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EPISODE 13: How to Repurpose Old Content for New Situations

by Dec 22, 2020Podcast, Repurposing

In this episode we will cover:

  • What content repurposing means
  • How to make repurposing a part of your content strategy
  • Questions to ask yourself when repurposing content

Does your content make you sound like a broken record? That’s actually a good thing! While saying the same things over and over can feel tedious to you, it actually helps your audience. It lets them know what you’re an expert in!

Plus, let’s be real here — EVERYONE isn’t seeing EVERYTHING you post. With all the content that’s out there, things are always going to slip through the cracks. But that’s an opportunity for your business. If you’ve already written something transformative, why reinvent the wheel? Share it again instead!


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What kind of content can be repurposed
  • How to incorporate repurposing into your content strategy
  • 4 key questions to ask yourself when repurposing content


Remember, you don’t always have to create something totally new. Let your content embrace the broken record!

After you’ve listened to the episode, tag us on Instagram @northstarmessaging to tell us something about your business that’s worth repeating!



Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi… Marie:
…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity. <bJessi:
Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals. Marie:
And if you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.
All right, welcome to another episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. We're talking today about how to repurpose the old content for new situations so that you can get a lot of great mileage out of that content that you've already created. Jessi:
And we want to start off by addressing a couple of mindset tweaks because when it comes to content, there are a lot of things we may have bought into and ways that we may feel about content and we hear this a lot, things like, "I should always be putting something new out there." "I've run out of things to say, so I need to come up with something new to say," or, "I don't want to sound like a broken record and keeps saying the same thing over and over again." And we want to start by telling you that no matter how much you may be feeling that way, it's not necessarily true and releasing those thoughts is actually going to help you a lot as far as allowing your content to go further and to make sure it meets the goals that you have set for it instead of creating a piece of content, putting it out there, and then it falls to the back of the fresh content you're creating, gathers dust and doesn't end up serving its purpose to as the degree it could. Marie:
Exactly. I want to say one other thing about this mindset piece, which is something I picked up when I was a full-time RVer and I was blogging about our travels and I had a lot of other friends who were doing the same thing. I heard from several of them things like, "Well, I want to make sure that I'm giving you different content on different channels, like something different on Instagram versus YouTube versus Facebook, because, well, I want to treat you, my audience, really well. I don't want to be lazy. I don't want you to get stale content and be like, 'Oh, I've already seen that.'" They actually saw it as doing a disservice or laziness, I guess, to have the same content across multiple channels. I will say that sometimes it's totally appropriate to make some tweaks. Obviously, for something like Twitter, you can't have 1000-word long posts. It would be a very long Twitter chain. So obviously you want to make some changes for the platform that you're on, but I'm just going to go out there and say, it is totally fine. Jessi:
Yeah. I think there's this idea that if we're not being unique in every single post or every single piece of content that we put out there, even in all the places that we're putting out there, then we're somehow not doing our job. But at the end of the day, I want to challenge you to really think about what your job is. Odds are, it's serving your clients and then helping audience members who could become clients realize that you're the best fit for them, building those relationships and whatnot. That means that content is there to serve your business, it's there to help your business. It's not there to be something else weighing your business down and taking you away from where your time could be better spent sometimes.
So we all have times when maybe we don't have as many ideas. We all have times when we want to take some time off, we want to step back from our business or when we're really serving our clients and focused on that rather than focusing on marketing our business and putting fresh content out there. I want you to be able to give yourself permission to do all of those things and know that that doesn't mean that you are going dark on all of your channels. It doesn't mean you're disappearing. It means that you have the opportunity to go back to old content and see what could be pulled forward to better serve you moving forward, allow you to accomplish your goals, and allow your audience to continue hearing from you. Marie:
Yeah. It's not just, if you're needing some space, it's also what if you've already written something that was extremely powerful and transformative for people and you're not sure that you necessarily know, why do I have to reinvent the wheel? You know? So you may already have plenty of time and energy in your day and still this could be useful for you. So we're going to start digging into this content repurposing, some strategies that can work for you, and what to consider as you're repurposing. If you're already doing this, great. But please take a listen anyway, because we try to keep this episode short for you so that you get plenty of value out of it. But you may hear something new that you haven't heard before. So this first one is for you if you're a little bit left-brained or you have a VA or something along those lines where somebody can support you in this, but we've long taught and suggested keeping a content inventory. Do you want to talk a little bit about what that is Jessi? Jessi:
Yeah. When it comes to repurposing content, it really helps to know what content you have available to repurpose. And you have content going out, probably in a lot of places. And you may, you can easily lose track of that content. It's easy to, if you're posting on your blog, you have a podcast, you have social media platforms, all of that gets buried after a while. So if you keep an inventory and you can use whatever process works the best for you, we do it just a simple Google spreadsheet, that allows you to track what the content is, where it was posted and what purpose it served as well as tracking any important data. So for example, if you're looking at blog posts, you can keep track of which blog posts are the most popular? If you're tracking social media posts, which ones got the most engagement? This gives you a little bit of information to base your decision on what to repurpose so that you're not just going in blind. Marie:
I just want to say thank you for bearing with our 2020 madness of recording in real-world stuff, train horns and phones beeping. Okay. Carry on. Yeah. So, but an inventory is super helpful for you. It seems like maybe it's a lot of work on the front end, but it'll really help you if you're interested in repurposing later. Jessi:
Yeah, absolutely. I think too, it's an opportunity, especially looking at the data to see what sticks and see what maybe didn't stick and needs to be brought out again, because it's more relevant now or relevant in a different way now and give your audience another chance to engage with it, give you a chance to tweak it, circling back real quickly to this whole not wanting to sound like a broken record thing. Often it's difficult in a world where we are just inundated with content to see every piece of content that comes by our feed. Marie:
Truth. Jessi:
As a result, your content that you've worked so hard on is probably not going to be seen by everyone who you want to have seen it. So repurposing, looking at the data and figuring out what to repurpose based on it gives you a chance to say the same thing over again, in a new way, so that maybe it'll sink in this time, or maybe not this time, but maybe next time. This is why it's okay to sound like a broken record because sometimes they may not have seen it the first time or they may have seen it, but it didn't resonate with them with where they were then, but it will now. Marie:
Yeah. On that point too, at this point as of the time of recording, we are in our 10th year of business. So it was probably around year eight or so where we started hearing this. But to be fair, we didn't really get into this audience until maybe year five. So it was maybe three years in or so that we started hearing from people, "Well, I want to hire you because I know you've been doing this a long time and you haven't changed your tune. You haven't gone from being copywriters to being cupcake makers to being equine therapists and then back to copywriters. You've had a pretty consistent, broken record message over the past three years. So I'm going to trust that if you're still in business doing the same thing, that's because you're good at it and it's working for you and your clients and I want to be one of those clients." So being a broker record actually can be a valid sales strategy. Jessi:
Absolutely. Yeah. So when you're keeping your content inventory, that's something to keep in mind is what does this content cover? Which actually leads to the next point, which is to know your content pillars. We talked about this in depth in a previous episode, I think it was episode eight, where we talked about how to bind your content pillars and why they're valuable, but in brief, they're the two to four topics that almost all of your content revolves around and tie into offers, specific offers that you are wanting people to buy. When you're looking at your inventory, you can easily, as you're creating it, write in, "Okay, this content ties into this content pillar and this offer," so that when you're looking at what to repurpose, you can look at what do I need to sell more of? What content is going to support leading people down that process? So really knowing your content pillars, knowing what you're focusing on at the point where you're thinking about repurposing and knowing where that content is going to lead people is going to be really helpful towards making sure that you're not repurposing without a plan. Marie:
Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, we're definitely looking at goals, starting with the goal first, working backwards from there. If your goal is maybe selling a particular product or service that you've sold before in the past, chances are you do have content around that and you can use that to educate, nurture, and ultimately sell, tell stories, whatever. All those pieces that really build up that trust and prepare people to make that purchase, help them evaluate if they have that need, if this will be the right fit for them, all of that content can probably be pulled from what you've created before, or at least inspired by. So start with the goal in mind and that way it doesn't seem like your content is just sort of popcorning all over the place. Jessi:
Yeah, absolutely. So in preparation for repurposing content within your business, we're talking about keeping an inventory, knowing your content pillars, and really knowing your goals. I would also challenge you if you're thinking about content strategy and planning ahead for content, I would challenge you to incorporate repurposing content into that strategy. Repurposing content is really valuable for if something happens all of a sudden, and you just need to put new content out there. If you're low energy, you don't really have the ideas or the bandwidth for it, but it's also really powerful to just have integrated into your strategies so that you're strategically bringing old topics back to light again, because that topic is no less important just because you wrote about it 12 months ago. It may be even more important or there may be new things to add to it, which we'll talk about in a minute. Marie:
Yeah, absolutely. It's such a good mindset shift and it really gives you that permission and freedom to feel like, "This is a smart business and content marketing strategy for me." So what do we want to consider as we actually move into re-purposing? Now we're going to be talking more about a specific piece of content. So maybe as we're having this conversation, think about something that you might want to repurpose and start mentally applying these guidelines to that. So we just talked for a second about looking at your goals and starting there first. So this would be looking at your goal for the specific piece of content. So again, maybe if this is something you've already launched a product or service you've already sold before, but right now you're maybe a month out and you're wanting to educate people around the topic, prepare them, get them thinking in this direction.
That would be your goal for the piece of content or maybe your goal for the piece of content is really to strike up some engagements. Okay, great. If so, then we need to have a CTA that's essentially the long lines of, "What do you think? Share your response. Vote here." Whatever, something along those lines where it derives that engagement. So think about what you want the purpose of the content to be, as you're repurposing it and note that it does not have to be the same purpose that you use before. Is there a new CTA? What is that going to be? So once you start with that in mind, you'll be able to shape an entire piece of content so that it drives home that point of the goal. Jessi:
Yeah, actually I want to give an example of this, which is one that we actually just did recently for a client where we had been helping this client with their blog strategy for a number of years. Throughout that, we had a content inventory that had hundreds of blog posts, and this client wanted to develop a new lead magnet, a new way for them to build subscribers on their email list. They wanted to create an ultimate guide of sorts to the work that they did, and rather than create it from scratch, what we did was we went back and looked through some of the most popular blog posts and some of the blog posts that were most fundamental to teaching this person's process and strategies. We collected them all into a single document that became the lead magnet.
We didn't take the blog post verbatim. Although, we took pieces of it verbatim, we shortened them and reformatted them to fit the lead magnet. In this case, the CTAs definitely changed. Each blog post had its own individual CTA that might've been based around a different service, a different product, different links within the blog posts. But once it was into this opt-in, the CTA, the call to action, has shifted to the next step that they wanted, this client wanted people to take after consuming the opt-in or the lead magnet. So all of the content was more or less the same. It was just adjusted to fit this new purpose. Marie:
Yeah. Great example. Okay, cool. So then the next thing that we want you to do as you're looking at repurposing a piece of content is evaluating the who, who are you reaching and how are you reaching them? So has your audience shifted since that initial piece, or maybe are you reaching a new segment of your audience that you were maybe speaking more broadly before or more narrowly? And you're shifting that a little bit. And then along with that is where are those people? So are there some new channels to consider? So again, maybe you were really posting in YouTube primarily before, but you're looking at this new segment of your audience that's primarily on Instagram. And so you can absolutely have the same content. It just may need to sort of be reformatted to suit the Instagram a new you better than YouTube.
So another example of this would be a client that we work with. So she's written a book and the book is specifically for general audiences, but her typical audience is much more narrow. So as we're looking at repurposing pieces of the book to the more narrow audience, it's more going to be amount of what pieces of this are relevant to them and useful? And if they're useful and relevant, why is it the exact same reason as the general audience? Maybe not so much, but it doesn't mean that the content in and of itself, like the heart of it has to change. Jessi:
Exactly. Yeah. So looking at that can really, small tweaks can go a long way just towards changing the language and also making sure that even if it's repurposed, it's still relevant. So the next thing they'll think about is how can that past information potentially be updated to make it relevant now and the answer may be, it's fine, it's evergreen. It works. There's nothing to update. But you may have an opportunity when taking old content and repurposing it to add some new context. Maybe you have a story to share. Maybe you have an experience or you have updated data. Maybe you said something in a past piece of content, and you're actually pulling it up because you have something happened that changed your view or shifted your process a little bit, and you want to address it or add some additional information to make it even easier for other people to grasp the concept. So every time you're repurposing things, you have an opportunity to update them so that they really resonate with your audience and with where they are now and with where you are now as a business owner. Marie:
Absolutely. So the last piece that we want you to consider is the fact that many of us love to teach and share, sometimes we share so much in one chunk that it gets overwhelming. So as you're looking back at your content, simplification can be really key. It's very possible that you could take a larger piece of content and really break it down into smaller ones. So if you're introducing maybe three concept in a blog post, maybe each one of those blog posts could then go deeper or, sorry, topics could each go deeper into a new blog post. That way you're still repurposing the content. You can actually link it to the other one.
You can link it to all the other new ones. For instance, this podcast episode, we really probably could spend an entire podcast episode talking about how to break down pieces of content. So if so, then we could refer back to this episode and then we could go back into the show notes for this one, even a year later or something and refer forward to the new one. Do just take a look at that and see, is there an opportunity for you to go deeper as opposed to wider with the content? Jessi:
Absolutely. Yeah. I think if we actually, we had this experience just a few, just an hour or so ago. Marie and I were chatting about a new piece of content that we want to create that is essentially a case study of our own business that we're thinking of putting together. We're coming up with 10 different points that we wanted to talk about in this case study. As we were putting this together, we were like, "Wait, this is 10 podcast episodes and 10 blog posts and each one, yes, could be part of its own whole thing, but also can break down into its own smaller pieces." I think this goes back to one of the tenants of content strategy, which is when you can, go deeper, not wider. Go deeper in the concept, make sure you're starting at a point that's really accessible for your audience, but give them the opportunity to go deeper into the concepts, rather than just bouncing from topic one to topic two to topic three and going so quickly that they don't ever have a chance to really dig their teeth into the topics that they're interested in. Marie:
Yeah. In one ear out the other. So, okay. So just to recap, as you are preparing to repurpose, [inaudible 00:20:25] just keeping an inventory of your content, really getting familiar with those content pillars, because that will really inform your content strategy as well as what you're able to sell. Then knowing those overall goals, like what are the business goals that you want the content marketing to support you with? Then as you're repurposing, ask yourself, "What is my purpose in the repurposing of this particular piece of content?" "Who am I reaching and how has that changed any from the last time?" "Can the information be updated and made more relevant?" Then finally, "Can I break down this big piece of content?" Or not even big necessarily. It could be really short, but, "Can I break down this content into smaller pieces of content that go deeper as opposed to wider?" Jessi:
Yeah. Your friendly reminder, as we close out, that it is okay to sound like a broken record. The only person you probably sound like a broken record to is yourself, no matter how long you've been in business or how many times you've repeated yourself and you don't always need to come up with something new. You have full permission to take things you've already created and repurpose them to your heart's content. Marie:
Exactly. All right. So happy repurposing.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more. Jessi:
If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 

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