15 July 2019
If you are a marketing and communications professional, you are probably trying out ways to maximise value out of your existing content. One way of doing it is by re-purposing the content that you already have for different audiences, platforms and objectives.
Re-purposing is not a shiny new tool in a marketer’s arsenal. It has been a tried and tested creative device for marketers since the ’20s and ’30s.
What we know as the biggest name in facial tissue, Kleenex, was initially made to serve as a disposable towel to remove make-up.[i] Based on customer feedback, the product and the marketing campaign were re-purposed to address the newfound need of customers – to blow their nose. Play-Doh, the children’s modelling clay, was originally produced as a wallpaper cleaner.[ii] But then the manufacturers discovered its new purpose, and reworked and re-marketed the product for children.
Re-purposing serves two main objectives:
One of our clients engaged our services to re-purpose content for a new campaign. The project involved picking content from the company’s global content hub and re-purposing it for a regional audience.
In this blog, I want to share some of our learnings from this project:
1. How do you dust outdated content?
Most things have an expiry date, and content is no exception. But can you extend that timeline? In many cases, you can. Look for a new hook that will make it relevant again.
Here’s an example: You have a case study on how your wireless technology has made a sprawling university campus fit for learning on the go. Now can you give a fresh lease of life to this case study by connecting it with the growing momentum towards skills training to prepare future-ready talent?
The case study will be a good fit in a commentary on how skills training is getting a boost with anywhere, anytime learning. Talk about the role that wireless technology is playing in making it easier for students and professionals enrolled in skills training to pursue their goals. They can now download files, listen to podcasts and log on to a webinar by connecting their mobile device to a strong wireless network. The network provides them seamless connectivity across large facilities and campuses, and allows thousands of devices to be connected at a time.
2. How can you make global content locally relevant?
This is a lesson from my journalism days that makes sense even today. Proximity plays a big role in increasing the newsworthiness of an event or an incident – and that has stayed true even now when distances have shrunk (at least in our minds). But does proximity matter in business writing? Absolutely.
While working on the project, we found several blogs, videos and podcasts that carried insights relevant for an Asian audience but the messaging was mostly US-centric. The examples quoted were American; the data was mostly global.
To make the same content attractive for an Asia Pacific audience, we looked for region and country-specific angles. We plugged in local challenges, case studies and data that gave the original article a strong local flavour.
For example, if your aim is to just improve the knowledge of your reader in Asia about smart cities, you can talk about how Estonia became the world’s most digital country. However, most likely you want to also provoke new thinking in your reader. You want to position your company as knowledgeable and experienced in the technology and the region, and inspire your reader to act, wherever possible.
Connect the article to your reader’s top concerns – traffic snarls that a resident of Jakarta faces every day or an inefficient sewage management system in New Delhi affecting its residents. Now talk about how smart cities will take care of some of these common problems that Asia’s developing countries are facing.
3. How do you use one piece for different communication vehicles?
The same tone and form does not work for every communication channel. This is common knowledge but not always easy to implement.
How can you re-purpose the content from an interview or a news report that you have already published into a social media post? The tone of course needs to change. But there are a few other things to consider: the key message that you want to drive in the blog may be buried deep inside the interview; or the report has relevant facts but very little by way of insights that you want to include in a blog.
Let me explain. An interview with a senior executive on cloud security covers the challenges companies are facing, industry trends and the effectiveness of your company’s products in enhancing cloud security. To convert that into an engaging blog, we used the following approach. We gave it a personal touch, crafted some insights based on further research and added a few recommendations based on the trends.
With these changes, a straightforward report was turned into an engaging blog with comments and insights from a senior leader from the company.
There is clearly a lot that you can do with the content that you currently have. Here are a couple of more ideas.
Re-organise and re-write available resources to create a knowledge repository for training purposes. Consider converting text into audio or video material, or make an informative article interactive by inserting a quiz in it.
You can also re-cycle published case studies and white papers on social media to promote a special campaign or an event in which the company is taking part. Let’s say a senior company executive is speaking at a conference. Tag relevant content from your repository while promoting the session on the conference organiser’s social media handles.
Since creating fresh content is a time-consuming process, find new ways to increase the reach and extend the life of what you already have. However, to select the right piece for the right purpose takes time and skills. Partner with a content services firm that has the experience and the creative ability to deliver the desired outcome.
How can we help? Read our content services and tell us what we can do for you.