Repurposing content isn’t cheating, and it’s certainly not lazy unless you’re doing it wrong. Hallie Donkin proves it’s just an efficient way to reach a larger pool of prospects, to offer them various mediums through which to enjoy your content and, ultimately, to move them further along that winding path to becoming a loyal customer.
With the proliferation of platforms on which to publish, it’s easy to become overwhelmed – how can we create enough content for 20 different platforms all the time? And is it even worth devoting the budget necessary to do it as well as it needs to be done?
It’s just as easy, unfortunately, to create only one piece of content and publish it everywhere, without regard for the different limitations and opportunities of various platforms, and without regard for the different ways segments of your audience consume content. We’ve all seen those Instagram accounts that, no matter how lovely the picture, lose followers because they fill up, and I mean FILL UP our feeds by waffling on for far too long. It’s a caption. Keep it short.
As in most things, a sensible approach takes the middle road: repurposing content to be at its very best across different platforms, making the most of the benefits each platform offers and delivering just what each platform’s users want and need.
Repurposing, done well, saves time and resources while increasing your content’s reach. It allows you to tailor messages to suit prospects who are at different stages of the buyer’s journey, and it recognises that people consume information in different ways.
How to repurpose content
So, you have just written a fairly long article to be published online. What now? Start planning ahead.
To incorporate the practices of repurposing into your existing content schedule, start by listing your channels and platforms. Work out:
- What platforms and channels your audience uses at different stages of the buyer’s journey,
- What sort of content your audience wants to see at each of these,
- What the limitations of each platform and channel are, and
- What capabilities each offers that others do not.
For example, perhaps a SlideShare would suit someone at the start of your buyer’s journey, since it’s quick and to the point. But you have far too many words for SlideShare and not enough graphics. People go to SlideShare for information-heavy pieces broken down into digestible chunks without any waffle, so rework the article to present nothing more than the most relevant and concise pieces of information. Throw in a few compelling graphics, perhaps an image or two and voila, you have yourself a Slideshare.
From here, you could pull the pieces of your shiny new Slideshare deck into an infographic, again focusing on the key points with sharp copy and eye-catching graphics, and share that through social media.
What about video? While there is no way you’re fitting all the glory of a few-thousand-words-long article into a video anyone will stick around long enough to watch, you do have the opportunity to present dynamic content that will get your main point across to people who might not read all 6000 words. Draft up a concise script and storyboard, hire a snappy animator and create an explainer video to explore the ideas presented in the original article. Or you can take a videographer along to interviews with the article’s key experts, create a short video of the conversation and upload it to your YouTube channel.
While we’re on the topic of social media, you could pull together a handful of the article’s most relevant stats and quotes for your Twitter feed. You could even take a few behind-the-scenes snaps of your interview and upload them to Facebook and Instagram – don’t forget to add all the relevant hashtags, too (but not too many). Planning ahead means creating all the assets you will need for your repurposing at the same time.
Should you really be doing that?
Don’t publish absolutely every piece of content you create absolutely everywhere. Your audience is not a homogenous mass; it is made up of many people who want many different things from you, and are ready to consume those things in many different forms.
More than this, they are interested in you for slightly different reasons, so sometimes you just have to sigh and admit that every single piece of content isn’t suitable to repurpose for every platform.
So, ask yourself a few questions while you are planning and you’ll end up with a stellar content schedule that doesn’t drain all of your time.
Question 1: why would I repurpose?
If your answer is ‘because this topic worked so well before and I want to get more of the type of customers it got me last time’, you aren’t repurposing. You are just refreshing something and pushing it out again. If your answer is ‘because I believe this topic will be interesting to another segment of my audience and, with some rejigging, will suit the channel that I know that segment is prowling around’, huzzah! Go to number two. If your answer is ‘this infographic got quite a bit of interest from people who are at the very start of the buyers journey, and now I want to push those people a little further along with a more in-depth look at the same topic’, you’re also on the right track.
Question 2: what platforms/channels do my customers and potential customers use?
There is no point repurposing content to suit a channel that your prospects aren’t using.
Question 3: do they use different platforms or engage with different types of content depending on which stage of the buyer’s journey they are at?
As long as your content has been offering real value, not just pushing your products and services, you will probably find that people who are further along the path to becoming your customer are willing to invest more in consuming your content, so will consume lengthy, in-depth pieces.
Question 4: what do my potential customers turn to each platform/channel for?
You need to give people what they actually want from each platform, or they will not engage with your content.
Question 5: how do they expect content to be presented on each platform/channel?
This is the bit where I say DO NOT PUBLISH A THESIS AS AN INSTAGRAM CAPTION. Tailor your content to suit the platform/channel, or don’t publish it at all.
Question 6: what do I need to get this done?
Do you need words, images, a designer, a videographer, interviews, stats? It is so much easier to repurpose content effectively if you plan from the beginning.