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Theme Week: How to Repurpose Your Content [and Why You Should Do It!]

This week we’ve been talking about what to do with your blog posts after you hit publish. So far we’ve talked about optimizing it for search and socializing it on social media - today we’re going to talk about ‘repurposing’ it.

What is Repurposing Content?

I like Erin Everhart’s definition of repurposing content. She defines it as:

“repacking one piece of content across many different media. Each time, you’re adding to it (or taking away from it), and making it unique for the source, the medium and the user who’ll be reading it.”

If you’ve been blogging for even just a few months you’re already probably got quite a bit of content in your archives that you’ve invested a lot of time into creating. The idea of repurposing some of those posts is that it enables you benefit again from the work you’ve already done by highlighting those ideas again in a new medium.

What it’s NOT
To be clear – what we’re talking about here is not simply re-promoting content you’ve already written on social media.

We’re also not talking here about rewriting or updating old blog posts in a new way.

There’s nothing wrong with re-promoting or rewriting – but repurposing content is about creating new content in a new medium based upon what you’ve already done.

What are the Benefits of Repurposing Content?

There are a number of benefits of repurposing content that you’ve already written.

Reach More People with More Relevant Mediums

For starters it can help you to reach more people with your ideas using media streams that are more relevant and digestible for them.

Reading a blog post will appeal to a certain percentage of people, but not everyone likes to read – so communicating your ideas using other media makes them more accessible to people with different learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds.

Rank Higher in Search Results

There can be numerous SEO benefits of repurposing content. For starters, creating a video, slidedeck, or podcast that links back to your original blog post means more incoming links to that post.

However that is just the beginning – create content in your repurposing that has a shareable component to it and you could just see your content appearing on other people’s blogs and websites – complete with link backs to your site. For example creating an embeddable infographic that links back to your article exponentially grows the incoming links to your site. It also is great for growing your brand and profile.

Deepen Impact Upon Readers

If you are trying to have a deep and lasting impact upon your readers with your ideas, then it is likely that you’ll need to communicate your core ideas more than once.

It isn’t that your readers are stupid or that your communication isn’t good – it’s just that people are being bombarded with messaging, and they live lives full of distraction. Sometimes it just takes a few goes to get your message through.

Repurposing content allows you to communicate your core ideas numerous times in different ways. It allows you to explore a topic from different angles. If done well it can significantly improve the impact of your ideas upon readers.

Here’s what Seth Godin says:

“Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.”

Take a Little Pressure Off Yourself

One of the main ‘benefits’ of repurposing content that I see people preaching about is that it is an ‘easy’ way to come up with new content for your blog.

My reaction to this is that ‘easy’ is not always a description I’d give to repurposing content. It takes work, in fact sometimes it takes more work than the original creation of the content. So it isn’t always easy – but it does take a little pressure off you as a blogger.

Many of us as bloggers feel a lot of pressure to have to come up with something completely new, original and mind blowing every single day on our blogs.

It is unrealistic to expect anyone to come up with a completely new and world changing idea every single day. Most of us struggle to come up with a BIG idea in a lifetime let alone every day!

Repurposing content can give you as a blogger a little extra breathing room. It enables us to have a little extra time to better explore, deepen and communicate our ideas before needing to come up with the next one.

What are the Risks of Repurposing Content?

Repurposing content is something that has many benefits if done well – however I want to emphasise that it can also be done badly and has some associated risks.

Every blogger that repurposes content has their own approach to doing so but from my perspective some of these risks include:

  • Formulaic repurposing
  • Going for quantity over quality
  • Creating fluff

Let me illustrate with an example.

Last year I heard a speaker at a conference talk about how they had developed a system for repurposing every single blog post they wrote.

Every week they would write three blog posts that would be sent to a virtual assistant for repurposing.

That assistant would then create a slideshow, a video of the slideshow, five graphics with quotes from the post that would be shared on social media, and three rewrites of the original blog post to be pitched as guest posts. The speaker would also record himself reading his blog posts to post as audio files which were presented as a podcast.

So for each of his three blog posts, he would be creating 11 other pieces of content – 33 per week!

The blogger and his assistant are to be admired for their endeavour – but the result was overwhelming and probably hurt his brand.

In order to create so much content, templates were used for slideshows, videos, and graphics which resulted in a certain ‘sameness’ in a lot of what was produced.

As I listened to this blogger speak, I looked over his blog and social media accounts and was very quickly overwhelmed by content. His three blog posts each week were good – but the systemised repurposing of content and sharing of it was too much to digest, and by repeating it all three times a week it became quite formulaic, predictable, and repetitive.

My Suggestions on Repurposing Content

There’s a lot to be said about how to repurpose content, much of which comes down to your individual style, the type of content you create on your blog, the needs of your audience, your goals as a blogger and the type of content that will appeal to your audience.

I can’t give you a blueprint, but here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

1. Choose Your Content to Repurpose Carefully

I’ve already alluded to this numerous times above, but the selection of which content to repurpose is critical.

I would not suggest repurposing every piece of content you write, but instead to be a little selective. Personally, I choose to repurpose content that fits into one (or more than one) of the following criteria:

1. It is a core idea – if there is something that is central to what you’re on about as a blogger and what you feel your reader needs to hear, than this is prime content to repurpose.

2. Evergreen content – content that doesn’t date will enable you to repurpose it without fear of that repurposed content dating. This will enable you (and others) to refer to it numerous times into the future and gain maximum impact for your investment.

3. Content that has already been shared or received well – if you’ve published a post that has been well-received it might be the kind of content that will do well again if you repurpose it. Look in your analytics for your most popular posts and you’ll probably find something you could repurpose.

2. Think Carefully About the Medium

Not every post will lend itself to every medium for repurposing content. Similarly, not every medium will appeal to every audience.

There are many different mediums available to you for repurposing content – here are just a few that come to mind that you might want to experiment with:

  • Slide Deck – use a tool like Slideshare or AuthorStream to communicate your main points, share quotes, highlight statistics etc.
  • Infographics – present key stats, stories, histories etc in a visual form using a tool like PictoChart or Visuall.y
  • Instructographic – similar to an infographic, but more focused upon presenting a ‘how-to’ or a step-by-step process
  • Podcasts – take the core ideas in your post and record yourself exploring them as an audio file. Alternatively, set up a conversation that explores the topic with one or more other people and record it.
  • Interviews – seek out someone else in your niche to interview about the topic of your blog post. This could be presented as another blog post, podcast, video etc. Interview numerous people and it could be compiled together as an industry report.
  • Screen capture videos – if your blog post talks people through a process that can be captured as a screen capture video, record it and upload it to a video sharing site like YouTube. Use tools like Camtasia, Jing, Screenr or Screenflow to do this.
  • Talking head videos – set up a webcam and talk to camera about some aspect of the blog post you’ve written.
  • PDF download – convert your blog post into a PDF for downloading for those who wish to have a copy for future reference. Services and tools that could help with this include Anthologize, Zinepal and BlogBooker.
  • eBooks/Reports/Whitepapers – expand upon your blog post or compile it together with other content you may have written and present it as an eBook, report, or whitepaper.
  • Graphics for Social Sharing – take key quotes, points, or stats and put them into an eye-catching graphic for sharing on social media using a tool like Canva or PicMonkey. Alternatively, outsource it using a service like Swiftly.
  • Autoresponder – break your content down into digestible parts that readers could subscribe to as a series of emails.
  • Guest Posts – write a blog post that extends upon your post or that explores a related topic that you could submit as guest posts to other blogs. If not accepted, these could be used as followup blog posts on your blog or could be published on Google+, Tumblr, or LinkedIn
  • Articles for Media or Industry Publications – take the key findings or points in your blog post and submit them as an article to mainstream media or industry associations for republishing. If not accepted, these could be used as followup blog posts on your blog or could be published on Google+, Tumblr or LinkedIn.
  • Webinar – create a webinar based upon a post (or a series of posts) using a tool like Gotowebinar
  • Hangout – hold a Google+ hangout for your readers to come and have a discussion about a piece of content you’ve published
  • Twitter/Facebook Chats – hold a social media chat session to expand upon a blog post, interview someone related to the topic and generate reader discussion about your topic.
  • Workshops – compile your main points into a workshop that you could deliver at a real-life event
  • Transcription – if you’ve done a podcast, webinar, video or workshop, get the recording transcribed for those who might like to read it rather than listen/view it.
  • Create a Printable – create a downloadable printable checklist or template that relates to your blog post.

3. Take a Different Approach to your Original Content

A key with repurposing content is to present something that relates to the original content but that doesn’t present exactly the same information. This means if your readers do see the repurposed content in different forms, they don’t get annoyed by hearing the same thing over and over again.

There are a few ways to do this:

Extend
One way is to find related ideas to your original post. Extend what you’ve previously presented. I’ll write more on this later in this series.

Drill Down
Another method is to drill down into just one small aspect of your original content. For example, highlighting a key quote or stat, point or quote that you might have covered in a longer blog post and present it as a graphic.

Similarly if you create a longer webinar, podcast, or video – why not take a key 30-second grab from that content that you can share as a ‘taster’. The snippet might be a self-contained idea that by itself is useful to anyone who listens to it, but which also might serve as a way to get them to listen to the full presentation.

Compile
Another method (and one of my favourites) is to make your repurposing a summary of numerous previous pieces of content. For example many of the teaching webinars that I’ve done compile information in numerous blog posts that I’ve written. So take key articles from a category on your blog and compile them into a single eBook, whitepaper, webinar, or presentation.

Final Thoughts

Before we wrap up this post today – here area few final thoughts on repurposing content to keep in mind:

Spread it out

There is no need to bombard your readership with loads of repurposed content on the same topic quickly. Spread it out over time. You might publish a blog post today and then share a slide deck based upon it next week, and followup with a video or info graphic next month. It all helps build momentum naturally over time without annoying your readers.

Repurpose as You Write

As you write your original blog posts pay attention to the ideas you get as you write on how you might repurpose them. Quite often when I’m in the middle of writing a blog post I’m also making notes on how I could get graphics or slides made for followups or to insert into the post that could also be used for social sharing. The more you repurpose content the more you’ll find yourself naturally doing this.

Pay attention to your archives

Repurposing content can happen relatively quickly after you publish a new piece of content but also don’t forget about your archives. Some of your older blog posts might actually be the best ones to repurpose so dig back into your archives for the gold hidden there!

Make it Visual

The web is increasingly a visual place and on social media – where the bulk of your repurposed content will probably end up – the visuals are what can make or break what you do. So pay particular attention to the design of what you’re creating and consider investing in some outsourced help if design and visuals are not your thing.

Cross-link

I’ve already mentioned this in passing above but when you repurpose your content you will want to leverage that new content to link back to your original posts that relate to it. This is key for SEO and for sending readers deeper into your site.

What Would You Add?

Repurposing content is a massive topic and there are no right or wrong ways to do it – so I’d love to hear YOUR perspective on the topic.

I’m particularly interested in seeing your examples of where you’ve repurposed blog posts into other formats and would love to see any links in comments below with examples of when you’ve done this for yourself!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I really appreciate this topic. Repurposing content (in a tactful and useful way) is something that I need to do to be more strategic with my blog but I struggle to know which mediums would suit my audience best or which will be doable with the workload that I already have. I feel overwhelmed in knowing where to even begin.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      it can be overwhelming Vanessa – I would recommend just choosing one and doing a few smaller experiments. Off the top of my head – what about turning an article like your 5 shampoo alternatives article into a simple infographic.

      The top section could be the main points of ‘why’ and then a brief description of each alternative under it.

      I’m seeing pics of each alternative and then a link back to the full article at the bottom for people who want to see more.

      Just an idea! It could also work as slides but my gut feeling is that it’d be the type of thing people might share on Pinterest as an infographic.

  2. Daniel says:

    This article makes some great point, however it must be noted that there is a huge difference between ‘repurposing’ content and ‘duplicating’ content. Don’t get the two confused. Duplicated content on digital mediums can have serious negative repercussions for your SEO, especially if you are housing the same content all on the one site. By ‘duplicated’ content I mean a ‘copy and paste’ job. Word for word.

    In very broad terms, Google’s bots read the text in your blog post and indexes it according to the mentions of keywords. However, if the bots returns to your site to crawl another piece of content that is exactly the same as the original piece, it can consider this ‘duplicated’ piece as a breach of Google’s Best Practise guidelines and judge it as being spam. This can affect not just the SEO value of that post but of your entire website. Have more than one or two of these duplicated pieces of content and your site will be seen as of poor quality and will fall in Google’s rankings.

    Keep this in mind when repurposing content. Google rewards content that is fresh and engaging and while it is fine to repurpose, you must ensure that everything about the repurposed piece is ‘fresh’. This means, reword every sentence, upload different images, use mediums that are not crawled the same (e.g. infographics to video). If you have done this well (and this article gives some great tips on how to do it), Google will read this ‘repurposed’ content as ‘fresh’ content and will rank it accordingly. This can have a positive effect on your site’s SEO authority.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      Thanks for the comment Daniel.

      It’s an interesting one – I’ve long argued against duplicating content, however of late I’m more open to the idea of having content appear in multiple places in some circumstances.

      Google does reward fresh, original content but it is also pretty good at working out which site was the source of that content and honouring that. For example we see our feed scraped every day by tens… no its probably hundreds… of sites of different sizes but Google always ranks us higher – partly because we’re established but I suspect partly because they just know we were first.

      I’m starting to come around to allowing content to be duplicated on or syndicated on other sites in some circumstances – even at the risk of not ranking as highly for it if that content is going to help you grow your brand and audience.

      I guess it comes down to your purposes but for a site like ProBlogger where ‘traffic’ numbers are not my #1 priority but where I’m using the blog to grow a brand that leads people to our community, events and eBooks/book then if letting another site use my content that’s already appeared on the site could help us to achieve those goals.

      In our case I’ve not done this – but I’d be open to it, particularly if the content being used was older content in the archives – which means in Google’s eyes it is seen as the original but also because this content is largely unseen again by readers – so letting it be used again means it is being useful again and helps grow the brand.

      It’s a fine line though – I wouldn’t want it to happen too often but am less concerned these days about duplicate content and more concerned about using my content to help as many people as possible. Bit of a mind-shift for me.

      • Rachel R. says:

        I agree with both of these comments! It’s kind of “junky” to just duplicate tons of content for the sake of having a lot “out there.” It risks that same information overload and, potentially, formulaic “sameness” that Darren warned against in the original post.

        But sometimes duplicating something word-for-word is still very different if the medium is very different. Written, audio, and visual content tend to appeal to – and reach – different audiences. So while, for instance, a slideshow-style video based purely on copied-and-pasted content from a blog post may technically be “duplicate,” it’s likely that most people reading the post will never watch the video and most people watching the video will not read the post. Because some prefer to read while others prefer to watch.

  3. Katie says:

    Such practical advice! I really appreciate the list of ways to repurpose content because I know that I should be doing it (and it will be good for my business), but a lot of the time I blank on what to actually do with my existing content.

    Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the ideas.
    I’m gong to have a go at using slide deck and creating an ebook.

  5. Jijon says:

    Really this is very effective advice for us. According to Google recent update the content is a important issue to exist in the competitive market. So the webmasters and blogger should need to give more emphasize on it.

  6. That’s a fantastic list Darren. It’s easy to forget how many options we have when it comes to presenting our content.

    My next move is into more audio. Several years ago a colleague and I repurposed content in the sense that we pulled from common themes we’d both blogged about regularly. We created fictional audio plays for freelance writers. It was a lot of fun, but the amount of work that went into them was too much for what we got out of them (writing scripts, rehearsing, recording lines, assembling audio, post-production, etc. — thank goodness her husband was an audio pro and willing to help!). So this time I’m going with a more straight-forward approach of creating audio versions of key posts. Most won’t get that treatment, and it won’t be a case of simply reading the posts aloud. But I’m hoping it will help me mix things up a bit.

    One more I’d add, which is similar to the webinar idea, is e-courses. This is something else I’m also working on at the moment, converting an e-book into a free self-paced e-course using LearnDash (which I’m loving so far). There will be premium courses as well, but the existing content made the most sense for a free intro course to give people a taste of the system.

    I’ll have to consider some of the other ideas I haven’t tried yet and see if any make sense for key content on any of my blogs. Thanks. :)

  7. Sunday says:

    A very helpful and practical content I must say. Repurposing content has many benefits if done rightly. Many people are not even aware of the media available for the re-purposing of content, and the list shared here is revealing.

    The lessons of this post are taken and it is still important to keep to heart the definition made by Seth Godin

    “Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.”

    Every marketer should keep this to heart while repurposing the right content!

    In kingged.com, this article was shared for Internet marketers, and I have left the above comment after reading the post.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/theme-week-repurpose-content/

  8. harish gupta says:

    thats very useful ideas……but the most of the time, its become difficult what changes to do to the existing contents….deep thinking and clear understanding is to maintained

  9. Priya Ranjan says:

    You have touched the right chord. After we hit the PUBLISH button, we forget the blog post. I am amazed to see the impact of “repurposing”. I will start using it now and share my experience of growing the network due to repurposing.

  10. Aisha says:

    I like these tips very much, as I am posting professional content on one site that may not be republished on my blog, so I repurpose it for my blog by changing the focus or tone of the article, lengthening and personalizing it and using slightly different images. For a third site that is not very image friendly, I repurpose the article by creating a collage of images and tighten up the content into the fewest number of words to tell the story since the first image containing the collage needs to stay in view as the article is read. This way I get three separate articles on three separate platforms, all with automatic social media sharing when the articles go live.

  11. Tim Oxley says:

    Great information and useful advice as usual. The only negative is the annoying sliding ad to the right which spoils it. As I have already subscribed to the newsletter, could this be removed in a similar way to ad block?
    Would make great content even more enjoyable.

  12. Lee davy says:

    Hi Darren,

    I just wanted to extend my thanks for writing this post. Repurposing my material never occurred to me because I don’t generally get stuck for inspirational ideas (in fact I have more than I can use), but it has given me a great idea for a book.

    Lee