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Just Reusing Your Content Isn't Working Anymore

by Aaron Dun  |  
November 7, 2012

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!

Wait... What?

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!)
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Aaron Dun is senior vice-president of marketing at SnapApp, an interactive-content platform.

Twitter: @ajdun

LinkedIn: Aaron Dun

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  • by Anthony Wed Nov 7, 2012 via blog

    Hey Aaron. Quality post which we can really relate to at this moment in time. We (Tone Agency) are really ramping up our content output at the minute and we are always on the lookout for new inspiring content ideas.

    A member of our production team recently went on a holiday to Ibiza and managed to turn theatexperience into a blog post related to sales and marketing - amazing!This definitely fits the notion that EVERYTHING is content. I'll be sure to pass this post around the office to get them thinking this way. Thanks Aaron!

  • by Aaron Wed Nov 7, 2012 via blog

    Thanks Anthony, and thanks for making me jealous of the trip to Ibiza! Good post as well, when is the webinar?! :)


  • by Meagan Dahl Wed Nov 7, 2012 via blog

    Agree with all of this, absolutely everything is content and having constant communication and ideating with your team about where content comes from and how it's distributed is invaluable. I will add that it's important to take authorship into consideration when your participating in "extreme reuse" of content. Providing link-backs and author attribution will help you cover even more ground across multiple networks you would not otherwise have access to.

  • by Aaron Wed Nov 7, 2012 via blog

    Thanks Meagan, good point. Love to have you share some examples of where you/your team has used that effectively!


  • by Walt Goshert Thu Nov 8, 2012 via blog

    Good stuff Aaron,

    The bar on content has been raised. All content must have a core story and it must be fully leveraged across the online platforms.

    To do this requires a content creation system that takes the ordinary blog post and re-purposes it into a video, audio, slide shares. It expands this blog post into a series for a White Paper, a book, a webinar, or a workshop.

    I'm building a system that takes my blog posts, guest posts, client blog posts, and my team automatically renders and edits into a video, audio, slides and syndicates this content outside my blog home- for example, Posterous, Tumblr- while still maintaining authorship.

    You must have a plan, a system to have the ability to show up everywhere in your market.

  • by Anthony Fri Nov 9, 2012 via blog

    Haha - I'll have ask Liam about the webinar!

    P.s. I've just booked a holiday to Fuerteventura for Christmas - Sorry, I just had to get than in there :)

  • by Aaron Fri Nov 9, 2012 via blog



  • by Aaron Fri Nov 9, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for the comment Walt, sounds like an interesting idea you have there. Definitely interested in seeing how it plays out!


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