One of the most common concerns for businesses considering content marketing is this:
“I would start a blog/newsletter/campaign…but how will I possibly come up with enough ideas to keep things going?”
Then there’s this one:
“We’ve got this great new idea for a newsletter/blog/microsite, but, holy crap, where is the content going to come from?”
Sound familiar? If you’re working with or even thinking about content marketing, you’ve probably run into one or both of these hesitations…and you’re most definitely not alone.
Idea generation and content creation can be tough to wrap your mind around. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute’s research consistently finds producing engaging content to be one of the top challenges cited by marketers.
So, here’s the good news:
There’s one simple thing you can start doing right away to reduce the burden of both idea generation and content creation.
What is this magical, strategic thing, you ask?
It’s a little something called re-use.
Content re-use: what is it?
Just like re-using a water bottle, your sister’s hand-me-down-clothes, or that old bookshelf you sanded down and re-stained, content re-use is about getting more bang for your buck, reducing waste, and making sure things keep getting used until they lose their usefulness.
In the case of content, re-use might look something like this:
Example one: re-using content that already exists
Let’s say you are a large homebuilder and your company has been publishing a quarterly magazine for members/buyers for the past couple years. Let’s also say that someone in the office has been throwing around the idea of starting a blog targeted at those same members/buyers. They’ve made a good case for the blog’s value for both SEO and building customer trust. But the content team is already busy and the whole thing seems like a big undertaking and what’s a savvy marketing manager to do?
Re-use, I say!
In this scenario, it’s pretty easy to see that the content already written for magazine issues is something that can now be repurposed (with very few tweaks) for the web. The content team will still have to generate ideas and write new content, but the load, particularly at first, will be a whole lot lighter with that existing content waiting in the wings.
Example two: planning for content re-use up front
Now, what if the above homebuilder was starting everything from scratch? What if there was no print publication full of meaty, wonderful content?
This (among other places) is where content strategy comes in. Because, among other things, content strategy can help you plan up front for content re-use.
In our second scenario, let’s say the business has decided they need a blog, a newsletter, and a really nice eBook that will help them build their prospect list. Let’s also say that none of these things exist in any form within the business.
When you stack all that content up—monthly newsletter + bi-weekly blog posts + 30-page eBook—it feels daunting.
But…if you look at how you can re-use or repurpose content across those channels, a different picture (with different workflow, staffing needs, and editorial challenges) starts to emerge. And I’m willing to bet that that different picture is a whole heck of a lot more manageable than the original vision.
So, what now?
Okay, so you get it. Content re-use is a godsend—whether you’re starting with one content marketing effort already in place or zero-zilch-nada. But where to begin?
That’s what we’re going to talk about next week.
We’ll give you two simple starting points: one for those of you who are already doing some content marketing and would love to know how to free up some time and lessen the idea-generation load with a smart content re-use plan, and the other for those of you who are starting from scratch (and also want to lessen the idea-generation load and free up some time).
And don’t forget to leave us your own tips, tricks, and pressing questions in the comments.