Upcycling is described as the process of converting older or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. Let’s discuss new ways to upcycle current content, and turn it into something useful and perhaps even more beautiful.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 benchmark report, only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing. This number is disappointingly low, and has dropped from 38% in the same survey last year. Yet, 76% of respondents say they will produce more content this year.
If only 30% of us feel we are effective at content marketing, why do 76% of us plan on producing more content this year? Does this mean our content strategy is to create even more (ineffective) content marketing? Let’s try a new approach.
Let’s create less content but make sure it is more useful, not continue to create more content that we know is ineffective. In the spirit of less is more, here are 24 practical tips with idea prompts for upcycling existing content.
Let’s get back to basics to get more mileage out of content you’ve already created. I’ll provide three example content types that most B2B organizations already have within their content library: webinars, blogs, and white papers (ebooks).
Following is a list of idea starters to help you explore new ways to upcycle current assets into useful omni-channel content.
Widen Your Webinar Reach
For every webinar in your content library, have you done the following to expand or market your webinar content? Once you’ve applied checked the boxes for every current webinar, make sure these steps get baked into your future webinar content planning:
Have you created a version for SlideShare? Remember to include email collection.
Can you create key infographics from content in the webinar? If you created the infographics, how well have you promoted them and featured them in your various outbound messages?
- Live Dates and On-Demand
I’ve seen many organizations aggressively promote their webinar up until the “live” date, and then simply forget about it once it moves into on-demand, missing a golden opportunity. I’ve seen successful companies drive 65% of their webinar registrations during the on-demand phase of their promotional cycle. If you skip the on-demand step, you’re missing the majority of your potential reach to customers and prospects. If your webinar service provider won’t allow multiple live dates and on-demand hosting, find one that does.
- Website Integration
This is a simple one, but often overlooked. How easy is it for prospects or customers to find your webinar once it becomes on-demand? If you are hiding your webinars behind a “resources” section on your website, consider how you take this a step further to expose relevant webinars near relevant content. Make your webinars available through multiple search and browse functions – i.e., by topic, near relevant content, call boxes, etc.
- Social Integration
We all know to use social promos built to drive registration. In addition, look for tweetable quotes, charts or images from the webinar presentation. Be sure to tweet them from company accounts, and @mention the influencer(s) who presented the information.
- Third-Party Syndication
If you haven’t already, submit the web seminar to a third-party partner (i.e., publisher) who, for a per-lead fee, will provide access to registration leads beyond your own database. This is a great way to augment your own marketing efforts, and infuse your funnel with fresh prospects. David Crane offers some great tips on how to manage your paid acquisition strategy in How to Get Big Payoffs Using a Paid Acquisition Marketing Strategy.
- Convert to Text to Boost SEO and Drive Natural Search
Consider sending all webinars to a transcription service to create any or all of the following SEO-tasty derivative content assets:
- a written technical briefing, explaining the webinar
- Q&A interview
- “chapters” or “snippets” that show key learning points at corresponding time intervals for someone who wants to view the webinar on demand
All of these content types will help drive on-demand interest for your webinar, and create long-form derivative assets.
Blow Up Your Blog Traffic
We can apply similar thinking to your blog strategy:
- Pay attention to web analytics
Look for your top 10-20 blog posts (which are likely responsible for most of your blog traffic anyway) and determine why they are driving interest from your prospect and customer base.
- Look for common themes or topic areas across multiple blog posts
Can this be built into a multi-part series on your blog? You may have already written the backbone of an ebook, but the content just happens to be sitting in five different blog posts.
- Explode winners
Should this blog topic be exploded into a SlideShare or webinar topic? Should you be writing more blogs on this topic?
- Take it on the road
Should your CEO make this winning blog topic part of his next presentation at an industry event? If you talk to Scott Vaughan or David Crane at Integrate, they will speak at length about how they use the blog as an incubator for ideas, which later influence their industry byline articles, interviews, presentations and even Integrate product development.
- Tell the story with a visual
Does this blog lend itself to an infographic?
- Video interview
Can this topic be discussed in a video Q&A between one of your influencers and a key customer?
- Don’t forget social sharing for blogs too
Sometimes we reserve our social shares for “important” content assets, and forget about the lowly blog post. Have you shared this blog post through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other relevant social media networks for your target audience? How recently? How frequently?
- Engage your influencers
Have you encouraged your influencer network to share this blog post with their networks? How recently? How frequently?
Expand Your Ebooks and White Papers
Now let’s apply the same methodology to longer form content such as white papers, ebooks, technical guides or workbooks. In this case, we’ll build derivative assets from these long-form content assets.
- Build infographics to visually tell the story
Pull key concepts out of long form content, and illustrate the story through an infographic. In addition to sharing the infographics socially, remember to cross-link between relevant content on your website. This is a good time to think about how this infographic can help tell a story at all junctures in the funnel, whether it’s top, bottom or middle, even pre- and post-sales communication. Once you’ve built a compelling infographic, don’t be shy about using it throughout your buying process.
- Let graphics, charts, and tables also live on their own
You’ve undoubtedly spent resources to build illustrative graphics, charts and tables help tell the story inside.
- Does this content lend itself to a poster format to illustrate the concept?
I know, a poster sounds so old school, but that could be precisely why they are so popular. When I ran a tech media and events team, some of our most popular content was a poster of the SQL Server Table Map. I know, it might sound boring to us marketers, but my audience of SQL Server database administrators loved it! No matter how many we printed, we would run out of posters and find them posted in cubicles all over the world.
- Should I break this into a multi-part blog series?
Could this story also be told in a multi-part blog series? Often, the premise for an ebook is birthed out of a few popular blog posts. Remember to think about the inverse too – how can I break down this ebook or white paper into a multi-part blog series to tell the stories in chapters or podcasts released over a period of time.
- Work with a partner on third-party syndication
Similar to webinars, third-party publishers can be a great resource to help get fresh eyes reading your ebooks and white papers. Publishers often have a different relationship with your target audience because they are trying to educate, not trying to sell your product. This helps your target audience see publishing entities as a trusted, credible source of industry information. Paid acquisition can be one of the quickest ways to help boost your lead generation funnel with active buyers.
- Work with your influencers
Make it easy for your influencers to share your content with their sphere of influence. Some companies have created recognition programs to help highlight the most active influencers, and create some internal competition among the movers and shakers within their industry.
- Co-market with a partner
Work with a trusted partner to share each other’s content and co-market key assets. Perhaps you can feature each other’s content in your email newsletter, retweet it through social, or even band together with both logos on the content piece, for the ultimate in co-marketing.
- Script for public appearances
Are you reinforcing key content themes through all public presentations, whether it’s your CEO at an industry event or your sales team on an individual call? I’m constantly amazed at how much great content can be sitting inside of an organization, but is not getting readily shared or used by the key brand advocates who talk with prospects and customers every day.
- Fodder for sales enablement materials
Has your marketing team done a good job of equipping the sales team with the key content themes inside of your ebooks and white papers? Continue to build sales enablement decks with key messages, and don’t overlook the small things such as reminding your sales team to send an ebook to a customer at xx stage in the buying cycle, or use xx white paper at yy in the buying cycle. Better yet, automate this content sharing via your marketing automation platform (with a personalized sales message, of course). Your sales team will look like industry rock stars to potential customers, and your marketing team will become the best friend of the entire sales team.
Encourage your team to get into the habit of thinking about upcycling for every original piece of content that gets created by your company. Consider giving your team a one-month "Content Creation Vacation." For one month, challenge your team to not create any new content from scratch. They are only allowed to create content by expanding the most successful existing assets. You might be surprised how much more content you can produce, without more heavy lifting.
By upcycling your content into something even more useful, you’ll improve the overall effectiveness of your content marketing programs, to help fill the funnel and drive lead generation.