Communication approaches are in constant motion: changing, advancing and evolving. Technology has enabled it so.
And that’s all goodness. In recent times, we have gained the ability to contact our audience in a multitude of ways, with variations per audience over multiple platforms, with the same content.
It’s called repurposing, and it’s a cost-effective and time-saving process to manage messages and deliverables.
The concept of repurposing content is relatively new, and the word ‘repurpose’ only appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004. According to Merriam Webster, the word was first used in a written piece in 1984.
So what does repurposing mean and what are the benefits?
Content repurposing is a progressive concept that holds a simple definition: “To give a new purpose or use to”.
In essence, then, to repurpose means to recycle. And we all know that recycling is economical and labour saving. In the context of content, it means adapting a piece of work (writing, video, audio) and reusing it to appeal to different audiences, through different channels in various formats.
The way people consume information varies; some people lead with their visual sense and prefer to read and study written material; some are attracted to images and the layout of, say, an Infographic. Some people are auditory, and in this case, perhaps a podcast is their first choice medium. Considering these sensory preferences in our content planning will enable us to extend our audience reach by widening our communication mix.
Today we talk about ‘personas’ which is simply an in-depth customer profiling exercise. Creating personas is not a new concept, it’s merely a magnified look at our listener – an individual member of our target audience.
Profiling enables us to understand how to map messages, format and delivery more precisely to our audience. Repurposing allows us to tweak our original content to be congruent with our customers’ values, beliefs, behaviours and worldview.
Here’s an example: let’s say we have a whitepaper that we have used many times in its basic printed format at events. In effect, that white paper has reached only one audience, those at the event. By repurposing that whitepaper, say into a video or a podcast, a presentation or an ebook perhaps, we give ourselves access to a broader audience.
Also, we could summarise the whitepaper and post as a blog. Make the whitepaper into an infographic and tweet it across the ether to even more people. You see how you can make one piece of content stretch?
With content repurposing as part of your communication strategy, your content will go further, and you will end up creating less and marketing more.
Increased audience reach and cost savings are not the only benefits you’ll gain from repurposing. Think about it: the more people who see your content; the more shares across the web; the more you promote your brand and in turn increase brand awareness.
Researching and writing content takes much time and effort. If you take on the role yourself, you need to think about the opportunity cost – time taken away from doing other things. Repurposing existing content is far less onerous than starting a new deliverable from scratch. You’ll save money, time and effort.
In summary, there are three main methods of intervention: the message (written words), the format and the channel:
Keep these ideas in mind when you produce content, and consistently ask yourself this question; “In what other ways can I use this creation?”