As long as I have been a marketer I have always focused on reusing content cross channel, and I am pretty sure you have, too. But as content marketing becomes a true discipline in its own right, it’s time to light gasoline on the notion of reuse. It’s time for the era of extreme reuse!
Yes, simple “reuse” isn't going to cut it anymore. Back in 2005 or so, I gave a talk at a marketing show about “virtuous circles,” where my team took a single content theme and wound up using it in eight ways. We were pretty proud of ourselves at the time. But today, eight just gets you in the game; we have to go further. It’s time to go extreme.
Why Extreme Reuse?
To win the "getting found" game, and to connect with prospects you don’t know yet, you need to publish more content in more places more frequently than ever. You should line up your content against your buyers' journeys (and customer journeys once they buy) and should use all available methods to put that content into your customers' stream. But the single biggest challenge marketers consistently report is “producing enough content,” according to 64% of B2B marketers surveyed by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute. Followed by “producing engaging content” and then “producing a variety of content,” Budget (39%) was the first non-content-related barrier.
So, if you need more content than ever and are constrained by team size or budget, you better get really, really good at extreme reuse. There just isn't any other way to hit your goals.
What Is Extreme Reuse?
Extreme reuse means first understanding that EVERYTHING is content. (And I do mean everything!) Events are content, support calls are content, the storyboards that go into your new product animation are content. The brainstorming session on the whiteboard is content; the video of that brainstorming session is content. On and on it goes.
Next, it’s thinking about every possible way to take a piece of content, roll it up in different mediums, slice it based on stage in the buyer journey, and publish it in as many different ways as possible. And getting really, really creative about that content.
To be extreme, I think you need to be reusing an item or a theme at least five different ways, though things get really interesting when you get up to 10 or more.
Some Examples, Please?
My team is in the middle of a grueling tradeshow season (10 events across 13 weeks). And we have been doing a LOT of reusing. My colleague just wrote about our most recent show week here, complete with some pictures of what we did, (And one really, really clever show-hack that proves that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good!)
In another instance this summer, we took a single theme (the impact of Google’s algorithm changes on your SEO strategy) and turned it into 10 different pieces of content over six weeks. We did two blog posts, a whitepaper, a webinar (and the replay), a contributed article here on MarketingProfs, slides on SlideShare, Google + Hangout (and the replay) and an infographic—and that is not counting all the associated email campaigns.
For a prior company, my team took just three discrete content items on a single theme across 12 different activities that generated 2800 new names for our database, and generated several million dollars in new pipeline.
So, yes, it does work!
How Do I Get Started?
If you want to start going Extreme, here are a few easy ways to get started.
- Shift your mindset. Remember that “everything is content,” so you need to step back and see all of that content as it pours out of your walls.
- Make sure you have a mission or a strategy for what you want that content to do for you. Create a mission statement or a vision for your content. What story do you want it to tell? And be sure to define how you will measure the success of your Extreme Reuse effort.
- Break down the silos in your org and get all of your teams collaborating, no matter the ultimate content distribution channel. You will be amazed at how much content exists that you just aren't taking advantage of.
- Get your technology out of the way. If you can’t do anything on your corporate website, don’t have access to a blogging tool, or have some other roadblock, you need to fix it fast.
- Map it all out. When you create your campaign plans and your content strategy, map out how you are going to go extreme, so you have it loaded in your plan up front.
One word of caution: Use your new perspective gained in Step 1 to see the new opportunities when they arise. We conceived of doing a Google Plus Hangout to address questions from a webinar on the fly. And because we were open to new ideas and it fit within our mission and strategy, we just went with it. Don’t miss out on those serendipitous opportunities because you are heads down in execution mode.
I would love to hear from you! Share your great extreme reuse examples in the comments below. (And don’t forget that your comments are content, too!)