what performed well and would possibly benefit from an update. After all, things are changing so quickly that even a few months may mean a difference in perspective.
2. Separate out a larger piece - Breaking down a bigger piece of content, like a webinar or white paper, gives you a chance to go into even greater detail. Say you write a long piece about cybersecurity and touch on many points; a blog on each section--linked in the paper--gives you a chance to expand and further explain your point of view.
3. Group smaller pieces into a bigger piece - And vice versa! Sometimes, whether planned or not, you’ll notice a theme emerges in content you’re creating. That’s a signal to pull those pieces together into a grouping, whether it’s as an email nurture or rewritten to be a whitepaper or pillar page. You might also consider something like a podcast.
4. Infographics - Sometimes data-laden pieces can be repurposed as an infographic. They’re easier to digest this way; just be sure that the numbers coalesce in a narrative, otherwise, they won’t be that useful.
5. Case studies - I often find that a blog post comes out of a case study. For example, a client recently won a customer because they came in and cleaned up a mess that resulted from an underqualified competitor installing a piece of equipment incorrectly. The issue was exacerbated during the pandemic because no employees were around to see the issue before it caused massive downtime. Voila! That’s a great example for blogs on total cost, choosing a critical power partner, or even on pandemic-related business issues.
6. Social media - Most of the time, social media is straight-up repackaging of a written piece. You’re taking a quote or another highlight and using it to entice people to click through to the entire piece. However, you can reimagine content, especially on LinkedIn, by adding a personal anecdote or creating a video that’s another take on the final piece or an excerpt from a webinar. If people click through, great. If they don’t, you’re still leveraging that piece to create a community and a following. For example, one of the most adroit users of social media I know is Bizzy Coy, a freelance copywriter and consultant who compiled her Twitter tips into a free document, and leveraged tweets about her pet project into a successful Fulbright Fellowship application. Sure, corporations are loath to get creative on social media, but you don’t have to get crazy. Ask what your company can offer that would appeal to your audience.
7. Newsletters - Newsletters are a great place to pull together diverse pieces of content for easy access. After all, your target is probably busy, but if take the time to round up valuable information, you’ll gain a following. Best-of-blog newsletters have worked really well for Imagine in terms of driving eyes to our clients’ work.
8. Round-ups - This is a great idea for end-of-year. People like to see what interests their competitors and a top 5 or top 10 round-up puts links to your most successful content in one place.
Let’s face it: most modern content is digital. That means nothing is permanent and everything can be changed on a whim. You can refresh and reimagine content constantly. That gives us the freedom to experiment. Let’s take advantage of that!