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I hate waste. I guess you could say this is one of my personality idiosyncrasies. If I don’t finish a meal at a restaurant, I’m definitely asking for a doggie bag — and not for my dog!

And around my house, they call me the “leftover king” because I’m always coming up with new ways to reheat leftovers for a quick meal. I’ll also turn the shampoo bottle over to make sure I get every last drop before throwing it away, and I always roll up and squeeze that toothpaste tube tight to try to try to get enough out for one more brush.

My disdain for waste carries over into my business as well. But I’m not talking about reusing old file folders until they’re dog-eared or pulling paper clips off old papers before throwing them away (though I do both of these things, of course!).

I’m talking about content repurposing. To me, putting the time, energy and resources into writing and posting a blog — and then not doing anything else with that blog content — is as wasteful as walking out of a seafood restaurant and leaving a half-eaten lobster tail on your plate.

Filling the Insatiable Content Need

Companies that are serious about content marketing have an almost insatiable need for quality content on a consistent basis. The good news is that there are more different ways than ever to repurpose your content to meet this demand.

My friend Gordon Graham, aka That White Paper Guy, is as passionate about content repurposing as I am. In fact, he wrote a series of articles that talk about the benefits of repurposing white papers and how to do this.

In his career, Gordon has worked on more than 250 white papers and he says that maybe 2% of them were ever repurposed. “Only a tiny handful of my clients ever even thought about repurposing, and even then, usually only after I mentioned it,” Gordon says.

The most obvious benefit of content repurposing is that it stretches your marketing budget farther. “It’s also more sensible than starting every new piece of content from scratch,” says Gordon. You can profit by reusing the same research and valuable marketing materials you’ve already paid to create. “After all, it’s wasteful to trash things you could use again,” Gordon adds.

I wonder if Gordon is the leftover king at his house?

What is Content Repurposing?

Gordon has a useful definition for content repurposing: Recycling existing content in different media for different audiences to access, in different ways at different times.

Take a white paper, for example. Not everybody wants to or has time to read a 3,500-word white paper. “But break it up into five or six short, snackable blog posts and time-pressed prospects will gobble them up,” says Gordon.

According to Gordon, a white paper can quickly be repurposed into at least seven to 10 more pieces of content, including:

  • Five or six blog posts
  • A press release
  • A slide deck
  • A webinar script
  • An audio version
  • A bunch of social media posts and tweets

As I noted earlier, a serious content marketing initiative requires a content pipeline that’s constantly being replenished. Repurposing is the most cost- and time-efficient way to keep your content pipeline full.

Reverse Repurposing

Content repurposing can go in the other direction, too. For example, I’ve created white papers for clients from blog series that I’ve written.

One of my clients recently asked me if we could use a series of blogs I wrote on a timely mortgage lending topic to create a comprehensive white paper that he could post on his website and hand out at trade shows. This proved to be so successful that we did another white paper from another blog series the next quarter.

Next, he created a monthly e-newsletter and used the slightly edited weekly blog posts as the newsletter’s content. In fact, that’s what I do: Each month, I repurpose the content you’re reading here as my e-newsletter. This way, I can “push” my content out to readers as well as post it here where the search engines will help web browsers find it.

The kind of content repurposing we’re talking about isn’t difficult — a skilled writer can easily do this for you. If you work with an outside freelance writer, ask what he or she would charge to do some repurposing like this. For white paper repurposing, you might spend $200 per blog post or per press release or $100 per slide for a slide deck.

Reduce Content Waste

You might not be as fanatical about waste as me, but you owe it to yourself and your organization to look into how content repurposing can help you reduce waste when it comes to your content pieces. Now excuse me while I go see what kind of leftovers there are in the fridge that I can throw together for lunch!