12 Dos & Don'ts You Need To Know To Reuse Content For Marketing

reusing content

So you're convinced that content repurposing is the bomb.  You get the gist of what it's about and the benefits of repurposing old content. . . .heck , those have you ready to jump in with both feet! But hold up just a minute - before you get started, there are some things you need to know about reusing content to make it effective for your business.

Best Practices for Content Repurposing

As Neil Patel said:

"In the current content climate, just publishing your content creations won’t suffice. You’ll need to get out of your cocoon and get your great content in front of your target audience. One effective way of getting more eyeballs on your content marketing output is to repurpose content on other platforms such as social media sites and various marketing institutes."

reusing-content-plan-300x300Reusing content as social media posts is probably the most common and easiest way to repurpose. I'd even hazard a guess that most people who do it don't think of it as "repurposing."

There is a LOT more you can do than just social posts to get your content in front of new audiences. But if you want to do it right, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Because here's the thing - repurposing done well should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. There should be a plan. Randomly grabbing some old content to reuse and throwing it out willy-nilly to see what happens is not what I would call "done well."

Instead, we need to choose our content carefully and reimagine it thoughtfully in order to get the kind of results we really want. With that in mind, here are my top 12 Dos and Don'ts to reuse content to market your business.


Top 6 Dos:

#1. Think Holistically.

Before you get started, choose a goal. Then review your library and choose content to repurpose that supports that goal.

For instance, let's say you are a health food blogger with a brand new cookbook. Of course, you will have new content specifically about your cookbook. But to support that, you can also repurpose older content related to the topic and add calls to action to check out the new book.

By doing so, you create less new content and still have a variety available. The point here is to consider your overall business goals and make strategic decisions.

#2. Start With Evergreen & Popular Content

The fact is, some content is better for repurposing than others. Ideally, you want to reuse content that is comprehensive, evergreen, and popular. Or at least, one of those three.

Review your analytics to find your most popular older content.  Then ask yourself, is it still relevant? Does it need updating or fleshing out? If the content still works with or without a refresh, and it was popular the first time around, it is a good choice for repurposing.

Polish that baby up and reuse it in a variety of ways. Chances are, it will be popular again.

#3. Consider The Platform

So, let's say you've repurposed an amazing evergreen blog post into a few new assets. Before you hit publish, make sure you are sending those assets to the best platforms for each type. For instance:

  • Quick tips or stats are perfect for Twitter but way too short for LinkedIn
  • Longer videos are great for YouTube or possibly Facebook but short videos are better for Instagram
  • Presentation slide decks are perfect for SlideShare*, but the topic needs to appeal to a business-oriented audience
  • Quote graphics can be used on pretty much all of the big 4 (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest**) but remember to customize the captions and tone for each

Bottom line - think about the type of audience on each platform and give them the kind of content they prefer for best results.

*Editor's update: SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn and now seems pretty dead. Consider sharing presentations to LinkedIn instead.

**Traditionally, the "Big 4" includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But for content marketing purposes, I find Pinterest far more effective and worthwhile than Twitter, so this is MY Big 4 list. If you have an engaged audience on Twitter, you can make it the Big 5. 😉

#4. Use Your Website As A Central Hub

Some people tell you to not even bother with a website these days, to just use a Facebook or Instagram page for your business. But if you are serious about your business, I recommend you set up at least a simple website.

There are a number of reasons why it's important but for our purposes here, think of it as your central information hub:

  • When you share content on different platforms, you can direct visitors back to your website so they can find information about what you do and how they can work with you.
  • You can set up sales and landing pages
  • Offer freebies to build your email list
  • And so much more.

And all of the content you've repurposed lives on your website so it's a one-stop-shop where your potential customers and clients can always find what they're looking for. Think of your website as the trunk of your business tree and all the other platforms as branches. Those branches may grow or shrink, get cut off, or sprout new ones. But the trunk is what ties them all together and keeps your business grounded.

#5. Build Upon and Add Value As You Repurpose

This one's fairly self-explanatory. When you are repurposing existing content, take time to add value wherever possible. Remember this is still your content and represents you and your brand. In order to catch your audience's attention, it needs to offer value on its own merit. Otherwise, they'll just keep on scrollin'.

#6. Build Your Hall of Fame

If you find yourself a little resistant to the idea of reusing content, you're probably looking at it the wrong way. It's not cheating and it's not diluting your message (as a matter of fact, it's the opposite).  Instead, try thinking of your repurposed content as your Hall of Fame. The content that you want to be associated with no matter where your audience finds it.

We all have some content that's better than others (no matter how hard we try to make it all great). Instead of letting them be one-hit-wonders, let's repurpose them into Your Greatest Hits!

Top 6 Don'ts:

Now that we've covered some important things to do, it's time to talk about some no-nos. Mark these off your to-do list - from now on, they are verboten!

#1. Don't Just Copy & Paste

There are some people who just take an old post, give it a new title and call it repurposed. Don't be that guy. If you have an older post you'd like to refresh, take the time to update the whole article. Add new details, remove outdated information, add some new images, etc. And when you publish it, SAY that it's been refreshed. Your audience will appreciate valuable content that's been updated for their convenience. But they won't be impressed if you try to pass off old as new.

#2. Don't Try To Squeeze Everything In

Different platforms have different needs. Some are good for long-form content (Facebook, LinkedIn). But for others, short content is better (Twitter, Instagram).

If you are repurposing a longer-form original, don't try to squeeze every detail into something for a shorter-form platform. For instance, if you repurpose a long blog post into a slide deck, don't try to squeeze the entire article in. You'll just end up with a long, boring, text-heavy presentation.

Instead, create eye-catching slides for each key point and then direct the viewer to the original article for all the details.

#3. Don't Experiment With New Platforms Until Last

There is always a new kid on the block, isn't there? Right now, I think it's TikTok. Tomorrow? Who knows.

While there's nothing wrong with trying out new platforms (and in fact, it's a key distribution technique), save those for last. Get your content distributed out to the big 4 (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest), first. You are more likely to get traction right away, there.

Once you've covered all the primary bases and feel comfortable with your process, you can start experimenting with something new and fun to discover if you have an audience waiting there to find you.

#4. Don't Skip Your Branding

When you are creating in a new format, it's easy to forget to brand your creation so that it reflects your business and connects it to the rest of your content. But don't do that. Otherwise, it will feel disconnected and confusing for the viewer when they encounter your content elsewhere.

Take the time to figure out how to brand your new creation so that it's in line with the rest of your online presence. This way, your audience has a smooth and cohesive experience with your business no matter where they go.

#5. Don't Repurpose Time-Sensitive or Fluffy Content

When looking at older content to reuse, be alert for outdated references. An article about a specific event may no longer be relevant, so it would not be a good candidate for repurposing.

Same goes for short or fluffy content. You may have popular content that was brief and just not very deep, and there's nothing wrong with that. But again, it just isn't a great option for reuse.

You want to focus on your very best, value-rich content so that you have lots to work with when you start repurposing.

#6. Don't Forget To Engage

Just like with your new content, whenever you share something out to another platform, make sure to check back and engage! The whole point of putting it up there is to connect with new audiences, so don't forget about them. Start conversations and build relationships so that you can hopefully nurture them into becoming customers or clients.

Get Started

By following the above guidelines, you're much more likely to have success with your repurposing efforts.

So next time you're struggling to figure out what to post, take a look back at your old content. There could be a treasure trove there, waiting to be reused!

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