Part of thinking about your blog as a marketing tool is analyzing how much you’re spending to create the content versus the return that you’re seeing. This is something that we covered in detail in the first part of this series. But when you’re trying to figure out your return on investment, there’s more to look at than just visits, Likes, and shares of each individual post.
If you truly want a good return, you need to sit down and ask yourself if you’re actually making the most of your blog content. What does this mean? Repurposing content and reusing it in multiple formats and mediums so you extend its life and value while keeping costs at the same level.
8 Tips for Effectively Repurposing Content
There are all kinds of ways that blogs can be repurposed. Which ones are best for you will depend upon your audience and area of business. Just a few that many businesses have used to great effect include:
eBooks. If someone told you to sit down and write a book to market your business, you’d probably think that sounded like a daunting task – a daunting, time-consuming task. But what if you already had most of the material written and all you had to do was pull it together into a shape that looked and felt a bit more like a real book? Guess what – you do!
If you have several high quality posts on the same general topic area (and you should if you’ve been posting online for a year or so), then you’ve got a great base for an eBook. How so? Because blog posts can be turned into chapters – or sections of chapters – that can then be bundled together, rearranged as you see necessary, and connected with interstitial information to make them feel like they’re part of a whole. That will take you a decent amount of time, but nothing compared to the time it took to write the posts in the first place, and you’ll be able to reach a whole new market and possibly even make money from selling the ebook.
It’s also important to note that an ebook doesn’t need to be hundreds of pages long. In fact, many are just 10 to 30 pages, which often includes graphics, bullet point lists, and other supporting materials. The length your project requires really depends on how much content is needed to fully cover your topic and your ultimate goal for the ebook.
Video series. This will take a bit more effort on your part, but can help to make old content seem new and bring a lot more eyeballs your way: blog content can be repurposed to create videos that illustrate the exact same thing written in the post. Typography videos are a particularly effective way to do this because you can literally just take important words and points from the original post and transform them into a dynamic video.
Another option is the slideshow, which can be shared on sites like SlideShare but also turned into a simple video to share on YouTube and other channels.
Guest posts. Don’t have enough material for a book yet, or can’t devote the time and energy to pulling everything together? No problem. There are plenty of people out there willing to take your old blog posts and feature them on their site as long as the material itself is of high-quality.
What about those sites that won’t take previously published posts? This is something that you’ll run into with a lot of bigger sites, because they don’t want to be seen as simply reposting something that can be found elsewhere. To get a guest post on one of these sites, try pitching your blog entries to them as guest posts before posting them on your site. If people are interested, great; if not, you can still use them for your own blog.
You can also use research you gathered for a past blog post to create a new post on the same topic, which can be a big time saver while helping to expand your reach.
Print marketing materials. So what if the content was originally created for the web – that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn around and use some or all of it in a print ad, billboard, brochure, or other kind of “old school” printed marketing material.
For example, many law firms provide handouts to their clients educating them on legal choices available to them. Many of these can start out at blog post and then be complied into an attractive flyer to help land clients who visit in person.
Social media updates. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+. These four behemoths are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of social media, and many companies are using dozens of social media sites in an attempt to more directly interact with their target audience. If that’s not daunting enough, social media by its nature is a content beast that needs to be fed.
One way to ease the burden on your content budget and get more bang for your buck is to use social media posts to let your followers know whenever you put up a new blog entry. Not only does it help you to stay more active on these accounts, but should also generate more traffic to the blog itself.
It’s one of the simplest ways to get more out of your blog content and can even be set on auto-pilot with tools such as HootSuite. If you’re not currently doing it, take a few hours now to make it happen.
Webinars. If you write blogs that teach something to your audience, why not take the next logical step and use those entries as the basis for a webinar? Because it’s just you sitting at your computer and talking to people, your cost will be fairly low, and people are often willing to pay a decent amount to pick the brain of someone that they see as an expert.
How do you make use of the blogs? Turn them into a script for the presentation portions of your webinar. But be sure to keep it interactive, asking your audience for feedback and questions as you go along.
Newsletters. Email newsletters are a fantastic way to stay in touch with your target audience and keep them informed about the latest industry news, promote sales, and feature new products and services. Unfortunately, coming up with unique content on a regular basis to make your newsletter interesting can be a tall order – so don’t!
Instead, take a recent blog entry you’re proud of and use it as the “feature story” of your newsletter. While some of the people on your email list may have read it already, chances are good that quite a few haven’t. This gives them another opportunity to do so and may breathe life into your post.
Press releases. Have you recently written a blog entry featuring a new product or service that you’re adding? It takes only minor changes and a few minutes of your time to modify this so it can be used as a press release. Places like PRWeb, PR Newswire, PRLog, and eReleases are all set up to help you distribute your press release electronically and increase your reach.
Your chances of actually having the press release get picked up by a major news outlet may be small, but it is another way to get a bit more marketing mileage out of content you’ve already spent time and money on. You can also help increase your chance of getting noticed by taking extra time to reach out directly to specific publications, reporters, or websites.
Calculating ROI When Repurposing Content
So now that you’re using your blog content in multiple ways, how do you calculate its return on investment?
There are many ways to do it, and in all cases, you have to make a judgment call about how to assign a monetary value to each use.
Many of these uses may result in a direct sale, which can be simpler to account for, but what about those that net you a wider audience, such as growing your Twitter following or additional email subscribers? And what about sales that come after a customer has been influenced by content in different ways; maybe first finding you through Twitter, researching your knowledge on your blog, but ultimately making the decision to purchase because of a newsletter article?
These are questions with subjective answers that you have to decide. Here are some ways to measure the ROI of these additional uses.
- Track sales. One of the simplest ways to track return on investment is to calculate how much people are paying you for the specific types of content that you create. Unfortunately, when talking about repurposing blogs, the only things that this really works for are eBooks and webinars if you choose to sell them. If you charge $1 for your eBook and sell a thousand copies, you’ve made $1,000 – minus the money you spent making it, of course. Ditto the webinar. But you can also track your overall sales after you begin repurposing blog content and compare them with your sales previous to this and note any difference you see to get a general idea.
- Analytics. You can use Google Analytics to track how people ultimately found your business, so you can see which sales you can attribute to different channels. In fact, the tool is getting increasingly sophisticated in accounting for the fact that you may have several referral sources for a single sale, so you can adjust your account to reflect the way you’d like to calculate your ROI.
- New subscribers. You may offer free content, such as an ebook, video, or webinar, to gather email addresses. Or you may have new subscribers due to guest posts or social media updates. Each of these subscribers is now a lead that you can potentially sell products to. One way to account for this return on your investment is to assign a monetary value per subscriber.
- Surveys. You can use surveys online to further pinpoint how people found you and why they took specific actions, but they are incredibly important as a way of calculating the ROI of any traditional marketing efforts that you engage in. The best way to get people to participate in surveys is to keep them short and sweet and – if you can afford it – offer some sort of prize or other incentive that makes it worth their while. Your goal is to find out what content influenced purchasing decisions and how much, so you can better take it into account when looking at the true value of your content.
One vital thing to remember when you’re trying to calculate your return on investment: don’t count things twice. You’d be surprised how often this happens when people are using several different ways to measure ROI.
You may be tracking conversions that came through social media through your Analytics, but then count for them all again when running your survey. Measuring in two ways like this can still be valuable, but make sure you’re not adding both figures up. Instead, work with an average of the two numbers or opt for the figure that you think is more accurate. Otherwise, you might end up thinking that your marketing efforts are doing wonderfully, when in reality they could use some help.