Unlock the secrets to healthcare content marketing success.Get Your Exclusive Toolkit


From the Trenches

Repurposing Content: The Delicious Solution to Marketing’s Content Glut

Yvonne Lyons | March 8, 2024

Imagine you’re that iconic Dunkin’ Donuts guy from the ’80s, rising before dawn to craft those beloved pastries. “Time to make the donuts,” you sigh, repeating the routine day in and day out. But here’s the kicker: Despite the love for donuts, there are often too many. Can you picture the dismay as you toss heaps of your hard work into the trash?

Now, what if there was a way to transform those excess donuts into something new and exciting, ready to sell the next day? Sure, yesterday’s donuts as today’s cake might sound offbeat, but imagine the relief among Dunkin’ franchisees. They’d be thrilled to squeeze every last drop of value from those unsold donuts.

Swap out the donuts for content, and you might just find yourself nodding along with a little too much understanding. You’re churning out content day in and day out because it’s simply “time to make the content” again and again.

For nearly a decade, we’ve all been caught in this content excess. Almost 10 years ago, Mark Schaefer warned us about content shock, the overwhelming surplus of content flooding the digital landscape. Yet here we are, still on the hamster wheel, cranking out content like there’s no tomorrow.

But what if there’s a smarter way? What if, instead of mindlessly churning out content, we could unlock its full potential by being strategic in its creation and utilization? Unlike the donut-maker, we have a distinct advantage: Our content is malleable. With a little creativity, we can breathe new life into existing pieces and reach new audiences without the need for constant content creation.

So my fellow marketers, let’s break free from the cycle of content churn. Let’s not settle for being mere content creators. To get more value out of our content, we must be smarter about how we create and use it.

Getting that value is not complicated: Start repurposing content today.

While it does take some planning, thought, and writing and editing resources, repurposing content will absolutely get you more value from the content you already have, allow you to engage current and new audiences on more channels and with different content formats, enable you to target buyers in different stages of the sales funnel, and reinforce your messaging (without boring your audience). And all for considerably less time and money than creating content from scratch.

Repurposing, Refreshing, and Repromoting Content

Let me take just a quick moment to clear up any confusion. Sometimes I hear people use the terms repurposing, refreshing, and repromoting content interchangeably. They’re not the same things, so let me briefly explain the differences:

  • Repurposing content: You are changing the format of your content, changing the target audience, changing or adding the channels on which you promote or engage that audience, or all of the above. You’re making a completely new piece of content (or multiple pieces) compared to what you originally had and may be promoting it all in totally different ways.
  • Refreshing content: You are using existing content for the same purpose it was originally intended, but you’re updating it. For example, you might take out the paragraphs about old technologies, fix any inaccuracies, and update sources.
  • Repromoting content: Here, you are redistributing content to new and existing audiences. No edits or format changes. You’re going for Round 2 on the marketing of your content.

Find Purpose in Repurposing: 4 Key Questions to Get It Right

So what is the most important thing to know about repurposing to get the most value out of your content? Repurposing content is not a random task that you tackle when you have some spare time. It has to be done with purpose. Meaning your approach to repurposing should be part of your overall content marketing strategy and planning, and then each individual piece you address also needs its purpose. That purpose could be to reinforce the message in a particular piece or reach a new audience or address buyers in a different stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Whatever your goal, when you think about how to repurpose individual pieces, remember that every piece of content should be remarkable, so the quality outshines 99 percent of what is out there. Then you should consider the answers to these questions:

  1. What existing pieces perform really well? When you’re deciding what to repurpose, look at pieces that engaged your audience. What pieces received the most social engagement? What content drove the most traffic to your website? Where did people spend time? (If your original piece of content was interactive, you’ll have even deeper data from user engagement to guide choices.)
  2. What pieces didn’t perform well? I am not saying you should only repurpose the content that killed it when you first promoted it. There might be a piece with messaging that speaks to the core of what you do as a company that didn’t perform well originally. Take it apart and put it back together in a different way and then promote it again. Results might be totally different this time around.
  3. Where can you change format to surround the castle? People consume content in different ways, so meet your audience where they are with a variety of content formats across multiple distribution channels. You could turn one piece of anchor content into videos, podcasts, infographics, social media content, and more. You can create 30 different pieces from that one anchor piece and deliver that subject matter to people in various stages of the buyer’s journey. If you start with a larger piece for users further down in the funnel, create smaller pieces and micro content to introduce them to your subject and engage them on social channels — maybe some you haven’t used in the past. If you have 10 blog posts all focused on one subject, stitch them together with some editing to create an eBook for those ready to truly consider your service. The possibilities are almost endless for those willing to put some creative thought into it.

How can you reach a different audience? Maybe you have a technical piece targeted to engineers. Repurposing could mean creating a shorter piece with similar subject matter that takes a less technical approach to address business decision makers who need the info but not all the detail.


Start Working Smarter With Your Content Marketing

Stop churning out content like it’s donuts. Stop leaning on the same content formats. Get creative. (Dunkin’ devises a new donut for every holiday, right?) And then stop sharing content in the same channels, in the same boring way you always do.

Instead, start getting value out of every piece of content. Create a strategy to repurpose and start showing real ROI on all the effort you put into content creation and distribution. When you truly begin to surround the castle by repurposing and promoting content effectively, you’ll get much more mileage out of all the work you put into it — and you’ll see results.

Need some ideas for repurposing? Download “10 Ways to Generate New Content Ideas” or get in touch.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published on July 11, 2019, and has been updated multiple times since to maintain its accuracy and relevance.

Related Resources

About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.