Repurpose Content, Important, Not a Panacea

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The tactic to repurpose content is a hot topic right now among marketers as they look to reduce content development time, effort and costs.

Re-purpose

Our company has repurposed content for customers for over fifteen years, and developed several techniques. But first, a warning. Repurposing content is not a panacea to creating the right content the right way the first time.

We suggest, if you can repurpose content, it wasn’t designed and created to be targeted and relevant in the first place. 

This is why a content strategy that develops a content engine to continuously create content like publishers is so important.

If content is not relevant, remarkable or compelling, repurposing won’t necessarily make it so. If content is all about the vendor and their products, it can be difficult to repurpose into effective customer educational content that is high demand today.

Think of house renovations. This works well when it’s a room or two. Most contractors will tell you there is a point — major re-work — when it’s cheaper to tear down and start over.

But some of the practices we’ve developed to repurpose content are worth noting. They even apply to creating content like publishers:

Acquire subject expert insights and ideas in audio.

Subject experts show up continuously. They are our market and product experts, customers and third party contacts — even key sales and sales support people. They can be found creating content for product launches, events and webinars.

By recording these insights and messages in audio you can edit and repurpose content created as internal or external briefings, training or marketing content, into content for other purposes. By transcribing audio into text you have great source content for writing blogs, articles, or small lead nurturing content pieces.

This technique applies especially well to live training programs, webinars, user and partner conferences, customer reference programs, and any time (expensive) third party analysts or experts are employed.

Extract content from existing training and video productions.

For years we have heard sales people observe: “some of our best content is in our learning programs, but it’s not in a form that is suitable for delivery to customers.” This content is in a training “voice” and physically built in learning technologies, packaged for delivery as training programs, not as customer ready content.

Existing videos are another example. I may want to send a ninety second segment to a customer, but it’s contained within a five minute video, most of which isn’t relevant to the customer.

The publishing approach would be to create this content for multiple purposes in the first place. It would keep source content in a highly modular form that is suitable for assembly and delivery to meet marketing, sales and customer purpose. But extracting and editing this content can make it useful for other purposes.

Convert white papers to multimedia vignettes.

Over the last several years many companies have invested heavily in white papers. Excellent, extensive work resulted in a “point production” — a white paper. Repurposing involves leveraging this work to take the content and edit into scripts for other purposes, such as a:

  • Ninety second promotion vignette
  • Eight minute executive summary vignette
  • Stakeholder, issue, industry specific version
  • Segment for a marketing webinar
  • Sales prospecting tool

Rather than repurpose content, learn to design and create content for multiple purposes, audiences and other relevant factors as a common output of your content operations.

Create content in multiple forms and formats for each content asset. A good example is email copy to deliver content, in versions to primary targeted audiences, and for primary defined purposes. Social media post copy is another. This is why content strategy and more rigorous planning is important.

This will help you get more out of your content, content investments and every asset your content operation produces.