You’ve probably come across this type of post. It promises to help you turn a single whitepaper into a year’s worth of profitable content marketing. It’s got a blueprint — a map to content marketing easy street.
And what is this content marketing silver bullet?
All of these models are based on the idea of reusing, redesign, and otherwise recycling an asset to create a content library.
Let’s dig into this idea. Can a single asset really hold up in five, ten, or even twenty different formats? It seems too good to be true.
The question is how far can content stretch before it snaps?
The truth is, it depends.
That’s not the most satisfying answer, but, unfortunately, it’s the only way to approach the subject. Repurposing depends on the quality of information and the quantity of content. In other words, the better the initial content, the more it can be repurposed before it becomes redundant.
The key is to repurpose enough to get appropriate value from an asset, but not so much that the content becomes repetitive rather than valuable.
It’s easier to think about this if we look at a couple of different scenarios.
Scenario 1: Quality Outweighs Quantity
This is a common one. You spend the time and effort to create high-quality content, perfectly targeted to your unique buyer personas. You’ve done your homework. Your content is thorough and well-researched. It’s the gold standard of your industry. So far so good.
Next, you put this piece of great content in its rightful place at the top of your library. Maybe you even send out a LinkedIn post or a couple of Tweets to let your audience know. Great, right?
Here’s where the wheels come off. You stop. You don’t do anything else. Your content just sits in the library and withers. All that hard work ends up woefully underutilized.
Your problem was that you didn’t create enough content to match the quality of your information. The same information that made up that whitepaper could have supported a couple of great blog posts, a detailed infographic, and a SlideShare too.
That’s four more pieces of content, four more places to connect with customers, and a much longer shelf life for that information. With the groundwork already done, it’s senseless not to spend a little extra effort to reformat the information.
Scenario 2: Quantity Outweighs Quality
Though not quite common as the previous case, this happens a lot. And I almost exclusively blame posts like those discussed earlier. A lot of these posts promise ten or twenty or one hundred pieces of repurposed content from a single asset.
That’s not just wrong, it’s counter to just about any other content marketing recommendation you’ll find. (Content marketing is about quality, not quantity, remember.) The fact is, very, very few pieces of content have the quality of information to support that many pieces of derived content.
The result is content for the sake of content. You’ve got a library that all says the same thing. If you read one, you’ve read them all. Your content is no longer valuable, it’s annoying.
Scenario 3: Equilibrium
The final scenario. The sweet spot — content equilibrium. You’ve balanced the quality of information and the quantity of content. You’re making the most of your investment, without going overboard. More importantly, you’ve stayed valuable to your users and given them content options.
This is where you want to be. Unfortunately, this point is not always apparent. Here’s a quick test:
- Does each one of your repurposed pieces stand on its own?
- Does each piece add some sort of unique value?
- Would a consumer stay interested (and sane) if they went through every piece of repurposed content?
If you can answer yes to each of these questions, you can keep repurposing. As soon as one of those answers becomes no, it’s time to stop.
In a perfect world, that’s where the story ends. But let’s be realistic. We’re marketers. We’ve got lofty goals and limited budgets. Sometimes equilibrium just isn’t enough. So how can we squeeze a little bit more from our content?
The short answer is time and additional information.
Time allows you to wait and republish similar or, in some cases, the same content. It also opens up the possibilities for updates, “best of” content, and other curation.
Additional information helps you in two ways. First, other information in the feed helps to make content overlap less apparent. Second, it allows you to mix and match information sources, enabling you to create a much wider variety of repurposed content.
With an understanding of how to reach repurposing equilibrium and a couple of tricks to get additional mileage, you’ve got the tools to succeed in your repurposing endeavors. There’s no more excuse for redundant repurposing.