As a marketer, you definitely have a lot to do (and not enough time to get it done). You may also find yourself experiencing writer’s block on occasion when it comes to creating fresh, unique content.
Faced with these challenges, you are always looking for ways to make your job easier while producing high quality content on a regular basis. Fortunately, content repurposing is here to take some of the weight off your shoulders.
At first glance, content repurposing appears to be a way to defraud the system, but it isn’t. You revise your existing, high-quality content and present it in a different form on new channels. This post covers the basics of content reuse, explains the benefits for your business, and discusses specific strategies for reusing content that has already been created. We’ll also talk about how you can create new content for future use.
What is content reuse?
Content reuse, sometimes referred to as content recycling, reuses existing content and presents it in a new format to extend its reach and lifespan. As you create new content, there are several ways you can plan for a new piece of content to be reused.
As mentioned above, repurposing content can feel like an excuse if you are not familiar with the strategy. You don’t want your audience to feel like your content is repetitive or that you don’t care about creating unique content on every channel. You may also think that repurposing content means taking something that someone else created and revising it according to your branding message. Content reuse is none of those things. You’re not repeating yourself, you’re using content that you and your teams have created on purpose, giving it new life and making sure that all segments of your audience can benefit from what you have to offer.
For the sake of clarity, let’s briefly explain what content reuse is and what isn’t.
Content reuse is …
Content reuse is not …
Share an old blog post that you’ve updated with new, relevant data and thought leaders.
Share an old blog post on your Twitter profile without updating the content for relevance and simply changing the description. (This could certainly be considered lazy.)
Take important statistics from an e-book and create an infographic to post on Twitter.
Take a news article from another website and edit it to fit your brand or corporate image.
(Technically, this could be a conversion, but it mostly steals.)
Creating video clips of podcast recording sessions to be posted on Instagram to create hype and suspense for an upcoming episode.
Publish a campaign on various social media channels. (This is not a conversion, but cross-channel marketing.)
Why should I re-use content?
Reusing old content or creating new content to reuse saves time. You already have the data to point you to powerful content to refactor and redistribute, or you are already in the process of creating a blog post that you know will do well as a podcast episode. Cite an excerpt from your Instagram account or part of an e-book collection.
Reusing content can potentially give you an SEO boost too. Generally, when you have multiple pieces of content that revolves around similar targeted keywords, search engine crawlers will recognize you as a source of authority. Not only do you create content, you provide valuable resources in various forms that add value to your users.
By reusing content, you can also scale, both in terms of content amount and audience reach. Simply creating a blog post gives you a presence. However, when you create a blog post that can be turned into an email newsletter or YouTube video with how-tos, you get three different types of content in one and a presence on three separate platforms with three separate and distinct audiences.
The HubSpot Academy’s free content reuse mini-course outlines the benefits of content reuse in more detail if you want to learn more.
Given the benefits that this can bring to your marketing efforts, we take different approaches to reusing your content.
How to reuse content
As mentioned above, content reuse means taking an asset and reusing it in another location. If you want to use existing content for different channels, look at your metrics first. Notice what went well and think about how you can continue to add value to your different audiences with the same content in different forms.
If you feel that there is no way to reuse the content that you have or will have, there is probably a solution. Some options are explained below.
How to reuse blog content
If you run a blog, you likely have a significant number of high quality blog posts. While it doesn’t seem like there is a way to convert your text-heavy parts to different formats, there are certainly ways to do it.
1. Create a YouTube video.
Instructions are great to convert into visual instructions on YouTube, especially for graphics-intensive pieces. For example, let’s say you’re a company that coaches salespeople in mastering a sales pitch. You can write a script to be included in a blog post. However, it can also be converted to a YouTube video where an actual seller goes through the script.
2. Create a SlideShare.
This is one of the easier ways to reuse your blog content as you can easily convert it into a presentation form. Identify high performing content and reproduce it on a SlideShare. SlideShares are useful as they are easy to share and introduce the audience to your words in a different, tasty way. You can also incorporate other graphical elements into presentations that are not always present in long blog posts.
Copyblogger, a content marketing company, went this route with one of their powerful blog posts, as shown in the image below.
3. Create an infographic.
Do you have a blog post full of statistics or data? Create an infographic.
Consumers value visual elements. Hence, compiling a summary of the most important stats from your posts is a new, engaging way to make sense of your content. You can include these infographics in the blog post, but they can also be used for other purposes and posted on social media (which we discuss below).
4. Create an eBook.
Creating an ebook is a great option for long blog content that will provide educational value to your audience. In your blog post, you can address certain key elements of your topic and offer the e-book as a more in-depth discussion of the content you’ve created. The Search Engine Journal, a well-known SEO resource, took this route with their blog post series on content marketing. They have ten freely accessible articles on the subject, but they provide a more in-depth e-book guide.
5. Extract quotes for thought guidance.
Do you often recruit industry experts or thought leaders to contribute to your work? When you do this, you are recruiting these people because you know they have valuable insights (and your audience will, too). Take powerful quotes from articles and post them on your social media accounts, create infographics, or use them as snippets in email newsletters. Here is an example from the HubSpot Academy Instagram account.
6. Create a podcast episode.
Consider creating podcasts from these powerful posts to extract quotes from thought leaders or industry leaders. You can use the copy as a script, invite thought leaders for more in-depth discussions about the insights they received from the posts, or just discuss the blog post in its original form.
So there are several ways to repurpose your text-heavy blog posts to give them new life and to make their content accessible to different audiences. We briefly mentioned it above, but we’ll cover more examples of social media content reuse below.
Reuse content for social media
Social media websites can host many different types of content, many of which can be reused from your existing content. Let’s go through six options below.
1. Use old pictures as a post background.
Do you have high quality graphics that you’ve only used once? Try using them as post backgrounds. As long as you meet the Instagram size requirements, you can use these images as backgrounds for quotes that you extract from blog posts, or just post the images individually to get the audience’s attention to a previous project.
2. Publish excerpts from existing video content.
Do you have YouTube videos or business video content? Post snippets on social media.
You can post video content on most platforms. So if you edit them to suit video length requirements, you can easily repurpose a video for each of the platforms you are present on. If you’re hesitant to go down this route, or if you’re altogether new to video, consider these stats from Wyzol: 86% of video marketers report that video has a high return on investment (ROI), and 85% of businesses are already using video as a marketing tool.
3. Publish user-generated content.
User generated content can be anything from reviews on your product pages to one-time tweets from a satisfied customer. While these may appear to only provide value in their original channel, they can be used for social media. Here is an example from beauty brand Black Girl Sunscreen that used customer reviews in an Instagram video for a new product launch.
Here is an example from Starface retweeting testimonials through their Twitter account.
4. Republish social media content from your other profiles.
It might seem complicated, but you can repost content from your social media profiles to your other social media profiles.
This could look like taking a screenshot of a Facebook post to share on LinkedIn, a picture of a YouTube thumbnail to promote a new video on your Instagram story, or a screenshot of a tweet for your Instagram -Page. Here is an example of the latter from Stacey Abrams, former congresswoman and Atlanta-based activist.
5. Create new infographics.
As mentioned earlier, creating infographics out of your existing content is a valuable repurposing strategy, especially when it comes to data.
While your audience can read about your results in blog posts or e-books, data visualizations and visualizations in general add to the impact of your words. Your audience literally gets a picture of the importance of the information you are giving them, and pictures are more likely to be retained. In fact, after three days, images are 65% more memorable.
The following post is a data infographic from the HubSpot Instagram account.
6. Extract quotation marks from existing content.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the strategy of extracting quotes from top performing content, especially if it contains insights from industry leaders, has a particular impact on social media channels like Instagram or Twitter. Extract these quotes, create social media posts, and reuse them on all of your favorite social platforms.
How to use webinars and videos again
Webinars and videos are unique forms of content. They are an exciting way for your users to connect with your offerings. Unfortunately, they are not always available to all members of your target audience. Fortunately, there are ways to reuse them so everyone can benefit from what you have to offer. Here’s how to reuse video content to meet the different needs of your audience.
1. Make text transcripts of your videos.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your videos and webinars are accessible to everyone is to create transcripts. While you can certainly create subtitles for your content, creating transcripts provides an additional opportunity for your audience members to enjoy what’s on offer with the help of assistive technology.
2. Turn video transcripts into blog posts.
Another benefit of creating transcripts is that they can also be used as blog posts. If you’re creating a scripted video that follows a logical structure, a transcript probably doesn’t need much editing before it can become a blog post. For example, Moz, an SEO tool, produces a weekly video series called Whiteboard Friday. Each video is its own content, but they also use a transcription tool to turn the videos into blog posts.
3. Create a podcast episode.
In addition to the accessibility features, you can also turn webinars and videos into podcasts. Just extract the audio file, clean it up with your favorite tool (here’s a tutorial from Adobe), and publish it to your favorite podcasting platform.
How to use podcasts again
Many small and medium-sized businesses have only recently started taking advantage of the podcast wave. If you’re new to podcasts or just want a refresher, check out the HubSpot guide on starting a podcast for your business. This resource will teach you how to create your feed, organize content, and market it to your target audience.
Podcasts are unique in that they allow developers to connect with their audience on a personal level as hosts humanize a brand or company with their own personal experiences and anecdotes, often with light-hearted conversations. Podcasts are also a great way to reach a younger audience, especially Millennials and Generation Z. With that in mind, we’re going to go over a few ways to get your podcasts up to a wider audience.
1. Record your social media podcast sessions.
One of the attractions of podcasts is that they feel human. Use this to your advantage and consider recording videos of your recording sessions. If you have upcoming episodes, you can post video snippets on social media to create excitement in your audience or just post snippets from recent episodes. Queen Business, a podcast made by black women for black women, does so and posts its snippets on Instagram. They invite well-known guests to join the podcasts, which adds an exciting element to their listeners and followers.
You can also post full-length sessions to YouTube or create smaller video snippets of key sections.
2. Pull out social media offers.
This has been mentioned several times before, but pull out relevant quotes for social media, especially if you’ve invited guests to your show. Quotes from industry experts or celebrities that your audience will look up to and see as valuable resources can be posted on various social media platforms or even on your blog posts.
3. Create transcripts of your podcasts.
Just like you can for your videos and webinars, you can transcript your podcast audio for accessibility purposes and blog posts. It’s important to note, however, that the podcast audio may require more editing than a scripted video or webinar if the conversational tone of your episodes doesn’t suit your blogging style.
4. Embed your podcasts in your blog posts.
Almost anything can be embedded these days. Not only does this help you share different types of content, but it is also a great way to add additional value and context to your users. If you’re a HubSpot CMS user, you can embed podcasts right into your blog posts. Here is an example from a HubSpot blog post.
Reuse by updating older content
Let’s face it: things are changing.
Could some of your older posts be using an update? Probably. There may be new developments or advice to share on a topic that you have written about in the past. So take your old post, make some adjustments and additions, and republish. You shouldn’t have to do a full overhaul (although that’s an option too) just make sure it appeals to today’s audience.
Another trick is to analyze your content and identify blog posts that are performing the best. If you find that a blog article isn’t as current as it could be, but it’s still generating a lot of traffic, generating leads, or ranking highly for a competitive keyword, don’t post it as a new post.
Instead, update the content in the same post so that you keep the existing URL and SEO value and promote the updates you made. Some blogging platforms even let you change the post date and show it as a brand new post on your blog.
It’s also worth considering updating articles that are still generating traffic (or adding new Calls to Action) to increase the potential for lead generation.
You can do the same with ebooks. Whether you released it last year or five years ago, make some refreshing updates and promote it again! This saves you the time of creating a blog post or e-book from scratch, while still getting the benefits of a new e-book.
If you choose to go down this route, consider using UpContent to create email summaries, social media posts, and share updated, high-performing articles with your audience (see GIF below).
Use your existing content to drive further engagement
All in all, as a content creator, you do what you do because you know you can add value to your audience. Unfortunately, creating high-quality content doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, care, and resources – which can be a tedious process at times.
Reusing your existing content is not an alternative to creating new content, but a complementary strategy. You can continue to create new content while breathing new life into your existing, high-quality pieces and delivering relevant, timeless information to your audience.