After reading the word “lazier” in the headline, you must've thought: “Wait, what? How can you even suggest that? Do you know what you're asking me to do?”
OK, before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let's clear up a few things first.
By “lazier,” I'm not talking about copying others' content word-for-word. That's a reprehensible thing to do, no matter how you look at it. It's awful to watch a blog post that took you several hours to write and edit get scraped and turned into white-space filler by a random Internet website.
What I mean by “lazy” is chilling out on the whole “cough up one original post a day” method of blogging. Sure, doing that by your lonesome is great and all, but at some point, your “idea well” is going to become dryer than the driest parts of Antarctica's Dry Valleys. After all, there are only so many things you can say on a subject without repeating what's already been said on 37,840,171,347 other websites.
In that case, you're left with no other option but to repurpose your content.
As the name suggests, “repurposing” is changing your content in such a way that its purpose will change. For example, let's say you crafted an anti-smoking blog post aimed at middle-aged people. If you want to target teenage smokers next, you can reuse the ideas from the original post, rewrite it in a way that teenagers understand, and bam! You have a new post that is just as original as the well, original.
The example above demonstrates the most obvious benefit of repurposing: Time. As you know, coming up with original blog post ideas on a regular basis uses up a lot of time (not to mention brainpower). Now, this isn't a problem if you're a hobbyist who updates only once every month. But if you're running a business that's heavily dependent on blog marketing, you can't afford to have a hobbyist's mentality
Also, repurposing helps you:
1. Earn more money.
In business, “time is money” is almost literal. Every hour wasted banging your head against the wall for “inspiration” is a chip away at your bottom line. Conversely, every hour saved by repurposed content is an extra hour for marketing, networking, and other more productive activities.
2. Boost your SEO rankings.
Every piece of repurposed content — especially the ones published on other sites — can be linked back to your site. That gives your blog a major boost in search engine rankings and makes you more noticeable to your target readers. Also, Google likes updated material so that you can use that to your advantage as a repurposer.
3. Reassert your authority.
If your speculative post called “Why There Are No Non-Biological Differences Between Men and Women” turns out to be right 20 years from now, how can you say “I called it!” with confidence when that post is buried six feet underneath your archives?
4. Maximize your content.
You spent hours, days even, to get your posts right. It's only fair to squeeze every last bit of juice out of them by marketing them like crazy, right?
Repurposing to Draw in Bigger Audiences
There are three types of repurposing: (1) changing the format of your content; (2) changing the target audience of your content; and (3) a combination of 1 and 2.
To illustrate No. 1, let's say you have a blog made up of text-only content. Your traffic isn't as healthy as you want it to be, and you wonder why. Then, on one of your blog posts, a reader comments: “You know, I wish I could ‘read' your posts while I do my rounds on the treadmill every morning.” It hits you: Why not make a podcast version of my posts?
As for No. 2, let's repurpose (heh) everything in the example above — except for Ms. Random Commenter. Let's say she says instead: “This looks cool and all, but I'm only 17 years old, and I only understand, like, half of what you're saying.” In response, you write a post called: “The Teenager's Guide to (Insert Topic Here).”
Or, maybe Ms. RC says: “Hi, I'm a 17-year-old girl who likes to read your blog and make rounds on the treadmill every morning. Can you, like, make a version of this that I can listen to on my iPod?” So you upload a file called “The_Teenagers_Guide_to_Random_Topic.mp3”, and that's the end of the matter.
Regardless of whether you have commenters like this or not, it won't hurt to think, “Hey, maybe there's someone other than my target audience reading my blog,” and put your blogger feelers out there. Chances are your instincts may be right.
How to Repurpose Your Blog's Content
By now, you might — and should! — be thinking: “Great! Now, how do I do this whole repurposing thing?” Again, repurposing has nothing to do with plagiarism, and everything to do with maximizing your limited business resources – while respecting your readers' sensibilities and intelligence.
Sounds like too much work? It can be unless you do the following:
1. Plan your repurposing.
Ask these questions before you repurpose an idea: Will your target audience be A-OK with your repurposing? What do you hope to achieve by repurposing? If you answer “Yes” to the first question and can give a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) answer for the second question, you're good to go.
2. Find a topic to repurpose.
The easiest topics to repurpose are the evergreen and general ones since you can elaborate on/make a blog series out of them. You can also keep an eye out for your viral, old-as-Methuselah posts, or your competitor's new-as-freshly-delivered-pizza ones, and start from there.
3. Figure out what new angle you're going to take.
If you've already figured out your audience, this one should be easy. For example, that dry-as-autumn-leaves piece on “how to save money” can be written in a fun, lighthearted manner for Millennials. You can even update, add to, or revise your old posts, although that would be more “revamping” than “repurposing.”
4. Pick another content type.
Sometimes, it's not so much the angle you want to change but the presentation. You can transform a blog post into a podcast, like the case of Ms. RC earlier. You can also create infographics, slideshows, Powerpoint presentations, and even e-books out of your old posts.
That said, don't go choosing a new content type just because. Figure out what kind of learners your readers are, and the “right” content type for them will come to you. For example, visual learners love visual content (obviously); auditory learners will appreciate podcasts and videos, and kinesthetic learners will have tons of fun with interactive websites. Take your pick.
- Find a place for your repurposed content. Can't decide where to post your repurposed content? Don't know how to create slideshows, Powerpoint presentations, and other things of the sort? No worries; Garrett Moon of CoSchedule.com has a great article on 50+ places to repurpose your content.
- Promote, promote, promote. Repurposing might take less effort than creating original content from scratch, but it takes effort nonetheless. Post it on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or other social networks you might have, so your efforts won't go down the drain.
Yes, repurposing is, in a sense, lazy. You're just tearing down and rebuilding ideas again and again like Play-Doh. But between that and being in a perpetual state of distress due to a perpetually dried-up idea well, you'd be better off as a business person if you choose the former.
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Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on finding happiness and success in life and at work. You can find her dishing out advice with a side of wit on Twitter and her career advice blog, Punched Clocks.