Creating content – it’s painstaking, backbreaking work if you’re doing it right (don’t plagiarize!). There’s research, drafting a story, writing/creating, formatting, image searches, adding external links… It’s tough, is what I’m saying.
What makes it worse? When it goes to ‘waste’. I mean, you poured hours into writing it. Why can’t they show a little appreciation?!
It’s a hissy fit I’ve thrown many a times.
We already know (from multiple sources), that people Do. Not. Read. They skim through text. Even if you want to be optimistic about it and say your posts are doing fairly well in terms of engagement, what’s to say you can’t do more and attract audiences that would prefer it in other formats?
“Instead of thinking that more money comes from more content, spend a good deal of time this year making what you already have out there better.”
That got us looking into repurposing. But as we went about auditing our own content, we found that there’s so much more to repurposing than reading a post aloud and uploading it on SoundCloud as a “podcast”.
“As a brand, the first decision you’re making is about the particular kind of content you want to get out there, as well as which audience you are trying to reach.” –Stephanie Losee, Managing Editor, Dell
In this post, I’ll walk you through some steps to help you repurpose your content for maximum impact with minimum effort. I’m sure Chandler would be proud.
Before you get started, here’s what you should know:
Fractl and BuzzFeed did a survey (“The Generational Content Gap”) and asked the three youngest generations (Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) how they liked their online content. The results definitely make most of our jobs easier: all of them prefer blog posts, images, and ebooks… but there are some differences too.
Take this information. Couple it with your own audience demographics report (as detailed in this post) and create content in formats preferred by these audiences.
Lead generation/nurturing, brand awareness, engagement, thought leadership, audience/customer retention, brand advocacy… Yeah, your content does have a purpose for existing.
In Chapter 3 of their must-read Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing, Moz lists different stages in a marketing funnel and the types of content best suited for each.
I cannot recommend it enough. No seriously, read it. This post can wait.
Social Popularity (of Content Types)
Yet another research by Frac.tl and BuzzStream used BuzzSumo and analyzed 220,000 articles in 11 niches/verticals during a 6-month period. They found that:
Lists and why-posts proved to have the most reliable social traction, averaging around 21,000 shares per month with a variance of less than 2.5%.
If number of social shares is a significant KPI for you, take the data and use it to find content types for your niche that will get you more shares.
Basically, different content types will resonate with different audiences, serve different purposes with varying degrees of efficiency, and can determine how many shares it gets on social media and more…
With that in mind, let’s see about the classic way of reusing content.
Here’s how it works: You published a post on your own blog and got jack to show for it (in terms of traffic or pageviews). Now, you can, without removing the post from your blog, take it somewhere nice and get it re-published. It’s a great way to amplify your content’s reach, especially for bloggers who are just starting out.
SumoMe published an entire guide to republishing, with pitches, templates, tools, and bonus tips. If you can’t check it out, here’s the drive-thru version:
At least a few weeks old – Unless it’s breaking news, no-one will republish it within hours or days of your original publish date. Give it time to sit for 1-2 weeks.
Not-exactly-the-same as the original – Publishers may ask you to rewrite 20-25% of your content and change the headline.
Use the canonical tag – Make sure the publisher you’re pitching content to agrees on using canonical tags. This brings traffic to your original publication domain.
If you’re considering republishing your older posts on your own blog – update it, keep the same URL, change the timestamp, and hit Publish.
And as far as the duplicate content == Bad for SEO myth goes, here’s Matt Cutts debunking it resoundingly in a video.
“It is more about Google knowing which page they should rank and which page they should not.”
With that out of the way, here are some ways to actually change the packaging without changing the content (too much).
It gives you a pinch of authenticity to talk about data (which most people tend to guard more closely than the KFC guards its secret ingredient). If you can get the required permit, you can inform and educate with this data in a blog post and whitepapers. Example: HubSpot State of Inbound.
Actually, why stop there? Shopify Plus does beautiful HTML customer stories. MixPanel does great blog posts (here’s one about Bernie Sanders’ election campaign with Revolution Messaging). KiSSMetrics did a weird and wonderful A/B tests webinar (which they later recorded and used for lead gen) using data from gathered from their analytics platform. Google created infographics and an ebook out of their research on ad viewability.
What if you don’t have your own data? Well, accumulate it from credible sources (just like you would for a blog post), create infographics, and share on your blog and social channels.
If you’ve got stats and quotes – Make an image out of it. Share it everywhere.
2. Previous posts
If republishing previous posts is out of the question due to lack of new information, do this instead – Combine the posts covering various topics about a single umbrella subject and make a guidebook. They are great to bribe your audience with in exchange for emails. Double win. Prime examples: IAB’s playbooks and guides. Digiday’s WTF series.
Your best posts can also be used as a ‘Welcome’ auto-responder sequence.
Your old posts are also great for podcasts and/or video series. Cracked.com, College Humor, ThatScoop, AIB, all do it. But comedy is not the only genre – it’s the one with highest potential to go viral on social media.
You’ll need tools like iTunes or Stitcher for podcasts; a camera and a youtube account for videos. For the talent: Give yourself a shot or reach out to obscure theater groups. Alternatively, just use Fiverr.
You don’t need a product/service to have an FAQ post. For instance – if you blog about WordPress, make a list of the most commonly asked questions (on Quora, StackOverflow, Reddit, etc), answer them, and make it into a blog post or a downloadable guide.
Cover questions in separate blog posts or how-to videos. For more advanced-level questions, make an opt-in email series or an online course (and upload it on Udemy or Teachable).
Rewrite the transcripts as blog posts or expert advice ebook. Pull the best images to share on Pinterest and other social platforms. Pull quotes to share on Twitter.
Given the right context and topic, you can turn one content format into just about anything.
Don’t take the create-post-forget approach with your content. You poured your heart and soul into it – make it work harder for you.