How To Reuse Your Content Marketing

20 Experts Weigh In On Repurposing Content Marketing

Recycled toys To maximize your content marketing reach while limiting resource investment, repurpose or reuse content creating multiple pieces from each effort. Each element of content must be re-imagined so that it’s contextually relevant, provides new information, and is adapted to specific venues without appearing as duplicate content to the search engines.

Todd Wheatland, of Kelly Services and author of The Marketer’s Guide to Slideshare, recommends a twenty to one ratio for each major content marketing effort. That is, each major content creation effort should yield 20 variations of the content each tailored for a specific need.

Since feeding the content marketing beast with more and more content while keeping within a limited budget is difficult, here are how twenty content marketing experts responded to the question: “How do you define repurposed/reimagined/reused content and how do you refer to it?”

  1. Repurposed/reused content can take myriad forms – from a speech you’ve written and the slides you used during a keynote turning into a podcast; the podcast turning into a short video clip; turning that into an ebook; which evolves into a business book; which gets broken down and chapterized into blog posts; etc. The possibilities are endless really. You can also dig deep into your blog catalogue, find the posts that really resonated with your community and re-visit/repurpose them. Perhaps your outlook on the subject has changed, some technology has advanced, or new science or statistics have been released about an industry or topic. At Spin Sucks we don’t publish any work  (for a reasonable length of time) that’s already been published elsewhere – including Gini Dietrich’s. However, if a perviously published article has been updated and/or reformatted, we will publish, but always with a note indicating that a version of the post appeared elsewhere.  Lindsay Bell of Spin Sucks.
  2. I can’t – the contexts are far too varied nowadays. Some repurposed/reimagined/reused work is an amazing new creative leap; others a complete rehash; and still others either are (or feel) offensive to the original creator, or downright illegal. Dan Blank of We Grow Media.
  3. I would say we more “re-purpose” content than re-use it. Defined as taking content designed for one use case and modifying it to fit a different use case. We often do this with content created for sales people that we want to use for a broader customer audience. Michael Brenner of SAP and the B2B Insider blog.
  4. Reimagined content is taking something that has already been created and creatively doing something with it beyond simply recycling. Took a lot of photos at an event? Why not make a slide show with music and voice over. That is one simple example, but the key is to get creative with taking assets you already have created and doing something new with them. C.C. Chapman author of Author of Amazing Things Will Happen and co-author of  Content Rules
  5. Repurposing content enables marketers to create multiple pieces of content that can be used on different platforms in a way that is contextually relevant. The caveat is that the content must differ from the original or you’re just copying or creating duplicate information. By planning for reuse and creating the various pieces at one time, marketers can minimize costs. Heidi Cohen of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
  6. Repurposed content is crucial to feed the content beast. I mentally think of repurposed content in a pyramid-like structure.  At the top of the pyramid, you have the heavy duty time consuming content such as a physical book in print.  Below that you have long form content such as eBooks and whitepapers.  Under that you have infographics, webinars and presentations which are easier to produce than the level above it.  Next you have mid-form content such as blog posts.  The base of the pyramid consists of short-form curated content, and microblog posts, and social media posts.   Repurposed content covers the same set of ideas but in different shapes and sizes at different rungs of the pyramid.   Pawan Deshpande of Curata.
  7. The reuse and repurposing of imagery has always been a part of the visual arts, although more so in the post-modern era. Sometimes, the reuse of a well-known image can be packed with meaning – for instance, if I was to reuse an image of a celebrity the way Andy Warhol did. In other, more subtle ways, the reuse of a piece of content can be one in which the content is incrementally improved upon.  Humans are alone among their evolutionary companions in that they can grow upon previous information, using something called cultural ratcheting. This ability is what enables us to create increasingly complex technological advances! Ric Dragon of Dragon Search and Author of Social Marketology.
  8. I define it as optimizing existing content to better align with an audience, or time, or place and I refer to that as smart. I believe in it so much that while now and then a repurposing idea strikes me after I’ve published something, more often, I’ve planned for it. I tell a story of strategically creating “chapterized” eBooks that can become articles and other things for a sustained period time in a slide deck and article that may be my most well received story to date.   Barry Feldman - Author of The Stud in Your Content Marketing Stable a free e-book.
  9. Content reuse has been discussed by publishers for years, but I feel like the concept has lost its relevance. Content reuse was critical when publishers were creating content for a single purpose – an article in a magazine; a white paper; a video for the website. Today, smart publishers don’t focus on one distribution platform. Content is designed for multiple channels. A single video may be used on your website, segmented for multiple blog posts and posted to your YouTube channel. A research study may be the centerpiece of a webinar, several blog posts and an email campaign. So, rather than content reuse, I think smart publishers and brands are looking at multiple channels and applications for content from the start. Barry Graubert of Content Matters.
  10. I think of content reuse as content recycling: taking pieces of existing content to make, create or develop something new. At Paper.li content reuse is really at the core of our service. We provide users an easy and efficient way to automatically create something new out of existing socially shared content. In our case, it is in the form of an online newspaper. And although the paper itself can be seen as a ‘new creation’ in a sense, it is fundamentally repurposed content that has already been shared socially and is taking on a new form and will ultimately be shared and consumed in new ways. Kelly Hungerford of Paper.li.
  11. Repurposed content is content that was once meant for one thing and with a little adjusting finds a new home or audience. Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Author of  Likeable Business and  Likeable Social Media.
  12. Reprised content (that’s what I call it) is the restatement or reinforcement of a content theme through a different medium or form.  By choosing a different medium, length, voice, or focus, a single idea can strike a different chord, with a different audience, and appeal to different cognitive styles. Michael Kolowich of KnowledgeVision.
  13. My definition would be taking an existing piece of content that has already been presented in one fashion and publishing it (or the majority of it) in a new way. For example, recording a live webinar and republishing it as a video. At Vertical Measures we refer to this as “repurposing”.  Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate.
  14. I like to call it “recombinant content,” and I always refer to it as “Thanksgiving turkey.”Think about Thanksgiving dinner – the turkey is the main event. But there are invariably leftovers that are recycled into turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey hash, or maybe even turkey chile. So too can “main event” content: a speech, live event, product launch, anything big or long form be broken into constituent parts for extended use across channels and over time: video on YouTube, images on Pinterest, an infographic, a blog post – the possibilities are vast. Careful planning saves content marketers from having to stare at a blank page day after day.  Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter and Author of Content Marketing and The Truth About Search Engine Optimization.
  15. Great question. I wouldn’t lump repurposed in with reimagined or reused. I think repurposed is something you do with your own content while reimagined/ reused would be pulling inspiration from someone else’s. Austin Kleon has a great quote in his book Steal Like an Artist; “All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” I tend to agree. I think it’s more about being an original thinker who can pull inspiration from existing ideas and turn them into something that is unique or interpreting that idea from a differnt point of view. Either way attribution is vital and there’s definitely a line that can be crossed when it comes to reusing other folks content. A small bit of text from the original with a link or two back is about as much content as I would be comfortable “reusing” before I turn on my own original thinking and reimagined the piece. Jason Miller of Marketo.
  16. Unless it is presented in a different format than the original version, I see it as duplicate content.  Neil Patel of Kiss Metrics.
  17. Taking a brand’s content asset and slicing/dicing that content into additional content assets.  A better method is to plan for repurposing.  I love what Kelly Services does, where they decide on a story idea as part of their content strategy and set a minimum goal of 20 different ways to tell that story in different channels. Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute and Author of Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers.
  18. I usually just refer to it as repurposed content.  My example would be using a 20-30 minute content to generate 2-3 highlight blog posts which also have the podcast content embedded. Nate Riggs.
  19. I subscribe to the Martha Stewart school of content reuse. You’ll notice the impressive content synergies she achieves across brands and channels, online, broadcast and print. I believe every asset should have a second life and subsequent use. Webinars become blog posts become podcasts; presentations become infographics become images; old-school presentations become videos become video clips. Raw interview notes become Q&As become bylined articles. Design content with their subsequent use in mind and you’ll find that you’re creating a reuse architecture where atomic elements easily fit into a variety of assets and channels. Feel free to create beautiful, towering content structures, but build them with the equivalent of Lego blocks and you’ll see the value of your efforts multiply. Jake Sorofman of Gartner.
  20. I’m always looking for ways to be more productive without having to work more. A great example is repurposing something I’ve written or that someone in my company created. For instance, I could take a video transcript and turn it into a thought leadership post or a Q&A. A webinar transcript is great fodder for a conclusions paper, and conference presentations are perfect on SlideShare. It’s such an efficient use of resources. Waynette Tubbs of SAS.

When it comes to content marketing reuse, you need to re-imagine your content. This can take a variety of different approaches but one thing’s for certain, it has to be unique not duplicate content!

How do you define content reuse or repurposing? Please add your definitions and examples in the comment section below.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

NOTE: All book links are Amazon affiliate links.


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

    I’m loving this series Heidi.

    • heidicohen

      Barry–Thank you for your participation. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • kencarroll

    Heidi,
    You certainly put a lot of work into these posts. And these days people read quite often without taking the time to comment. How do you measure the ROI on that kind of time investment?

    • heidicohen

      Ken-

      Thank you for commenting. Please understand that while comments show a level of engagement, they’re not a reliable metric for tracking ROI.

      Investment in blogging (or other form of content marketing) should be tracked back to your goals.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.commstrategies.com/ Joel Don

    Heidi,

    Years ago I read an article in Writer’s Digest magazine (pre-Internet) that shared the secrets of the freelance journalist. Considering how long it was taking me to research and write 2,000-word features for magazines, I needed a solution to higher productivity and efficiency. The article said the most financially successful freelancers were skilled at essentially re-purposing research/interviews for one article into five. Each publication would receive an original piece with a distinct angle, approach and narrative. The Google Panda police were not necessary; we knew it was a career-limiting move to sell the same text to different magazines.

  • http://www.ikf.co.in/ I Knowledge Factory

    Heidi, these tips are really awesome and can do wonders if done properly. Thanks for the post I really enjoyed reading the post and would use the tips to know practically how much beneficial it would be.