Repurposed Content: Smart Move or Lazy Marketing?
With more than 90 percent of businesses using content marketing as an integral part of their marketing strategies, the pressure to create more and more content that users would love to lap up is rising every minute. But where is one supposed to get fresh new ideas to promote the same product or service every single day? How many different takes can one give to brands that fulfill very specific needs? Enter content repurposing.
What Is Repurposed Content?
Many marketers have started refreshing their existing content and reusing it again on their blogs, social media, video outlets and so on. This does not mean old content is simply dug up and reposted "as is" across multiple platforms. Rather, repurposing involves giving your content a complete makeover, like adding new data or changing the format of the content to suit individual platforms.
Let's walk through the "how" of repurposing content with an example of a company that sells POS systems. One key thing the marketer needs to explain to a user is the various features of the POS system. The most common approach to this is to create a Web page like this Shopify page, detailing out the features of the POS.
However, this same Web page content can be remodeled into many different avatars.
• Video: Create a demo video showcasing each feature of the POS system with a voiceover reading out the text on the Web page that is synced to a video of the system in action. Include videos showing individuals using your product and explain each feature in the process. Creating a demo video is simple with tools like Jing or Overstream, both of which are free.
• Social Media: Create pop-quizzes on Facebook around e-commerce and retail. This encourages users to visit the original page to answer correctly and will save you the trouble of creating a whole new piece of content for the quiz.
Alternately, you can pick interesting features that are unique to your system, such as "accepting partial payments" and post about them on Twitter or Facebook as a "Did you know ... ?" type of post. Create a series of such trivia posts and quizzes and schedule them across a long stretch like a week or a fortnight. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are good tools to use for planning and scheduling posts.
• Blogs: Individual features can offer inspiration for different blog posts. Multiple blog posts like "The importance of syncing offline and online order data" or "Latest developments in payment technologies" or even "Building customer loyalty using a smart billing system" are possible from the data on this single page. Post these on your own blog or guest post on blogs within your industry to expand your reach.
• E-book: The variety of blog posts written on the central idea of the POS system's features can be combined into a single e-book. Add an introduction, a conclusion and lightly edit the individual posts to offer a sense of continuity. Select a title such as, "Checkout and Payment Processing Advances in 2014" or something similar, then upload the e-book in PDF format to your website, or use an e-book creator like Papyrus and Blurb to design, edit and publish your book from start to finish.
• Infographic: A core idea like "features" lends itself perfectly to a infographic. Using the existing data around the system's features, create a colorful infographic either by yourself or with the help of a professional graphic designer. If you choose to go the DIY way, use tools like Easel.ly or Visual.ly to create great looking infographics for free.
• E-newsletter: Rework the content of your features page to create an interesting email sent out to your subscribed mailing list. Email marketing tools like GetResponse or MailChimp help marketers create their own email layouts, test the e-newsletter before sending, and even offer detailed analytics post send out.
• Webinar: Invite existing users and potential leads to attend a dedicated webinar about the tricks and tips for using your POS system—simply by smartly adapting the content of the original Web page. Webinars encourage one-on-one interaction and can help in clarifying the doubts potential customers have before making a purchase decision. Tools like AnyMeeting or OnWebinar allow you to set up an invitation and attendance link, stream the webinar live through your browser, interact with users during the webinar and even collect payments if it's a paid webinar.
The Pros and Cons of Repurposing Content
To help you decide if repurposing content will work for your products and/or services, as well as your company, consider these pros and cons:
Pro: Repurposed content allows you to target different customer segments with the same basic content. All you need to do is adapt the original content to suit the media habits or product needs of the specific segments and you're set. Targeting different user segments expands the reach of your old content and makes it work harder for you.
Pro: With hundreds of new updates being bombarded at any average social media user on a constant basis, it's easy for your content to get lost in the clutter on the platform in question. Repurposing and reposting your content helps you rise above the noise on social media and ensures the right users hear you.
Pro: Improved SEO is another key benefit of repurposed content. Creating fresh content around the same idea offers variety to the user. Fresh content technically improves your Google search rankings, and often contains new terms that correlate to your core idea, thus expanding your long-tail coverage. This alone makes your content library richer from an associated-keywords perspective.
Pro: Take a leaf from the marketing strategies used in traditional marketing. Every TV commercial is shown a minimum of nine to 10 times to increase its impact on the user's mind. This same principle applies to content that is repurposed. Multiple exposures across different platforms improve message impact and encourage action.
Pro: The cost of creating new content adds up with the time taken to carry out thorough research, the skill, time and effort employed in structuring, as well as writing out and editing the piece. In comparison repurposing content is undoubtedly cheaper and less time-consuming than creating new content from scratch.
Pro: Picking out evergreen content assets to be repurposed is a great way of extending the life of your original content. Instead of letting good content rot away, buried under reams of newer material, it makes sense to update and refresh the content, modify the format for different distribution platforms and reuse it in your content marketing efforts once again.
Con: Reading the same or similar reposted content over and over again can be an irritating experience for a user who has already seen the original content a few times. Without a real change in the format, voice and context of the original content user fatigue can be a very real problem.
Con: The fact that you have the option of falling back on old content can mean the marketing team isn't working hard enough on new and cutting edge topics of conversation that your users care about. Such laziness creeping into marketing efforts is a death knell for quality content from your brand.
As you can see, the benefits of repurposed content far outweigh its negatives. In fact, with a little restraint and good management, the negatives can be avoided altogether.
A number of leading brands have caught on to something demonstrated by a recent study by Oracle: Nearly 60 percent of marketers repurpose content two to five times, with over half turning assets into "snackable" content.
If it works for more than 60 percent of leading brands, repurposing content definitely holds value for your brand, too. So venture forth into the realm of reuse, revamp and recycle with your content, but in a measured and planned manner.
Rohan Ayyar is the regional marketing manager for India at SEMrush. His blog, The Marketing Mashup, covers digital marketing from the perspective of B2B, B2C, lead generation, mobile marketing, SEO, social media, content marketing, database marketing including predictive analytics, and conversion rate optimization. In addition, he'll look at emerging marketing technology and how marketers can use it. Reach Ayyar at email@example.com.