What is Repurposing Content?
I like Erin Everhart’s definition of repurposing content. She defines it as:
“repacking one piece of content across many different media. Each time, you’re adding to it (or taking away from it), and making it unique for the source, the medium and the user who’ll be reading it.”
If you’ve been blogging for even just a few months you’re already probably got quite a bit of content in your archives that you’ve invested a lot of time into creating. The idea of repurposing some of those posts is that it enables you benefit again from the work you’ve already done by highlighting those ideas again in a new medium.
What it’s NOT
To be clear – what we’re talking about here is not simply re-promoting content you’ve already written on social media.
We’re also not talking here about rewriting or updating old blog posts in a new way.
There’s nothing wrong with re-promoting or rewriting – but repurposing content is about creating new content in a new medium based upon what you’ve already done.
What are the Benefits of Repurposing Content?
There are a number of benefits of repurposing content that you’ve already written.
Reach More People with More Relevant Mediums
For starters it can help you to reach more people with your ideas using media streams that are more relevant and digestible for them.
Reading a blog post will appeal to a certain percentage of people, but not everyone likes to read – so communicating your ideas using other media makes them more accessible to people with different learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds.
Rank Higher in Search Results
There can be numerous SEO benefits of repurposing content. For starters, creating a video, slidedeck, or podcast that links back to your original blog post means more incoming links to that post.
However that is just the beginning – create content in your repurposing that has a shareable component to it and you could just see your content appearing on other people’s blogs and websites – complete with link backs to your site. For example creating an embeddable infographic that links back to your article exponentially grows the incoming links to your site. It also is great for growing your brand and profile.
Deepen Impact Upon Readers
If you are trying to have a deep and lasting impact upon your readers with your ideas, then it is likely that you’ll need to communicate your core ideas more than once.
It isn’t that your readers are stupid or that your communication isn’t good – it’s just that people are being bombarded with messaging, and they live lives full of distraction. Sometimes it just takes a few goes to get your message through.
Repurposing content allows you to communicate your core ideas numerous times in different ways. It allows you to explore a topic from different angles. If done well it can significantly improve the impact of your ideas upon readers.
Here’s what Seth Godin says:
“Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.”
Take a Little Pressure Off Yourself
One of the main ‘benefits’ of repurposing content that I see people preaching about is that it is an ‘easy’ way to come up with new content for your blog.
My reaction to this is that ‘easy’ is not always a description I’d give to repurposing content. It takes work, in fact sometimes it takes more work than the original creation of the content. So it isn’t always easy – but it does take a little pressure off you as a blogger.
Many of us as bloggers feel a lot of pressure to have to come up with something completely new, original and mind blowing every single day on our blogs.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone to come up with a completely new and world changing idea every single day. Most of us struggle to come up with a BIG idea in a lifetime let alone every day!
Repurposing content can give you as a blogger a little extra breathing room. It enables us to have a little extra time to better explore, deepen and communicate our ideas before needing to come up with the next one.
What are the Risks of Repurposing Content?
Repurposing content is something that has many benefits if done well – however I want to emphasise that it can also be done badly and has some associated risks.
Every blogger that repurposes content has their own approach to doing so but from my perspective some of these risks include:
- Formulaic repurposing
- Going for quantity over quality
- Creating fluff
Let me illustrate with an example.
Last year I heard a speaker at a conference talk about how they had developed a system for repurposing every single blog post they wrote.
Every week they would write three blog posts that would be sent to a virtual assistant for repurposing.
That assistant would then create a slideshow, a video of the slideshow, five graphics with quotes from the post that would be shared on social media, and three rewrites of the original blog post to be pitched as guest posts. The speaker would also record himself reading his blog posts to post as audio files which were presented as a podcast.
So for each of his three blog posts, he would be creating 11 other pieces of content – 33 per week!
The blogger and his assistant are to be admired for their endeavour – but the result was overwhelming and probably hurt his brand.
In order to create so much content, templates were used for slideshows, videos, and graphics which resulted in a certain ‘sameness’ in a lot of what was produced.
As I listened to this blogger speak, I looked over his blog and social media accounts and was very quickly overwhelmed by content. His three blog posts each week were good – but the systemised repurposing of content and sharing of it was too much to digest, and by repeating it all three times a week it became quite formulaic, predictable, and repetitive.
My Suggestions on Repurposing Content
There’s a lot to be said about how to repurpose content, much of which comes down to your individual style, the type of content you create on your blog, the needs of your audience, your goals as a blogger and the type of content that will appeal to your audience.
I can’t give you a blueprint, but here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
1. Choose Your Content to Repurpose Carefully
I’ve already alluded to this numerous times above, but the selection of which content to repurpose is critical.
I would not suggest repurposing every piece of content you write, but instead to be a little selective. Personally, I choose to repurpose content that fits into one (or more than one) of the following criteria:
1. It is a core idea – if there is something that is central to what you’re on about as a blogger and what you feel your reader needs to hear, than this is prime content to repurpose.
2. Evergreen content – content that doesn’t date will enable you to repurpose it without fear of that repurposed content dating. This will enable you (and others) to refer to it numerous times into the future and gain maximum impact for your investment.
3. Content that has already been shared or received well – if you’ve published a post that has been well-received it might be the kind of content that will do well again if you repurpose it. Look in your analytics for your most popular posts and you’ll probably find something you could repurpose.
2. Think Carefully About the Medium
Not every post will lend itself to every medium for repurposing content. Similarly, not every medium will appeal to every audience.
There are many different mediums available to you for repurposing content – here are just a few that come to mind that you might want to experiment with:
- Slide Deck – use a tool like Slideshare or AuthorStream to communicate your main points, share quotes, highlight statistics etc.
- Infographics – present key stats, stories, histories etc in a visual form using a tool like PictoChart or Visuall.y
- Instructographic – similar to an infographic, but more focused upon presenting a ‘how-to’ or a step-by-step process
- Podcasts – take the core ideas in your post and record yourself exploring them as an audio file. Alternatively, set up a conversation that explores the topic with one or more other people and record it.
- Interviews – seek out someone else in your niche to interview about the topic of your blog post. This could be presented as another blog post, podcast, video etc. Interview numerous people and it could be compiled together as an industry report.
- Screen capture videos – if your blog post talks people through a process that can be captured as a screen capture video, record it and upload it to a video sharing site like YouTube. Use tools like Camtasia, Jing, Screenr or Screenflow to do this.
- Talking head videos – set up a webcam and talk to camera about some aspect of the blog post you’ve written.
- PDF download – convert your blog post into a PDF for downloading for those who wish to have a copy for future reference. Services and tools that could help with this include Anthologize, Zinepal and BlogBooker.
- eBooks/Reports/Whitepapers – expand upon your blog post or compile it together with other content you may have written and present it as an eBook, report, or whitepaper.
- Graphics for Social Sharing – take key quotes, points, or stats and put them into an eye-catching graphic for sharing on social media using a tool like Canva or PicMonkey. Alternatively, outsource it using a service like Swiftly.
- Autoresponder – break your content down into digestible parts that readers could subscribe to as a series of emails.
- Guest Posts – write a blog post that extends upon your post or that explores a related topic that you could submit as guest posts to other blogs. If not accepted, these could be used as followup blog posts on your blog or could be published on Google+, Tumblr, or LinkedIn
- Articles for Media or Industry Publications – take the key findings or points in your blog post and submit them as an article to mainstream media or industry associations for republishing. If not accepted, these could be used as followup blog posts on your blog or could be published on Google+, Tumblr or LinkedIn.
- Webinar – create a webinar based upon a post (or a series of posts) using a tool like Gotowebinar
- Hangout – hold a Google+ hangout for your readers to come and have a discussion about a piece of content you’ve published
- Twitter/Facebook Chats – hold a social media chat session to expand upon a blog post, interview someone related to the topic and generate reader discussion about your topic.
- Workshops – compile your main points into a workshop that you could deliver at a real-life event
- Transcription – if you’ve done a podcast, webinar, video or workshop, get the recording transcribed for those who might like to read it rather than listen/view it.
- Create a Printable – create a downloadable printable checklist or template that relates to your blog post.
3. Take a Different Approach to your Original Content
A key with repurposing content is to present something that relates to the original content but that doesn’t present exactly the same information. This means if your readers do see the repurposed content in different forms, they don’t get annoyed by hearing the same thing over and over again.
There are a few ways to do this:
One way is to find related ideas to your original post. Extend what you’ve previously presented. I’ll write more on this later in this series.
Another method is to drill down into just one small aspect of your original content. For example, highlighting a key quote or stat, point or quote that you might have covered in a longer blog post and present it as a graphic.
Similarly if you create a longer webinar, podcast, or video – why not take a key 30-second grab from that content that you can share as a ‘taster’. The snippet might be a self-contained idea that by itself is useful to anyone who listens to it, but which also might serve as a way to get them to listen to the full presentation.
Another method (and one of my favourites) is to make your repurposing a summary of numerous previous pieces of content. For example many of the teaching webinars that I’ve done compile information in numerous blog posts that I’ve written. So take key articles from a category on your blog and compile them into a single eBook, whitepaper, webinar, or presentation.
Before we wrap up this post today – here area few final thoughts on repurposing content to keep in mind:
Spread it out
There is no need to bombard your readership with loads of repurposed content on the same topic quickly. Spread it out over time. You might publish a blog post today and then share a slide deck based upon it next week, and followup with a video or info graphic next month. It all helps build momentum naturally over time without annoying your readers.
Repurpose as You Write
As you write your original blog posts pay attention to the ideas you get as you write on how you might repurpose them. Quite often when I’m in the middle of writing a blog post I’m also making notes on how I could get graphics or slides made for followups or to insert into the post that could also be used for social sharing. The more you repurpose content the more you’ll find yourself naturally doing this.
Pay attention to your archives
Repurposing content can happen relatively quickly after you publish a new piece of content but also don’t forget about your archives. Some of your older blog posts might actually be the best ones to repurpose so dig back into your archives for the gold hidden there!
Make it Visual
The web is increasingly a visual place and on social media – where the bulk of your repurposed content will probably end up – the visuals are what can make or break what you do. So pay particular attention to the design of what you’re creating and consider investing in some outsourced help if design and visuals are not your thing.
I’ve already mentioned this in passing above but when you repurpose your content you will want to leverage that new content to link back to your original posts that relate to it. This is key for SEO and for sending readers deeper into your site.
What Would You Add?
Repurposing content is a massive topic and there are no right or wrong ways to do it – so I’d love to hear YOUR perspective on the topic.
I’m particularly interested in seeing your examples of where you’ve repurposed blog posts into other formats and would love to see any links in comments below with examples of when you’ve done this for yourself!