The Dos and Don'ts of B2B Content Reuse

The Dos and Don'ts of B2B Content Reuse
Michele Linn - Tue Mar 30, 2010 @ 06:01AM
Comments: 138

The Dos and Don'ts of B2B Content ReuseOne trend in B2B marketing is repurposing content. For instance, you can make your eBook into a podcast, a series of blog posts, an article, etc.

Content reuse is a great idea because effective content is time-consuming to produce, and you want to extend its reach as much as possible. And, by providing the same message in different formats, you are telling a consistent story and communicating in ways that people find useful (i.e. some people prefer tex while others prefer audio or video).

However, not all repurposing tactics are not created equal. There's a huge difference between providing new ways for your audience to consume your content and telling the same story . . . again and again. Here are my dos and don'ts for repurposing content.

DON'T simply put the same content in different channels.
DO think about how users in that channel want to interact with that content.

When you reuse content, you often need to change it so it works with the new format: text to audio, audio to video, etc. For instance, if you have a white paper you want to repurpose, you may be tempted to create a podcast of someone reading the white paper. That's not going to be very compellig. A much better idea is to think about what someone would want in an audio format. Depending on your audience, you may want to add more stories and slim down any technical info. You could then direct people to your website where they could download corresponding checklists, graphs, etc.

As another example, if you repurpose your content for a mobile audience, you need to think about how this audience wants to consume content. As Christina "CK" Kerley so aptly says in a great post about B2B mobile marketing (read the post for some more speciic suggestions):

"It's not that B2B marketers should stop creating text-heavy content, it's that they'll ALSO need to create content that shows more, tells less. The BIG action point here is that B2Bs need to constantly consider the small mobile-viewing experience by developing marketing and sales content that is optimized for handheld screens."

DON'T ask, "What more can I create?"
DO ask, "How can I give my readers a new way of understanding a key issue?"

As you are well aware, your prospects are inundated with information, and providing them with more content isn't the answer. I am a firm believer that only remarkable and useful content will stand out, so I like to think about content reuse by asking, "How can I give my readers a new way of understanding a key issue?" Whenever you repurpose, think about how you can package your content to make it more useful.

DON'T recycle the same content again and again.
DO customize your content for a certain vertical or place in the buying cycle.

We've all seen this: someone has one piece of the content that they use again and again. It makes you question, "Does this company have anything new to say?" Instead of looking at how you can promote one piece of content in as many places as possible, think about how you can tailor it to address a specific audience, vertical or issue. The opportunities are endless.

DON'T consider content repurposing as an afterthought.
DO plan a way to repurpose your content from the start of a project.

Stephanie and I were talking about content reuse the other day, and she reminded me of a key point: you need to plan for content reuse at the beginning of any content project. If you tell yourself that you'll repurpose this piece "one of these days," you're likely never to do it.

Ardath Albee has a fantastic post on the "Rule of 5" in which she suggests that "every content development undertaking should produce content assets that can be used at least 5 different ways." She also outlines some ideas for planning for content re-use before you start researching the project.

What other suggestions or pet peeves do you have about content reuse? Share them in the comments below.

Related posts:

About the author: Michele Linn is a B2B content strategist who helps companies create content and think through how their B2B prospects will consume it (from registration to promotion). You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28473961@N02/3128745185/

Comments: 138

Comments

1. Bryony Thomas  |  my website   |   Tue Mar 30, 2010 @ 07:27AM

Some great questions to get people thinking sensibly about re-purposing. I think it's true to say that I've seen far more under-used content than I have mis-used content. The point you make about thinking of re-purposing from the out-set is spot on, and should be built into every marketing execution plan as a matter of course. Here are the top 20 things I think a B2B marketer should consider doing with each piece of content: http://www.clear-thought.co.uk/in_thought/art/25/one-piece-of-content/

2. John White  |  my website   |   Tue Mar 30, 2010 @ 07:06PM

Yes, and as a matter of fact, those who generate the content - writers, scriptwriters, authors, reporters - need to think about this as much as those who manage the channels - Web teams, mobile content aggregators, webinar producers, PR managers.

3. Michele Linn   |   Wed Mar 31, 2010 @ 09:11AM

@ Bryony: Thanks for the link. Lots of good ideas in your article. I also agree that you can use content for 6 months or a year or longer depending on what it is. You can also update your older content to make it relevant and timely while extending its shelf life.

@John: Great point!

4. John Bolyard  |  my website   |   Sat Jan 08, 2011 @ 06:36AM

Michele - I think the best takeaway in your article for me is to start creating your content with repurposing in mind. That saves so much time down the road and, I think, creates better content.

5. Michele Linn   |   Wed Jan 12, 2011 @ 12:54PM

John,
With all of the time it takes to create great content, I think repurposing is key - it's more efficient and it just makes good business sense.

Thanks for stopping by,
Michele

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