re-use content in your marketing:
what to re-use and how to do it quickly
I met my partner Ben the week I moved to New York City.
A colleague from a summer internship had hooked me up with an easy, part-time job in guest services at BODIES The Exhibition — yes, that place with the preserved and plasticized dead bodies.
On my first day, a supervisor led me around the space and introduced me to staff along the way.
“This is Andrew. This is Christina. This is Ben…”
Then I was told to spend 15 minutes shadowing each of my coworkers to learn the duties of each guest services station.
Ben taught me “how to do coat check.”
Now, coat check is exactly as complicated as it looks. Take a coat, hang the coat, give a number. So it took a total of 30 seconds to explain the station.
I noticed Ben was reading The Grapes of Wrath and asked about it. He told me he never read it in high school, and since it’s a classic, he figured he should. It was easy to talk to him about the book. I noticed his exceptional posture.
And I went home from my first day of work to write a panicked letter to my bestie in Iowa about how much I liked this boy in the first ten minutes of meeting him, so could she please talk some sense into me? (She nearly did. It took us three more months to get together.)
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I’ve told this “how we met” story so many times over the last decade, it feels easy, comfortable, rehearsed.
I imagine I’ll be telling it through my 70s and 80s, too. Why? Because not everyone has heard it.
Back in the olden days of (non-Super Bowl) TV commercials and radio spots, studies showed that customers needed to hear a marketing message at least 7 times before they remembered it or felt remotely compelled to buy.
Now, there are many more platforms to repeat our messages on, and yet, none of my clients want to do it!
Instead, they want to invest in creating new, original content every time they post something.
Seriously. It’s a waste of your time when you could just re-use content.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret — more than half of your audience did NOT see your message the first time!
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed.”
— Instagram’s CEO
That percentage grows even higher on Facebook and Twitter. And any other network you’re using to share content. So you can bet that most people didn’t see your content the first time around.
Plus, if your content is quality content, the 30% who may have seen it won’t mind seeing it again!
Not only does it save you energy, brainwaves and more-precious-than-gold time, reusing and repurposing content is a smart-as-heck strategy for getting your message to actually sink in.
Here are 4 easy ways to re-use content you’ve already spent precious time creating:
#1: Find what works
Go back into the archives of your best, most engaging content every month, save it and repost it in the coming months. You can set a reminder in your calendar or schedule it in advance, depending on where/when you’re sharing.
#2: Switch up the title
A super easy way to reshare content you’ve recently distributed is to choose a few alternate titles, lead-ins or headlines to draw attention to the content. Sometimes a story piques interest, or someone else might be compelled to click after a joke, or how about the very straightforward approach of saying exactly what the thing is.
Offering multiple ways in can lead different people to the same content.
#3: Chunk it up
I like to repurpose content by chunkifying it.
For example, this blog post can (and likely will) exist as multiple Instagram posts, focusing on different sections of advice within it. It will also show up as an Instagram Story, a tweet, an email, a mention in a networking group on Slack…
#4: Swap out the visuals
Just as you can attract new interest to an old story with new title copy, you can also point to the same content with different visuals. Share an image of yourself to accompany the message. Then find a relevant meme or stock photo. Then make a short video. Then create a pull quote graphic.
Every time you create something new, you should make a batch of visuals to go with it.
Heads up: You’re going to feel weird repeating yourself online when you re-use content.
Why? Because that repetition is out in the open for everyone to see. They’re in your feed. And they’ll feel super obvious. You’ll be convinced someone’s going to find the evidence you’re a total hack!! They’ll think you have nothing original to say!!
But remember that stat from before about people missing 70% of your content? Yeahhhh… No one is taking the time to scroll that far back. No one cares that much about you. (Maybe, Mom. But only Mom, and she loves everything you post!!)
Space things out and use your creativity to come up with new ways to call attention to old things, and you’ll gain better recognition of your strengths and messaging, plus save a ton of time managing your marketing.
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.