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Content Repurposing: The Modular Approach to Marketing

SEO Blog
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If your company aims to become a thought leader in its industry, it needs to (a) publish excellent content and (b) distribute that content. We’ve written extensively about how to create excellent content on a regular schedule, but less about distribution.

Content can be distributed through organic channels like SEO, e-mail, social media, and webinars as well as advertising channels. However, each channel requires a different type of content – short, snappy tidbits for social media, medium-length teasers for email, and deep, thoughtful pieces for SEO & webinars. It can be painstaking to orchestrate so much content, and as a result, most businesses simply don’t do it.

There is a process known as content repurposing that solves this problem by approaching content creation in a more modular way. This article begins by defining content repurposing, then provides the framework for integrating it into your marketing organization. It also includes two repurposing formulas taken from real campaigns our agency has conducted.

Content Repurposing, Defined

Content repurposing is the strategic extraction of multiple pieces of content from a single, larger piece of source content. When executed properly, it allows businesses to produce a lot of valuable content efficiently and lower the cost of customer acquisition.

For example, your company could produce an Industry Trend Report that covers 6 trends. From that source, it could then publish a blog article on each trend, so long as there is enough interest in each trend as a discrete idea. It could also extract 1 e-mail newsletter and 7 social media posts from the original report. In total, the source content will have produced 14 additional pieces.

Content repurposing is often compared to concepts like “content recycling” and “content spinning” but those phrases imply a lower quality approach than what is contemplated here. Our goal is to end up with multiple pieces of impactful writing rather than just content for its own sake. For repurposing to be effective, genuine expertise and effort must be put into the original source, and each extracted piece must receive individualized attention as well – though not nearly as much as it would without the source content. As such, content repurposing is a high effort, high reward approach.

The Content Repurposing Framework

The framework for content repurposing is as follows:

  1. Generate a long, substantive piece of source content (~2,500 words) that can be easily divided into parts.
    1. Avoid listicles; prospects don’t take them seriously
    2. Example titles: “Charlotte, NC Residential Real Estate Market Trends, Q4 2023”; “The Top CRM Software in 2024: A Definitive Comparison”; “The 4 Pillars of E-Commerce UX”
    3. Each part must be of distinct interest to prospects
    4. Each part must map to a keyword that autofills in a dropdown list of 10 suggestions when you begin typing the phrase into Google
    5. There should be at least 3 visuals per source content, including one that distills most of the value of the piece into a single graphic
  2. Gate the source content in order to add contacts to your e-mail marketing database 
    1. Link the source content on your home page as well as at the end of blog posts, e-mail newsletters, and certain social posts
    2. Place the content on its own page that contains an inviting summary of the piece and bullet points its highlights; require an e-mail address to download it
    3. Track e-mail sign ups to each piece of source content on your site as a micro-conversion
  3. Create a blog post from each part of the source content.
    1. Each blog should stand alone without the source content
    2. Blogs can use key points and graphics from the source content but shouldn’t take any sentences word-for-word
    3. The source content should be linked at the end of the blog as Further Reading
  4. Create a social media post from each insight within the source content
    1. Social media pieces do best when they’re either (a) personal anecdotes relating an interesting, timely idea, or (b) linked to an interesting, original graphic
    2. Successful social posts come from people, not companies
  5. Create an email newsletter 
    1. ~300 words
    2. Should highlight one overarching insight from the source content and state how readers will be affected by it and what they should be doing about it
    3. Citing specific names of companies or people attracts greater interest
    4. Within the text, there should be links to (a) 1-2 blog posts, (b) the source content, and (c) a sales page for your company, giving readers a range of conversion opportunities

Maintaining a Modular Content Library

As your marketing team creates more and more source content, you’ll begin to accumulate visuals that can be re-used to spice up future pieces. An excellent chart, graph, or table is usually relevant across related topics. Repurposing graphics provides readers with enormous value because it allows you to put multiple excellent graphics into a single new piece, combining old visuals with new ones. Plus, most readers won’t have read all your pieces so they’re unlikely to have encountered previous graphics.

Once you have, say, 10 pieces of source content, there will be enough visuals to choose from that every article can be chock full of value.

Content Repurposing Formulas: 2 Examples

Below are 2 examples of content repurposing taken from real campaigns conducted by our agency.

Source Content Repurposed Content Notes
Comparison Report
  • 5 “vs” blog articles comparing software companies to one another
    • Head-to-hand comparisons based on comparing search volume of each “vs” search
    • Include an analysis at the end of each piece recommending our software as an alternative
  • 3 Linkedin posts; one announcing the comparison report, and the other two featuring the blogs with the most popular head-to-head matchups
  • 1 email newsletter announcing the comparison report and giving key findings
  • 1 gated content piece, the source content itself, which features a comparison table describing each software in the context of 8 features that we chose to favor our software as an alternative
  • Authoritative comparison of 6 companies in a crowded software space: the 5 with the highest market share plus our software business
Industry Forecast
  • 5 “thought piece” blog articles describing a single aspect of the industry’s future
    • Article titles derived from keywords that autofill related to the industry, e.g. “future of __” “___ latest technology” or “___ innovations”
  • 5 Linkedin posts, one for each blog that summarizes the main insight or aspect of the future, linking to the relevant blog post
  • 5 e-mail newsletters released on an every-two-week schedule, linking to both the blog and the gated content piece
  • 1 gated content piece, the source content itself, which features 5 aspects of the industry that will change in the time period defined in the forecast
  • A prediction of the industry’s future over the next decade, broken down into 5 aspects which are depicted in a simple, colorful diagram at the top of the report. The main points of change within each aspect (maximum of 3) are listed in a larger, more detailed version of the same diagram later in the piece
  • The predictions are backed up with graphs and charts showing the direction certain quantitative aspects of the industry have gone (e.g. market share, # of units sold), interspersed throughout the 5 sections of the piece

Managing The Content Creation Process

The content repurposing process relies on an ability to create excellent source content. If you don’t have that ability in-house – or if you do, but managing it is too complex – many businesses outsource this process to a thought leadership marketing agency.

Our firm is one such agency. We put together a team of specialists – in your subject matter, content creation, editing, graphic design, and SEO – to create fantastic original pieces of source content, then subdivide it as demonstrated above and publish it on your website. The result is a stream of keyword-targeted content that Google will promote organically, leading to a consistent flow of new sales prospects.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, you can reach out to us here.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.