Creating blog content is time-consuming.
First you have to come up with a powerful idea. Then you need to outline the idea in a way that an audience will find engaging. Then you have to write the copy, edit it, edit it again, edit it AGAIN, proofread, proofread AGAIN, and then finally you’re done.
That is a lot of valuable time spent creating a blog post. (That’s why to hire WHITEBOOT, who can take most of this content creation work off your plate.)
But what if there were ways to leverage that time investment by reusing the content for other purposes?
Most professional services firms and practitioners actually reuse and repurpose content all the time: it’s called “standard materials,” in other words, the slides, tools, templates, frameworks and other content you use over and over again in working with clients.
Most professional services firms, however, under-utilize their existing know-how when it comes to repurposing it for marketing activities. But some leading firms are experts at it.
Masters of Reuse
Take top strategy consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain, for instance. You probably have seen this: first, a brainy consultant comes up with an idea, which leads to blog posts, which leads to pitch materials outlining the ideas, which leads to case studies based on client projects, which leads to books, which leads to articles in Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Quarterly, which leads to speeches, etc. As the process moves along, the idea gets richer and more refined. More importantly, the practitioner gets more exposure, more earned media and more identified as a thought leader.
Most practitioners do not have the time to create a comprehensive marketing program around a powerful idea – that business model requires a standalone support staff. However, there are many easy ways to repurpose content for other needs, which will save you lots of time while making you look smart, professional and prepared in front of the client.
Here are twelve ways to reuse blog content besides posting it on your blog and running an email campaign on the blog post:
1. Social Media Shares of Links to Posts
Sharing links to blog posts on social media is the next progression in professional services marketing after starting a regular blog and email marketing program. In particular, sharing on LinkedIn is a must for most high-touch practitioners, since they generally have extensive networks on LinkedIn. Twitter is also a channel which should be developed, as there are likely many people in your potential audience who spend significant time on Twitter.
If you want to get sophisticated about your social media strategy, adopt an easy-to-use tool like Buffer, Edgar or Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts and ensure that reposts are made to maximize your audience reach.
2. Reposting on LinkedIn and Medium
Reposting entire pieces of content provides incremental benefit beyond simply posting links to blog posts.
A key benefit of reposting entire pieces on LinkedIn, for instance, is that your content will get promoted to both your 1st degree connections and to people with whom you are not connected but who may be interested in your content.
Medium can provide great value if you have a decently sized Twitter audience, and professionals with certain types of content highly relevant to the Medium user base may quickly receive significant numbers of followers on Medium.
In the case of both Medium and LinkedIn, it is very important to add tags to ensure your content is getting maximum distribution.
3. Follow-Up Emails After Meetings
Let’s say you are having a meeting with a client prospect and a topic comes up that is directly addressed by a blog post you wrote a month ago.
First of all, having written a blog post about the topic means that your thoughts are likely to be well structured.
But then you can also say: “I can give you some advice right now on this issue. However, in addition, I’ll follow up by sending you a link to a recent article I wrote on exactly this topic which has a more in-depth discussion of the issue.”
When you get back to your car after the meeting, you pull up the URL of the blog post on your smartphone, copy and paste the link into an email, and send a brief thank you note to the client with the link. Sending that content can then provide an opening to a follow-up conversation. That thoughtfulness and responsiveness will differentiate you from other providers, all enabled by having written a blog post a month before.
4. Drip Email Campaigns
Drip email campaigns are a series of emails that send highly relevant content to a client. They are particularly useful for relatively new prospects who are just getting to know you and your firm.
An ideal situation is the following: you meet a new prospect who doesn’t need your services now but may in the future. From the meeting, you understand the three or four key issues the client is facing.
Fortunately, you have created blog content around all those issues. You can then set up an individualized drip email campaign that will send every two weeks one of these highly relevant content pieces that you have already written. And you will be bcc’ed on every email, so you know that the client received it and you can follow up with the client to discuss the content.
Once the drip email system is set up, a trained executive assistant can make all of this happen for you very easily.
5. White Papers
Think of white papers as longer and nicely formatted blog posts. White papers either expand on content you have already written or combine multiple blog posts on complementary topics to create a very thoughtful, comprehensive white paper. In other words, take the blog content you have written, do some minor editing, add some graphics, make the formatting pretty, then PDF it or do nice hard copy prints. Now you have something very professional and impactful to provide to clients. All with very little work on your part.
Certain content, such as lists and how-to’s, is highly amenable to be reformatted into an infographic, . Infographics may be used as standalone social media shared pictures, as standalone blog posts and in powerpoint presentations.
If you do not have a graphics professional in-house, there are many talented freelance infographics artists that can work with a core idea and turn it into a compelling graphic that can be used across print and digital media. With a little bit of input from you at the beginning and end of the design process, you’ll have another asset you can share with clients.
7. Shareable Chart for Social Media and Email
Infographics are cool, but they take some investment of time to execute. Quite often, it is easy to pull out one interesting factoid from a blog and turn it into a shareable chart graphic. A junior staff member can do this easily and the content can still generate a lot of engagement on social media. You can also email this graphic to selected clients who might be particularly interested in it.
8. Speeches and Seminars
Many professionals have opportunities to participate in seminars or to speak in front of an audience of potential clients or other stakeholders. Perhaps you are asked to speak at a major industry event, or maybe you recruit from top schools and can use content as the basis for a recruiting event to identify and meet with prospective employees. In any case, having a library of blog content makes it much easier for your to participate in such events since the core ideas will have been thought through and written out already.
9. “Standard Materials” Slides
Blog content can form the basis of standard materials slides: re-purpose your content into one or a series of slides which outlines an idea and use it in your client meetings
The idea funnel can also go the other way: Powerpoint content which you often use with clients is often a great source for blog post ideas.
10. Books or eBooks
Once you have developed a large library of content, you may have enough ideas to form the foundation of a longer written document, whether that is a book or e-book. Taking on the task of turning blog posts into book content is a more sizable task than other repurposing options, but there are plenty of editors and ghostwriters who can work with a bunch of content and turn it into a gem of a book on one topic or a series of e-books covering different topics. Published books are probably only valuable for practices with very high amounts of original intellectual content, but shorter e-books are a viable option for a greater range of practices.
11. Reprints or Exclusives in Trade Magazines
Once you have developed a reputation for consistently publishing compelling content, you may start to get followed on social media by journalists working for trade magazines or e-magazines. You can leverage these relationships to explore the opportunity to either reprint existing content or provide new, exclusive content on a digital media website. Again, this strategy does not work for all types of practices, but it can work for practices whose area of expertise is covered by a number of print magazines or ezines. Working with a PR firm that has connections with editors covering your practice area can be very beneficial in making this strategy work.
12. Update the Blog Post
Once your blog has been running for a while, you will find that some previous blog posts need some refining. That’s a great opportunity for a new blog post. Take the old blog post, augment it and re-post it as “version 2.” These posts tend to be valuable because they usually cover some essential subject and have been through a lot of vetting. These updates are a pretty easy way to generate “new” content.
Some Pain, Lots of Gain
Content creation involves a decent investment of time, particularly if you try to do it all yourself. So you want to make sure that you maximize your returns from that investment.
If you are just beginning content marketing, focus on the basics first: consistent, engaging content, basic email and social distribution. But keep in the back of your mind opportunities to repurpose content. Just as it is much easier to sell new services to an existing client, it is also easier to create new content from existing content.