Want to save time and money, and meet your number one challenge in creating new content for your site at the same time? The answer is pretty simple. In fact, one word will suffice: Repurpose. In this article, we'll tell you why repurposing content is worth your while, and how to get it done.
Why repurpose your content?
Repurposing your content saves time and money, even if you create all your content yourself. Your time also has a value, after all. If it takes you a total of five hours to create a 2,000 word blog post from start (idea generation) to finish (publication and promotion), your return on investment is measured against that five hours. To increase your ROI, you only have two options: decrease the time cost, or increase the useful lifespan of your valuable content.
Repurposing an old blog post actually does both. By building on a piece that's already done, you're obviously eliminating a lot of the initial time it takes to come up with an idea, research the topic, and get the information organized. You're also expanding the useful life cycle of the post.
Moreover, you know what already works for your brand. Right now on your blog, you have content that's already proven to be more popular than other content (as reflected in higher view counts in Google Analytics). By repurposing the most popular content, you're building on something that's already a proven success for your brand, thus increasing your ROI on that front, too.
Finally, repurposing popular content serves up a better user experience for those prospects who prefer a different format. Some people simply cannot abide videos, for example; they only want to read text. Others hate reading long blog posts, but will happily scarf up video after video.
Methods of repurposing content
Repurposing content can take several different forms. Which method is best for you depends on many factors, including your users’ preferences, your natural inclinations and skills, and the specific content you want to repurpose. Generally speaking, there are three broad categories of content repurposing that you can explore: reformatting, augmenting, and updating:
This is probably the kind of repurposing most people think about first. Reformatting takes an existing piece of content and transforms the information contained therein to a new, different format. Some examples for reformatting existing content are:
- From short social media post into longer blog post.
- From blog post into downloadable checklist in PDF.
- From series of blog posts into SlideShare presentation deck.
Here's an example of reformatting: this short 15-slide presentation from Amy Porterfield began life as a blog post, which was itself based on a transcript from a webinar. Then she embedded the presentation into a follow-up blog post that updated the first post.
Other easy reformatting transitions include slide decks into videos and infographics. You can also take lots of blog posts and collate them into an ebook which you can then offer for sale on Amazon and other distributor sites, or as a giveaway enticement for your email list.
Augmenting is another form of repurposing old content. In augmenting, you're not so much changing the format as adding something else to the original. For example, you can use the advice in an in-depth how-to blog post to create a downloadable checklist your users can implement. Tie this to your email list subscription form and you can capture leads at the same time.
Or take a review post of a particular product or service and create a screencast showing your users exactly how to use it. After you upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo, you can then embed it into your original review post. You can also augment existing content by providing text-based transcripts of podcasts and videos. This can be especially useful for your rankings in search engines and helpful for your users, some of whom may simply prefer reading text, or who may be hearing impaired.
You can take an old blog post that does well in SERPs or otherwise attracts consistent traffic and update it with tons of new, more current data points, perhaps expanding it into a longform piece.
When updating content, the critical issue is to ensure currency and accuracy of the information you provide. Nothing may ding your online reputation as an authority in your field more than providing out-of-date information. Challenge assumptions underlying the original post and make sure you're giving your audience the absolute best, most accurate information possible.
Tips for creating and promoting repurposed content
Bear in mind that you can repurpose through format, as we've seen above, but you can also repurpose through audience. For example, you can repurpose a blog post about WordPress security for DIY site owners into a separate blog post on WordPress security for WordPress developers. Same topic, same format, but a different audience.
You can also repurpose by narrowing your focus to a specific stage in the buying process, or “buyer's journey”. HubSpot breaks down the buyer's journey into three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Others have different formulations, and the process might look a little bit different from business to business, but it's a good (if simplified) visualization for our purposes:
Whatever new format you're using for the repurposed content, make good use of available technology. This is especially true if you're transforming a piece of content into a visual medium, such as an infographic or presentation deck. For example check out Canva for presentation slides, and look at Visually and Piktochart for infographic assistance.
Infuse the repurposed content with good storytelling. Stories can be a powerful marketing strategy, especially when they show how you've already helped other customers or clients. Show exactly how you helped one specific customer by including relevant data points to increase your authority and trust level with your audience. Think of new ways to use familiar media or platforms.
For instance, Constant Contact, an email service site, has a great collection of Pinterest boards that emphasize practical advice, such as this one full of email marketing tips. Constant Contact has other means of disseminating this kind of practical how-to advice for its users, but it's repurposed some of that content into this Pinterest board, for its more visually-oriented users.
Wherever you submit your repurposed content, make sure you take full advantage of that site's features. Include links to your original blog post, if possible. A shorter, branded URL will help drive traffic back to your site, which is where you want it. Each site you submit to will have tools to help users find new and interesting content in whatever fields or topics interest them. The metadata you provide should make it as easy as possible for them to find that new content.
Conclusion: Repurposing and recycling of old content
Hopefully, you now have some ideas for repurposing your own content and getting more use out of old blog posts. Just remember, whatever formats you experiment with, that it's important to promote both the original content and the repurposed version(s) as well. After all, the greatest piece of content in the world won't do you any good if no one ever sees it! Have you experimented with content repurposing? Share your best piece of advice in the comments below.