For episode 407 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast our special guest was Ashley Segura, VP of Operations and CoFounder of TopHatContent. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Ashley about how to repurpose and reuse content. Here’s what we learned:
Content Reuse: The What and Why
Ashley explained that the concept of content reuse means taking a piece of content you previously used and recycling it to be used again. For example, let’s say in the fourth quarter of 2020 you had a blog post about holiday marketing and you want to have another post about holiday marketing in the fourth quarter of 2021. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can take bits and pieces from the original piece and do things such as creating social media graphics from call-outs, produce audio bites inside of it, and finding other ways to repurpose the original content. You might update it, or recycle it into a new content medium. The possibilities are really endless when it comes to reusing your content.
Challenges in Repurposing Content
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face in repurposing content is that it is very time consuming. Some discover that repurposing a piece of content can take up just as much time as producing a new piece of content, though it does depend on how you go about doing it. Let’s say you conducted an online webinar. You could take the video recording of the webinar and put it up onto your YouTube channel. You could embed that YouTube video in a blog post. And you can use the blog post to take an even deeper dive into the topic or a subtopic of the webinar. Every webinar or podcast episode could have gone even deeper into the topic, so there’s almost always an opportunity to do that with most content.
Going deeper in this way can be time consuming, in part because you have to carefully review the original content and identify questions that weren’t answered and subtopics that could have been covered in greater depth. And that takes time, but once you do that review and evaluation of the original content, then you’ll have a clear picture of how to repurpose the content. But the repurposing has to bring new insights and value to the table if you want it to actually perform for you in terms of driving traffic and conversions or satisfying user intent. If it seems like it’s just a re-hash of the previous content, then it’s not going to do anything for you.
When Should You Not Repurpose Content?
One question that comes up is about the stopping point, meaning when should you not be repurposing content or should you continually be working on repurposing content all the time? Ashley notes that this is where things get a bit complex, and it really depends on how well you’re able to measure content performance. For example, if you have a piece of content on an important topic but it has performed poorly, then you should definitely work on repurposing it because you clearly missed something, didn’t cover the topic in the right way or to a sufficient depth, maybe you didn’t package it quite right, or something else along those lines. Sometimes it’s just changing the medium. A blog post performing poorly might get better results as a piece of video content.
But this also applies to content that has performed really well. Some think, why touch it if it’s performing well? But what is that good performance is actually only the tip of the iceberg of what it could do for you? If you can trace a lot of traffic and high performance to three key blog articles, for example, then do more of that by repurposing the content in different ways and formats. Or go at the topic from a different angle, and this is where the SEMrush Topic Research Tool can come in handy to see what other questions people are asking about the topic, which can reveal potential new angles for you to approach the same topic that performed so well for you in the previous pieces. The tool will also show you the top 10 trending articles about that topic or keyword, so go take a look at how those pieces handle the topic and how you can tweak it in the repurposing.
Measuring Content Performance
This all presupposes you’re measuring content performance. Ashley strongly recommends conducting a quarterly content audit. The quarterly audit doesn’t need to be as full-blown or in-depth as an annual audit, but each quarter you should be looking at content performance from the previous quarter. This is how you know what to do in the next quarter. The goal of the quarterly audit is to get you thinking about what stance you need to take on the high-performing content versus the low-performing content. You build on the high-performing content with your repurposing. With the low-performing content it’s about figuring out what you missed and correcting for it in the repurposing of that content.
What about sharing decks of slides with something like SlideShare? How do you even measure performance with something like that? It feels like many people end up using it as an afterthought as just another channel to dump some content. Ashley notes that the number of people who actually go to SlideShare to seek out information is a very small percentage. You can make use of slide-deck style content but post it on your own site and digital channels. And sure, put it up on SlideShare. Some people find it does drive significant traffic to their site, though those cases are relatively rare. In other words, if you’re already on SlideShare, use it, but if you’ve never used SlideShare, don’t start now. It’s probably not going to do much for you. Just post the content on your channels and throw a few Facebook ads on it.
Is There Too Much Content Repurposing Going On?
Ashley says there is such a thing as too much repurposing. You wouldn’t want all your content efforts for a whole quarter to only be repurposing content from the previous quarter. That would be a mistake. You do need to be producing new and unique content all the time. Whatever your target audience may be, there are topics you haven’t covered for them that they want to know about, information they want, entertainment you haven’t provided, and so on. For the most part, you can bet your competitors are addressing all of that as well. In some extremely rare cases you may come across a real content gap that no one has filled, which is the Holy Grail of content marketing research.
Successful Content Tracking: Tools of the Trade
How do you evaluate whether or not content has reached your target audience and the impact it had? Ashley noted the following key metrics:
- Time on Page: This one is a very common metric because it tells you whether people found the content valuable enough to fully consume it as measured by how much time they spend on that page. But it’s only useful in combination with other metrics. You can imagine how often someone gets to a page and really wants to digest the content but gets a phone call or needs to respond to an urgent email message or gets up to go get a cup of coffee. Ten minutes later they’re still on that page but they haven’t actually consumed most of the content.
- Heat Mapping: The scenario above is why you have to also check against something like heat mapping to see how far down the page people actually went in consuming the content. Heat mapping can be very eye-opening in terms of showing how users are consuming your content.
- Bounce Rate: If your content has high traffic combined with a high bounce rate, there’s something the content isn’t delivering that visitors were looking for.
When asked if she’s an ROI (return on investment) or ROO (return on objective) content marketer, Ashley noted it depends on a variety of factors. Overall, the objective is generally more important because content has a much longer time horizon for accomplishing anything when compared to more immediate impacts from advertising. If your content is meant to move people a little further along the sales funnel, any content that prompts users to do that is a win in her book, even if it’s a small move in the right direction.