The Art of Repurposing Content: How to Put a New Twist on Old Stories

Every piece of content is valuable. Both monetarily—you can pay a hefty price for top-tier written content—as well as from an outreach perspective. Content serves as an anchor for email and social campaigns that act as foundational touchpoints between a prospective client or customer and your brand. Through understanding the value of content, you’re better able to use content effectively; and that means understanding the art of repurposing content.

Generally speaking, content repurposing can be broken down into two categories: cross-media and content refreshing. At the end of the day with both forms of repurposing, however, the goal is the same: getting the most for the investment you made in the initial content and creating additional touchpoints that can serve broader marketing initiatives.

Making the Most of Cross-Media Content Repurposing

There are countless varieties of content, from longform eBooks and whitepapers to video case studies, product one-pagers, and everything in between. The medium for the way the content is delivered is fluid; this is where cross-media content repurposing comes into play.

Let’s take a longform asset like an eBook, for example. A standard eBook can be as much as five thousand words, broken down into more digestible sections that may or may not have the ability to stand alone.

Beginning with an eBook, that content can be repurposed into a blog series, taking each of the discrete sections and rounding them out with more focused, blog-friendly language that creates connective tissue between each installment of the series. What’s more, these eBook blogs can be used to drive the download of the gated asset (the eBook), which can serve as a foundational touchpoint for prospective clients. Not only are you able to demonstrate your expertise through the content itself, but you’re driving a point of contact with a client around a specific topic, which can be a meaningful, focused conversation starter.

When repurposing an eBook for a blog, one thing to keep in mind is audience. Blogs are, in most cases, not gated, which means the language you use needs to be geared towards a broader audience. Blog content also needs to be quick to grab attention. If someone is willing to download an eBook, chances are they’re interested in engaging in-depth with your content. On a blog, consider your audience and make it more approachable for casual readers. This process can mean breaking down denser sections into bullet points, adding sidebar content that highlights specific takeaways from a section, and breaking the content down into smaller subsections with additional headers.

Additionally, eBooks can serve as fodder for cross-media social campaigns. Taking an eBook and extracting a key graphical part of it, like an infographic or relevant statistical study, can be a solid asset to post through social media channels to drive additional traffic to an eBook download landing page. Or, a 15 to 30-second sizzle video can be created and posted to social channels for the same purpose.

Content doesn’t need to be the one thing it sets out to be. Think of longform content as a large block of ice, waiting to be carved into as many shapes as you’d like.

Refreshing Old Content to Make It New Again

One of the most difficult parts of content creation is ideation. If you’re a brand with a large content mandate and you work in an industry that doesn’t evolve often, you can find yourself telling the same story over and over with a slightly different spin on it.

Instead of coming up with new ideas out of whole cloth with each blog you create, consider refreshing older pieces of content that you’ve already published. With some new language, and some additional insight, an old blog can be made fresh and relevant again; like putting a new coat of paint on a wall.

When refreshing content, it’s important to make sure that it brings something new to the conversation, even if the topic is fundamentally the same. By adding a new section that provides additional information—which can also serve as an opportunity to create new internal website links critical for SEO—adjusting the headline, and reorganizing the content, an old article can be made to feel new and relevant again with minimal investment. Updating the imagery on the post and/or changing the author can also help distinguish the piece from its original incarnation.

From a purely content perspective as well, there are many times where pieces are published that aren’t exactly what we want them to be. Giving a flawed piece a little polish can give it a second chance at success.

When you think about content, think about it as a living, breathing entity. This isn’t the newspaper days where what’s set in print is there forever. Content can evolve, it can be repurposed and adapted to different mediums, and used as a cornerstone to vital outreach efforts that can drive a business. Repurposing content is an art, just like content creation itself; and when it’s mastered it can create value that didn’t exist before.

Posted by Erik Helin