A content repurposing workflow can help you extract new value and audience engagement from past content. Think of it this way: an old dog might not be able to learn new tricks, but dress him up in a bumblebee costume and you’ve got 100,000+ Twitter likes right there! You can take a piece of evergreen content, spruce it up with some current relevance — tree pun ENTended — and use it to attract new audiences or trends off a prevailing social media topic.
There are nearly endless ways to repurpose content, ranging from simply rerunning past well-performing blog posts to Frankensteining a masterpiece out of some content assets that didn’t go over as well but still have some use.
The key point to remember is that no matter what repurposing efforts you pursue, you need a content strategy to back it all up. That means having a built-out editorial calendar and taking other content-planning steps to ensure measurable and positive impacts.
What is Content Repurposing?
There’s a lot of investment that goes into content marketing, not only in terms of money spent but all the sweat teams put into ideation, creation, dissemination and evaluation. When it all comes together, the magic is palpable: strong audience engagement, KPIs and outcomes. However, if marketers believe they constantly have to be publishing to stay relevant, there’s a high risk that the return on investment is short-lived. It would be a shame if, after all that work, a stellar piece is left to collect dust after a quick 15 minutes of fame.
This is why smart marketers expand the life span of this content through a method called “content repurposing.” When done correctly, content repurposing is an extremely efficient way to increase the return on that initial investment and should be a part of your team’s content workflow as well as their marketing strategy. From email marketing assets to social media content, there are many different ways to repurpose written copy or graphic design.
Content repurposing allows marketers to draw continuous value from an asset without having to churn out new material like a cable news network. Not only does it make business sense to the nth degree, but it aligns with a key tenet of modern content marketing ideology: quality over quantity. While there’s a lot to be said for having a steady pipeline of content, outlining ways to tap an existing content asset reinforces a commitment to quality.
An old dog might not be able to learn new tricks, but dress him up in a bumblebee costume and you’ve got +100,000 Twitter likes right there!
The situation is common: You know you have a winning piece but are hesitant to put it back out there for fear of being a retread — or worse, this time it doesn’t generate the same impact. Repurposing gives marketers a way to retool their content in different forms, like reimagining a text-based blog post into a visual one-pager for sales collateral. Even this lone example demonstrates the range of advantages repurposing has, as well as the many problems it can be used to solve. There’s no shame in going up for second plates here! On the contrary, it’s encouraged (I lied about no more food analogies).
Benefits of Repurposing Content
The real question is: what can’t be achieved with content repurposing? Such tactics can be applied to a number of content marketing goals and there are many benefits that can come along with repurposing some of your marketing team’s content. Your brand’s overall content marketing strategy can reap the advantages of adding to this strategy. Repurposed content is an all-purpose approach that can:
- Boost audience reach and engagement: Not every reader of your blog content could be a follower on social media and vice versa. Repurposed content enables you to more effectively reach audiences regardless of platform. It’s likely a share of targeted customers or web visitors will miss out on a one-shot piece, so flipping it into something new helps your content marketing team cover all bases when you take a hot blog topic and make it a social graphic. Not only can this method help expand reach, but a unified message across distribution channels will create a cohesive customer experience, which can lift engagement rates.
- Take you from zero to hero: Not every swing is going to be a home run, so don’t sweat the misses. Baseball players are considered all-star batters if they get a hit in one-third of their chances at the plate. Sometimes the conditions just aren’t right and content doesn’t land, but there’s always a second chance. Maybe a white paper didn’t attract the interest from leads you counted on, but an interactive presentation can present the data or content in an easily digestible way that makes all the difference.
- Help content serve needs along the marketing funnel: The same ideas expressed in a blog post could be useful when read in an eBook by a different customer further along the lifecycle. Taking editorial content and giving it a sales collateral tweak promotes efficiency, consistency and internal productivity. It’s almost a bit like Pokemon when you think about it — or Digimon, if that was your thing. Content starts basic and progressively levels up the more mature the customer becomes; repurposing gives marketers a way to meet each touchpoint need with a proven asset.
How Content Repurposing Works
Familiar with the environmental 3 Rs of “reduce, reuse and recycle”? The same kind of mantra can be applied to a content strategy: rework, recirc and recycle (look, we even took the third R’s advice already). When approaching content repurposing from each of these angles — whether for a YouTube video or a blog post — remember to retain SEO-driven goals. The brand’s video content or blog content can live on for even longer and be even more effective when it’s repurposed correctly. The three fundamental modes of repurposing break down to:
- Rework: This method is fairly straightforward and entails a bit of revising, even some form of reshaping, but not wholesale changes. For instance, a blog post that got a lot of traffic on the website can be pared down to essential elements and made into an infographic. The content principles are largely the same, but the new, snazzy visual can unlock further audience engagement benefits while telling the same story.
- Recirc: Short for recirculation, this relates to the planned reintroduction of content. The type of content matters a lot here, as time-sensitive blogs can’t be pushed at all times of the year. This time, identify evergreen pieces, like how-tos or guides, that can be recirculated to maximum effort with minimal editing needed to get the right context.
- Recycle: A plastic bottle that enters a recycling plant oftentimes comes out as something completely different, yet is composed of the same matter (don’t forget the law of conservation!). The same can be done with content. Think, for example, about taking an industry-facing blog post that contains customer survey data and making it a testimonial to use in sales. There’s a bit of a tangent line between the assets, connecting but not intersecting, but this is the type of thinking content marketers need to use in repurposing.
How to Structure a Content Repurposing Workflow
All the brainstorming about repurposing is great, but until the plan is put into action, it ain’t worth much. To make repurposing a focused, efficient and productive effort, content marketers need to define and design a workflow expressly for the value of repurposing. Without a framework within which to work, repurposing is less like seamless content creation and more a messy stab that only drags down marketing in other areas.
Firstly, identify the content you want to repurpose. It all begins with having the assets in mind. Try to be inclusive of diverse pieces slated for repurposing. For example, it’s important to prioritize choosing both evergreen content and timely blogs, as well as eBooks, white papers and video content. Reconsider every possibility, but make sure to identify specifically which content pieces will be repurposed.
Why? Because your next step is to devise an editorial calendar. Posting all willy-nilly won’t get anybody anywhere and having a content repurposing workflow is an important requirement for success. Content production schedules have to be planned out ahead of time: It’s a requirement for any repurposing to be effective. You need to manage the time between an idea appearing as a blog and appearing as an infographic, or else you risk drowning your audience in the messaging. Focus some energy on perfecting the ideal content workflow.
Calendars work because they sync deadlines. Content marketers must seek alignment in their workflow as well and coordinate repurposing with overall content marketing goals. Most brands have built up a library of content that can be repurposed; and when undertaken, it should always fit a specific objective. If juicing lead gen is a quarterly goal for you, take a past survey question and modify it into a web form. In the same vein, maybe condense a long guide into an eBook and used it as a gated download.
Don’t forget to watch out for duplicate content. Duplication to some degree is a natural byproduct of content repurposing, but assets that contain significant chunks of the same words might be punished by search engines. Marketers can avoid duplicate content in a couple of ways: one, by keeping an editorial calendar that would expose any such clashes; and two, by making quality content, no easy repurposes of a blog that’s just filed with a different picture.
After the content’s been published, track the KPIs. Performance metrics are crucial to any content strategy, and that holds true for repurposing. Whether it’s conversions, click-throughs, email open rates, social media engagement or downloads, pick your measure of success and monitor those numbers. Constantly monitor your blog posts and other content to ensure that it is performing well across all platforms.
And finally, keep looking for new ways to repurpose. The more content you generate, the more opportunities for repurposing will arise. If the permutations seem endless, well, that’s pretty much because they are — an editorial calendar would help wrangle that potential, however. Always be on the lookout for ways to transform content or how a blog post could become a podcast or even a landing page that’s worked into social collateral.
4 Innovative Examples of Content Repurposing in Action
Not every repurposed piece of content should be evaluated the same way. There are several ways to flip something old into something with new life. At first, it may be a little overwhelming, but luckily we’re here to offer some guidance. Want more of an idea on how to take a new piece of content and turn it into a thrift store gem?
Turn a Guest Post into a Live Video Q&A
Guest blog posts are great from an SEO perspective, as they’re an effective means for link-building and improving organic search engine rankings. Such blogs also have qualities that can be leveraged in other forms, like authority or a high-profile name. One way to capitalize on those themes is with a live video Q&A hosted on social media with the same guest blogger. This makes an event out of your long-form content and creates further material to mine later.
Craft a Blog Series Out of a Webinar
Want to work the other way around and create evergreen content out of a dynamic event? A blog series from a recorded webinar is a great place to start. There are so many good bytes that come out of webinars, but what modern customer is going to sit around for an hour and watch a prerecorded cast? Broken down into a sequence of more consumable blog posts that highlight key moments, the webinar can live on and keep returning value to your content strategy.
Fashion eBook Pages Into Drip Email Copy
You can bridge the divide between outbound and inbound a bit by repurposing eBook pages into copy for a drip email marketing campaign. Whittling a white paper or even a blog post down to a handful of words needed for email copy would be a task fit for Ron Swanson — but eBook pages provide content marketers with nearly ready-made content to repurpose for email marketing use.
Extrapolate a Thought Piece Into a White Paper
Short hits of certain assets are great for social media content, but serious prospects will want quality materials to learn about you, your product or your industry. Many companies try to push thought leadership in their posts to earn that expertise. When the method is successful, it’s great, but some marketers may be looking for more. Expand your blog ideas and video content into a full white paper to really get to the core of the topic or solution and create a sensible, gradual and informative pathway for consumers.
Extrapolate a Thought Piece Into a White Paper
If it hasn’t been made clear yet: Forget that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s dictum about there being no second acts in American life. Content can live on and on. A fruitful repurposing workflow will bear bounty time after time and can help advance key overarching goals for content marketing.
Take a look at your cache of resources and appraise your assets for avenues for repurposing. There’s likely a grand possibility for deriving new value from old content — a strategy that can lead to a virtuous, self-sustaining cycle.
Editor’s note: Updated March 2023.