Tips on Finding a Second Use for Your Content

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that we live at a time when almost anything is fit for re-purposing and re-using. It is a popular way to promote sustainability.

Clothing, aluminum, glass, and antiques aren’t the only items capable of having successful second lives. The content you write deserves a second chance, too.

Need help making that link? Keep reading.

What is content marketing?

Do you host a blog? Volunteer to be the chief communicator of your club, church or organization? Perhaps you write copy for a living as a salaried employee or freelancer that meets this “Forbes” magazine content marketing definition: It’s “the technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.

You need creative ideas to take original content and not only re-use it but morph it into material that’s appropriate for a variety of media, markets, departments, and applications. Creativity is helpful. So is thinking out of the box. Once you get the hang of it, you’re going to love the challenge.

Why would anyone want to re-use content?

Because you can. Content consumed by one audience, entity or project can easily be tweaked and re-formatted. That way you create a forum for new eyes and minds. Expose new readers to varying versions of content with a central core.

For example, an article about how writing keeps the brain from aging and “repurposing it” for different markets by crafting unique alternatives about how painting, knitting, sculpture and wood carving can keep the brain from aging. One idea. Myriad of sales.

The trick is to dance around the self-plagiarizing issue. Media can be conflated, too. A white paper becomes an infographic (tip: take it a step further and create an interactive infographic).

A trade article turns into a webinar your employees will appreciate (especially those working remotely, who may be challenging to engage or tackle difficult tasks on their own). The seminar for doctors about state-of-the-art Parkinson’s disease updates is reconfigured for patients eager to learn more about the subject, minus the pedagogic lingo. Same material. Different application.

Content re-purposing ideas

Make sure you are not repeating yourself when you morph marketing content into a new version for a different purpose. There are tools at your disposal to help you move ahead. One of the best is your Thesaurus.

The place words go to suggest other words. Alter sentence structure to suit your audience. Readers are more likely to speed through your content if it’s delivered in short bursts. Similarly, the video version is best delivered with visual aids if you don’t want viewers to nod off.

Shifting content at the end of your original marketing piece and making it the story driver for your revised project gives you a new creative perspective. Build on that information and use facts that lead the original as filler, emphasis, and highlights. One of the most creative techniques of all is turning a dry, fact-filled piece of marketing content into personal stories capable of capturing imaginations.

So, who are you trying to reach?

As a general rule, you can count on young people to get their information via social media like Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter while their grandparents are just making friends with their smartphones and counting on their AARP magazines to fill them in on the news that’s appropriate.

Given this chasm, the language you use to reach both universes can change marketing content so radically, you would need Sherlock Holmes to make the connection. Ask The Luvo’s advertising copywriter Alexandra Djordjevic about language diversity when crafting marketing communications and she’ll be the first to inform you that “Members of Generation Z can’t imagine a day without photographing moments.” Translation? Pictures still speak louder than words and pictures that are transmitted immediately shout.

Keep this in mind, adds Djordjevic, neither Millennials nor GenZ folks “use full sentences or even entire words in everyday conversation.” They live in the Kingdom of IM. Make sure you live there, too. Create a second version of communication you want to recycle and use a meat clever to pare down content for these crowds. Just don’t forget to expand that content if you want to reach an older demographic.

Business as usual? Not so much

The aforementioned techniques will go a long way helping get your message across. However, you enter a second dimension when you set out to re-purpose marketing content within an industry, company or sphere of influence. It demands the use of buzzwords and industry-only nomenclature to get the attention of audiences. Don’t be afraid.

Business tip #1: Synthesize a long, unwieldy presentation into a blog post that gets down to the nitty-gritty. Replace bullet points that drove your presentation with short paragraphs and include a couple of the strongest presentation images. Post anywhere you can, from LinkedIn to your company or industry website.

Business tip #2: Get social. Adopt the rules of speed and brevity when you put together attention-getting social media posts that are culled from a variety of projects you undertake on behalf of your company. Find a new angle that appeals to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media conduits. Add a response link so you can assess reaction.

Business tip #3: Those PowerPoint presentations you slaved over before relegating them to the Land of Past Projects can easily be resurrected and turned into podcasts or webinars. Simplification of content is the key to making sure participants stay with you. Stick with these time parameters: from 30 to 60 minutes for webinars and max 20 minutes for podcasts.

Business tip #4: If you’ve been around the block a time or two, you know that savvy advertisers traditionally cut corners by creating co-op opportunities with other companies. You can apply the same theory. Partnerships are great for a myriad of reasons. You expand your brand’s reputation and reach audiences you might not have imagined possible without the connection.

Business tip #5: Consistency, consistency, consistency. It’s the location, location, location of the 21st Century. Look upon your original content as a foundation and maintain the integrity of the data, art, and message so you stay true to that original content no matter what channels you employ to do the job. It gets easier. Sometimes, content re-purposing is just plain fun!

Final Thoughts

Repurposing content can save you a lot of time and energy. Strive to be one step ahead and think of ways you can use your content before you have actually started working on it. It is all about adding value to your existing content, finding new audiences and media to present it.