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Terrific Ways of Repurposing Your Content (without a Ton of Effort)

There was a joke on 30 Rock, the superb early-2000s sitcom, where lead character Liz Lemon was dating a man who called himself “The Beeper King of New York.” His refrain, which he hardly believed himself, was “technology is cyclical.” 

Obviously, the second that cell phones became affordable, the pager became redundant – the 1990s version of the buggy whip. Unless you are a doctor, you probably haven’t seen someone wearing a pager since Cher was asking if you believe in life after love in aggressive autotune. What is an erstwhile King to do? Call every restaurant you can!

Wait – what? 

While it’s been some time since you’ve had a beeper in your pocket (or on your hip), you have probably had one in your hands. If you’ve been to a busy restaurant, or one in a mall, or a self-service place, you may have been handed what looks like an industrial-strength coaster. One that will beep or buzz or somehow page you when your table is ready or your order is up.

The technology is not as ubiquitous as it once was but it has been repurposed to fit a current need. Any place that has a waiting time (especially those without a lot of waiting room) can benefit from this seemingly outdated tech.

What does it mean to repurpose your content?

Okay, older technology that is still useful is one thing, but what does that have to do with content?

Content, like technology, takes time and resources to be produced, especially the good stuff. And once you have that, who’s to say that it has to stay as one thing? I am not recommending you put the same exact content in different places (at least not now). What I am saying is this content can be many (somewhat different) things.

That article on your blog was great. You put a lot of time and effort getting it just right. But did you really get everything out of it you could?

Why should you reuse your content?

I spent many years teaching English and for me, the hard work was in the preparation. Often, I was given a syllabus with topics the students should be able to talk about, but in very general terms, think “sports” or “holidays.” Now, I had to find something short and interesting to read on the topic, get vocabulary or grammar structures from that reading, develop discussion questions, and come up with a related activity.

After all that prep I had to take it into the classroom for the first time. Then, notes about what worked and what didn’t. Finally, corrections and a “finished” product. Once that was done, if successful, all I had to do was refresh my memory before I had to teach it again.

With all the hard work that went into this process, I made sure that this content could live for years and not just in one place or in one form. I was able to expand, contract, level up, level down, and/or supplement as needed to make it fit the situation I was in.

The concept is the same when producing content for your business. You’ve put a ton of effort into producing something great. Why not make sure it can live – and thrive – in many different environments?

Methods for repurposing content

Okay, you have written a killer article. You put a lot of effort into research, making sure your keywords are on point, and optimizing it for SEO. You’ve made sure that it’s readable and provides value. You published it on your blog and it found some success. Yay!

This means that it definitely can be used again. What are some ways that you can do that?

Go from big to small 

Let’s say that the original is a longer piece, an ultimate guide or a white paper, for example. Instead of trying to repurpose that whole thing, take a look at the logical places where you can cut it into smaller pieces and do so. What do you have – 3, 4, or 5 shorter articles?

Once you have those shorter pieces, write (or rewrite) introductions, streamline or adjust the body where necessary (making sure that if you reference something that is not included in this part of the article that you take it out), and give each a proper conclusion. Now you can publish those on a platform such as Medium either as stand-alone pieces or as a series. 

Great – you have taken one article and multiplied it by division. You are not done yet! Examine those shorter articles to subtract out bite-sized information. Is there something like a process or a progression? Turn it into an infographic to be shared on LinkedIn. Maybe there’s a great quote or an eye-catching statistic – make that into a graphic for Twitter. A list could be visually represented for Instagram. A short anecdote could be shared on Facebook along with a picture.

Pivot around a theme

What if you have produced an average-lengthed article? Instead of trying to break it into ever-smaller pieces, take a closer look at the core idea. You can use that topic for a podcast. You’ve done the research already and there’s a good chance that not everything went into the article. Plus you can reference the original piece and include a link in the description. 

After, you can use a free transcription service such as Podcast Transcribe and turn the podcast into another blog post. As a warning, you will have to do quite a bit of clean up before you can publish it (our podcast Elephate in the Room was transcribed as LA Fate, Elevate and Elephant), so if you don’t have the time or patience for that, you will want to use a professional service.

Having it written up means, like above, you can take chunks of it to be used on the various social platforms. Was there a disagreement or debate about something? Turn that into a reader’s poll on your site or on Facebook. If there was a tangent that was substantive or entertaining, you can turn that into an all-new thing.

If you have the means, record the podcast on video and post it on YouTube. You can take short clips for Instagram (1 minute) or Twitter (2 minutes, 20 seconds). Something funny was said? Turn that into a GIF or a meme for Reddit. Facebook is another great place for video, especially if something controversial – but not too controversial – was said.

Upkeep and add-ons

Voice

Way back for our first episode of Elephate in the Room, Cindy Krum from MobileMoxie said that voice search is the future. You don’t have to go the podcast route, but you can simply record your articles so they can be utilized by voice search. You can publish both at the same time, or wait and publish the recording later to reignite the promotional push for the original piece.

Update

Go through your older content and update. Look for those evergreen topics, especially ones that were really well-written. People are more inclined to click on newer articles so take advantage of that fact by getting a new date on old content.

For some stories, this refresh can be as simple as putting in new graphics or updating stats or references.

I said at the beginning that you don’t want to put the same thing in different places but given enough time, you can do just that. At most, you make minor changes for different platforms, such as a new title or altering the structure slightly.

Stage to page

If you are one for public speaking, you can turn a presentation into an article pretty easily. There’s a good chance that you wrote out at least an outline for your talk, if not the whole thing. If you didn’t create a script or don’t feel like filling in that outline, you can once again turn to a transcription service, assuming that there is a recording.

Either way, you might have to tweak a few things to make sure that it works on paper but that’s a small amount of effort compared to what you have already put into it. Alternately, you could share just your deck as-is, but make sure your branding is there. 

Customer provided

You may be able to reuse content that you didn’t even think of as “content.” Case studies, testimonials, question & answer sessions and other material provided by your clients can all be packaged up (with their permission, of course) in various ways to great effect.

Summing Up

You won’t be able to do everything every time, obviously. But by putting in just a little additional effort you can take one thing and make it, even conservatively, three or four things. Plus, with all the extra attention you put onto the original idea, you may come up with even more ideas to start the process all again.

Published
  • 22 July 2019
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Derrek Carriveau

See all articles by Derrek Carriveau

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