Lee Odden

Green Online Marketing: 5 Ways to Repurpose Content

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

central parkWith the importance of content in online marketing, many businesses are hard pressed to come up with original articles, blog posts, videos, images, presentations, etc on a regular basis.  There’s a myth that once you publish something, that all who matter will see it. That’s simply not true.

Does less than 100% or even 50% market reach for marketing content mean a blog or web site should republish exact duplicates at every opportunity? Of course not. Repurposing content probably isn’t substantially “green” either, but as marketing messages are made unique for distinct audiences, content can be repurposed or customized from one format to another or be updated to deliver value to a different distribution channel.  Here are 5 of many ways companies can repurpose content for marketing purposes in ways that are efficient and meet the needs of target audiences.

1. Turn Powerpoint decks into articles/blog posts and vice versa.  Companies that leverage public speaking involving PowerPoint presentations can leverage the research and content created for the presentation as a compliment or inspiration for supporting materials.

For example, a single PowerPoint presentation can literally be leveraged as content for a series of blog posts promoting the event for which the PowerPoint presentation was created. Alternatively, a series of blog posts or articles can serve as the structure for a presentation.  Such inspiration doesn’t need to be limited to blog content and can be extended to contributed articles, microblogging and other media such as video and graphical diagrams.  

2. Aggregate email interviews (answers you’ve given” into a blog post/article).  If there are people at your organization that give interviews often either because of being pitched in a media relations effort or simply because they have a good profile and are respected in the industry, the responses given in those interviews can be aggregated into blog and/or article content. 

Many times, journalists are looking for something fairly specific and will only end up using part of your responses. Or, the editor of the piece may chop parts of your contribution out. Unused portions of your interviews can be used in your own blogging or article writing. This assumes you are responding in text or are recording audio from phone/in person interviews.

Note, do NOT post content from an interview before the journalist or blogger interviewing you has published their piece first.  They may pull your contribution entirely feeling you’ve stolen the story.

3. Break up a long article you’ve had published in a notable publication into a series of blog posts. Add unique introductions and summaries to each. Depending on the arrangement you have with publications that you submit articles to, there is ample opportunity to take key concepts from a long article and turn them into several blog posts. If the article is modular, then it can easily be customized for a different industry with new examples, but the same core message.

4. Repurpose press releases and rewrite conversationally as a blog post or article, linking out to relevant resources.  It’s an interesting exercise to take a formal announcement and imagine how the same news would be explained conversationally, without marketing hype or PR speak. Do that and write it as a blog post including links to supporting articles, blog posts and resources within the post or at the end as recommended reading.

5. Revise old blog posts, updating titles, recent news references, examples and links to updated external resources.  Blogging has been around long enough that there’s a substantial amount of content that continues to offer value, but is lost in the sheer volume of blog posts.  The social web has a short attention span and if there have been substantial changes to a topic, it makes sense to revisit it and update with current supporting references. 

Repurposing content for marketing will only work if the new articles, blog posts, videos, diagrams, presentations or other media offer value and are sufficiently different so as to not be categorized as duplicate content.  There’s no question that in order to compete on today’s search marketing world, content plays a tremendous part.

Whether companies repurpose offline content for online use (ex: tradeshow videos converted to a series on YouTube) or mine their sales and customer service conversations to develop online resources (ex: FAQ blog post series based on top prospective customer questions), there’s plenty of room for creativity in order to become more efficient with content marketing. 

As a percentage of online marketing content creation as a whole, repurposed content should probably never exceend 5% or 10% and it certainly needs to serve corporate messaging and marketing objectives. Over time, the kinds of repurposed content that yield the best results can be tracked and made part of the overall online content development and marketing process.

What creative ways have you found to repurpose content for online marketing that provides as much or more value than the original? Is there really any way to make your online marketing efforts “green”?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Great tips. Really like #5 of revising and updating old posts with current content. Great post.

  2. Mike O'Toole says:

    Really love this piece. We tell our clients that they are not social media laggards…they already have the content, it just needs to be repurposed. One other way to repurpose: take long-form written content and re-create a series of short podcasts. Matthew Grant and I touched on some similar points in this MPDailyFix blog post. Would appreciate your take.

    • That’s a great idea Mike. I think the reverse works well too. Transcribe podcasts or the audio of videos into a blog post.

      Another tip for blogs that do a lot of interviews is to ask a few, fairly consistent questions of all interviewees. Once there are 10-20 interviews, an aggregated post of tips can be constructed for each of the consistent questions.

  3. Good article! This is BINGO for me because we are planning to launch a blog and are always questioning ourselves if the content we have is enough to justify this. Thanks

    • Long term content sourcing for a blog comes down to:

      1. Clear purpose for the blog
      2. Editorial schedule
      3. Ask for help (writing and promoting)
      4. Feedback loop for those that help. Let them know what a great job they did and what effect their contributions make.
      5. Listening and responding to trends, memes and feedback from readers

      After all that, repurposing content can come into play.

  4. This is a post worth sharing. The time it takes to create content can be a barrier to action.

    Giving an interview instead of writing an essay can be less daunting to the content supplier and potentially as interesting to the reader.

    Many business leaders do not think of themselves as bloggers but most can talk passionately about their business and industry. And, frankly normal conversational cadence is more refreshing than marketing speak on most occasions.

  5. Another source of good content: customer case studies. These often lengthy PDFs can be mined for useful tips lists or topics to comment on in a blog or shorter article.

  6. Anything that can create interest among the blog audience can be updated, re-written or re-packaged for those readers who may have not read previousely.

  7. Great article! Another way to re-use content from your blog is to re-work related posts into an e-book that you can use to generate leads or create buzz. I believe that some people have even used blog posts as a basis for an entire book. As much as I love blogs, there are still people out there who don’t read blogs much, so packaging your content in new ways can be really useful. And, as you mention, if you customize it to be specific to an industry or audience, it’s even more powerful.

  8. Good tips. Most businesses struggle to come up with original content after they have been blogging for a few months. I will put your tips into action.

  9. This is another great post with some really useful tips. When it comes time for me to write another post and I can not thing of something to write about, I am going to look at some of my old posts and see if I can update any of them.

  10. “Revise old blog posts, updating titles, recent news references, examples and links to updated external resources. Blogging has been around long enough that there’s a substantial amount of content that continues to offer value, but is lost in the sheer volume of blog posts. The social web has a short attention span and if there have been substantial changes to a topic, it makes sense to revisit it and update with current supporting references. ”

    I think this is quiet a good advise. True, content is really essential, but you have to make sure that it is in good quality and is really helpful for your targeted audience. Apart from this, you should also make sure that you don’t sound like a broken audio disc that always repeats itself.

  11. Fantastic post — and I like the tie in to environmentalism – clever! Another idea is to repurpose email responses to client questions. If you find you’re answering the same questions multiple times, you can turn these responses into a series of blog posts or even ‘how to’ screencasts or slideshows. It not only saves time the next time someone asks, but you’re developing useful content that solves real problems.

  12. I was thinking that one addition to the re-purposing idea, is using ideas and content from comments on your blog or website. With the author’s permission of course. But those ideas developed in the context of your post should spark further discussion on your own blog.

    Great ideas Lee, good post!