Lunchtime reading

Repurposing blog content - why and how

A while ago you wrote some great content or blog posts for your website. Since then, Google's algorithm has had a shake up, you've added an SEO plugin to your blog and then got distracted by something more pressing. 

Sound familiar? No need to fret.

Repurposing blog content is a thing. It's also fairly well regarded in the eyes (or spiders) of search engines. 

What are the benefits of repurposing old content?

  1. resurface your most popular content
  2. gain greater traction with your audience on your expert topic
  3. reach new audiences 

For longstanding visitors to your website or fans of your social media profiles, your most popular blog posts might already be well known. But what about new website visitors and new customer prospects? How would they find your best / most expert / most useful tips and advice without searching long and hard for it? (NB the average internet is not going to do that). 

Resurfacing your best performing (attracts most traffic from search engines or drives most bookings) will help reassert your brand's expertise on a topic, which in turn leads to greater traction with your target audience and a way to hook new customers.

How to repurpose blog content

There are myriad ways to take existing blog content and inject new life into it and/or generate fresh content from existing content on the same topic. Here's a starter for ten on doing just that so that your approach is both varied and interesting while adding value to your audience and your search rankings.

Take a listicle and create individual posts about each point

Turn your list into cornerstone content for a series of posts on an area of expertise. Cornerstone content is a search engine optimisation term for the primary piece of content on a topic. From there you can create sub-content (also known as 'child' pieces to your 'mother' content). These are often more detailed specifics while the original listicle acts as a summary or overview of a topic.

Create a summary post for a group of related posts

Flipping the previous idea on its head, if you've got a bank of detailed pieces, create a summary post for your audience to start from. Consider your content a funnel that your reader journeys through to understand more. Most web users start by skimming and only linger when they find what they're looking for, so starting with an overview article that links to the more detailed posts as well as to pages of your site where they can book/purchase/enquire it a more positive user experience.

Create a video using blog content

If your blog content has strong visuals, graphics or even video snippets already in it, creating a video version of that content is straightforward because many of the components already exist. Create a brief storyboard for the flow of the video (your blog post subheadings might be the prompts for each section of the board), craft a script (for voiceover and/or subtitles), select a licence-free soundtrack and choose your software. We're currently fans of Lumen5.

Create a slideshare

Longstanding slideshare software is freely available online for quick and easy conversion of your existing content and graphics into a digital slide deck. It's a bit old school in some respects but still prevalent as a B2B marketing tactic and for effective delivery of 'how to' content.

Create an infographic

With free tools like Canva, you don't need to be an expert graphic designer to whip up quick graphics and infographics. It'll doubtless take you longer than a skilled graphic designer - they're worth their weight if you can afford one. But if you can prevent yourself from getting distracted by the plethora of templates, fonts and colours, you'll discover a great way to deliver your existing content in a succinct and easy-on-the-eye format. Infographics also act as a download for new visitors to your website and are often used as a tool of data capture. 

Create a Pinterest ‘instructographic’

Not unlike an infographic, but specifically designed in Pinterest format (Canva can help with this too) and with a Pinterest audience in mind. Pinterest has even produce a how to video of its own to help users create these.

Start afresh acknowledging the original

If things have moved on a fair amount since you first wrote about a particular topic, it's probably best to write a brand new blog post on the subject. Publish a new, more current article on the same topic with a note about the post’s origins. If you want to demonstrate the longevity of your expertise, perhaps keep the original live and linked to from the new one (obviously clearly marked as 'once upon a time').

Create an email series

Where you've got a blog post that's a listicle or a series of posts on a single topic, would these be useful pointers for your email marketing database to know about? Blog content served up via email often acts as perfect nurture content, i.e. a way to communicate with your customer base in a non-salesy, value added fashion. 

You could create a daily/weekly email series using one point from each post or list as the brief email. This is particularly good for tip/advice sharing when a person is new to your list. Alternatively, add an information only email to your newsletter plan and give your readers a break from the upsell once in a while.

Write that ebook/pdf download

Always dream of authoring a title? Self-publishing is prolific these days, but what we're talking about here is taking that blog post series and turning it into a pdf. In a totally quick and dirty fashion, do that, add in some relevant non-copyrighted images, calls to action, a front cover and publishing details and then get your web guys to create a url for it. This is a much used data capture tactic whereby a user provides their email address in return for access to the download. Don't forget to ask them if they want to opt in to future marketing emails from you or risk getting your wrists slapped. 

Record a podcast

Generally speaking you're either an aural or a visual absorber of information. Yet in content terms, with the exception of audio books, those who prefer to listen and learn tend to get forgotten. Not everyone wants to read stuff. Tap in to that aural audience by turning your blog content into a podcast or series of podcasts.

Film your content

Whether it's you or someone else in your business who's more comfortable in front of the camera, express your knowledge personally through the medium of film. These days, it really doesn't take much more than a smart phone on a stable selfie stick stand and a well lit room to provide your studio setting. If your audience is heavy in its usage of social media channels, you might want to consider launching your film content through a device such as Facebook Live. If you keep the videos brief (30-60 seconds) you'll improve audience engagement and also create content perfect for your social media channels (and their algorithms love video right now, so you'll probably benefit from increased reach compared to your static posts too).

Turn individual tips and stats into individual social posts

This is either a light bulb or a no s*** Sherlock moment. Your blog content is natural content for you to be sharing on your social media channels, but stop a second a look at the specifics of the content. Take a bullet point, stat or opinion and use it as your actual social media post content, and add a relevant image to pack a punch. Not all social media posts need to nor should include a link, some should simply nurture your audience by reinforcing you know what you're talking about and know what it is they want to hear.

Link to blog posts from your customer newsletters

Your blog audience won't necessarily be the same as your email newsletter audience. In fact never assume that your audience is all in one place or marketing channel. Even if your promotional emails include a reference to your blog it will alert your email recipients to the existence of this content on your site. They might look at it now, or it might remind them when you send that nurture newsletter in a few weeks time.

If you're a hotel, restaurant, holiday company or group of hospitality venues and like the ideal of this but don't have the time or resource to execute it, let's chat

Reputation management: it's how you tell your story

Earlier this year I was asked to comment on the preposterous action being taken by easyJet on some flights. The dreadful deed? Cabin crew were taking hand luggage off passengers just as they were about to board their flight. 

This week I have been asked to comment on the news that easyJet has launched its "hands-free" luggage service whereby you can check your cabin luggage into the hold for £4 each way. 

PR stunt or customer listening?

A cynic would call this a PR stunt. Those more generous at offering benefit of the doubt might give them a pat on the back for flipping a negative story on its head into something positive. The use of the incremental revenue employee to provide comment on the news could even be argued as this being a purely operational decision. 

So which is it?

Burying bad news

If you check out the news results on Google for a search related to easyJet and hand luggage, you'll find a healthy stream of largely (early days) positive news stories about the story.

Adjust that search to find news about the kerfuffle about hand luggage and the hold earlier in the year and you'll struggle to find much. 

Albeit a tad delayed what they've achieved, despite a rather public spat with Daniella Westbrook about this exact issue, is that they've pretty much buried bad news. 

Time's a great healer

The problem: too many passengers are trying to travel with only hand luggage, to avoid hold luggage fees and waiting at bag collection carousels.

The big issue: there simply isn't enough space in the cabin to stow bag for every passenger in the overhead lockers (especially not when we're talking pull along suitcases).

The short term view: take bags off passengers at the gate at which point they have no choice (quite likely they'll have no insurance for what's in their hand luggage either, but that's another story). You'll take a thwack to your reputation, but what the hell, they'll come back for more and they'll learn for next time. Won't they...

The long game: develop a strategy that communicates an opportunity upfront to customers (via the media), gives them choices (buy hold space or risk having it taken away) and provides an accessible/affordable solution with 'added' benefits (apparently having less luggage will make security processing quicker and airport transition quicker). The outcome: a hands-free luggage option.

The art of storytelling. Or is it spin?

A good news story not only broadcasts or launches the new product or service, it also qualifies its creation. What easyJet has succeeded in doing here is both - hence why it made headlines and became a topic for debate today.

If they achieve any incremental revenue as a result, well done them.

Call it a win-win.

Tomorrow's chip paper

To anyone familiar with flying with low cost carriers, when this story broke in February this wasn't news. There were plenty of disgruntled passengers out there happy to share their stories. It turned out that having your hand luggage taken off you at the gate was fairly common practice, especially if you were towards the back of the queue. I saw it first hand on my way back from Malaga with easyJet in February. 

And some would argue that the story ran for a while and, as with most news in our rapidly revolving world, died a death a few days later. They used to call it tomorrow's chip paper. But despite the pace of news nowadays, the legacy of a story remains online, largely. So to a brand that has reputation management as marketing metric or objective, there's only one option: to replace the bad with good.

While, since then, it hasn't fascinated news or travel editors, it has continued to irritate customers. Which means it will continue to be corrosive for the brand's reputation unless they find a solution.

Quite the turnaround

It's taken them about six months to deliver this idea from corridor conversation (or creative scrum) to a PR-able story, but they've hit the headlines all the same. 

Turns out it was only easyJet. According to an online article in The Sun, Ryanair was playing the baddie too. So what will they do now...

What's lurking in your brand's closet?

It's hard to write a crisis comms strategy when you're on the inside. Trust me, I've been there.

I've also handled my fair share of journalists thrusting customer complaint letters down the phone or through email demanding an immediate response. It ain't pretty, but the more prepared you are, the less you'll panic and the greater chance you'll have of resolving the situation quickly and without too much noise.

Scenario planning forces you to face the possibilities of worst case scenarios that could result in the media hearing about and publishing a story relating to your company's involvement in 'a situation'. It isn't easy because few like to admit or look for those possibilities. 

If you need an objective perspective and are serious about crisis comms planning, let's talk.

Lunchtime reading: digital marketing

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the rare and blissful situation of having three hours in a chair minus laptop while the fabulous team at Spirit Hair worked their magic.

We’re all busy and struggle to find time to read. Yet whether what we read is a tweet or one of the classics, we’ll take something away from it - often without realising. One thing often leads to another: a tweet may lead to a question or debate or article. Said classic may lead to metaphorical debate and more (or just the explanatory York Notes).

And while half the challenge in today’s world is about finding time to read, the other half is finding the content from which we can learn best or most (picking the interesting, explorative content from the search engine content).

To pick up on my point from my previous post about learning from our peers, today’s content isn’t just created by elders, seniors, long-timers. In all reality, while the theory books keep being published (and there are some worthy of the tree felling), there are few worthy enough of holding their weight for long - because the world is moving too fast.

Today’s reading fodder is created by anyone who realises they’re testing and learning something, and choosing to share it. I imagine it's like the open graph of the collegiate tutorial: one’s thought prompts another’s question, which ignites another’s counter and so on.

Back to the hairdresser’s chair: I tweeted that I was using that time to catch up on my reading and subsequently tweeted the best (and worst) of my pickings. This went down well, better than I had anticipated. I picked up followers, retweets and favourites. Hopefully the sites I was linking to picked up those and some traffic too (my pleasure).

While I found some gems of advice, tips, and test outcomes, I don’t feel like I have really retained an accessible reference to those gems (sorry twitter). So here’s the first of what will, with all the best of intentions, be a regular collation of my favourite reads of the preceding few days (I daren’t say ‘of the week’ just in case I have a #ManicMonday and miss a week here and there).

To be fair to what I read a couple of weeks ago and to reflect the real purpose and benefit of this annotation, I’m going to start with those articles.

Tweet #1

First up: any life left in Twitter events or are they old skool unless they’re spontaneous? via @comms2point0 ow.ly/QBJqW

What I liked about this article was threefold:

1, the author (in fact the whole blog) has a sense of humour

2, it identifies the faddish nature of social media - once something has been done successfully a few times, it’s old news and therefore no news

3, it recognises that this fickleness is short lived in our retro-passionate times and that once rested, a previously successful ‘thing’ can be reignited to great acclaim (until it becomes over used once more)

In conclusion, what it’s really saying is that some people did Twitter events well, others didn’t. The concept was burned by the latter rather than hailed for the former. Got an event coming up? Give it a try.

Tweet #2

No.2: a summarised and not-too-long list of actually useable #digitalmarketing resources ow.ly/QBLNU via @montfortio

My tweet genuinely sums up what I think about this article. I’ve read so many articles over the years that are ‘top this’ or ‘best of that’ only to read like a back scratching exercise with minimal value to the reader. Whereas this blossom of an article carries genuinely useful and usable resources. No, you can’t or won’t use all of them all of the time, but the list is long enough to digest and to pick from, and short enough to keep you interested and (most importantly) short of being overwhelmed.

An aside, the #digitalmarketing hashtag proved fruitful for engagement with industry peers globally.

Tweet #3

No.3: how to use social media to drive leads into your sales funnel ow.ly/QBMB0 via @kimgarst

Now I find some of Kim Garst’s headlines quite the hard sell, but her blog contains some juicy tips and anecdotes, so it’s worth looking beyond the title. This post is more tips than miracles for lead generation, but you’ll do more wrong ignoring them than skimming past the hype to her nuggets of experience.

Tweet #4

No.4 Improving CTAs via @SpinSucks. Good point re @zulily but it may work for them (more engaged base, more sales) ow.ly/QCfrz

This is a timely read after the previous article. They both focus, to some degree, on database growth and targeting audiences. Spin Sucks author, Gina Dietrich, pulls up Zulily for its aggressive sign-up requirements, but while relatively novel in retail, they’re commonplace on publishing and some travel sites. And typically that kind of aggression is rewarded with better engaged lists. Back to the article headline: however good you think your calls to action (CTA) are, you have to test them and tweak them regularly.

Tweet #5

I won’t share this tweet. It referenced an article that was a prime example of click-baiting. At the time of reading I heralded it as my #noshitsherlock moment of the day.

What did I take from it and what might you wish to take from this?

Not all content is created to engage and educate, some is just there to make some peoples’ numbers look good.

Obviously if you have counter considerations to my own thoughts on the above articles, please comment below and let’s discuss!