10 approaches to repurpose content and squeeze out more value
When you have good evergreen content on your website, do you still need to create brand-new content?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you just need a way to freshen up the existing content. Repurpose content before you create new content.
If you’re afraid that evergreen content might be getting stale, how can you repurpose content, increase its value, and expand your audience?
Decide whether to refresh, re-divide, re-envision, or remove existing content.
These 10 approaches will help you repurpose content. Review your evergreen content at least once a year – with these ideas in mind.
1. Refresh long-form content with a rewrite.
Do you have good long-form content such as white papers and e-books? If so, consider these actions:
- Write snappy new benefit-laden headlines. A/B test old vs. new headlines.
- Add an executive summary of 3 sentences up front. In boldface.
- Add subheads, bullets, call-outs, and white space to boost scannability.
Taking this approach helped HP increase traffic to its existing long-form content by more than 30%.
2. Refresh evergreen content by adding a news hook.
Have recent stories in your industry evolved your customers’ point of view? If so, consider these actions:
- Monitor industry news coverage on key topics with a news alert such as Google News. When a story breaks, cite it in social media in real time, then point to your existing content with a link.
- When news on a relevant topic appears, write a new lead paragraph for existing content that refers to the news and adds a link to it.
- Express your company’s point of view about news stories. Is the story good for customers? Why or why not?
- “Newsjack” stories from competitors. Whatever the bad guys say in the news today, assert your company’s point of view. Add insightful comments to their story in real time.
3. Refresh by improving content readability.
You can test the readability of your text using the readability test built into Microsoft Word (under Tools, Spelling & Grammar).
To improve readability, simplify text. Use shorter words, shorter sentences, and shorter paragraphs.
Simplify the text to attain a lower Flesch-Kincaid grade level. The lower the grade level, the larger the audience of people who can read and comprehend your website.
For example, in the technology space, many websites are written at a 17th-grade level. Why is that a problem? Here’s the math:
- If your text reads at a 17th grade level, only 1% of Americans can comprehend it.
- If your text reads at the 8th grade level, half of Americans can comprehend it.
- This blog reads at a 7.2 grade level, so most Americans can comprehend it.
4. Re-divide: Combine short-form content to create long-form content.
Collect short-form content until you have enough to create long-form content.
- If you’ve been Tweeting on a topic, round up your top 5, 10, or 20 Tweets to create a new piece of content.
- Mash up existing videos to create a new, longer video.
- Combine 10 blogs on a topic into an e-book or white paper.
- Collect 100 blogs and turn them into a book.
5. Re-divide long-form content into short-form content.
Starting with long-form content such as a 10-page white paper, convert it into short-form content such as:
- 10 two-minute blogs
- 4 five-minute articles
- A series of two-minute videos
- A set of infographics.
Read long-form content with a highlighter in hand. Find pithy sentences and phrases worth Tweeting. Tweet them to point people to your long-form and short-form content.
6. Re-envision: add images to existing text content.
Most people scan Internet content. They don’t really read it. On average, only about one-fourth of text on a web page is read.
That’s because more than half of people spend less than 15 seconds active on a webpage.
To pull in readers, add images to text pages, about one per screen depth. Images invite scanners to keep moving down the page. Include captions with each image.
7. Re-envision content to make it visual first, text second.
If your website is text-heavy, lighten it up. Show before you tell.
Visual is the new headline. Take license to turn text into charts, graphs, images, photos, and infographics.
The most-read elements on a webpage are the headline, image, and caption below the image [link]. To enhance the meaning of images, include captions that tell the story.
8. Re-envision photos as videos.
You can easily transform still images into videos with a voiceover. People who won’t look at text-y web pages may be willing to watch your short video instead.
Why videos? The easier your content is to consume, the more likely people will consume it.
9. Remove webpages from your site.
On most websites, 10 to 20 pages generate 90% or more of the traffic. Some pages generate very little traffic.
Why keep them?
Consider removing the bottom 20% to 33% of content from your website.
Removing content is especially important when you plan to relaunch a website. There’s no need to bring along all your old baggage on the next trip.
10. Remove obsolete ideas from existing content.
Every year, gardeners remove deadwood from trees and bushes because it inhibits growth. Similarly, you need to get the deadwood off your website.
When the technology changes, the product information becomes obsolete, or the subject-matter experts leave the company, cut out the content that pertains to them.
Then freshen it up with information about the new technology, the new product, or the new subject-matter expert.
These 10 approaches will help you get the most out of the content you’ve already created.
You’ll make it look fresh and new to content users – increasing the odds they’ll explore more of your content.
Before you create any new content asset, make sure you’ve squeezed all the value out of the content you already have.
“How do you repurpose content that is still valuable?” is one of the top 100 questions that marketers ask about content marketing, based on a text analysis of 1,200 questions that marketers asked in content marketing workshops.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.