Let’s assume that your company is writing blog posts or producing YouTube videos or white papers or podcasts or the like as a way to nurture and generate leads for your products and services.
Still reading? Good.
That probably means two things:
1) You’ve embraced—at least in part—the mindset that you can attract and nurture customers by providing content they find useful or entertaining or valuable, versus promoting products merely on value position or price.
2) You also have realized pretty quickly that creating content that actually meets one or more of those attributes (useful, entertaining, or otherwise valuable) is hard work. Perhaps that voracious blog of yours requires more work than you bargained for.
A study that MarketingProfs published this October with the Content Marketing Institute found that 91% of the more than 1,000 companies surveyed rely on some kind of content marketing. But most companies have major challenges—among them, how to create content that truly engages their customers and delivers results, how to product enough of it, and getting enough budget to fuel it. (See chart.)
But here’s the thing: One key to making content creation easier and sustainable is “reimagining”—not merely recycling—your content.
What does that mean?
It means treating every piece of content you create not as a “one and done” but as a critical piece of a larger whole and an important link in a sustainable content ecosystem—a content Circle of Life, if you will. Your goal is to create opportunities to reach more prospects, but using the same source material, repackaged and reimagined.
(I like the word “reimagine,” by the way, instead of “reuse” or “repurpose” or “recycle,” because the latter terms suggests something that might happen as an afterthought—like you might reuse an old Cool Whip container to store leftovers—whereas I’m talking about something more intentional and creative than that.)
Here are three great ways to reimagine content to create your own efficient, sustained content food chain.
Maybe you have larger, meatier content assets on your website right now—like ebooks, how-to guides, white papers, research reports, and the like. If they are useful and valuable to your customers, then they are ripe for reorganizing.
Deconstruct all of your content assets and repackage them into smaller pieces of content to reach as wide an audience as possible. Think content chop shop: Slice up that how-to guide or ebook into a series of newsletter articles, blog posts, or other shorter-form, more easily digestible content.
Of course, you can also do the opposite: Repack smaller or stand-alone tweets, newsletter articles, blog posts, Facebook comments or the like into a larger, more filling value packages.
Find your “evergreen content,” that timeless content on your site that never goes out of style. How do you know what it is? It’s the blog post that might be several years old but nevertheless attracts its fair share of traffic because it addresses perennial customer issues. Evergreen content consistently ranks well in search and attracts a healthy amount of inbound traffic, so it’s worthwhile to dust off and republish that content anew to keep it fresh and relevant.
Or look through your analytics to find that content that was once crazy-popular when it was newly baked. You can simply remarket it or redistribute it—talk it up on social networks or in your own newsletter, for example. But it’s better to revisit it, rewriting parts and re-editing it to give it new life. Then, republish it on your site, leaving the older version intact (and linking both posts to each other for extra search engine juice).
You might consider refurbishing along with rewriting. Popular posts or articles might be augmented with new information, research stats, checklists, and a simple design to create a downloadable document that you might gate behind a lead form on your site, thereby requiring visitors to fill out a form to access it. You might even create versions that target different personas or audiences on your site: B2B versus B2C, for example.
This is a fun one. “Remixing” your content means to recreate the content in another format, extending the ideas found in the original, but expressing them in a different way altogether.
For example, you might take a recorded Q&A session from a webinar or live event and have it transcribed (use a transcription service like CastingWords.com) into a blog post or newsletter article. Or you might interview the speaker via Skype to get answers to the questions left unanswered, and release that as an audio download.
Or you might create a video or two featuring the people quoted in your client case studies, showing in a newly engaging way how your products and services live in the world—how they help other businesses, users, or consumers. Or you might take a series of photos from a company event and use a tool like Animoto.com to string them together in a fun slide show video.
As you can see, the options are limitless.
One more thing: In my mind, the best tool for content development is often the most overlooked. That’s probably another reason I like the word “reimagine” so much—because it suggests the very thing you need the most when it comes to compelling content: Your imagination.
Want more content advice from Ann? Content Rules is now in paperback - click here!