Content repurposing best practice

Sometimes clients come to us and say, “We’ve got this great piece of work. We want to make more use of it somehow.”

Their instinct is absolutely spot on. We’ve written before about the value of repurposing or extending the reach of good content. It’s just common sense to make the most of the time and effort you’ve invested in creating it. Right?

Repurposing takes time and money

Right. Except that reusing content is not usually just a matter of waving a wand and, hey presto, you’ve got a new result. Occasionally it’s not far off — if you’ve done a really good job creating a presentation script that stands on its own, it can be pretty straightforward to turn it into a paper. But most of the time it’s not as simple as that.

Typically it takes some effort and expense to turn your video into a paper or your sales guide into a customer presentation. Even writing a short blog using existing content takes some time and thought.

What return will you get from reusing content?

So while the instinct to reuse content is a good one, it’s not enough on its own to justify doing so. As with any activity, you need to be clear about the return on your investment to get it done. Against the time and money it takes to complete an activity you need to consider how far it will shift the attitudes or actions of your identified target audience to achieve your stated aim for the activity (eg, to raise understanding, close a deal, increase loyalty, encourage advocacy, create a partnership).

Of course you also need to consider the activity in the context of other activities and their goals. The impact of any single blog may be low, but the cumulative effect of your blogging activity might not; or you might have other good reasons to blog.

Finally, one thing that is definitely true about reusing content is this: if you already have good, independent reasons for creating some content, always consider whether you already have content that the new activity could tie into, repurpose, adapt or use as inspiration. Doing so will usually make the new activity, which you’ll be doing anyway, more efficient or effective.

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