According to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual report, 64 percent of B2B content marketers say they are challenged with producing enough content. Marketers understand the importance of content like blogs, infographics and videos - the challenge is balancing production with other day-to-day responsibilities while producing enough content to be successful. Repurposing can help you scale content production without sacrificing quality.
What is Repurposing?
Repurposing is a method of leveraging existing content in order to create new content. The main benefit of repurposing is the elimination of the need for a content marketer to start from scratch when creating new content.
Imagine that you've been tasked with creating a white paper for your business. A blank sheet of paper as a starting point can be pretty intimidating. Not only can repurposing existing content - like blog posts - expedite the completion of this task, it can shift your entire content production philosophy. Rather than scrambling to pull something together only when it becomes urgent, what if you were writing blog posts with the express goal in mind of repurposing them into a white paper?
Repurposing is different than reusing. When you reuse content, you simply re-release or re-broadcast existing content in its original form through a different medium or format. Reuse is problematic for two reasons. For one, reusing content as-is defeats the purpose of adding content to your site -- if it isn't fresh, it isn't clickworthy. In addition (and perhaps most importantly) you run the risk of misleading and annoying your community. For example, a frequent reader of your blog may recognize reused content in its "new" format and say "Hey, this isn't new. I've already seen this!"
A simple comparison:
- Reuse: compiling five existing blogs posts (in their original state) into a .pdf and calling it a white paper.
- Repurpose: pulling content from three existing blog posts, an existing video and an existing slide deck, editing it, writing a bit of new content to put it all in context and then compiling it all together into a .pdf and calling it a white paper.
Not only does repurposing allow marketers to scale content production, it can also extend the lifespan of existing content that's most likely gathering dust.
With the goal of repurposing in mind at the outset of content production, a new challenge emerges: what strategy will enable you to stretch content to its fullest without quality degradation or a lack of variety in formats and delivery systems?
The "Turkey Sandwich" Strategy
A good approach to repurposing is the "Turkey Sandwich" strategy.
Think back to the last major holiday you spent with family and friends in which a large meal was served -- punctuated perhaps with a beautiful 20-lb. turkey. Whoever prepared the turkey likely spent hours on it -- choosing a recipe, shopping for ingredients, selecting the perfect bird and prepping the kitchen before finally cooking.
After all that work, what happens to the leftovers? Are they simply discarded? Of course not. If your family is anything like mine, Thanksgiving turkey leftovers stretch on for days and weeks in various forms: turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey tetrazzini and on and on until every last morsel is gone. Even the bones can be used to make turkey broth.
The point is this: It would be a shame to throw all of that uneaten turkey away after the initial meal for which it was principally intended. An added benefit to avoiding waste is that very little prepping and cooking is required for the "leftover" meals - which can be just as delicious as the original.
A large initial effort makes future, smaller efforts easier. The same should go for content marketing.
The "Turkey Sandwich" strategy calls for the initial creation of rich media content -- long-form audio/video -- that can be repurposed into many smaller pieces of content.
A webinar is one of my favorite types of rich media content to start with. It's an ideal "turkey" because it can easily be repurposed into so many things with relative ease:
- Webinar (the "turkey")
- Audio Recording
- Print Collateral
- Blog Post(s)
- White Paper
- Slide Deck
- Video (when combined with audio recording)
- Training Material
- Blog Post
- Video (when combined with audio recording)
- Blog Post
- Audio Recording
Preparing a webinar requires the creation of a slide deck and a written notes/outline of what you're going to talk about. Combine that with an audio recording of the presentation itself, and you've got four great pieces of content right away.
The audio recording should be immediately transcribed. The transcript of a 30-60 minute webinar will contain thousands of words that can be repurposed into other text-based pieces of content like blog posts, which can in turn be repurposed into advanced pieces of content like white papers and eBooks, or other print materials like sales slicks, brochures and direct mail pieces. The audio recording can also be repurposed into a podcast or many podcasts.
The slide deck, when combined with the audio recording of the presentation, can be repurposed into a video replay of the webinar. A video of this length can be repurposed into many other shorter videos. Depending on the topic, the visual nature of the slide deck lends itself to be repurposed into an infographic.
Along with the slides, this blog post is an example of how webinar content can be repurposed. You can bet there will be more from us on this topic.
One simple alternative to a webinar would be to interview one of your internal subject matter experts. Grab your iPhone and sit down with them for an extended amount of time to talk about the subject you're creating content about. When you're done, transcribe the conversation and start from there.
A Google+ Hangout On Air is another webinar alternative. Gather up four or five of your colleagues for a brief video chat on Google+, which will automatically be recorded and uploaded to YouTube for immediate replay. Get that video transcribed and, well, you know the rest by now.
All in all, repurposing is a great way to scale content production in an economical and pain-free way. If you're struggling to get started with content marketing, check out our free guide: The 5 W’s of Content Creation.
Steven: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's
webinar, The Turkey Sandwich Strategy: Mastering the Art of
Repurposing. My name is Steven Shattuck; I am the community
manager at Slingshot SEO, and I will be moderating today's
discussion. With me today is Muhammad Yasin. He is the Director
of Marketing at HCC Medical Insurance Services. Good morning,
Muhammad: Good morning, Steven.
Steven: For those of you who have attended past Slingshot SEO webinars,
today's presentation is going to be just a little bit different
than what we have done before. Right now, we are broadcasting
live through a Google+ hangout, so this is going to be a little
more casual of a conversation than maybe you have listened in on
in the past.
Content repurposing is something that Muhammad and I feel real
strongly about and we talk about this topic often. What we are
going to do today is share with you a strategy that both of us
came up with, that we use in our day jobs that makes repurposing
content pretty painless and much more efficient. We are going to
run through that together, and if you have any questions about
what is being said, feel free to send those over to us through
the chat functionality on Google+ and we will try to answer them
if we have any time at the end.
The case for content. We are not going to spend a lot of time
talking about why content is important, in this case. We feel
content is important. If you are listening to this, you probably
already understand that content is everything; it is how you get
traffic and conversions, you can shorten your sales cycle, it
can increase the amount of money spent on a purchase, and on and
We are not going to spend a lot of time talking about why
content is important. What we do want to talk about is why
content is hard to create, or why creating a lot of content is
tough. Mohammad, you work in an industry that you like to say it
is unsexy; it is insurance.
Mohammad: It absolutely is unsexy. It is probably one of the most boring
industries that you can work in, which is insurance. One of the
reasons for that is because there are not a lot of people that
are really fired up to talk about insurance policies. For us,
from an internet perspective and being very much an e-commerce
company, finding or creating a large volume of very interesting
content that Google finds valuable to individuals, potential
customers, and existing customers find valuable can be very
challenging. Once we find a good idea, we have to make sure we
get the most out of it.
Steven: You have to create the content, but you also have to create a
certain amount of volume of content. A high volume of content is
what you need to be successful, and that can take up a lot of
time. At Slingshot, we are publishing 2 to 3 blog posts a day,
almost weekly webinars, and all of these advanced pieces of
content like whitepapers, guides, and all of these things, and
it takes a lot of time to do that. It is a huge undertaking,
especially if you start from scratch in all of these things. You
are making infographics at a pretty fast clip and that stuff
Muhammad: Absolutely. Even for us at HCCMIS, we are putting out about
15,000 pieces of content a year, and this could be everything
from, like you said, infographics, which tend to be very
detailed, especially when you are doing interactive items versus
statics, all the way to videos, blog posts, tweets, and
whitepapers. It can be very difficult to try to figure out how
you are going to create 15,000 pieces of content from scratch,
and a very daunting task if you do not look at repurposing as
one of the tools in your arsenal.
Steven: This is not a new idea. Some research came out a few weeks ago;
people understand this. The Content Marketing Institute cited a
stat that is pretty telling, to me: 64% of B2B content marketers
say they are challenged with producing enough content. People
see this as a problem. They know content is important. It is
just hard to create enough to be successful, and that is where
repurposing comes in.
What is repurposing? The two of us define that as utilizing
existing assets to produce new content so you do not have to
reinvent the wheel every time; you do not have to start from
scratch and you do not need to involve a lot of manpower, in
terms of your employees or outsourcing it to vendors, which can
be very costly.
Muhammad: Absolutely. I think one of the things you should make sure you
remember is when we talk about repurposing content; we are not
talking about duplicating content. We are not talking about
taking a blog post, writing it once, and then giving that same
blog post to multiple outlets across the internet. That is
something that would definitely hurt you from a SEO perspective,
and also can hurt you just from a legitimacy perspective, in the
eyes of people that are reading your content and finding the
same thing over and over again. We are talking about doing
something a little bit different, which is creating a very rich
piece of content, and then finding new ways to use that piece of
content in fresh channels.
Steven: Yes, it is not reusing, very different than repurposing. That
is a good distinction for you to make, Muhammad.
The Turkey Sandwich Strategy; what is the Turkey Sandwich
Strategy? We are a few days away from Thanksgiving. Probably
most of you, if you celebrate Thanksgiving, maybe you had a
beautiful turkey come out of the oven. I know some people do a
nice ham. This is something that Muhammad and I came up with a
few weeks before Thanksgiving, because we think the metaphor is
You spend all morning making a beautiful turkey, and maybe if
you have some family or friends over to eat that turkey, there
are usually leftovers. I know I usually leave home with some
leftovers; I did not this year, for whatever reason. You do not
just throw all that turkey away, you keep it in the fridge, and
you turn it into meals, it seems like for weeks and weeks
Steven: Sandwiches, meatballs, turkey pot pies, and all these things.
Really, the same thing applies to repurposing content. If you
wanted to make the most out of a piece of content, in terms of
repurposing, start with your turkey. What is a turkey? A turkey
is a rich piece of media content. It can be a webinar or vide,
it is something that you probably made from scratch and spent a
little bit of time on, probably a lot of time, actually.
Muhammad: It is probably a real robust piece of content, as well. We are
probably not talking about something like a single blog post. We
are talking about something more like what Steven said, a
webinar that you put together or a video that you spent some
time doing. It might be an infograph that you created, but you
have a lot of work that went into researching and creating that,
and you are going to be reusing those pieces of content later.
Steven: From your rich piece of media, you can repurpose pieces and
parts of that into other smaller pieces of content that can do a
lot for you and stretch that original turkey, that rich piece of
media, into something that can last you months and maybe even
years, in terms of new content.
To illustrate this strategy in action, we want to actually use
this webinar, this Google+ hangout, as an example of our turkey,
or our rich piece of media. Muhammad and I have been planning
this webinar for a couple weeks. We did a couple of planning
sessions and we thought this out, so there was definitely time
placed into this rich piece of media, considerable investment.
What we are going to illustrate is how we are going to be able
to stretch this actual presentation into many pieces of content
If you look at this webinar, immediately out of the gate we can
repurpose it into 4 pieces of content. Obviously, if you are
watching this from Google+, you are seeing our slides. Those
slides already exist so that is something that can be
repurposed. We have our notes and our outline of what we are
going to talk about, which came out of our planning meetings,
those things can be repurposed into different things. You cannot
see it, but in the room here I am actually recording the audio
of this presentation off of a little camera, which you could
just as easily do on an iPhone or maybe actually through the
computer itself, so we are going to have an audio recording of
the presentation. Then we are also going to have a video
recording of the Google+ hangout itself, hopefully, if the
technology cooperates. I know this is new to Muhammad and I, but
hopefully we will have that. Without even really trying, we
already have 4 pieces of content that we can spawn off of the
Muhammad: Absolutely. You will see why these are, especially the notes
and the outlines, are extremely important as we start getting
into some of these further ideas.
Steven: Here is where it really gets fun. Taking those 4 things and
branching those out into content that you can actually use.
Muhammad, I know you are a big fan of SlideShare, what would you
do with the slide deck in this case?
Muhammad: I think the big thing is you obviously have to put together a
presentation to do a webinar because you have slides, exhibits,
and charts you need to show to support your points. The great
thing about SlideShare is that as soon as the webinar is over,
you can then post that immediately onto SlideShare. You will
have to do some minor optimization on there, do some notation,
and make sure your titles are really solid, from a search and
SEO perspective. As long as you put together the slide really
well ahead of time, it is something that is instant content for
From that, you can also take the charts that you created in that
deck; you can use that for training materials or maybe use that
for individual handouts. I use a lot, actually, for some of my
employees, with statistics and that sort of thing. Then also,
there is going to be a lot of notes, which I will let Steven
Steven: Yes, the notes are written text and that can easily be
repurposed into a blog post immediately, and it is probably the
first thing that I will do maybe today or tomorrow when this
ends. With just a little bit of polishing, you can turn your
notes, your outline, into a recap post that explains what you
talked about in the webinar. The beauty of that is, on that
post, you could potentially embed the slide deck and the video
recording of the presentation, whatever you want to do. That is
a no-brainer, in terms of repurposing webinar content
My personal favorite is probably the audio, because it seems
like you can get so much out of just audio. Right away you have
a podcast, essentially. If someone could not catch the webinar
or the Google+ hangout, they can just listen to the audio at
their own leisure, from the comfort of their desk or whatever.
Muhammad: You make very minor edits to it. You may go back, add in some
sort of intro, an outro, a couple of drops in middle, maybe some
branded commercials for some product you are selling or
offering. With very little work, even in something as simple as
Garageband for your iPad or iPhone, you could have a pretty
solid podcast that you can release.
Steven: What I like to do is immediately get a transcript of the entire
webinar presentation. It is something that I do with all of our
videos, all of our webinars. My favorite service is
SpeechPad.com. You can simply upload an audio file or send them
a YouTube link directly, and they will transcribe the audio from
the video or the audio file you send them. With the transcript,
you are going to get so much text content, especially if you do
a 15-minute, half-hour, or hour-long presentation. You are going
to have pages and pages of text content that you can repurpose
into several blog posts, not just 1 or 2. I think usually a 30-
minute webinar is probably good for about 10 blog posts . . .
Steven: . . . if you differentiate all the content and spread it out.
Obviously, a transcript is important if you have a YouTube
video, you want to include a transcript for the SEO purposes.
From those blog posts, you can actually repurpose individual
blog posts into other pieces of content like infographics and
whitepapers, or combine several blog posts into a guide,
whitepaper, or even an e-book, if you have enough.
Muhammad: Basically what you are looking at, you are not necessarily
using the exact same content. It is about reimagining that for a
different format. A blog post is obviously going to be a little
bit more of a longer form written item, which you can get very
much out of the transcript. There is no reason why you cannot
take the main topics, you are just going to have maybe 3 or 4
main key points in your blog posts, and then you represent those
When you talk about the infographic, infographics can take a lot
of time to create, but the majority of that time ends up being
the research that you put into finding the content and the data,
and then also figuring out how to organize that in a proper way.
After that, you get to the actual design portion, but it is
probably maybe the last third of the work you are doing for that
infographic. If you are using an existing blog post that you
created from this format, you have taken 2/3 of that work, and
you can go right to the design portion. You already have laid it
out, you already have all your data points and your story, all
you are doing now is making that into basically a good visual
representation of what it is you are trying to create.
It is the same thing for the whitepaper. It is basically going
to be very close to the blog content that you wrote, but you may
have some additional calls-to-action. You may take some
additional data points, a few more data points that you are
adding, and maybe some commentary that you may have gotten, the
Q&A, to add in at the end.
Steven: I have seen people do a recap post that was just the Q&A
section, so it did not even really get into the meat of the
presentation. You can imagine how that would be a really
effective blog post because it is interactive and it gets other
There was a comment that just came through the chat, that I
think is really key: 'It is important to keep quality in mind
when stretching out the content,' I could not agree more. You do
not want to just take your transcripts and just rip out some
text, and then immediately turn that into a blog post. You
definitely want to massage the content, make sure it is on-
point, and that you are not just creating a content factory from
your turkey or your big, rich piece of media.
Muhammad: Exactly. You would be surprised how much content you can
actually get out of just a 30-minute webinar, or a 3-minute
video. It can be a little bit more difficult for those of us
that may not be natural writers, to sit down and say, 'I am
going to knock out a 700 or 1,000-word blog post.' In reality,
when we sit down and we talk about something that we are very
interested and passionate about, we end up speaking much longer
than we may have written it, so that 1,000 words, you may get
that out in a few minutes. You end up creating content very fast
when you are just sitting down chatting, just like Steven and I
are, about something that we are very interested in.
Steven: I like starting with the webinar because you and I can talk for
hours about this stuff and it did not take a whole lot of prep
to put this stuff together, a little bit. This occurs naturally
and we are going to get so much nice repurposing material out of
The fourth piece is the Google+ hangout recording, which we can
probably just call video, in general. Depending on our luck with
this technology, we will hopefully get a recording of the
hangout, but we will definitely be able to create a YouTube
video. Since we are also getting the audio, we can marry that up
with the slides and put that on YouTube. That is going to be a
nice piece of content that you can email to people who maybe
could not make the webinar because of their schedule, or you can
place it in a blog post for people to watch, and then a 30-
minute video could be repurposed into several shorter videos, it
Muhammad: Absolutely. A lot of times, I think, in the past, many of the
webinars that we have done previously, we have actually taken
maybe the 3 primary points that we talked about in the webinar,
and then directly afterwards, we will sit down and we will shoot
just a very quick interview-style video talking about those
points. It becomes very easy to do because, one, we are just
talking about those concepts. Two, we already broke them down
into the core items because we have really good notes, so we are
able to usually knock out 3 or 4 very quick informational videos
in maybe 10 or 15 minutes after the webinar because we did all
the prep work ahead of time and we are already sitting here
ready to go.
Steven: We have probably 20 decent pieces of content up on that diagram
without really trying too hard, which I would estimate over the
next week or so we will have all those things from just this
presentation. You get a pretty good bang for your buck from the
webinar. That is the strategy.
How do you get started? It can be a little overwhelming for
people to get started, perhaps. I think the first thing you
should do is identify the opportunities and the needs. What is
it that you need to communicate, in terms of your business and
your prospects? Then go ahead and produce that turkey, if you do
not already have it. It is possible that you may have a rich
piece of media sitting around.
Muhammad: You very likely do have something. If you have already shot a
video in the past, a great thing to do is just go back, find
those videos and get the transcripts for them. As soon as you
start reading through those transcripts, you will probably
instantly start finding ideas for content that you can quickly
create, but also, many times, it will spur ideas that you did
not have before as you start reading through and realize that
you had mentioned something that you can spin off of further
down the road.
Maybe you are doing an interview for a particular topic and
something comes up through the course of the conversation and
you will say, 'Oh, my God. That would also make a great
interview, blog post, or whitepaper.' Suddenly you have cut out
some of the time for the ideation that goes behind trying to
figure out what that next big piece of content is.
Steven: Then once you produce your turkey, define those repurposed
elements before actually executing on releasing the turkey. As
Muhammad and I were playing this webinar, we whiteboarded out
all of the things that we are really going to repurpose this
particular webinar into before actually putting it on, which you
are listening to now. It is important to define those things so
that you are not having to go back and look at your turkey and
figure out, what are we going to make from this? It is nice to
have a plan going into it, I guess you could say.
Muhammad: It can also make it very easy as you are performing a piece of
content, whether it is a webinar or a video. If you have an idea
of at least high-level what types of content you want to create
down the road, it helps to be a little bit more mindful of
making sure you hit certain points or you deliver them in
certain ways during the actual event. Let us say a webinar for
example, if you know you are going to want to get a podcast out
of that webinar on the backend, then you are going to be a
little bit more mindful about making sure you have a certain
natural breakpoints where you can add in additional content or
commercials. Then also for an audio-only format, realizing that
there may be things on the slide that you need to explain more
thoroughly, verbally, versus depending on just having that
visual content there, as well.
Steven: Then it is just a matter of execution and then stretching that
content. Executing on your plan, on your diagram for what needs
to be done, and I think it is important that you define roles
and responsibilities. For me, I do a lot of the repurposing
myself, but it seems like some of it can be delegated through
your team, and many hands make light work. If you delegate one
little piece to each person on your team, you are going to come
out with a lot of content pretty quickly. Then it is just a
matter of measuring and refining which pieces of content did
better, maybe a blog post did better than the SlideShare, maybe
we should concentrate more on the video rather than whitepaper,
or whatever, just looking at what your audience likes, in terms
of the type of content. Do not forget to have fun. We are doing
a webinar about turkey sandwiches; it can be fun.
Muhammad: I think that is another thing that can be helpful, as well. If
you are having fun, you end up with a much more natural piece of
content, something that also tends to be a little bit more
engaging than if you scripted thing out a little bit further.
One thing in regards to scripts, that I think we have found very
helpful over the past years as we have been really refining this
repurposing concept, is making sure that we start with something
that is more natural-based versus more scripted. I think we very
much both like starting with webinars because it is something
where we can chat a little bit more naturally while having a
little bit of structure behind it. Another thing that has worked
really well for us has been interview-style videos, as well.
Once again, it is because you have a couple of key points, but
we can just talk a little bit more naturally, and then we can
refine things down the road once we get to the blog post and
tighten things up a little bit more.
Steven: It is funny you mention that. I had lunch with a colleague who
works at an IT staffing firm, another unsexy industry, and he
was struggling with how to get started in producing content. I
just said, 'Grab your iPhone and just sit down with your
internal subject matter experts, and just talk. Have them talk
about their products, services, and expertise. Once you get that
audio or video and you get that transcribed through SpeechPad or
whatever, you are going to have so much content that you can
repurpose into blog posts or sales material, rather than asking
that subject matter expert to sit down in front of a blank Word
document and pour it all out.
If you just do that conversation, it is going to happen
naturally, because most subject matter experts like to talk
about their subjects of expertise. You and I like to talk about
this, and it happens naturally. It does not have to be a
webinar, but I would definitely stress some two-way
conversation, in terms of a way to get started.
Steven: That is the strategy. We got probably 5 or 6 minutes left. We
had a couple of questions people asked before the presentation
began. If you have any more, feel free to send them over chat. I
know there is some robust conversation happening in there now.
One question we really wanted to answer is: 'What is the best
way to get started if you do not already have an example of rich
media?' We have touched on this, but what would you say,
Muhammad, to a person who absolutely has nothing that they can
repurpose right now, they have to start from scratch with that
turkey? What would you tell that person?
Muhammad: I think the first thing I would probably start with would be
some type of video. It does not have to be a really high up-
produced video. It can be something very simple just meant for a
quick YouTube-type of video. Get together maybe 3 bullet points
you want to talk about, chat about it for 5 minutes on video,
and post that. If you really have some good content there, it is
going to work well on YouTube. Get your transcript, and then
very simply just try to create one blog post off of it. As you
start doing that, becoming more natural at that, then you can
start branching out further and further to create new pieces of
content, further blog posts, stretch it further and further.
Just start with a video and create a blog post off of it.
Steven: We are really just about out of time; it is about 11:58. I know
people want to get to lunch, especially since we have been
talking about turkey for a half-hour, they are probably getting
a little hungry. Muhammad, do you want to say a few words about
HCC, for the people who may be listening, not familiar with you?
I want to get you some time in here.
Muhammad: Absolutely. I will give the very quick elevator speech. HCC is
a travel medical insurance company. That means that we offer
temporary medical insurance for people that are traveling
abroad. Maybe you are going to vacation in Europe, business trip
in Canada, or going down to Cancun for a couple of day. We offer
coverage for as short as a few days, just in case something may
happen to you while you are there, if you get sick or step on a
rusty nail, whatever that may be.
If you are traveling anytime soon, definitely go ahead and check
us out. Also, check out our YouTube channel, it is
YouTube.com/HCCMIS. If you are not traveling anytime soon, there
are all these really great videos there on travel stories from
people that have been abroad; we do journals. Then also lots of
tips about things like packing bags, make-up kits for when you
are traveling abroad, all the sort of good stuff. Check us out,
it is YouTube.com/HCCMIS.
Steven: There are some good infographics on your blog, too.
Muhammad: We definitely have some great infographics. If you are doing
any holiday traveling, maybe going back to see Grandma over the
holiday breaks, check out our blog; it is HCCMIS.com/blog. We
just released a really great interactive guide on holiday travel
that touches a lot on how to successfully travel with toddlers
and kids, whether it is on airplane or over the road, etc. Check
that out, a really great piece of content.
Steven: Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Google+ hangout, and
for bearing with our technical difficulties. We have got another
webinar coming up 2 weeks from today. It is our fifth in our
series with iGoDigital. We are going to be talking about some e-
commerce stuff, so definitely register for that. You can go to
our website and click on Resources and register for that.
Thank you again for joining us, and good luck with your
repurposing. Have a great rest of your day, guys.