Reuse, recycle, repurpose.
This advice flows freely from just about every content marketing expert out there. Easier said than done.
Reusing or repurposing content is not as simple as copying and pasting. It requires strategic thinking and imagination. Most importantly, you have to plan ahead to reuse later.
There are specific ingredients to content reuse we outlined in a just published SlideShare presentation. But if you’re wondering why reusing or repurposing content doesn’t come naturally to you, here are four possible reasons.
1. You don’t know what content you have or where it lives.
Key to reusing content marketing is knowing what content you have available to repurpose. Too many organizations have no idea what they’ve already produced. Even those that do, don’t know where that content currently resides.
If you want content reuse to come naturally, you need to run a content audit. Collect all the content your company has produced, what topics or themes it addresses, and where it lives. Once you know what you have, you’ll know what can be reimagined—and you’ll save hours that could have been wasted on making redundant content.
2. You don’t have all your people in place.
Whether you’re making something entirely new or making something old feel new, you need to know who is going to collaborate with you. This could involve the designers, the writers, even the lawyers.
Many repurposing efforts get bottlenecked because a lack of connection with channel owners. If you want to redistribute content to a new channel, you should get buy-in from that channel’s “owner.”
Workflows, approvals, process…they may sound like unfun words, but getting these down pat will spare you many unfun hours later.
3. You don’t have a consistent schedule.
Some organizations have no editorial calendar. Others have dozens. Both of these scenarios are bad.
Content reuse is a difficult practice when you don’t have visibility into the content that’s been produced, being produced, and will be produced. Keeping track of your efforts—and the steps that need to be completed for any campaign or content asset—in a central calendar makes finding new ways to promote, redistribute, and repurpose your content far easier.
If you don’t have an editorial calendar, get one.
4. You don’t know why you’re doing content in the first place.
Call it a “philosophical” crisis—but it’s definitely a crisis.
One of the main reasons content marketers struggle to get beyond producing one-off pieces is because they haven’t put together a documented content strategy. In fact, the majority of organizations haven’t.
This is a real problem. Without a documented strategy you can’t map objectives and goals to your content efforts, ensuring you’ll squeeze the maximum value out of every asset. And if that strategy isn’t known by your colleagues and collaborators, you’re sure to get a lot of independently produced, often redundant content flying around.
These four issues often hold up even the most well-intentioned content marketers. But with a little advanced planning, you can make sure your content is getting stretched to real multiple goals, objectives and teams.