Lee Odden

Content Marketing: Curation, Repurposing & Collective Social Wisdom

repurpose contentOne of the great talents of an effective content marketer is the ability to re-create or as my pal Ann Handley says, “reimagine” content.  This is a topic we’ve covered many times in the context of SEO, PR and blogging. As the popularity of content marketing becomes an essential component of many business marketing plans, interest in the right mix of creation, curation and re-purposing has justifiably skyrocketed.

Many companies don’t have the resources to create anything new or don’t believe customers need anything more than product features and benefits pages. Optimizing archived newsletters, press releases, images, video, PDF spec sheets and MS Office docs was born out of the need to diversify what constitutes marketable content for search and consumers.

Many companies are sitting on all types of content and digital assets that could repackaged, re-purposed or curated into usefulness as a marketing asset.  We recently worked with a Fortune 100 company to bring over 140 videos online using topical themes according to specific vertical markets and of course, keywords for optimization. Images, text, audio and video are all potential candidates for offline to online repurposing.

The cost and difficulty of scaling content creation has boosted the desire to find something that taps into the stores of existing content and digital assets. Creative content repurposing is an effective way to do that.

While there may be concerns that reusing content will result in duplication issues with search engines or a redundant experience for consumers, there are any number of practical reasons to reuse content including:

Efficiency – With a hub and spoke model for publishing optimized, social content there exists a number of repurposing opportunities. There’s an efficiency to that publishing model because you’re planning in advance to repurpose content in different formats for different channels.

A classic example is to announce a product. The core content of the announcement is the hub (company website or blog) and surrounding it are social spokes and other channels for promotion which might include a press release version of the blog post, a video of a product manager explaining the product or interviewing a client beta tester, images of the product itself and the product being used, tweets, updates, presentations, specification documents, promotional documents and media, and so on.

With a modular approach to content that has a specific purpose, audience and use in mind, content repurposing as part of a hub and spoke publishing model can be amazingly effective AND efficient.

Short Attention Span – If you think that blog post or tweet you just published was seen by more than a fraction of a fraction of your target audience, you’re probably mistaken.

Social content consumers not only get distracted easily but have short attention spans. Posting a tweet with a link to the content you’re promoting could be scheduled to repost 2-3 more times in a 24 hour period with each tweet taking a slightly different angle on the story. This is somewhat dependant on how many overall messages you publish per day. If you’re only posting 3 variations of the same message and nothing else, that’s not as effective.

The first message might be seen and ignored because it doesn’t connect with a segment of your community. But maybe the 2nd or 3rd version of the message does because of a different angle or even the time its published. Not only can additional variations inspire interest but also RT’s and shares.

Building SEO Relevancy – We target about 20 core keyword phrases with this blog, yet over 20,000 unique keyword phrases are used to drive visitors here every month. When a SEO and content marketing strategy work together, repurposing content means additional SEO assets to attract search traffic on many different variations of a theme. Google reports that 16% of the queries it sees every day have never been seen before. That means building out a content footprint that represents a diversity of keywords on a theme will help a company attract an audience that is actively looking beyond the broad (and more competitive) phrases that everyone else is optimizing for.

Personalize for Verticals or Customer Segments –  If your product/service targets different vertical markets, there’s no reason not to craft a core message that’s then customized for each industry and audience segment so you can then pitch as a byline article or guest blog post.

Customizing for verticals means more than a search replace of a phrase like, “insurance agents” with “real estate agents”. It means modular content planning that allows for customization in a meaningful way but that leverages a core message to make it an efficient process.

Using a template, you might have customizable expressions or paragraphs according to specific verticals or customer segments that accentuates unique benefits, data and customer goals. Then a skilled copywriter would review and make final adjustments vs. writing from scratch about something that is essentially the same but for a slightly different market.

The Future of Repurposed Content is Scaled Curation / Collective Social Wisdom –  Beyond the realm of simple content re-purposing is the notion of tapping into the collective wisdom and curation power of communities.  Intel is doing this in an interesting way with their beta IQ site.

IQ Intel

A mix of original content and curated stories from Intel staff come together to provide an interesting narrative over three verticals “Media”, “Life”, “Planet” that supports Intel key messaging objectives for particular target markets. The official mission: “Our aim is to provide insight into what is driving our belief that technology unleashes the world’s human potential to create a better future.” It’s a smart implementation of technology to scale ideas along a set of themes that editorially support Intel messaging and in some cases, product implementation.

Have you found a way to repurpose content in a way that’s effective?  What are some of your creative content repurposing efforts?

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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 B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Chamois Beal-Lopez says

    Fantastic post. I believe the new popularity of infographics will boom as a source for companies to “reimagine” their content marketing. The right colors and graphics can breathe new life in outdated communications.

    • Agreed, infographics are a great form for reimagining content. Deconstructing and reassembling content using various forms of media is also good for reaching different types of audiences.

  2. Avatar The GreenBox Promo says

    Very informative post

  3. Another interesting piece Lee. One of the things i took away from it is your mentioning how your agency specifically targets 20 phrases with your blog. While I always look at what keyword phrases I could target when I’m writing a post, I’ve never given it a thought to have an overall keyword strategy for my blog. Yet, that makes more sense in the long run and you still are left with hundreds of variations. It not only helps with rankings, but I think branding as well. It also gives your blog a tighter focus. It’s something I’ll have to consider.

    • Exactly Scott. In fact, our keyword focus would be more appropriately named a topical focus, since it’s more a reflection of the big themes our target audience is interested in at large, vs. just search keywords.

  4. Interesting take on this topic. I myself have made a program on how we marketers can repurpose content. I made what i call a 5-3-1 Repurposing technique. an overview of that would be utilizing one blog posts split into multiple microblogs and posted to social media sites.

  5. For small to medium sized businesses, I can see both the value and need in repurposing existing content. But what you tend to see with solo businesses is them repurpose content in the following ways, amongst others: Bunch it all together and call it an ebook, put in through TBS and hope we won’t notice. I really like the idea of taking work you have already but time and effort into and expanding on it to make it more valuable to readers/prospects, but the ways mentioned above lead to the web being full of samey’ content that isn’t really useful to anyone but the search engines.