Remember that Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity, where he duplicates himself so that he can multi-task better between his wife and his job? His problem was that each clone was a little dumber than the first, so when the clones starting cloning themselves, well… you get the idea.

It’s the same with content marketing. Duplicating content is not the right way to go, but multi-purposing content is a strategy worth pursuing.

Inbound marketing demands that you feed your website and/or marketing automation platform a ton of awesome content. But companies with limited resources are finding it hard to keep up. As soon as one piece is completed, another is started. And each one requires brainstorming, writing, editing, graphics, and review. There are no shortcuts to creating quality content. Eventually, the pace takes a toll and quality begins to suffer.  And at some point, you wonder what’s the use.

But there are strategies for multi-purposing content that can save your life (or at least your sanity). Here’s how it works:

Translate Great Ideas

Take a piece of content and put it into a different medium. If you start with an ebook, turn it into a Slideshare presentation, or a video, or a webinar, or a report. The idea here is that different media types appeal to different buyer personas.

So one of the characteristics of a buyer persona should be their preferred method of information consumption.  Some people love videos. Others like to read. Some like presentations, some like to scan reports. If you started with a good idea for your ebook, it should translate easily into other formats.

Divide and Conquer

Recognize that the type and length of information you’ve produced is unique. Start with the densest, most jam-packed version you can put together.  Why? Because then you slice and dice it into many other pieces.  In social media terms, it would be like sharing a whitepaper 140 characters at a time. Imagine how many Tweets that turns into.

But more realistically, you might turn that whitepaper that is packed with industry information, graphs, tables, and charts into a series of blog posts, a handful of infographics, or an ebook for each section. Sounds easier that starting from scratch each time, doesn’t it?

Different types of media also suit different phases of the buying cycle. Buyers who are just exploring might gravitate toward shorter content, such as short blog posts, infographics, and tweets. Buyers who narrowing down solution providers are interested in longer ebooks, webinars, and more detailed information. While buyers who are nearly ready are looking for definitive reports, case studies, and presentations.

Now let’s get to specifics

How to Multi-Purpose a White Paper

  • Blog Posts: You can probably take each section of a long whitepaper and revise it into a blog post. You’ll want to provide some context for each post and you might even want to title it as a series (Part 1, Part 2, etc.). You should disclose that the post is part of a whitepaper, which is available for download. Put a CTA at the end of your post and you’ve tidied up all the loose ends.
  • Infographic: If your white paper is chock full of stats, charts, tables and graphs, you can collect these into an infographic. Just add a caption (short or long) to further explain each figure.

How to Multipurpose a Case study

Case studies are sometimes tough to produce. You have to get permission from the company and sometimes from legal. If you clear those hurdles and are able to describe how one of your customers solved a problem using your solution, then you have a winner that can also be multi-purposed.

  • Presentation: Turn your case study into a series of slides that explain the customer’s scenario, problem, and results with your solution. The key here is to make sure the slides work without a voiceover. While we normally recommend that bullet points and copy for presentations be kept to a minimum, this is the exception that proves the rules. Images are extremely important too.
  • Blog Posts: These days you can turn almost anything into a blog post. Instead of duplicating the case study, write about the problem the customer was facing. Then link to the case study to provide a real-world example.

How to Multipurpose a Presentation

Many companies simply record their presentations and make them available on their websites using a media manager such as BrightCove or Limelight. But you can get more mileage with these with multi-purposing.

  • SlideShare: SlideShare is more popular than you think. Rework the slide deck from your presentation so that it works without the voiceover. This requires adding detail, and occasionally a few extra slides. Then load it up to Slideshare for immediate exposure. Add it to your website as another valuable asset for people who prefer a presentation format over on-demand video.
  • Methodology: If your presentation or webinar outlines your process for completing a project, pull that out and create a graphical representation that visual learners can hang onto. This may turn into a checklist, a diagram, or a step-by-step process.

How to Multipurpose a Blog Series

Someone suggested to me the other day that I should write a book on marketing. That felt immediately overwhelming, so I declined. Then they suggested a process for writing a book that was unique (I thought) and strangely simple.

They said just write a series of blog articles. Think of three blog posts as being a chapter in the book.  If you start with an outline (or an editorial calendar), you will cover all the topics required within a year.

You can use the same methodology to create ebooks.

  • eBooks: Look through your blog inventory and pull together posts on similar themes and topics. Is that an ebook that I see before me? It probably needs a graphic layout and images to make it a legitimate contender, but the tough part — the writing — is mostly done. Just add an introduction and a conclusion and CTA for more information.

Don’t Make a Michael Keaton Multi-Copy Mistake

Always work from the original. It’s much easier condensing and repurposing a long, detailed whitepaper or ebook, than expanding an infographic into a presentation. Both are possible, but not the same amount of work is involved.  Plus don’t turn a whitepaper into a blog post, and then condense it into an infographic. Like Keaton, your copy of a copy will be less sharp, less focused, and possibly even less accurate.

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