As an online marketer, if you’re interested in recycling your content, you’ve already got a good sense of your greatest hits – the items with the most traffic, leads, shares, likes and other forms of engagement.
In the first installment of this series, we talked about how to identify the kind of content worth repurposing and uncovered that within your content archives, the best pieces tend to share two criteria: timelessness and high quality.
So now that you’ve identified the crème de la crème, it’s time to place yourself into the mindset of going beyond content creation and into the wide and wonderful world of repurposing.
The Purpose of Repurposing
Before we delve too far into specific strategies, let’s talk about why we should repurpose content in the first place. After all, it’s hard enough to constantly create relevant, shareable, original content for all of the multiple platforms Web marketers contend with.
We create content to publish on our websites, on our blogs, on social media, as guest posts, as email blasts and more. With all the time we spend creating, curating and publishing content – in addition to other business-related obligations – it can be hard to imagine fitting anything else in!
Depending on factors like your writing speed and topical knowledge, completing a blog post from scratch may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of days.
Here’s a little secret: Repurposing content actually saves time, which in turn saves money.
If you read Part 1 of this series, you’ve already given some thought to previously published content, all of which exists on the Web for your online audience to engage with. Let’s broaden the scope of what we call content for a minute.
Consider the email messages you send to your staff, as well as internal newsletters, memos, and bulletins.
Any written material about your company – yes, even internally – is content, which means it has the potential to reach an audience in new and inspiring ways.
How Repurposing Expands Your Reach
In addition to saving time, when you repurpose content, there’s amazing potential to reach new and potentially untapped audiences.
For example, if you’ve published an article targeted to small business owners, you can restructure and reword the content as necessary to expand your audience to include owners of larger businesses.
Repurposing content allows you to attract and, in turn, convert a broader segment of people.
Let’s take a look at the purchasing funnel, one of the central concepts of marketing and sales.
Multiple renditions exist, including countless industry-specific versions, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use the original McKinsey model.
From awareness all the way down to loyalty, each stage corresponds with a different frame of mind on the buyer’s journey. According to Daniel Newman, a Forbes contributor, the average consumer engages with 11.4 pieces of content before arriving at a purchasing decision.
Buyers at each stage require different kinds of information to influence their behaviors.
For example, people at the top of the funnel tend to consume what’s called snackable content. These people aren’t looking for industry-specific eBooks, they’re passively consuming short-form text, video, and images.
Consider the potato chip metaphor: “You can’t have just one.” Snackable content is designed to lead buyers from awareness to familiarity by teaching them about a topic or solution. Maybe it helps them recognize a need that they didn’t know they had, or guides them to a solution that will streamline their processes and save them time.
After arriving at several pieces of snackable content, a potential customer becomes more familiar with your industry and brand. When a consumer becomes familiar with your industry, that’s when they begin seeking out longer, more in-depth content.
By the time they reach the consideration stage, they’re just one step away from making a decision – which means they’re evaluating you against a handful of your competitors.
At this point, they’re looking for content that will sway them one way or the other so they can finally make a purchase.
Essentially, by changing the format or angle of your content, you can reach buyers at different tiers of the sales funnel. An eBook targeted to people in the consideration stage can be stripped to its bare essentials and made into a snackable blog post or infographic, which in turn targets people in the awareness stage.
One of the best examples I know of this being done was by a Mustang parts retailer.
The online auto parts industry is, maybe unexpectedly, a super competitive online space; one of the larger retailers, CJ Pony Parts, captured audiences at both ends of the purchase funnel.
They were one of the first to create an infographic releasing the specs of the new 2015 Ford Mustang when they were unveiled, and the infographic made the rounds on big automotive blogs, tackling the awareness phase.
At the same time, they were hard at work creating what would become a 2,600+ word buying guide, catching people at the purchase phase.
Ultimately, repurposing content broadens your audience while deepening your message.
When to Publish Repurposed Content
Repurposed content, as with any content, can theoretically be published anytime – but if you’re already making an effort to reach a newly targeted demographic, it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the science behind timing.
How often will you publish content? When will you promote it? Most importantly, how soon after posting can you repurpose content?
Again, factors like frequency depend on your industry. If you follow sites like BuzzFeed or Mashable, it can be easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep up.
Fortunately, you don’t have to.
You’re a business, not a news source, and your job is to provide the best possible product or service for your customers in your field.
Take a look at some of your competitor’s content, and you’ll get a sense of how often to publish a post whether it’s once a week, a couple of times a week or every day.
From there, experiment; spend a month publishing a blog post a week, then spend a month ramping it up to two per week and see how things change. Or switch around the day you post to see how people respond differently.
It’s a good idea to spend at least several weeks or even a month on your experiments, so you can get a true idea of what kind of an impact your experiments are making.
Don’t be afraid to try new things – but make sure you are drawing insights from these experiments.
Focus on the metrics that matter to you and your industry:
Number of leads
Make sure your website is setup to collect these metrics; you can use tools like URL tagging or call tracking to measure where your leads come from, for example.
You may find, as CoSchedule did, that publishing more content does not necessarily equate more leads:
The Science of Good Timing
It can also help to publish content during the times of day when people are most likely to pay attention.
Kissmetrics has a helpful infographic that talks about some of the specifics.
Here’s a quick roundup:
People read blogs most often in the morning, and the average blog usually gets the most traffic at around 11 a.m.
Of all the days of the week, Monday gets the most blog views, but users post more comments on Saturdays. The peak days for new inbound links are Monday and Thursday.
Publishing content during high-activity hours leads to more views, comments and engagement. However, because of a large amount of content being published during these hours, your post is more likely to get buried in all the noise. This can lead to a higher bounce rate.
Publishing content during low-activity hours means you’ll have better odds at standing out from the pack. With less noise, your content can rise to prominence. However, because fewer people are online, you’ll receive fewer views and comments, with less engagement.
It’s important to figure out how repurposed content fits into your overall timeline.
The jury is in: You can publish repurposed content anytime. High-quality, conscientiously repurposed content won’t hurt your existing content in the least. If anything, it can be a good idea to repurpose content as soon as possible.
That way, the original content will already be fresh in your audience’s mind – which will allow the repurposed content to sustain or even increase interest.
With both original and repurposed content, keep it coming as regularly as possible – even if you only publish once a week. However, if you can, do more, and cater your number of posts to the appropriate social media outlet or blogging platform.
I love CoSchedule’s social share calendar – it’s a great indicator of the kind of repeat social sharing you can do with just one piece of content.
A word to the wise: If you must choose between quality and quantity, always go with quality.
There’s no reason to waste your time to publish throwaway material when consumers are hungry for content that stands apart from the pack.
Create Content Worth Recycling
Over the course of these first two posts, we’ve gone into the what, the why and the when of content repurposing.
The third and final installment will delve into the how, with specific strategies for recycling different kinds of content. Before we get there, let’s stay in the recycling mindset for a while longer.
We’ve already talked about evergreen content – the top contender for any repurposing strategy.
The recycling mindset isn’t just about finding evergreen content you’ve already created – it’s also about reframing your content creation strategy so that almost any original content you produce is easy to recycle later.
You could call this the write once, use twice method.
Say, for example, you receive a question on social media that calls for an in-depth answer. Don’t write a detailed response and then forget about it! Instead, use the interaction as a jumping-off point for a blog post.
For example, last fall I got this tweet from a reader:
Definitely a worthwhile question — so I responded it by writing a whole post with advice specific to getting a design internship. Not only does a blog post give me more room to respond than a 140 character tweet, but it was a valuable piece of content that my audience would find useful, year after year.
Not only will a blog post reach a wider audience than a response to a comment, but it will also help cultivate an image of brand authority.
People seek out content because they’re looking for solutions to pressing questions, and the expert advice you provide in this scenario has great potential.
Time-sensitive content should still have a place in your lineup, but you’ll need to counterbalance it with valuable evergreen content. A detailed content calendar can help you keep track of what’s next on the publishing docket. This will help you intersperse urgent announcements and updates with timeless content.
You can also use a content calendar to document ideas for original content, as well as notes for ways existing content might take a different shape in the future.
Don’t forget to keep your evergreen content green; it is a good idea to regularly schedule times to update your most important content. Keep a running list of the content that is bringing in the most leads and make it a goal to revisit that content every few months or at least annually.
If you stay on top of updates, such as changes in your industry, your content will seem more authoritative and worth linking to – after all, why would you choose to link to a one-off piece when you know another piece receives regular updates?
You can create Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts to follow major developments in your industry or related to a particular topic. Filter them into a folder and set a regular calendar reminder to visit your alerts and draw insights from them.
The Takeaway: Keep the Long Term in Mind
When you publish fresh content, always keep the objective of recycling it in the back of your mind.
You want to reach new subsets of your audience by presenting your best content in different ways. So when you have a topic you pour a lot of effort into, you want to make sure that it is timeless and reusable down the road. Start thinking ahead of different ways you could reframe this content.
Any new content you create should have a clear value, which means it posits you as an expert and conveys a strong, relevant message.
This kind of high-quality, evergreen content will serve you well for a long time. Not only will it stand the test of time on its own, but it will also provide an invaluable basis for multiple new iterations of the same material.
For more on how to repurpose your content, check out the rest of the articles in this series: