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April 14, 2014 // 1:00 PM

The Purpose of Repurposing Content

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repurpose-definitionRecently, I was in a brainstorming session with some folks who were in town for a HubSpot event, Partner Day. The goal of the brainstorm was to come up with ideas and outlines for new content in rapid fashion. We started with a set of notecards, each with a marketing topic, such as "getting the most out of a website redesign" or "repurposing content."

When we got to the repurposing content notecard, we started writing our ideas on sticky notes and placing them on a whiteboard. After a minute or two, we started grouping them into themes. A typical brainstorming tactic.

But as we worked, I noticed two themes that weren't on that board. And those themes revolved around our understanding  -- or lack thereof -- of repurposing content. What is it, and why do we do it?

Repurposing content sounds pretty self-explanatory -- it's when you take a piece of content and change it so it serves a different purpose. However, there was some confusion between what constituted a "repurposed" piece of content versus a "revamped" one, as well as why and when you should repurpose a piece of content. So I did some digging and put together a quick guide to repurposing content for you to use. I hope it's helpful.

First, the Difference Between Revamping and Repurposing Content

Revamping and repurposing content are not the same thing. You might think ... big deal, what does it matter? The distinction is important because it will dictate what goals it'll help you hit, and your promotion strategy.

When you revamp a piece of content, you're continuing to use it for the same purpose it was originally intended, but updating it so it remains relevant and attractive to that audience. This can be taking an older ebook and updating it to reflect changes over the time period that's passed (we recently revamped an offer about social media changes to include new ones), changing outdated design to make the offer more in line with a new aesthetic, or adding a component to the offer that wasn't there in the original, such as helpful takeaways at the bottom of each ebook page.

When you repurpose a piece of content, however, you're doing one of two things (or both): changing the format of the content, and/or changing the target audience for the content. Examples of changing the format include turning a series of blog posts into an ebook, or taking key content from a webinar and placing it in an easy-to-consume infographic. Examples of changing the content for the audience might include starting with an ebook originally intended for, say, SMBs, and restructuring/rewording it to apply to a new business type.

If you want to attract or convert more people of the same buyer persona in the same part of the buyer's journey, a revamp is the best choice. However, if you want to attract or convert more people in a different segment, look to repurpose your content.

Now that we've made that distinction, let's get into the nitty gritty of how to identify the purpose of repurposing a piece of content.

Repurposing Content to Reach Leads in Different Stages of the Buyer's Journey

You might have heard us use the term "marketing funnel" or "buyer's journey" before -- it's what marketers refer to as the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. There are three stages in a buyer's journey -- awareness, consideration, and decision -- and these dictate a lead's frame of mind

Buyer_journey

Each industry and business model will have its own slightly nuanced version of the buyer's journey, but the fundamentals are the same: People in each stage have their own set of distinct behaviors, information needs, and knowledge consumption preferences.

For instance, people in the awareness stage tend to consume top-of-the-funnel, snackable content because they're still learning about a topic or solution. People in the decision stage, on the other hand, are evaluating you and a handful of competitors, so they'll consume content that helps them make that decision.

When you're repurposing content to reach your target audience in a different stage of the buyer's journey, you need to change the format and angle of your content to align with the way they consume information. For example, if you want to repurpose an ebook about Facebook marketing meant for folks in the consideration stage into something meant for leads in the awareness stage, you can turn it into lighter content -- such as an infographic or a blog post that positions Facebook marketing without heavy mentions of how your product or service would help them execute.

Repurposing Content to Reach Leads in Different Persona Segments

Most companies will have multiple buyer personas -- different types of people who are an ideal fit for different portions of your business. A great case for extending the reach of a piece of content is to repurpose it to speak to a different persona.

Slide1-2

For example, we recently created a neat infographic about SEO and Google algorithm changes for one of our segments, we'll call them Persona 1, in the awareness stage. Persona 1 is tech-savvy, always looking for ways to expand their knowledge, and tend to prefer visual content -- so an information-heavy, slightly advanced topic in infographic format is great for them.

Then there's Persona 2. They're not very up to date on Google algorithm changes, and are just trying to figure out SEO basics. So we can take some of the content from the original infographic, dice it up, and present it from an angle that explains how Google algorithms work and how they affect SEO, maybe going into a few examples of recent changes and what that means for a company's keyword strategy. This content could stay in the same format, just positioned differently -- or we could turn it into something else, like a short SlideShare presentation.

Repurposing Content to Reach Leads in Different Persona Segments, and Buyer Journey Stages

The best part about repurposing content is that you can use it to achieve multiple purposes at once. Think of it as a matrix (the graphic below should help you visualize). You can take an existing piece of content that has been performing well, and say, "Okay, I want to repurpose this to reach person X," where X is a combination of a persona and a stage in the decision-making process.

Slide3-1

In the example above, we started with a set of blog posts about SEO aimed at Persona 2 in the awareness stage. First, we repurposed those blog posts across the buyer's journey. We then turned it into a series of daily SEO tips that people would receive in their inbox upon signing up for those considering SEO for their business, and finally, offered an in-depth webinar based off of the original blog posts to target those people who needed content to help them make a decision.

Next, we repurposed those blog posts for different personas for the same stage (awareness), turning the same content into other easily consumable formats such as infographics and a SlideShare. But then we thought, hey, if we have the content, why not fill out the rest of that matrix? Essentially, we started with the blog posts for Persona 2, repositioned the content to align with the other two personas, and then created content in different formats to align with the different buyer journey stages for each persona.

By repurposing content we already had, we were able to get more bang for our buck -- in this case, a 9-for-1 deal. Bam. Now that's an efficient use of resources.

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Topics: Content Marketing

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