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Repeat, Reuse and Repurpose

Repeat, Reuse and Repurpose


Most marketers have come to the conclusion, either through experience or under the sheer weight of advice given in articles like this, that they must produce lots of educational content if they want to compete these days.

Marketing today resembles publishing more than selling and the market has come to demand information. Prospects expect to turn to a search engine and find information about any product, service, company or question they like.

Even marketing departments, staffed with writers, are feeling the pressure to grind out more and more content, so imagine what a load this is for the small business marketer.

One tactic employed by the more prolific content producers is to find several ways to use what content they do produce. I’m not suggesting that you simply cut and paste your content and spray it around, I'm talking about something more strategic and ultimately more valuable for the content producer and reader.

Think like an editor

So often content producers have no real plan. If they write a blog they simply decide that day what they plan to write. First off, this makes the writing process more difficult and makes repurposing much harder.

Effective reuse comes from planned reuse. The best tip I can give you is to sit down once a month or so and create an editorial calendar. This allows you to create some goals, but it also allows you to think big picture about what needs to be written to create a body of work that will have multiple uses.

You can always slip hot topics into your calendar on the fly, but you’ll find that if you do keyword research for your industry and use that list for topic focus, you’ll get far more bang for what you write and you won’t feel nearly as much pressure always trying to come up with topics.

Write once use often

The best way to get started with repurposing specific content is to plan what you intend to write with several purposes in mind.

For example, plan a series of blog posts around a single topic. After you’ve written the posts, collect them into an ebook to offer to help build your email newsletter list. If one or more of the posts draws reaction and comments, consider rewriting it a bit and submitting it to a local publication that is read by your target market.

If the entire series is information that people really want (and it should be) you’ve now got the makings of a workshop or online seminar.

By viewing most of what you produce with more than one use in mind you’ll make what little time you likely have to devote to writing more productive.

Different formats

Some people like to read, others like to listen, and some engage more fully with video. What this means for marketers is that you need to create something for everyone.

Let’s say you conduct interviews for a podcast. Using a service like Casting Words you can have that podcast transcribed and offer it as text. If you conduct online seminars, record the live events and offer the archives as additional content. Read your blog posts into a digital recorder and offer them through iTunes or even create a smart phone app.

Different forms

Above we discussed some ways to repurpose content for people’s various preferences, but we also need to consider people’s various information consumption styles.

Some people like to read a good story, some want bullet points in snack sized amounts, and still others have far more use for FAQs.

It is often a simple matter to reuse content by presenting what is basically the same information in different packaging. You might use one for a series of emails and another for web content.

Many audiences

One of the easiest ways to repurpose content is to understand that not everyone reads your content simply because you placed it online. Consider placing it in front of different audiences.

You can create email newsletter content from your last five blog posts. Take the ebook mentioned in the first point and have it printed and bound to use in offline settings such as trade shows and workshops. This is a great tool to take to strategic referrals partners and offer to let them cobrand it for their customers. Propose a monthly column in an industry newsletter or magazine by carefully reusing blog content.

The trick to getting more effective and efficient with your content production chores is to write with repurposing in mind at all times.

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5 Comments
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 Comments

HypnoNinja

Excellent points concerning different formats.
Many people enjoy PDF downloads and we have all seen websites offering short courses or seminars in similar format. Both good examples of reusable content.

ducttapemarketing

I had a conversation with a business owner recently who said by accident he offered a "get info by fax" option and was blown away by the number of request!

Elisabeth3Ships

Enjoyed the article - great point about the editorial calendar... blogs may be laid-back, but they are also a marketing tool to be used strategically. Without intentionality or a plan like an editorial calendar, they can become random... rambling.

While there is great validity to your point about repurposing, it makes me slightly nervous at the same time, but only because of the social, conversational nature of digital marketing. To remain dialogue-based (which is the strength of social media!), the posts have to be genuine, thoughtful, timely... reproduction of content can serve a great purpose, but only if people are careful to keep it relevant and packaged for the targeted readers rather thing simply prepackaged.

Thoughts?
@ThreeShipsMedia

ducttapemarketing

@ThreeShipsMedia - fair point and one that I hope is somewhat assumed in all types of marketing, but there is that fine line between creating something or creating nothing, which is better? You could argue both ways of course, but common sense can prevail to keep both originality and production happy.

It is good to remind people that blog posts generally take on a more person tone, but I wonder if the time has come for all marketing related communications to take that tone.

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