There is no doubt that in this day and age, every digital content asset needs to offer some progress toward your endgame. It may not need to stand the test of time but having a life outside of its 8.25 seconds of selective attention on Twitter couldn’t hurt.
Of course, not every photo for Instagram or ‘How-to video’ on your Youtube channel is destined for recirculation, nor should it. It all comes down to two main criteria, numbers or values. These will tell you if your content is worth a second, third or fifteenth occurrence inside an integrated approach to digital media. Creating unique content that warrants interest takes time so when you have got a hit that is inspiring your audience, it’s a crime not to, re-run it.
But how do you recognize viral potential? Start with recognizing the best of what you produce and honour it with spin-offs meant to celebrate your best.
First, Define ‘Best’
You need to consistently recognize what is working and what is not. It’s easy to believe that great content calls out to itself by directly leading to sales but it is rarely that simple.
If you have had success with digital content driving a conversation then you know that in reality several posts often come together to create the impact that drives customers to act. Your ability to discover these gems will depend on how far along you are in your content plan.
Defining ‘best’ by the Numbers
Instead of guessing, it’s best to compare your content. Engagement numbers are sure to fluctuate a bit but the five posts that get the most engagement can tell you a lot about your current fan supporters. Look at comments, likes & shares. Train yourself to notice higher than normal engagement for you and what has attracted new people. This may be easier to access if you have 100s of posts, but many of us are far from that milestone. Look over your last 12-15 posts. Your core fans will engage regularly, but occasionally one post will have achieved 5-10% more engagement. This post is worth a little extra love.
Defining ‘best’ by The Value
A Great Content Strategy relies on a consistent brand messaging that supports a unique offering. This means that your core values or Unique Selling Point (USP) should be mentioned several times to reinforce trust (and SEO) but that’s another blog. If the content is an accurate example of your core brand messaging, it is worth repurposing because the content is what I call ‘evergreen’, never going out of style.
So ask yourself: Does this content tell my story to someone who does not know me? Would this content hold up in one year? A yes to both suggests it meaningful to your brand story. Go ahead and repurpose it because it defines you. If it is the right post, one that inspires your imagination, you’ll see numerous opportunities to expand upon it.
Once you have chosen content to repurpose try these tactics:
1) Divide it into smaller themes
A blog of 800-1500 words can likely be broken down by subheaders or natural paragraph breaks. Enjoy creating a caption that summarizes the section, and your audience will too. Check out the first sentence of each paragraph to guide you and add images that support the context. Stuck? Try adding a few keywords into a google image search to get ideas ( just don’t use these images without permission)
2) Separate the visuals from the words
Look at the visuals. There are plenty of ways to repurpose great visuals. Try a new crop. Add it to an infographic. Contrast it with a second image to adjust the focus or several panels to tell a story. Then simply adjust the caption appropriately. Great captions let your audience imagine themselves. So try asking a question or speak to a universal truth but, of course, these are not the only ways to mix it up.
3) Get curious, ask questions
Short-form content like social media posts can be expanded by getting a little curious. Start running at it with questions:
- What relates to this?
- Where did the inspiration come from?
- When is it most relevant?
- Why should someone care?
- Who is affected by it, today?
- How can a novice use it?
To master the art of questions go to Answer The Public.
To repurpose your content, simply find a way to answering these questions and your new posts will feel connected to the original.
4) One post holds many stories- discover them
Challenge yourself to feature the exact same message in different ways. At 1st this can be a hard one to master but once you find your own style your content generation capability will grow as will your speed at creating content.
Try this thoughts exercise: You’ll need a paper and pen to write down your answers.
Think of your brand values for 30 seconds, write them down. Now let it go and find a cat image that inspires your imagination (there should be ample to choose from on the Internet):
- Now imagine placing that cat in different areas of the image. Did you hide it? Was it close up or moved further away?
- Describe the cat using your senses. Is it soft, scruffy, bright, menacing, cute, sad?
- Imagine adding more cats- what story are you telling now? Scarcity, cooperation?
- What is the personality of this cat?
- Imagine talking to that cat, what would you say? How would it react?
- Does the cat have a backstory? Who took care of the cat? Where might it travel next?
- Do you have any cautionary measures to protect that cat from its environment?
- Are there any song lyrics or quotes that seem appropriate here?
OK now review your brand values and replace the cat, with the subject of your content. Can you tell the story around your featured content using similar techniques?
Sometimes by removing your emotional ties to the content [like focusing on someone else‘s cat] you can approach the content in different ways.
5) Show the ‘behind the scenes’ magic
Nothing creative comes into existence alone. The story of your content creation is fascinating. Tell us all the considerations that brought you to the final post.
- Offer us a ‘day in the life’. The day it was inspired, the day it was created or the day in the life of someone who is using your brand offering now.
- Who brought this to be – Are there contributors to interview (designers, researchers, customers)
- What didn’t make the cut? Are there alternatives copies around?
- Experiences that humanize your brand can attract attention. So go ahead and share the funny story of the dog that wouldn’t quit barking during filming.
Time to get excited and busy
So I hope you are excited to extend the life of your greatest content. You can overlay quotes, hide the subject to let our audience find it, offer cautionary insight in the form of an Infographic or divide the content into smaller parts and offer them as a series of insights. There are so many ways to re-invent, re-invigorate an already successful concept.
Try this, once per week review content for best and take one 1/ 2 day to make as much content from it as you can. THEN schedule the best 10. You’ll be happy with the results.
Author: Stephanie Michelle Scott, Wildfire Effect Social Media.
Content strategist, self-declared digital storyteller and community evangelist alongside robot sidekick, ARchie.