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The Complete Guide to Repurposing Content

By: Compose.ly — January 21, 2021

You put a lot of work into getting excellent content for your site.

After taking the time to research and write articles that your audience loves, it would be a shame never to revisit that content. That’s why learning how to repurpose content is such a valuable skill for getting a better return on investment (ROI) from your writing.

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What Is Repurposing Content?

Repurposing content is the act of taking your best content and giving it a second life in other formats and mediums. You can also think of it as “content recycling.” Just like recycling aluminum cans allows the metal to be used again in something new, repurposing content gives elements of your best writing the chance to shine elsewhere.

How does repurposing content benefit your content strategy?

The hardest part of generating content is researching topics and coming up with ideas.

When you learn how to repurpose content, you get more out of the effort invested in the brainstorming and research process.

Repurposing content saves time and makes it much simpler to expand your content offerings. When you don’t have to create every new video or infographic from scratch, you can produce more types of content more quickly and build your audience with less work.

But why is it so important to have a variety of content?

The internet is a diverse place. While blog posts and articles are excellent for SEO, they may not be your audience’s preferred way to engage with new information. Consider the following:

When you have more types of content available for marketing use, you can reach a wider variety of readers.

4 Best Practices for Repurposing Content

Follow the best practices below to learn how to transform and repurpose your content for better ROI.

1. Focus on Your Best Content

If you’ve been running your website for a while, you likely have a significant backlog of content that’s already been published. You don’t need to try to repurpose all of it, as doing so would take more time than it’s worth. Instead, do some investigation to find your best content.

What makes a particular piece of content one of your best? Consider these three factors:

  • Evergreen status. Some content has an expiration date. Articles about current events, like “The Best Toys for Christmas 2020,” will not be worth repurposing after December 25th of that year. Instead, look for content that’s useful all the time. A post about the best toys for teething infants will always be valuable to harried parents, making it a great candidate for recycling.
  • Popularity. Once you’ve found your evergreen content, you can narrow your focus even further. Using Google Analytics or another similar tool, compare these articles to see which has brought in the most traffic or been shared the most frequently—however you want to define “popularity.” The most popular the post, the more likely it is that people will find it valuable in another format.
  • Length. Longer content provides more material to repurpose. Focusing on lengthier articles as a starting point for repurposing content offers more opportunities to spin out new items.

The best content items to recycle into new forms are generally long evergreen posts. Start here and branch out as you see what brings in the most traffic.

2. Think Outside the Textbox

The best way to repurpose content is to put it in a new medium. If you want to get more out of a popular blog post, you’ll likely get more traction if you turn it into a video than if you simply repost it.

Converting text content into a podcast or video opens it up to a whole new type of consumption. It also lets you post your content on new platforms, where your brand can be found by people who would have never stumbled across it otherwise.

3. Adapt to Different Formats

There’s one caveat regarding how to repurpose blog content: You have to convert it appropriately. Simply reading an article out loud in front of a recording camera may result in a video, but it won’t be one that many people will enjoy. Instead, take the time to adapt the content to fit a new format.

For example: If you’re converting something into a video, adapt the blog post into a script that feels and sounds natural when read out loud. You’re saving a significant amount of time and effort by repurposing content in the first place. Make the most of the marketing initiative by repurposing your material well.

4. Take Things Apart

Don’t worry about repurposing various sections within a longer article all at once. Breaking blog posts into smaller pieces to reuse is an excellent strategy for getting the most out of your work.

Why create one feature-length video to cover a complex article topic when you can repurpose the text content into a whole video series? Taking things apart allows you to pick and choose what parts of an article are worth expanding upon or converting to a new format. The result is better content—and more of it—for less effort.

6 Strategies for Repurposing Content

While keeping the aforementioned best practices in mind, check out these time-tested strategies for repurposing your content efficiently and effectively.

1. Use Written Content as the Basis for Videos

The most common strategy for repurposing content is to take a successful blog post and make a video based on it.

Forbes reports that online video is likely to make up 82% of internet traffic by 2022, so it’s safe to say that video is a popular format. Many people will watch videos on a subject they wouldn’t bother to read about. When you convert an article into a video, you bring the content to a whole new demographic.

There are two rules to keep in mind for converting text to videos:

  • Update your content to fit the format. Written and spoken language have different rules. A sentence that flows well on the page may not work as part of a video script. Try reading your article out loud and take time to edit it into a script that flows well.
  • A video is only worthwhile if it’s visually engaging. There are probably YouTube channels that cover topics in your niche. Watch some of their videos to see how they present material. Some subjects lend themselves better to engaging presentations by charismatic speakers, while others mesh better with slideshows or hands-on demonstrations. While you should keep your videos unique, there’s probably a good reason for the style your competitors have chosen.

A great example of converting an article into a video is this YouTube video, “What Happened When I Quit Shopping For An Entire Year,” by The Financial Diet.

The original blog post went into detail about the lessons one woman learned during a year-long shopping ban. The video covers the same information but in a different format that flows smoothly. It’s visually attractive while maintaining The Financial Diet’s branding the entire time.

2. Convert Lists Into Individual Articles

Listicles are a popular article format because they offer a simple overview of what can sometimes be complicated topics. The numbered list format lends itself to short, easily digestible summaries—which makes listicles an excellent choice for repurposing.

You can convert articles like this into several more specific pieces of content. For example: An article about the top seven best diaper brands can become seven discrete blog posts that take a more in-depth look at each brand.

There are two equally beneficial ways to do this:

  • You can write and post one article at a time to fill gaps in your content schedule.
  • If you want something more structured, you can release the new pieces as a series.

Either way, you can repurpose one listicle into more than a day’s worth of new content.

3. Summarize Long Posts Into Infographics

If you have a long article filled with facts and figures, you may not be able to break it down into smaller posts easily. But it might be an excellent choice for an infographic.

These images are a great way to pack a lot of information into something shareable and easier to grasp. Infographics are also an excellent choice if you want to focus on social media marketing. Most social media platforms prioritize visual media like images and videos. Furthermore, 40% of marketers report that original images are their most successful social media posts.

An original infographic with a link to the original article can improve your organic social media reach and direct curious readers back to your website.

4. Update Old Posts with New Info

You may have a well-written post—on a useful topic—that hasn’t aged well. If the subject is still relevant, you can bring it back into the spotlight with a little bit of polish.

When you make an effort to improve old posts by changing outdated details, you can reuse most of the content and even keep the same format. Best of all, this technique builds your readers’ trust in your content. Consistently updating your blog shows that you don’t leave up posts with inaccurate information.

5. Combine Related Content into ebooks

Not every method of reusing your work involves breaking it down. If you’re wondering how to repurpose content that’s already relatively concise, you can go the other way. Combine a bunch of related blog articles into an ebook instead.

Making an ebook involves a similar amount of effort as converting a post to a video. You’ll need to combine posts and edit them to flow smoothly, as well as design and distribute the book itself. Using a good ebook as part of your marketing initiatives has several benefits, including:

  • Allowing you to reach a new audience
  • Building your authority with readers
  • Offering a potential revenue stream
  • Providing a valuable incentive for potential new subscribers

Neil Patel has done this several times with his blog posts. A great example is his book “Scale Your Online Business with Conversion Funnels,” which takes past writing and combines it into an excellent incentive for one of his business partners.

6. Consider Reposting

If you want to repurpose content with the least amount of revision possible, consider reposting it completely.

By definition, evergreen content is just as valuable today as it was when you first posted it. Simply reposting your content can get you up to 75% of the engagement that you got on initial publication. Just note that you’ve published the article previously, so long-time readers don’t experience déjà vu. You can also:

  • Have your blog posts syndicated and republished on other sites
  • Offer evergreen content to other sites as guest posts, as long as you’re clear that it’s already appeared elsewhere
  • Repost articles to Quora as an answer to a question, as well-known blogger James Clear regularly does

Either way, you’re funneling traffic from other sites to your brand with a minimum of effort.

Ready to Give Your Content a Second Chance?

Learning how to repurpose content is a great way to bring in a broader audience. Following best practices—like focusing on your best content, carefully adapting your work to new formats, and not being afraid to divvy up your posts—can help you breathe new life into old work.

There are many ways to reproduce content, but six excellent strategies are to:

  • Convert an article into a video
  • Break a listicle into several in-depth posts
  • Summarize a post into an infographic
  • Update a post when new information comes out
  • Make an ebook out of related blog posts
  • Repost an old article on your site or other places online

You’ve worked hard to produce top-quality articles—and there’s no reason to simply walk away from them. Repurposing content can help you generate new material without having to start from scratch. In a field as busy as modern marketing, saving time is valuable. Recycling your content can help you stay on top of the game.

This article was written by Compose.ly writer Gabrielle Hass.


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