The new Lion King movie devoured box office records in its first week. Fans don’t mind that the computer-animated musical is a remake of a 1994 animation. Disney is reigning supreme at the box office by redoing older animations, such as Christopher Robin, Dumbo and Aladdin. The company also reformats its stories. Disney transformed the original Lion King movie into a hit Broadway production.
“If Disney can do this, then why can’t PR pros do the same? Just like a good story is worth retelling, good content is worth reviving,” Lisa Arledge Powell, president of communications agency MediaSource, writes for the PRSA. “Repurposing old content ensures you’re spending your time wisely. Not only is the bulk of the work already complete, but you have data to prove it will resonate with your target audience.”
Repurposing enables PR staff to produce more content faster – often at lower cost. But it entails updating, refreshing or reformatting content – not just republishing old articles.
Updating blog posts can increase website traffic with less work than writing new posts from scratch. By updating and resurfacing some of your high-performing evergreen posts, you can extend the life of your best blog content and increase its results over a longer time, says HubSpot Principal Marketing Manager Pamela Vaughan.
Steps to Refreshing Content
Identify top-performing posts. First use web analytics tools such as Google Analytics to select blog posts that have achieved high viewership and/or engagement.
Accuracy. Update the post for accuracy and timeliness. Replace old statistics and stale information. Replace or delete passages that are no longer relevant.
Comprehensiveness. Add information to make the article more comprehensive and more informative. Longer posts usually achieve a higher position in search engine results. “You’ve probably learned a lot since the first posts you published. Utilize that knowledge by going through old posts and adding new information,” suggests blogging expert Melyssa Griffin.
Important: The content must be different and expanded. Because SEO experts say Google likes refreshed content, some bloggers simply change a few words or rearrange paragraphs. “Google is wise to this and will not reward you for it,” writes Jenny Halasz, president of JLH Marketing, for Search Engine Journal. Use a real-world test. Will readers find value in the new information? Google will likely feel the same.
Search engine optimization (SEO). Check outgoing links, update the meta description if needed. Add internal links and keywords if needed. Keep the url the same to retain the posts SEO standing. Change the date and time to schedule it for the imminent future. If you feel compelled to change the title, keep the keyword phrase.
Transparency. Add an editor’s note for transparency as in: “This post was originally published on (date) and updated on (date).” Readers who saw the earlier version won’t be confused. “New readers probably haven’t dug into your archives and found some of your best posts. And old readers may have forgotten them,” says Darren Rowse, founder and editor of ProBlogger. “Even readers who keep returning a favorite post over and over again will be thrilled you’ve updated it.”
Remarket the post as you would a new one on social media, email newsletters and other channels.
Repurposing into Differerent Types of Content
Adapting content into different formats allows PR to reach new audiences, including people with different learning styles. While some people prefer reading in-depth articles, others learn better by hearing an audio or seeing a presentation. Repurposing content into multiple formats also extends longevity of the communications, placing it before different audiences over longer time periods.
“Just like Disney took a tried-and-true story and retold it with modern animation, repurposing evergreen content in a new medium can revive established messaging,” Powell notes.
A press release can be reworked as a blog post, YouTube video, social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, perhaps even as an infographic. An executive’s presentation at a trade conference can be turned into a blog post, slideshow, or an article contributed to outside publications. The presentation can be promoted on Facebook and Twitter. Posting and promoting content in a full range of media channels obviously increases the likelihood that more people will view it.
Content posted in one format can link to similar content in other formats. A blog post can link to the video, slideshow or webinar on the same topic. In turn, all of them can link back to the blog post on the corporate or brand web site. The links increase SEO for each format.
Methods for Repurposing
Before creating new PR content, brainstorm topics that can be easily adapted for different media platforms. Start with a broad subject that you can divide into many specific pieces. The following are principal types of PR content and the methods for repurposing and refreshing that content.
Blog posts. This owned media can be the building block for other types of content. Data cited in posts can be formatted into sharable infographics. PR can also rework other type of content, such as press releases and executive speeches, into blog posts. The same content in a blog post can be used in a short video that includes an on-camera presentation by an executive supplemented by strong data visualization and B-roll video. Such videos attract a wider audience when posted on YouTube and social media sites.
Ebooks. Gather all blog posts on a topic to create an ebook or other type of free guide. Consider adding elements like images, additional in-depth research and an index. Offer the ebook for free to those who provide basic contact information or sign up for your newsletter. Example: The 2019 PR Crisis Playbook from Glean.info.
Video. When you interview a client or expert for a press release, or internal employee newsletter, create a video on the topic. You don’t need a professional recording studio. A digital camera or cell phone may be all you need. You can also produce a video with graphics and voice-over audio – without recording anything live.
Infographics. These are ideal for repurposing data, visual content and time-based processes like step-by-step instructions. A good infographic requires in-depth content research and investment in exceptional design. The payoff is exceptional reach through viral sharing.
Slideshows. Slideshows are best for presenting images and short descriptions. Consider reformatting blog posts, videos or other works into slideshows. Slideshare.com is the best site for placement of slide presentations. It’s a content distribution opportunity often overlooked by PR.
Presentations. Presentations by company executives and other experts can be reworked as blog posts or recorded for videos. PowerPoint presentations can be presented as slideshows for display on YouTube.
Finally, measure your results. PR analytics will almost assuredly improve significantly by repurposing core PR communications.
Bottom Line: Repurposing content increases the reach and power of PR communications. In addition, repurposing enables PR to cost-effectively increase its output and its results. Rather than simply republishing, proper repurposing requires modifying content to meet requirements of different formats.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.