Waste not, want not. In some ways, the age-old saying could be one of the mottos of the Agile methodology. For many small businesses, waste can be the death of an otherwise healthy content marketing strategy. If you’re already struggling to produce blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, and social media posts, the thought of increasing volume can be downright unappealing. The secret to boosting your volume - without losing sight of quality - is probably just content reuse. It’s definitely the agile thing to do.
What is Agile, Anyway?
For the uninitiated, agile was introduced in 1970 by Dr. Winston Royce. As computers were becoming a commonplace tool for businesses worldwide, Royce realized that the process of developing software was entirely new. You simply couldn’t push a business application down an assembly line like an automobile. Royce believed that software developers needed a new method of management, which sparked the agile methodology. In this system, software is developed in small pieces so developers can quickly pivot if necessary - eliminating the waste associated with developing an enormous program that doesn’t meet criteria.
In case you’re wondering what this has to do with content, it’s actually a great deal. By viewing your content marketing strategy as a series of “agile sprints,” not a marathon, you can get more for each word you write. Here are some of the smartest tips on content reuse we know:
1. Think in Terms of “Build-Up”
Content marketing expert John Paul Nettles is a fan of what he calls the “build-up approach.” Instead of blocking out an entire day to hammer out your brand’s next eBook, you should allow your content assets to naturally “build up.” Group your existing blog posts into whitepapers, and whitepapers into eBooks.
2. Pull From Longer Assets
Your existing eBooks and whitepapers could be the smartest source possible for a blog post in a pinch. Simply take a chapter and publish it, and be sure to promote your eBook in the process.
3. Repurpose Content
Refocusing your content is an effective method of content reuse. SAP’s Michael Brenner recommends adapting your content to new use cases and buyer personas to get the most mileage and targeting possible.
4. Take Myriad Forms
The sharpest marketers create original assets with an eye towards repurposing the work in as many ways as possible. Lindsay Bell of SpinSucks advocates for turning speeches into podcasts, podcasts into videos, eBooks into Slideshare presentations, and as many other creative forms of content reuse as you can think if. Consider keeping notes on possible reincarnations of your content in your editorial calendar.
5. Plan for Content Reuse
Adequate and careful planning should be at the center of any agile content reuse plan. Joe Pullizzi points to Kelly Services, who plan their strategy in terms of central stories. Each time the organization identifies a campaign theme, they come up with at least 20 ways to cast, retell and repurpose the concept.
6. Look Toward Past Media Coverage
Even brands that are highly experienced and effective at content reuse may overlook the potential of their former media coverage. Take full advantage of any press releases or news article your brand is featured in, to cover on your blog, share on social media, or blast out as email newsletter content.
For more creative ideas on email outreach, check out 25 Newsletter Content Ideas + Bonus Newsletter Idea Resources.
7. Pull From Internal Resources
Materials from content reuse can come from some pretty unexpected places. One of our favorite examples comes from Barb Levisay, who recommends content marketers turn to their organization’s intranet. Those detailed and descriptive proposals your sales team wrote could be just a few twists away from an incredibly helpful blog post.
8. Supplement With Audio Files
Even if your company doesn’t have the resources to launch and market an official podcast series, consider content reuse in the form of recasting your best performing resources in an audio format. Read aloud your blog posts, record expert interviews, or give a brief synopsis of your latest case study. Digital Sherpa reports that in one case study of a brand who took this tactic, more than 18% of prospects faced with audio file choices downloaded more than one option!
9. Don’t Ignore Video
Never underestimate the potential of video to breathe new life into your dustiest content assets. Every brand has a few highly technical whitepapers and blog posts that just didn’t perform well. Would these assets get more coverage and exposure if they were turned into a video of a conversation with your CEO? It’s almost certain!
10. Pull From Testimonials for Print Advertising
A truly agile approach to content marketing means you should make the most of client interviews. Film your conversations, and use the transcripts for case studies. However, Aon Marketing Director Angela Sanders recommends taking this a step further and using the best one-liners for print advertising.
While these concepts are in no means a comprehensive overview of all the possibilities for content reuse, taking an agile approach means developing the ability to plan well, and think in small increments. With each brilliant new concept your marketing team comes up with, plan for ways to maximize the idea across all of your marketing channels.
How has your brand mastered the art of content reuse? What are your favorite ways to repurpose and recycle?