Your Step-by-Step Guide to Content Repurposing

Your Step by Step Guide to Content Repurposing - Cursive Content Marketing
All small business marketers should understand content repurposing and make it part of their routine.
Not just because it helps you deliver more content on more platforms to reach more of your audience.
Because it makes your life so much easier. Isn’t that something we all want?

What is content repurposing?

The simplest and most jargon-free definition I have found comes from Erin Everhart via Search Engine Land. She says:

Repurposing content […] is repacking one piece of content across many different media. Each time, you’re adding to it (or taking away from it), and making it unique for the source, the medium and the user who’ll be reading it.

Remember that definition, because we’ll be coming back to it. First, let’s be clear on why content repurposing is important.

Finding new topics and creating new content is hard.

Here at Cursive, we have our ENTIRE 2015 editorial calendar planned out. We’re flexible and deviate from it occasionally, but the calendar is our go-to plan. It aligns with events we’re speaking at, new content offerings we’re releasing and topics you’ve told us you want to know about.
Still, we have to sit down at our keyboards and write that content. And I’ll admit that even though I love writing and am bonkers-crazy over content marketing (honestly, am I the only one who listens to Content Warfare at the gym?), it can be difficult.
Whether it’s finding the time, choosing the right angle or even just searching for the perfect blog post image, writing good content is rarely “easy”.
It is so worth it and I love it, but dang, sometimes I’d also love a content vacation. And I bet you feel the same way.

Content repurposing allows you to get more out of the work you already put in.

Wouldn’t you feel so much better about the effort you put in to your content creation if you knew you could use it to create even more outstanding content? That’s what content repurposing is all about.
Now, not to ruin your plans of kicking your heels up and starting an afternoon siesta ritual, but content repurposing does take time and effort. There are no robots doing the work for you. Still, repurposing makes it easier to create more content.
How?

Through content repurposing, you can use one foundational piece of content to create new content for various platforms, in different formats and directed toward different audiences.

Let’s take a look at Erin Everhart’s definition again:

Repurposing content […] is repacking one piece of content across many different media. Each time, you’re adding to it (or taking away from it), and making it unique for the source, the medium and the user who’ll be reading it.

Now let’s dissect it and make it actionable:

“Repacking one piece of content” means that before you can repurpose, you have to find a place to start.

Gather all of your content: blog posts, white papers, ebooks, podcasts, brochures—every piece of customer-facing communications you can find.
Start by reviewing it all. Set aside anything that is so out-of-date that it doesn’t make a good starting point for a new piece of content (you can always add those items to another, to-be-update pile for future perusal).
Now, look at all of that great content and think about how you can…

Repurpose your content to be unique for the source

In other words, let’s consider how you can revise the content to make it work better on a platform other than the one it was intended for.
For example, publishing a full research report on Pinterest, wouldn’t work. Instead, you can pull some really great stats from the report, turn them into graphics and add them to Pinterest with a link to the full report. By doing this, you can drive more traffic to the report while also attracting an audience on an entirely different platform.

Repurpose your content to be unique for the medium

Here, we want to think about the format of the original piece, and how it can be given new life in another format.
Let’s stick with the example of the research report. Let’s assume it’s a fairly lengthy report, something that contains a lot of valuable insight but isn’t a short read. Can you break that one report down into multiple smaller reports? Can you take the most impressive data and use it to create an infographic? Revisions to the format often require the most work, but not nearly as much work as starting from scratch.

Repurpose your content to be unique for the user

In other words, think about who the original intended audience was, and how modifications can better fit the needs of another buyer persona.
Going back to our information-packed research report, let’s say it was originally intended for a broad audience. It gives an industry overview, and it’s not specific to any segment of that industry. Can you create different versions of that report for different segments of your audience, focused only on the things you know they care about? This turns the report from an overwhelmingly large, potentially irrelevant document into something that’s both shorter and more helpful.
Now that we’ve broken down the definition piece-by-piece, though, we have to put it all back together.

Source, medium and user are not separate considerations—and neither are individual pieces of content

Any time you’re creating a plan for content repurposing, you should be considering source, medium and user but you shouldn’t silo them from each other.
If you start by considering the user, you should then consider source and medium within the context of that user. If you are looking at a new source for that content, first make sure it’s a place your audience already is, then choose a medium that aligns with that platform. If you’ve thought of a great new medium, make sure you have a platform for that medium and an audience who spends time there.
There are no limitations to repurposing, so brainstorm all the different combinations of source, medium and user that can work for that one foundational piece of content. You might be surprised how many ways there are to rework it.
While you’re doing that, you should also consider how you can combine multiple pieces of content to create one larger piece of content, as well as how you can segment large pieces of content to create shorter pieces of content.
This is why content repurposing isn’t quite that content vacation—it takes a fair amount of consideration to get started. But once it becomes part of your company’s approach to content, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming.
If you’re truly in need of a content vacation, don’t be afraid to take mini break. Sometimes a bit of slacking off can be the best thing for you and your content.

Make a plan for repurposing

Once you’ve thought through each piece of existing content and the best ways to repurpose, create a plan. Emily and I keep an ongoing Google Doc—it’s stopped us from sending barraging each other with those “I have an idea!” emails.
Find a way that works for your business, and make sure to keep track of each idea. When you write new pieces of content, make sure that the next step after each piece is published is to brainstorm how it can be reused.
As with everything in content marketing, you have the ability to be agile, so pay attention to how your repurposed content is performing and learn from your successes and failures. Overall, content repurposing can make it easier to create a wide array of content, and for time-strapped, budget-conscious small businesses, that can mean the difference between status quo and raging success.
Want more content repurposing tips? Check out this post on how to rethink your old white papers and sell sheets.

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