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The Content Marketer’s Guide to Repurposing Content

By Nickie Bartels

repurposed.pngThink about the last time you created a piece of content. Maybe it was a 1,500-word deep dive into a topic you’re an expert in, or maybe it was a shorter blog post on a topic your audience wanted to learn more about. Now think about all of the time and resources you and your team spent on brainstorming, planning, crafting, publishing, and promoting that piece of content.

Content marketing is hard work: It takes a lot of time and energy to do it well, and a lot of marketers are still missing the mark. That’s why the marketing team at Influence & Co. embraces the idea of repurposing content with open arms — and why your team should, too.

There are lots of benefits to repurposing your content. You and your team of thought leaders have valuable ideas to share with your audience, and repurposing content allows you to put those ideas to use in as many ways as possible. Repurposing content gives you the opportunity to reach new audiences, and it can help you communicate a clear, consistent message about your brand. And if those benefits aren’t enough, it’s also a tremendous time-saving tool that maximizes the value of your efforts.

That said, there are still right and wrong ways to go about repurposing content. For example, cutting and pasting the content of four or five of your company's blog posts into a whitepaper won't fly, and neither will simply rewording an article you wrote three years ago.

While it saves time and resources, repurposing content still requires content marketers to be strategic and intentional about why and how they do it. To help, here are four simple steps to ensure each piece of content your team repurposes can achieve success:

1. Determine the 'why.'

The point of content marketing — whether you're generating new content ideas or repurposing old ones — is to deliver value to your audience. The first question any content creator needs to ask is "Why am I creating this content?"

Think about what this repurposed piece of content will do, what goal it will work to achieve, and how it will provide value to your readers (just like you would any other piece of content you create). If you're struggling to answer this question — or the only reason you're using this strategy is because you're strapped for time and believe rewording an old post will suffice — maybe you should pause and reevaluate.

If you're only looking to save time and keep your team on pace to meet your content goals, there are other tools that can help. For example, we use a knowledge bank to streamline our content creation process, and it saves us plenty of time.

But if you can determine the "why" of your content and approach repurposing it with a strategic mindset, you're off to a great start. Use that to help identify who your audience is and what publication you're targeting with this content.

2. Select successful pieces of content to repurpose.

Start with your high-performing content — the content that met or exceeded the goals you set for it. Dig through your analytics platform, and find the pieces of content that attracted a lot of engagement, views, social shares, comments, click-throughs, or conversions. Whatever metrics you use to determine the success of your efforts, compare your content against them to find your highest performers.

Look for what's similar about them. Do the most successful pieces tend to be more than 1,000 words, or are they shorter? Do they provide tactical how-to advice, or do they open the door for discussion by presenting more general ideas and takeaways? Do certain topics or angles seem to resonate more with your audience?

By choosing to engage with your content, your readers are telling you exactly what they find valuable; listen to them. Choose the kind of content they've already expressed interest in, and repurpose it to deliver new, refreshed value.

3. Identify what you're going to use and what you'll leave behind.

Once you've selected the actual content, determine what elements of it you want to include in your new content and what elements you should to leave out or update with new info.

What message resonated with your readers? What is the central idea you want to communicate? Highlight those sections to bring into your new content.

And while you're at it, highlight the info you know is outdated but still want to use, and think about what you can do to update it and make it work in your new piece.

4. Choose the best format to communicate your message.

As you look through the ideas and updated info you've gathered, think about what format is best to deliver your message. Maybe it's a new post on your blog, an interactive infographic that's fun to read and easy to share, or an article that your team contributes to a new online publication. Or maybe it's taking a page from Zapier's content strategy and adapting some of your readers' favorite old blog posts into a new piece of long-form content, like an e-book.

And nothing says you can't use more than one, either. If you believe a whitepaper — one that takes all of the best info your readers care about — is the strongest format for your repurposed content, use it. Beyond that, employ a few custom images or graphics to enhance that whitepaper as well. Ensure that whatever you choose serves your readers and helps you meet your goals. Then, follow through and complete your repurposed content project.

You know how critical original content and ideas are to the success of your strategy — that's why you've worked so hard to brainstorm, plan, craft, publish, and promote the content that's powered your efforts so far. Start taking advantage of the work you've already done, and repurpose your best ideas to achieve new goals, speak to new segments of your audience, and save your team time and resources. 

Still not seeing the ROI you'd like to? Download our free checklist to share with your team to ensure you maximize on each piece of content you create:  New Call-to-action

Posted on March 2, 2016

About Nickie Bartels

Sometimes clever and always on time, my greatest joy comes from making things the very best they can be. Office supplies, "Breaking Bad," and buffalo wings make me happy.

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