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    Hit Refresh: How to Extend the Life of Your Content


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    Producing excellent content is no longer a nice-to-have - it's essential. But it's all too easy to get overwhelmed by the effort content requires. How can you feed the content beast without sacrificing on quality or frequency and make the most of what you've created?

    One of the answers is smart content reuse. Not only is it efficient, repurposing your content can help your SEO and improve the odds of connecting with your audience.

    That old marketing truism applies: if it used to take seven impressions before you'd notice an advertising message, it takes even more strategic repetition today to get your content to stand out. Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of your content:

    Go piecemeal - or consolidate.

    Periodically take a step back and ask: which existing content items naturally "go" together? Group those items into a longer-form piece, like an e-book or whitepaper, and offer that as a sales funnel teaser.

    Similarly, you can (and should!) break up longer content pieces into bite-sized items. Take an hour-long webinar and break it into multiple, shorter videos. The extended Q&A after a speaking engagement can become fodder for a blog series. Sometimes your audience wants just a high-level summary on a topic; other times they demand specifics. Meet their needs by offering your stories at varying levels of detail.

    Try new formats.

    A flash poll on Facebook might work just as well as a "how-to" video, a blog post or visualized as an infographic. Try to reimagine each storyline in multiple formats, so your message hits whatever format your prospects or customers are consuming right now.

    Don't forget the newbies.

    Just because you're an expert in your field doesn't mean your customers are, too. Don't neglect the waves of newbie prospects, seeking answers to beginner questions. You may be bored of this content, but it's brand-new to most of your audience. Repeating "classic" storylines serves your audience's needs well - while saving you valuable time.

    Capitalize on timely new "hooks".

    You know all those news stories your colleagues email each other? Often the urge to circulate those stories ties back to your brand story: a new market condition that increases your product's relevance, a fresh study about your target customer's attitudes. Consider these timely excuses to reiterate your brand story.

    If you have old content that answers a now-burning question, unearth those pieces (and update as necessary). You're doing your prospects and customers a favor by navigating your content archive on their behalf.

    Good content managers borrow and build.

    Those same great stories you're sharing with colleagues could lead to great content for your brand. Feel free to put your own spin on a great storyline you saw elsewhere on the web. After all, very few media outlets command full penetration of your audience, so there's no guarantee your audience saw it already. You don't need to link to the original story, but you should reimagine it in your own words. Completely plagiarized copy not only hurts your brand reputation, it also penalizes your SEO. Besides, chances are you have comments and insights to add to the original story, which naturally makes it your own.

    Promote your content at different times every day.

    Social media is ephemeral by design. Even if you're updating at the "right" time when most of your audience is tuned in, many of them will still be tuned out.

    Give yourself permission to repeat each new content item once at a different time. Vary the lead-in text, too. For instance, if you're releasing new survey data, your first update might include an eye-catching statistic with a link to learn more. Your second update might lead with a different stat or a provocative statement by your respondents. Consider this reuse a form of A-B testing: you might find that one approach resonates a lot more than the others, and refine your updates accordingly.

    Think fresh metaphors.

    Many companies - especially startups - explain their value through analogies. For instance, you might describe yourselves as a mash-up of two respected, but unrelated, brands. Or you might summarize your value with a comparison to a well-understood concept from daily life.

    Whenever you hear a fresh metaphor internally for your brand, use that to explain your value proposition anew. Even better if that metaphor resonates well with your target audience - say, a baseball analogy in the springtime that appeals to your young-male target. You never know which comparison may "hit it out of the park" with your next prospect.

    Marian Hughes

    About Marian Hughes

    Challenging the status quo. I love stepping back and analyzing a PR program to determine if there’s a better way to move our clients closer to their goals. I'm constantly scouting out innovative new approaches, tools and technology – anything that holds the potential to really deliver. And, when I discover one with merit, there's nothing more rewarding than getting up to speed, putting it into action and generating big results – that, to me, is hitting it out of the park!

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