10 easy ways to recycle your content

Resuscitate an old blog post with news updates and more current stats. Turn an interview into a bite-size Q&A. Slice up an old webinar.

People these days ignore banner ads.

Click-through rates have dropped drastically, and online businesses have been looking for new methods to grab your attention. The problem is that the Internet has changed how people discover and shop for things. People do research on Google, find out what their friends think on Facebook, and browse possibilities on Pinterest.

So, how does a business get attention these days? Many are turning to content marketing—with great results to show-in a crowded online advertising world.

The great thing about content marketing is that most businesses—big and small—can get started and become part of the conversation. They can make true connections with consumers and, more important, drive sales and leads for their products and services.

Exceedingly cost-effective

Anyone can get started without spending a penny, and great content produces long-term results. I’ve seen marketers bring in tons of business from articles written years ago. The only things you need are commitment and drive to build a content marketing strategy.

Still, it takes a long time to create content. There is no sense in creating great content to use only once and never see it again. Recycling content makes it easier to supply all the different channels you have to fill on a daily basis.

I’m using the term recycle and not reuse. With recycling, you’ll be taking existing content and adding to it to create something slightly new. For SEO reasons, you don’t always want to reuse the same content everywhere-that’s duplicate content, and you can be penalized for it.

Here are tips for recycling content:

1. Meetups

Hosting a meetup? Record the speakers, and post the videos online. Take plenty of pictures, and make sure to tag everyone.

2. Training material

Use an existing chapter from your training material as the basis of a blog post. Use slides from training, and post them for everyone to see.

3. Webinars

Record your webinar, and periodically release two-minute highlight clips.

4. Twitter

Answer a question from Twitter in a blog post. Have an interesting Twitter conversation? Repost screenshots on your blog.

5. Speech or keynote address

Write about your event before it happens and make it the subject of a keynote. Record the speech and release it on YouTube. Get the audio and make that into a podcast. Release your handouts on slideshare.net.

Example: TEDTalks

TEDTalks are great videos posted from the TED Conferences around the world that are recorded and broadcasted online (recycle No. 1). These long-form presentations are informative and engaging, but TED understands that not everyone has 20 to 30 minutes to watch an online presentation. For the TEDblog, they re-edit their videos and condense them to less than three minutes (recycle No. 2). An excerpt from the TED Talk: “Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals,” which runs less than three minutes, has 36 percent more views than its full-length counterpart.

6. Interviews

Going to interview someone? Have it transcribed, and release it as an e-book. Ask questions, and release short question-and-answer videos. Follow up after an interview with answers to people’s comments.

7. Old blog post

Got an outdated blog post? Rewrite it with new stats to refresh the topic. Remember, don’t repost old content, or you’ll get an SEO penalty.

8. Other people’s blogs

Someone wrote something you don’t agree with? Write a rebuttal about their post; remember to be nice.

9. Videos

Re-edit videos to make them into one-minute bursts. Take any TV commercial, and put it online.

Example: Geico

Geico is the third-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. It provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually, and it processes most of them online. The folks at Geico are firm believers in content marketing and have the typical assortment of financial calculators and tools on their website.

Geico recycles from its commercials by creating games and entertainment apps based on characters from its commercials. These apps are fun and silly, but they help position a boring product (sorry, Geico) as something people can relate to and interact with. It also posts its commercials on YouTube for free exposure. Their “Geico Hump Day Camel Commercial” has almost 9 million views.

10. Customer service

Take customer comments, and use them in a blog post. Take your customer service material, and turn it into an article. Expand on a popular FAQ question.

Example: The Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater in Austin, Texas, that will kick you out if you send text messages while a movie is playing. A woman called the theater to express her displeasure with this rule after getting kicked out for using her phone. Alamo Drafthouse used this message as a backdrop for a “No Texting” PSA that now runs in its theater and has more than 3 million views on YouTube.

Your brand is probably already producing content that can be used to interact with and engage consumers-content that is probably better at spreading a brand message than tired tactics like online display banners. Content recycling is a great way to create marketing collateral out of all the other components of your overall marketing strategy.

Rick Ramos is the vice president of marketing for Adblade.com and writer and author of Content Marketing: Insider’s Secret to Online Sales & Lead Generation. A version of this article first appeared on iMediaConnection.

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