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Repurposing Content: The Definitive Guide

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Repurposing ContentContent repurposing is becoming more and more crucial for an effective content marketing mix.

Not too long ago having a blog for your business was considered edgy…ahead of it’s time. But today it is becoming more and more the norm.

So how do you stand out?

You become omnipotent. And you do so by repurposing your content.

With just a few tweaks, you can take a single piece of content that may be sitting in a singular location (i.e. your blog) and spread it through different platforms, and different audiences.

Further down in this post I will share a brilliant example of content repurposing. But first let’s jump into some basics…

What is Content Repurposing?

Let’s start with content. What is it? One of the many definitions at Dictionary.com states that content is…

all that is contained or dealt with in a discussion, piece of writing, etc; substance

The definition of “repurpose” on Dictionary.com is harder to come by, however. Apparently this is too new of a word. Google saves the day however…

re·pur·pose verb /rēˈpərpəs/ repurposed, past participle; repurposed, past tense; repurposes, 3rd person singular present; repurposing, present participle 1. Adapt for use in a different purpose

In essence, content repurposing is content recycling. 

Much in the same way that a glass bottle might be used for beer, and then recycled to be used for soda, content can be recycled and adapted for use in a different purpose (repurposed).

When we talk about recycling glass bottles, we can do a few things. We can change their shape. We can use the same bottle to store a different substance. Or we can just clean it up and leave it unchanged, to be re-used for the same purpose again.

When we talk about repurposing content, however, we usually focus on the format or the platform. You can alter the format of your content to make it suitable for different platforms (i.e. text to video). Or, you can change it slightly to share it on different platforms that support the same format (i.e. text to text).

Benefits of Content Repurposing

So understating the “what” is pretty easy here. But what about the “why?” Why would anyone want to spend time repurposing content that already exists?

Well, first of all, it doesn’t take that much time. There is certainly a learning curve with putting content into different formats. But once you get used to it, it can be done with ease. So it’s a marginal amount of work for potentially huge results.

The major benefit of repurposing content is that you can reach different audiences on different platforms without actually having to create “original” content for each platform. Different people prefer to consume their content in different ways. Some people like to read blog posts. Some people like to listen to audio. Others prefer video.

You can make them all happy.

But Won’t People Get Sick of The Same Thing?

In short, no. If you commonly publish new content, no matter what format it may be in (blog, podcast, etc), you have probably felt the pressure of creating something new for your audience at some point. But…

If you are sharing your content with a new audience, your old content is new again.

In fact, if you create really good, valuable content, people will be glad to consume it multiple times. For example, have you ever signed up for a webinar knowing you’ve already sat through the presentation from the creator before? I have. Good content is always good.

Now let’s jump into the different formats of content that people consume…

Content Formats

Below is a list of content “types” that you can generally choose from. Below each type are some examples of how the content format can be used. However, the examples are not meant to be an exhaustive list.

  • Text
    • Blog posts
    • Articles
    • eBooks
    • White Papers
    • PDF Reports
  • Audio
    • Podcast
    • Blog Talk Radio
    • Audio Blog Posts
  • Video
    • YouTube
    • Video Blog
  • Graphic/Image
    • Images
    • Infographics
  • Presentation (PowerPoint)
    • SlideShare
    • Note: Also often used for video
  • Live Presenation

A simple Example of Content Repurposing

Now that we more or less have a handle on the content formats that we have to work with, we can start to think about repurposing our existing content.

And in the new age of content marketing, you should consider covering as many of the formats listed above as possible.

Once you get the hang of content repurposing, it becomes very easy.

Let’s walk through an example of content repurposing that I might do here at Content Strategy Hub.

A while back I created a series of list posts about generating content ideas. Each post had 8 ideas and there were three posts total. So, in total, there were 24 different ideas listed (for which I created a resource page).

This type of content is prime for repurposing. In fact, I have already done some repurposing with that series of posts. This is what I have done so far…

I’ve taken the post series and compiled it into an eBook. I used to use that eBook as a subscription magnet by offering it as a free download. Today it is a bonus for my Strategic Content Launch Pad course. The buyers may have never found the content otherwise, and some people prefer consuming content in a nice, compiled format rather than jumping around different blog posts. It’s a nice free bonus.

I’ve also created a PowerPoint slideshow by taking each of the 24 ideas and creating a slide for each one. This slideshow is now published on SlideShare (which has a huge audience). SlideShare marketing is highly underrated and underutilized. In fact, I didn’t have to do any repurposing after the eBook creation because SlideShare excepts PDF uploads. So I could, technically, upload the same content twice in two different formats.

This is the PowerPoint presentation:

A Bonus Benefit of Repurposing Content

I’ve talked a bit about content curation in the past. The benefit of curating content is that you don’t have to create something fully original but still deliver value to your audience.

In a similar fashion, repurposing content allows you to save the time and effort of creating something completely original, but still allows you to deliver value and possibly reach a new audience.

But the hidden benefit of repurposing content, and putting it into different formats is the possibility of increasing your reach through syndication and other people curating your content. Different people are more likely to share different types of content with their followers. So by putting your content into many different formats, you are actually increasing the chance that it gets syndicated; curated by someone else.

So with that in mind, I’m going to do some content curation of my own here, and leave you with this video from Slingshot SEO:

 

image credit: opportplanet

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12 Responses to Repurposing Content: The Definitive Guide

  1. Heather Stone says:

    Eugene,
    In your post you point out that:

    “If you are sharing your content with a new audience, your old content is new again.”

    This, of course, is the real key to the idea of repurposing. If you continue creating new content on your blog, you have a wealth of archived material that some of your newer readers will never see. Figuring out ways to obtain value from this content by sharing it with audiences who may not yet be familiar with it, is one way to repurpose.

    • Eugene Farber says:

      That’s exactly right. And your blog is just one platform that just a tiny slither of the population gets exposed to. There’s so many other platforms that you already have a user-base, that it would be a shame not to try to tap into them with just a few minutes of extra work. For example, using SlideShare to share your content.

  2. Gerald Weber says:

    I should be doing more content repurposing. I have literally years of content that I have only published one time.

    Thanks for the nudge.

    • Eugene Farber says:

      My pleasure Gerald.

      I have to admit that I don’t do as much repurposing as I can myself. The personal example from this blog post is evidence of that. But I have tons of content that I haven’t repurposed even a single time too. The benefits are too big for the marginal effort not to do it more often. I need to nudge myself as well :)

  3. Top Marketing Blogs: Content Marketing Ideas, A #FF Twitter Rant And More says:

    [...] Repurposing Content: The Definitive Guide [...]

  4. Hale says:

    You might enjoy my take on re-purposing your blog posts. I think it is a GREAT idea that more people should consider.
    http://halepringle.com/bloggers-you-can-create-free-reports-in-less-than-30-minutes/

    Thanks I really enjoyed your article and I bookmarked it :)

    Regards,
    Dr. Hale

    • Eugene Farber says:

      Hi Hale, I love that idea. I actually wrote out how I repurpoose a few blog posts for a lot of extra exposure on SlideShare. It’s really something that takes just a few minutes but can get a lot of great results.

      Check it out here if you’re interested: SlideShare Marketing

  5. Dino Dogan says:

    well, I do like being called brilliant :-)

    Dude, you are paying hawk-like attention to my blog. Thank you :-)

    We need to hang out soon :-)

    • Eugene Farber says:

      Going through it with a fine-tooth comb :) . It’s actually one of the few blogs I still keep up with.

      For sure…let me know when you’re taking a break from taking over the interwebs.

  6. Eric Martinson says:

    Wow Eugene!

    This is an amazing piece! It could easily be a product, class or training course. Just by exploring SOME of the points here, one could have enough to write about for a year.

    I like your your view of repurposing as a way to extract addititional value from past work, but my intent when I asked Google about repurposing content and found your blog was different.

    As a new blogger with no following or online presence to speak of, my goal was to utilize content repurposing as a strategy to “be everywhere” and cast a large net so to speak to attract readers.

    My thought is that having a pre-planned path of development for each piece of content produces the most value from each piece and also helps with SEO if each version is linked to at least one other piece.

    I also creates a recipie that can be taught to other newbies. (Blog post, YT video, PDF, Slideshare, podcast, etc)

    The exact path would depend on where it is first debuted.

    Whith all of this in mind, do you think it is possible to OVER repurpose a single piece of content?

    Thanks again for such an awesome post!

    Cheers,
    Eric

    • Eugene Farber says:

      I’m not sure that you can “over-repurpose” necessarily. But I think you can get to a point where you will have diminishing returns and your time and efforts are better spent elsewhere.

      Over-repurposing sounds to me like you are going to face some sort of penalty if you do it. I don’t think that’s the case. I just think that at a certain point the benefits are no longer sufficient enough to keep going, and you might as well start the cycle over again with a fresh piece of content.

  7. This Week in SEO (5/20/13) says:

    [...] Great Comment on “Repurposing Content: The Definitive Guide” If you missed this guide when it was originally published in January, bookmark and read the entire thing when you have some time. But even if you already checked it out earlier this year, be sure to check out the very thoughtful comment Eugene Farber recently left on the issue of “over-repurposing” content. [...]

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