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Repurposing Content: Best Practice Guidelines

James Perrin

by James Perrin on 19th February 2014

Repurposing ContentThere’s a lot of Content Marketers who advocate content repurposing, and rightly so; it’s a great way of being resourceful and getting more out of your content. To make the most of everything you create I’ve compiled my best practice tips.

I have to admit, I have always been split on the idea of repurposing content. On the one hand I love the idea of making one idea stretch further, but on the other hand I don’t like the idea of short changing users. There’s a fine line. I’m not against repurposing content per se, I just think that whatever we create and however we promote content, it must serve value for the reader.

Weekly Wipe

My belief was cemented further when last week I sat down to watch my favourite programme currently on television, Weekly Wipe. If you’ve not seen the show, it’s effectively a satirical look at the current affairs and popular cultural events of the previous week. In the last show of the series, the Weekly Wipe team decided to run with the dreaded ‘best of’ clips show. Yet, thanks to additional new content the episode still delivered added value to its audience. Something I believe to be hugely valuable.

Whilst clip shows aren’t necessarily an example of repurposing content, more republishing content, they do share similarities in the way they are perceived by their audience. This is my only grievance with the idea of repurposing content. Sure, for SEO it’s hugely valuable, but we’ve moved on from that as the only motivator right? The content we create is mainly targeted to specific user(s) and audiences – this is our main objective.

Using Weekly Wipe as an example, there’s ways in which we can repurpose without losing value. Maintaining a stream of valuable content is important in today’s SEO; so repurposing is an ideal solution. But there are many pitfalls to avoid and best practices to learn. Let’s take a look.

1. Always Think About Your Audience

An idea can stretch across multiple platforms, but always think about what the user will get out of it. Each platform will have its own audience, so whatever you create has to be targeted to that audience. For example, for more visual platforms like Pinterest, Flickr and SlideShare, don’t try and fit square pegs into round holes – think about the visual aspect and adjust your content accordingly.

Key takeaway: The user is at the heart of what you create, not the search engine

2. Choose Your Content Types Carefully

Simply copying text or reworking it to fit a new format isn’t what repurposing should be about. Just because one idea has worked as a blog post doesn’t mean to say it can work as a press release, an infographic or something even more technical. Repurposing for the sake of it doesn’t work. For example, if a Press Release has worked well as a promotional piece to a new audience, there’s no point in trying to use the same type of content as a blog post or guest post.

Key takeaway: Make sure your idea works on specific formats and channels

3. Consider The Right Promotional Channel

Not only should you have an editorial calendar, but you should establish a promotional calendar too. For example, should you repurpose and idea into 4 or 5 different formats, you don’t want to be promoting each piece in close proximity to one another. Also, never claim something as new when it isn’t – the chances are your audience will be following you across multiple platforms, and they’ll know if something is or isn’t new.

Key takeaway: Establish a content promotion calendar

4. Frame Your Content In The Right Way

This leads us nicely onto titles and framing your content. Instead of similar titles or targets, consider different angles or approaches. For example, a user guide titled “A beginner’s guide to getting fit” could be repurposed as a guest post titled “An interview with a PT: how to get that beach body look?” or a blog post titled “10 ways to get into shape this summer”. Also, if you plan to update old blog posts, don’t just rework the content, make sure you label this as ‘Updated’ in the title.

Key takeaway: Frame your content to the right channel and audience

5. Plan Ahead

As you’re creating an editorial calendar, think how each idea will work across multiple platforms. Consider all of the ways in which you can leverage content in the initial phases. For example, identify a core idea with 5 – 10 topic areas that can work into that central idea. This is excellent in terms of planning resources as well as feeding into your promotional calendar. You’ll be able to establish a strategy of linking and promoting content.

Key takeaway: Maximise opportunities by establishing what will work in the initial phase

6. But Also Be Flexible

Whilst an idea may sound great as you’re planning an editorial calendar, when you put this into practice, it might not work. Just because it’s in your plan doesn’t mean to say you have to stick to it. Gauge content ideas by past performance and always refine plans and ideas. Likewise, you might create a piece which you feel has more mileage – again work that into your plan and adjust accordingly.

Key takeaway: Always consider how an idea can flourish, even as you’re creating content

7. Think Big

The bigger the piece of content, the more repurposing opportunities will be available to you. For example, a whitepaper or user guide can work its way into multiple blog posts, guest posts, infographics, PR opportunities and so on. On the flipside a small blog post will only have so much mileage – so if you’re creating a blog post don’t try and force the issue of repurposing, think big instead.

Key takeaway: More ideas will come from bigger ideas and larger pieces of content

Final Thoughts

Making your single idea stretch further is resourceful and good content management. However, as explained no single idea is compatible with every format, platform and promotional channel – so make sure you take heed of the aforementioned best practices. If you have any best practice tips you’d like to add I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image Sources:

Recycling image via BigStock

James Perrin

James Perrin

Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.

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7 Comments

  • Nabeel 19th February 2014

    Being a blogger, i bet people fail to understand the broad spectrum in a niche. For example, writing in real estate people usually stick to the same promotional mantra and don’t opt for something that will go viral easily.

    The part i liked the most in this post is “The user is at the heart of what you create, not the search engine”. Thumbs up for this wonderful post James.

    Reply to this comment

  • James Perrin

    James Perrin 19th February 2014

    Thanks Nabeel – whatever platform we choose and whatever content we create, the user must be the focus :-)

    Reply to this comment

  • Thad James 19th February 2014

    Very insightful article. Re-purposing content is not about over extending an idea. It’s about formatting a message for different delivery devices. There’s nothing wrong with updating previous posts to include new information. Thanks for specifically listing keys to success.

    Reply to this comment

    • James Perrin

      James Perrin 24th February 2014

      Thanks Thad – I totally agree. I like seeing posts that get updated, shows the author is taking the time to revisit work they have taken the time and money in which to invest. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply to this comment

  • Craig 20th February 2014

    Some interesting ideas to consider in this article. Repurposing information is a difficult notion to get your head around when writing content as it is so important to make sure you are not repeating yourself over and over. I’ve read many posts about blog and article writing and what I have found useful, is to make a spreadsheet with titles and sub titles and specific content formats that could be used with these. By setting out a specific directory you have a map laid out which you can revert back to. Within this you could highlight things that did or did not work and alter your ideas as you progress as a writer.

    Reply to this comment

    • James Perrin

      James Perrin 24th February 2014

      Thanks Craig – that’s a great idea. The more we plan and schedule the easier it is to stay on-top of what we’re creating, and as such, this gives us license to repurpose and tweak when necessary. I’m a big advocate of having a content plan and a promotion plan. This will help massively. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply to this comment

  • Felix Marsh 13th March 2014

    Excellent advice. Finally got round to reading this one James. Its been sitting in my inbox awaiting some time. Well worth the wait! Thanks.

    Reply to this comment

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