New vs Repurposed Content
Creating website content is often something that is underestimated in terms of the expertise needed and the time it takes to get right. It’s also arguably the most important part of a website project. There are two ways to approach content creation when you create a new website or overhaul an existing one – repurposing existing content or creating new content from scratch.
There are pros and cons to each, as we’ll explore in this article.
Creating content for a new website
When we talk about content we don’t just mean words – although they are clearly very important! Content also covers graphics, pictures, videos, forms, case studies, ebooks, checklists, animations, whitepapers, podcasts, and more.
Repurposing existing content for a new website is usually a great place to start as it can save both time and money, but there are often gaps that require new content. That means it’s important to assess the content you have that can be repurposed for your website, and identify where you have content gaps that need to be filled.
As you review your content, make sure it covers all of the stages of your customer journey – or the path prospects take as they consider working with or buying from your company. This will ensure that you have content that answers their questions in the awareness, consideration, decision and post-purchase stages of the buyer’s journey.
What is repurposed content?
Repurposing content means that you make your content suitable for your target audience, easy to read or digest online, relevant, and timely. This will probably require some degree of rewriting, redesigning, and maybe even changing the layout or format.
Repurposed content doesn’t mean you’ve just given an existing piece of content a slight refresh (although there are also benefits to doing that). Simply refreshing a piece of content means it will still be used in its original form and in the way it was intended, but it’s updated with new information and to remain relevant. For example, we have recently updated this blog post about logo design to stay up-to-date with the latest trends.
When you repurpose existing content, either the format of the content changes or the target audience the content is intended for is different. For example, we recently created three short videos for one of our clients, including this one, from one much longer video that our client held internally. We uploaded the shorter videos to YouTube where they have been watched tens of thousands of times, posted them on social media, and also wrote our client’s most successful blog post to date using the same content.
Repurposing existing content is obviously only an option if you actually have existing content. Most companies have some content on an existing website, in sales materials, product brochures, presentation decks, emails that your sales and customer service teams have sent to prospects and customers answering commonly asked questions, videos, photos, advertisements, etc. All of this provides a great place to start from.
Benefits of repurposing existing content
The primary reason for repurposing existing content is often to save time and money – and this is key for many businesses. But there are a number of other benefits to repurposing existing content:
- Target a new audience: you can use existing content to reach a different segment of your target audience. Maybe you have some successful content for the awareness stage in your customer journey – you can use elements of that to create more detailed content for those further down the funnel in the decision-making stage.
- Boost search engine optimization: Different types of content pieces on the same topic, for example a video, a blog post, and an infographic, will enable you to better target your focus keywords. There’s also an opportunity here to generate quality backlinks to your site by writing a guest post for a related website on the same topic that then links to your site.
- Strengthen your message: You may have heard your message thousands of times and think it needs to be updated, but this doesn’t hold true for your prospects or even existing customers. Repetition is critical to reinforcing your message, and repurposing content in a few different ways can support that. One of the oldest rules in marketing states that customers need to hear a message seven times before they purchase.
5 ways of repurposing content
These are five simple ways of repurposing your existing content, but there are lots of other ways to do it. For many companies, how they repurpose content will not only depend on what they already have but also the different channels they could potentially use content in as well as their budget.
- If you have a few existing blog posts on the same topic, you could use them to create one comprehensive guide or pillar page.
- Use a webinar as a YouTube video or blog post.
- Turn a sales presentation into a customer-friendly slide deck for Slideshare.
- Create a blog post using a question from Quora. Write a short response to a relevant question on Quora and link it to your blog post for a full explanation.
- Turn an existing blog post into a video or post.
It’s good to start with repurposing existing content as it saves time and budget – but it can’t go on forever and that’s when you need to create new content.
Creating new content
If you are a new company or are making significant changes to your branding and messaging, it’s highly likely you will also need to create completely new content. While this is an extensive process that will mean a significant investment of both time and money, content is one of the most important aspects of your website and is absolutely necessary to engage visitors, build their trust, answer their questions, and ultimately to choose to buy from you. Having great content directly impacts sales.
What to consider when creating new content
Before you start creating new content, you will need to have a content strategy. This will inform what content you create, how you create it, and why. You also need to know your customer personas and what their customer journeys look like.
You also need to be realistic about timings. Creating new content is a time-consuming process no matter the type of content you’re creating. Yes, a blog post isn’t going to take as long to create as a three-minute video, but a good post still takes up time in research, writing, and then uploading and optimizing the content.
Can you really write and produce content in-house? Many businesses believe they can do this – and when they can, it’s great. But you will need the marketing skills, knowledge, and expertise to make is a success and do it consistently. It’s often more effective for companies to outsource content creation.
A final thought
Most companies use a combination of new content and repurposed content when redesigning or building a new website. The amount of content required, whether it’s new or repurposed, is another cost and time factor to consider. For example, if your website needs content for 10 pages, both the cost and time it takes will be much less than producing content for a website of 100 pages.
If you’re considering a website redesign, we’ve written a comprehensive page on this topic titled Website Redesign – Everything You Need To Know. It’s a 15-minute read and answers most of the commonly asked questions we hear.
Make sure your business stands out – contact us to chat about content strategy or website redesign for your company.