The Power of Repurposed Content
If you worked in marketing before the digital age, you may be uncomfortable with the concept of recycled marketing. After all, before the internet, advertising was (at its best) a place to create art and win awards. However, while the originality of some ad campaigns bowled you over, nobody knew exactly what worked. As John Wanamaker, the founder of a prominent 20th-century department store, once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
Today, digital marketers can measure almost everything, which has made us infinitely more pragmatic. We often take an approach that repels those old schoolers - refine, reuse, and recycle.
The truth is that digital consumers are skimming the internet at lightning-fast speeds. They are not memorizing your content. In fact, even if they read part of your ad/search listing/article in the past, there's a good chance they won't retain it. While that may be discouraging, it also reinforces the fact that we don't need to invest heavily in zillions of distinct messages to get their attention, and we need to rethink frequency.
Fifteen to Twenty Exposures
At the start of the ad evaluation process, marketers estimate reach (how many people could see it) and frequency (how often a single person is exposed to an ad.) Legacy media planners have long strived for a frequency rate of three; each person ideally sees the ad three times.
Many digital firms have increased frequency recommendations to five to nine exposures for maximum effectiveness. And this reach extends to all kinds of content, not just ads. (Many of these firms cite Nielsen studies, but we could not confirm the source material.) At Cup O Content, we've found our consumers have super short attention spans, so fifteen to twenty exposures deliver the best ROI.
But that doesn't mean the consumer has to be exposed to the exact same thing each time. Instead, we often change a headline or image and test which one drives more engagement or click-through. We usually send the same topic out in different formats, such as blogs, organic social media posts, emails, search ads, and social ads. In other words, we're not constantly running the same ad for a fifteen frequency (but when it makes sense, we are.)
What These Frequency Rates Mean for Content Development
Creating good content is a baseline expectation. Your content must be attractive to your audience, relevant to their needs and your product, and flatter your brand (i.e., be well-considered, well-written, and well-produced.) But because so much repetition is needed to break through the crowded digital environment, you don't need to reinvent the wheel each time.
How does this work? We'll explain.
Start by Tracking Content Performance
Assuming you've been creating content and marketing it for a while, it's time to inventory that content and measure performance. The goal is to figure out which types of content work best and why. And once you have that figured out, you can create more versions of the best-performing stuff.
Start by creating a spreadsheet of blogs, posts, ads, emails, etc. Include the date, image, format, and key performance indicator (KPI.) That KPI may view, engagement, opens, clicks - whatever you want people to do when they see your blog/ad/post/etc.
Once you have an inventory in place, you have options. Depending on your marketing goals, you can;
Approach a high-performing topic from another angle so you can put high-interest topics out repeatedly.
Avoid low-performing topics, or even remove them from your site.
Once identified, shift focus to high-performing formats. For example, we often find that videos perform better than images. Posts that say "click here to find out more" consistently get more clicks than posts that don't. Emails with one-day offers perform better than emails with ongoing offers.
Pay attention to how different headlines, images, and formats perform. Optimize your digital marketing plan accordingly.
Don't stop. Start inventorying and analyzing each month. You can't optimize content if you don't know exactly what's working.
Start Slicing and Dicing
Creating high-quality content is a heavy lift, especially for a video or a blog/article. So, make the most of these marketing materials by repurposing them. If you have a topic that you think will attract consumers or result in your preferred KPI, think of ways to repurpose it.
But before you take advantage of these tips, remember that timing will be an important consideration, so if you're doing serious recycling, spread it out over the course of months or even years. Secondly, be aware of the negative effects of duplicate content. Some search engines ding your search rankings if your content is posted unchanged in multiple places.
With those caveats in mind. Here are a few ideas:
Edit videos into snippets. Shorter videos tend to get more views anyway.
Resize short snippets for Instagram stories, TikTok, YouTube, and other social media uses.
Re-edit videos to focus on a different part of the video.
Use the b-roll of your video shoots to create snippets.
Change the title or title card of your video and run it again.
Test different versions of your video in ads. Test other music, different title cards, or different descriptions.
Use edits of the video in organic posts, emails, and ads.
Articles or Blogs:
Send out emails notifying customers of a new blog.
Highlight your blog in emails or newsletters.
Review older blogs that performed well. Update them, add new images, and give them new titles. Then rerun and promote.
Put a new spin on it. If a blog performed well at first but no longer gets traffic, think about ways to freshen it up. For instance, make it about Easter instead of Christmas. Instead of offering "7 Tips for Better Performance," rework it to be "5 Ways to Make it Work Better."
Divide blogs into three or more topics, and write three new blogs.
Expand on one part of a blog, creating longer content based on an existing interview, theory, idea, product, or suggestion.
Use quotes, interviews, advice, or thoughts from the blogs and use them in organic posts.
Run ads to drive traffic to blogs. Use the blog topic and images in ads to get people to your website.
Turn an old blog into a white paper and offer it free on social media.
Compile old blogs into an e-book to position your firm as an expert.
With a slight rewrite and new images, your blog can be reposted as a LinkedIn article or newsletter, posted on Medium, or pitched as a guest blog for another site.
Change images on the title and throughout the blog. If you've written about five ways to style bookshelves and shown five examples, tweak the title to "Five Styling Tips for Bookshelves " a few months later and use five different photo examples.
Mix and match blog content. If you have a blog on styling bookshelves and the best blue rooms, you may be able to mix and match content. Adding a topic or two from one blog into another is an easy way to freshen it up without starting from zero.
Next, Get Comfortable with Repeating Organic Posts
Unless you're a news organization, your brand's organic posts are invariably the least seen part of your marketing program. The average reach for an organic Facebook post on a business page is just 2.2% of your followers but could be as low as 1.1% for some brand pages. This visibility rate generally holds true for most social media platforms. So, if you have 5,000 followers, about 50 to 110 people will ever see any single post. That dramatically reduces the issue of repetitiveness.
Because so few of your brand page followers are seeing organic content consistently, let alone repeatedly, don't focus all your content development efforts on creating all new content daily. Instead, create a set of 10-15 posts per month and rotate them. Each month, add 3-5 new posts, cycle out the 3-5 oldest posts, and you're set.
Get the Most Out of Your Content and Your Budget
Cup O Content didn't invent any of the approaches listed here. These strategies are used by some of the biggest, most successful online entities out there, and we've found them to be very successful for our own clients as well. If you want to learn about getting the most out of your content, contact me to talk more.