When a business thinks of crafting a content strategy, they may start brainstorming and break the whiteboard or could watch a Marvel Movie
It is admirable how a comic book series that started in 1939 before the age of the internet stood the test of time. In 2009, when Disney purchased it, they banked on the vast library of existing content that was just waiting to be repurposed.
The brand that now rakes in billions had its fair share of ups and downs, including bankruptcy. An incredibly effective blueprint that changed its trajectory is content repurposing.
With an intelligent strategy of content repurposing in play, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gifted the fictional world with ever-popular blockbusters.
So how did Marvel repurpose their content?
Blogs – These blogs give fans more information on the characters, cast and storyline.
Video – Interviews with the Marvel cast and crew, extended trailers and television ads are added to the website and YouTube playlists continuously.
Podcast – Regular content is pushed-out via "The Week In Marvel" podcast that revolves around the characters from comics to movies and new arrivals.
Images – There is a gallery of exclusive images from the events and movies on the website and Pinterest channel.
Game – Official multi-device games centred around the Marvel characters.
Social messages – A series of social posts pushed through their social channels, along with movie-specific pages to target specific character/movie fans.
Wiki – Marvel has its own "Marvel Wiki" that hosts a range of content on their movies in detail.
So what can any business learn from them?
Producing epic content and squeezing it
There is always something more that can be done with the existing content. If a brand invests in creating high-quality content, it is worth wringing every drop of value out of it.
Trying until it sticks
If the initial attempts at repurposing fail to provide substantial results, it is important to try different formats. It is only a matter of finding the platform and the kind of content that the target audience interacts with.
Consistent work on content pays over time
For decades, the niche of Marvel was only comic books. No one imagined them winning big in the business world. Every business has the potential to reach its goal by using its time and content wisely.
But why exactly should any business repurpose its content?
To get a boost in SEO
Businesses may target desired keywords by creating multiple pieces of content around the same topic. Taking the content to various platforms where it can be shared will, in turn, give quality links back to the business website where the anchor text in the link can also be controlled.
To reach new audience
It is practically possible to only attract a particular set of audience at any given platform. Turning the content into different formats will increase its reach to a different audience. As Michael Brenner of SAP puts it: “Multi-channel marketing provides the content our audiences are searching for, in all the places they search.”
To reinforce the message
For brands, it is essential to believe in the content they create and share. If that is the case, repeating this content in multiple forms helps it sink in.
Repetition may be an essential part of sending a message until it is imprinted in the audience’s mind. According to Marketing’s Rule of 7, buyers need to hear a message seven times before they finally close the deal. Repurposing goes a long way to reach this goal.
To gain authority
Successful businesses publishing quality content on a single subject over multiple platforms will always have an edge. It establishes them as a subject-matter expert and a gold standard in their industry.
There are many micro strategies to redistribute content. Let us look at some broader categories of assets that may benefit from repurposed content:
1. Add new information to evergreen content
There are some pieces of content that never go out of style. Thriving businesses focus on creating foundational content with in-depth research that continues to be useful for years. But like anything that is old and has been around for years, the content needs to regain its spark based on current trends.
Google has made it abundantly clear that relevant and recent content ranks higher than inaccurate and outdated content. Content may be updated even by fixing as little as spelling and grammar mistakes and optimising it for more relevant keywords. Tim Soulo at Ahrefs increased the traffic to one of his old posts by 486%.
1. This is also a good opportunity to eradicate any broken links and add new links to better resources.
2. Infographics are liked or shared three times more than any other content form. Adding them to a new/existing piece of content breathes new life into it.
3. Most blogs that include statistics use data from the current year. These numbers change with time. Timely updating of this data builds credibility and stands valuable, regardless of when they were published.
4. Images associated with a piece of content are registered in the viewers’ mind. Changing the design elements and adding fresh images to the content will make it eye-catching. The same content with a different visual may be reused on multiple occasions without giving away the old.
5. Videos are engaging and entertaining; they pull in viewers like no other medium. Turning the written content into an animated or cinematic video will boost content visibility by many folds.
2. Try the same content on a different platform
As the saying goes, "If you can’t get the audience to come to you, then go to the audience". A good approach for businesses with high-value content, but low visits, is to promote content on established platforms that cater to large audiences. This may readily gain traction.
Benjamin Hardy is a popular blogger with a massive readership. Since 2015, his articles have been read over 100 million times. This success did not come to him by posting content on his own blog. Recognising the possibilities that Medium (the public blogging space) offers, Ben decided to simply copy-paste his articles on Medium. Since Medium consistently pushes great, high-quality blog content to the front irrespective of the current following, Ben’s content got noticed for its quality and not by coincidence. This strategy earned him 400,000 subscribers, and the list keeps growing.
3. Compile blog posts into an e-book
Writing an e-book from scratch may seem like a daunting task especially, when the businesses have a limited budget, team or time. Brands that have been blogging for a while have enough useful content for an e-book. If there are a series of blog posts around the same topic, they could be turned into an e-book. Adding an introduction and closing section with minimal editing is less work compared to starting from scratch. E-books may boost the SEO standing of the brand and even elevate brand credibility and reach.
In May 2013, Copyblogger Media, with less than 40 employees, generated massive leads by improvising and sharing their existing content library. Until then, they had been offering an mail newsletter to gain more subscribers, which was a pretty standard process. In order to enhance their content, they launched a free membership site My.Copyblogger.com . This gave people free access to 15 e-books and a 20-part email course at that time. To their surprise, the free subscription page averaged a 67 percent conversion rate in the first seven weeks. They took what they had, polished it and offered a ton of value before asking for anything in return to build trust.
4. Create a podcast or transcribe an existing one
The reality about content is that some people engage better with written content, whereas others engage more with audio/visual content. This is why podcasts are incredibly engaging and a useful medium for businesses to connect with an entirely different audience segment. Podcasts are chunks of information packed with the perfect sprinkle of engaging entertainment and banter.
Consider Joe Rogan; he is one of the most widely heard podcasters. The Joe Rogan podcasts ,with its 11 years of content library, was purchased for more than $100 million by Spotify in 2020. In less than 30 minutes after the official announcement was made, Spotify stocks added more than $1.5 billion in market cap, showing 5% growth. The often-overlooked reason behind Joe’s massive popularity is how he stretches his podcast episodes by slicing and dicing them. This show repurposes podcast clips to produce content for Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets.
Instead of only utilising the audio, it is a good idea to transcribe the podcast episode and turn it into an SEO-rich blog post. People consume content differently. Bringing the podcast to a platform people enjoy increases the chance of getting noticed.
Interestingly, the opposite of this is also possible. Turning blogs into podcasts by having a narrative or conversation adds a personal and human touch to it. This is what the hosts of the Internet Business Mastery podcast, Jeremy and Jason, did.
As an experiment, they turned their blog posts into audio recordings. They kept it fairly simple by reading the blog post that they had already written. Recording this existing content took very little time on their part, but their podcast downloads increased by over 60%.
5. Circulating content on social media
Social media is a beast that feeds on content. Stepping back and pulling high-performing content from closed channels like blogs and newsletters to more open platforms on the front line will open up more ways to get engagement. The key is to find the right channel, decide which content is worth reusing and share that content in the best-suited format for the given social platform.
The following pointers may further clarify the use of various media:
1. Pulling snippets from webinars and live streams and sharing them as small videos.
2. Turning blog statistics and e-book data into eye-catching images and infographics.
3. Creating micro-blogs based on articles and case studies.
4. Testimonials may be used as social media posts to reassure people of their purchasing decision.
5. Thought leadership quotes from blogs and podcast episodes make a good tweet or might be turned into an image.
6. Well-researched subjects can be turned into a presentation to be used during webinars or on SlideShare.
7. Converting meaty blog information into well-designed infographics for socials is an exciting way to turn information into lead magnets.
8. YouTube videos can be transcribed into podcasts and articles.
9. Sharing the best of blog content through newsletters.
In 2015, Buffer embarked on a bold experimentation where they stopped publishing new content for 30 days and focused on repurposing and refreshing their content from the archives.
During the “No New Content Challenge”, the team decided to repurpose two to three pieces of content per week and turn them into audio, videos, infographics, presentations and e-books to be shared on platforms they actively use. The results were entirely unexpected - a growth of over 4% in organic search traffic.
6. Repurposing for case studies
Case studies serve as incredible social proof for a business’ product or services. It is the best way to humblebrag because every bit of it is authentic and well-deserving. According to Demand Gen Report, 78% of buyers make purchasing decisions based on case studies, as this is the type of content that converts at the highest rate. A few points to consider here are:
1. Certain sections of case studies may be turned into testimonials to be used across various platforms.
2. Businesses may use certain sections of case studies in blogs, webinars or e-books to showcase a real-life example of problem-solving in a certain situation.
3. Case studies also make for good podcast content when discussed in the light of a particular subject.
4. Using case studies in newsletters is also a good example of showcasing the expertise of a business to an audience that is already invested in the brand and is on the edge of turning into a customer/client.
Kantar is a leading research, data and insight consulting firm. To showcase the work they did for Samsung, they turned their case study into an animated video. This form of case study proved extremely effective for a service-based offering. The nature of their work was complicated, but the video described the process, findings and results in a quick, story-heavy video.
8. Assembling hub pages to centralise access to content
A content hub may be vaguely defined as a curated collection of branded content. Readers want more accessibility and freedom to find the most valuable content. A content hub solves this challenge by introducing responsive design and logical structure to the branded content by bringing content from every third party platform to the brand's page.
Most businesses that have been around for some time have their content scattered everywhere. This could be blog posts and articles on business websites, guest platforms, social media, email campaigns, videos or podcast episodes hosted on external platforms.
Visitors may easily dive deep and explore a specific theme improving the quality and quantity of inbound leads generated through the discovery process. From a SEO point of view, a content hub lends authority to the brand as the visitors identify the brand as a thought leader.
The OPEN forum hub from American Express is a pioneer in this aspect as it has been around for over a decade now. It is considered a respected source of information for small-business owners and start-ups. OPEN forum curates expert advice, trend reports, research papers and case studies on a number of relevant topics. Notably, the platform allows business owners to connect with one another, fostering a highly supportive community.
The common goal with repurposing is to grow in the favour of search engines and humans. Consumer appetites for content continue to change and evolve. Even as the algorithms keep changing and analytics tools become more sophisticated, the demand for value-packed and relevant content is only growing. Repurposing and revamping existing content should be a part of every thriving content marketing strategy. It is time for content operation teams to operate smarter, not harder. Repurposing will always be intensive in time, money and cost.