Content marketing is one of the leading ways that companies differentiate themselves, attract audiences and engage prospects and customers.
So many companies are engaging in content marketing, in fact, that the internet is absolutely brimming with blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.
In this article we’ll cover:
- Review some of the costs of producing content
- The importance of shorter, more visual storytelling
- 11 ways to repurpose old content to increase ROI on your marketing investment
In the relatively slow month of June, 2019 alone, WordPress reported over 66 million new blog posts just on WordPress.com and related blog networks.Source: WordPress
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of content on the web.
That means both competition and saturation. There’s no point in simply making more content for the sake of more content, there’s already plenty of it. We need to produce better, more visual content that’s easier to consume and our audience finds more engaging.
This is especially true of commercial content. Consumer audiences are picky and B2B audiences are bored. Either way, simply talking at your audience with facts, stats, features and benefits isn’t going to work.
Honestly, do you read content that’s boring, pedestrian or unhelpful?
Of course not, you have better things to do!
Winning the attention of an overwhelmed audience is about providing value and making your message easy to understand.
So let’s review…
- We need to make better, more visual content.
- We can’t win a volume game...we’ll be lost in the noise.
- Content is expensive.
To succeed, we need less content, that’s better quality but also less expensive. It’s a tall order.
However, if your organization is like most, you have produced tons of content marketing over the years and you have blogs, sales materials, interviews, thought leadership, presentations, and other assets that are full of great information that’s just not in a usable format currently.
One of the biggest reasons that content is expensive is all the hours of research, editing and approvals that go into producing new content. Reinvesting into creative while saving on research allows you to “upcycle” your content and focus on just putting it to good use.
So there’s a lightbulb moment when you realize you’re sitting on a gold mine of information that could easily be repurposed to create dozens of new, more visual assets.
And then another when you realize, one of the biggest benefits of repurposing existing content is that it has already passed through your approval process and come out the other side blessed for use.
If your approval process is anything like the ones my clients have to deal with...this is a very exciting idea indeed.
You don’t need more information, you need a better presentation…
Getting people to consume your content and then engage with your brand in a meaningful way, however, is another thing altogether.
Odds are that between your marketing and sales materials, presentations, thought leadership articles and interviewing a few subject matter experts (SMEs), you have more than enough information at your disposal.
The average person receives a brand impression 5,000+ times a day in one way or another.Source: Red Crown Marketing
Sometimes function supersedes form. Most of the time, in fact.
But this is one of those cases where form really gets to shine because an uninspiring presentation can make even the most critical piece of information too boring to consider.
To achieve success with content marketing your content has to be interesting and worth the time it takes to consume it. It has to deliver value, or communicate at least the promise of value, within the first moments of consumption.
White papers, eBooks and other long form content is difficult to fall in love with in a few seconds. Webinars are poorly attended and often quite long. But these formats prioritize a depth of information that’s hard to over value.
Reduce, reuse, repurpose...
You’d be surprised at how many different ways you can come up with to reuse your old content once you get inspired, but it’s important to have realistic expectations.
I’m not suggesting that you can just post your old content as-is differently or more frequently and get a different result. If you’re not seeing ROI from that piece of content...there’s a reason.
What I’m recommending is that you save time on research by copying the best couple snippets of customer quotes, technical data, statistics, product coverage, success stories, etc. from old content that’s not getting the attention it deserves and build it into new creative that drives more traffic to the original assets on your website.
That means nearly all of these suggestions relate to shortening, reinterpreting and reconstituting old content into new assets -which requires some level of investment into the creative that makes these assets better than the originals.
So, don’t be confused. You won’t save any money by simply reusing old assets. That’s not what this is about…
This is about focusing your investment into A) new content and B) better quality content that does a better job of driving visitors to your website.
You’ll quickly notice a theme among these recommendations.
- Inventory long form content assets
- Extract “bite-sized” pieces of useful data
- Interpret this mini-narrative visually
- Distribute on your social channels, blog, etc.
With all of that in mind, here are 11 ways to repurpose content to increase leads:
- Break up gated eBooks and white papers into blog posts and bylines.
This is the obvious suggestion and the easiest for most marketers to execute because almost everyone has eBooks and white papers at this point.
The information contained within a 2,000-3,500 word eBook / white paper can easily be chopped up and reconstituted into at least 2 blog posts.
This becomes especially exciting when your long form content pieces are gated (require email for download) because most people will read your free content online and still want to download a copy to send around. This strategy helps you take advantage of this user behavior.
- Turn case studies into animated gifs or motion graphics videos for social media using the problem / solution / outcome model.
What’s more powerful than real-world examples and customer stories? Nothing.
But reading through a dense case study, especially a wall-of-text on some downloadable PDF, is no fun. That’s a tough sell unless your prospect is approaching their decision and someone’s is at stake.
If you want to impress awareness / attract stage prospects with your case studies and customer stories you’re going to need to drill down to the bare essentials and communicate the message visually (and quickly).
LinkedIn is a great channel for this content and video is HUGE right now, so plan on creating GIFs or, better, motion graphics videos to tell the story in 3 phases:
Define the issue your customer faced and identify the baseline values of any KPIs used to measure success from your efforts.
Outline products / services used in your solution and provide a high-level explanation of your strategy.
State the resulting values of the KPIs you mentioned in the Problem phase and provide a high-level interpretation of the outcome.
- Extract clips from podcasts and webinars to play over short motion graphics animations.
Some of the best content is hidden deep within long, rambling podcasts and webinars that may go unwatched for months at a time.
For some reason many companies are reluctant to make their most talented resources available to their marketing teams...until someone mentions a webinar and then they’re offering up senior product owners and engineers to participate.
These are the people who will be called upon to represent the company to speak to the media, close enterprise sales and represent the company publicly; so it’s safe to assume they know what they’re talking about.
If you’re lucky enough to have a supply of old, under-utilized webinars or podcasts, consider having the audio and transcript extracted (for a small fee) and repurposing the best clips and quotes into other formats.
Understanding #AWS services can help make sure you’re architected properly, says @realchadwoolf on the AWS Listen and Learn Podcast. Listen here: https://t.co/3RDCmo2GYm pic.twitter.com/Yw4LHWPjq2— AWS Security (@AWSSecurityInfo) March 4, 2019
One of my favorite examples of this is from AWS Security, who took an excerpt from a 45-minute long keynote presentation and animated a brief, captioned version of the audio clip for sharing on social media.
It’s a clever, original presentation of the content that teases some of the best content from the presentation and then, of course, drives clicks back to the original video on their website.
- Tease blog posts by animating standalone quotes from the post over branded backgrounds.
This really effective tactic is incredibly easy to produce at scale and provides a lift to both click-through traffic and engagements.
Create a few motion graphics with distinctive branding (consider leveraging the background subtly as well!) and a couple lines of text flying across the screen, life-to-right or the reverse.
Now look through your blog posts and find a few quotable bits of text that you can use to replace the text in these animations. Swap the text, make sure the result looks good and export...and you’ve got a new asset to promote a blog post.
If you plan on teasing many blog posts this way, I recommend making at least 3-5 templates, or your posts will start to look the same pretty quickly.
- Turn a customer testimonial into a graphic or animation for social.
Written, recorded or on video, a customer testimonial that’s a few seconds worth of commentary is pretty easy to manually transpose to text where it can be put to use in a variety of ways.
Now, it’s important to note that the comment you’re copying is technically the intellectual property of the person who made the comment so you should make sure to reach out for their permission to reuse the comment in a new medium.
That’s best practice in these situations…
Assuming that’s handled, you’re free to render their quote (and source it!) in an exciting, new, visual format like a GIF or motion graphics animation.
Alternatively, if you have video footage of the customer testimonial then simply extract the best few seconds of the video into a clip, caption their comments over the video, add some branding and voilà, new asset.
- Summarize and syndicate bylines, thought-leadership articles and press into your News section or blog (with attribution, of course).
If your organization is forward-thinking enough to engage in thought-leadership already, great work!
This is highly valuable content for a lot of reasons, generating inbound links not the least of which, but here’s one more benefit you probably haven’t considered...sharing this content on your own website.
Don’t worry, Google is definitely strict about their content duplication rules -but it’s not as universal as you may have been lead to believe.
Content syndication is very common on the web and Google is smart enough to shift through everyone’s content and determine the original source most of the time.
Even so, you can avoid any confusion by simply indicating the canonical source of the content when you post it on your website.
Having addressed that concern, there’s absolutely nothing holding you back from syndicating your off-site content back on to your News section or blog, as long as you just summarize the content (with original text) and link to the original article.
- Turn a webinar discussion into a readable narrative or an interview post on your blog.
Like in the tactic I mentioned earlier in this post, webinars can be mined for data and insights you haven’t published elsewhere on your site.
That content can be strung together into a narrative and either used to:
Extend the text on the webinar page to further optimize it for search.
Create new summary / overview blog posts which can be used to tease gated webinars.
Build an infographic telling a story by narrating data points.
In the fall of 2018 I used the first tactic on a client’s blog to increase traffic by 10% in just 3 months, driving several hundred new visits and a handful of new leads without creating any new content.
I simply watched 4-5 webinars, extracted all the stats and key takeaways into a bullet-pointed list and then wrote a narrative weaving the bullet points together into blog post copy.
This was a huge success as a one time effort but you can imagine the compounding benefits of optimizing your webinars consistently over time.
And with the costs of producing a good quality webinar being what they are, everyone will love you for maximizing their return on that investment.
- Upload demos and presentations to Slideshare and embed it onto your blog.
Easy, easy, easy… Set yourself up a Slideshare account, upload any relevant presentations to your account and add links from the slides on Slideshare.com to your website.
Then embed your slide shows in blog posts and mine them for data that you can use to create a healthy amount of text to accompany the embedded presentations (to optimize them for search).
In the case of an especially dense presentation, consider translating specific slides that work as standalone messages into branded graphics, GIFs and animations for promoting the new blog post on social media.
- Turn statistics from surveys, or sales and marketing materials, into short animated gifs or motion graphics videos.
Nothing grabs a viewers attention quite as much as a statistic, especially one that helps them prove a point to a boss, peer or client.
Every company’s sales team is going to be armed with few go-to talking points they mention in nearly every sales process.
Within those talking points there is very likely to be at least a couple of juicy stats you can use to create branded graphics, GIFs or motion graphics animations.
The trick is not to ask for the data. Just ask for the sales materials. Ask to see the last sales deck your team used to close a big deal. Odds are good there’s some morsel in that deck that will grab attention when brought to life in a visual way.
- Edit longer video assets down into clips that can be pieced together and captioned into new, shorter social videos that tell a compelling story.
Do you have customer testimonial videos? An old explainer video with some live footage?
Did your senior leadership or subject matter experts appear on any webinars, podcasts or audio interviews?
Any audio or video format you can get ahold of can be ripped, clipped and blended with stock video, b-roll and motion graphics to create all new videos for sharing on social media, assuming you’ve secured the necessary permission or license.
The key to this tactic is not to worry too much about the context of the original content or the continuity of how those clips blend into the new piece.
Focus on telling a story in the new bits you’re adding in between the repurposed clips. The clips themselves should just be real-world examples of you servicing your customers that are vaguely relevant.
It’s ok if this is imperfect, the idea is to give a “behind the scenes” sort of peek into how your business helps its clients, across a variety of unique situations.
- Add screenshots or video captured from someone’s screen while they follow instructions from technical documentation.
65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers
Source: Small Biz Trends
So customer-facing content is at least as important as marketing content designed to attract new leads.
This last content repurposing tip can improve the customer experience by visually explaining steps that might be confusing to translate from written text.
It also has the benefit of giving you the opportunity to highlight any underutilized features of your product.
Users of complex products like software platforms often aren’t aware of the many different ways to configure or customize their environment -but this knowledge could greatly improve their customer experience.
Demonstrating your products’ capabilities in a few quick seconds of engaging video is a fantastic way to reinforce your value with existing customers; aiding retention and driving more referrals.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, so take them as inspiration for your own “content upcycling” initiative. Look for creative ways to take old, underutilized content and bring it to life with shorter, visual storytelling.
- Reduce the length and complexity of your content (without “dumbing it down”).
- Reuse your old content by reimagining it visually as animations, infographics and videos.
- Repurpose good bits of data buried in your aging content assets by stitching them together into new narratives.
You don’t need another content brainstorm. You probably don’t even need a new, fresh point of view. The internet is overflowing with content but most of it isn’t getting viewed.
To feed your pipeline with inbound leads you don’t need more content -you need better content.
Odds are, everything you need to feed your inbound engine already exists in the underutilized content assets in your resources section.
Deconstruct and reconstitute those assets into snackable content, share that content to social, teasing clicks back to your original assets and watch your referral traffic grow.