Do you recycle?

recycleI admit it – I hate re-inventing the wheel. There’s nothing more debilitating to a To Do list than the belief that everything you do needs to be custom created. In this era of content creation, we all need to be brilliant recyclers.

There are several advantages of re-using copy/visuals throughout your marketing efforts. We all know that repetition is necessary when you’re trying to implant marketing messages into your audience’s consciousness. So using the exact same wording and visuals helps accelerate that process.

In addition, it allows you to focus on the strategic elements of your marketing and stop re-working the words. If you don’t like the words (or visuals) well enough to re-use them, then why are you using them at all?

Here’s the biggest misconception about recycling your marketing materials. You don’t want people to get bored or notice that you’re repeating yourself. With all due respect – you wish!

Unless you’re a marquee brand like Apple or Disney, no one is so mesmerized by your marketing efforts that they’re going to notice. Even if you recycle the content several times in a short period of time. No one is memorizing your content. But after awhile, your key points will stick. That’s the point, isn’t it?

Here are some ways to look at your existing content as a source for future content.

Your website: Oh, this is a treasure trove of content for your harvesting purposes. First, look at your website’s navigational headers. You can assume there’s a handful of blog posts, newsletter stories, direct mail letters etc. in each section of your website. Identify key messages in each section and expound on them for future content usage.

Your newsletter: Have you been producing newsletters for a while? Go back and find the evergreen articles that would still be helpful to your audience. Cherry pick the best ones and turn them into blog posts, social media status updates or emails to your best customers.

Your videos: Have you been smart enough to leverage videos in your marketing? Transcribe them (don’t have time – it’s cheap and easy to get it done) so you can re-purpose those pearls of wisdom. If they’re testimonials, those make great visual sound bytes on social media and your website. If they’re how to videos, turn the content into blog posts or FAQs for your website.

Your owner’s manual/instructions: I know it’s not sexy but hopefully it’s written to be helpful. That’s great fodder for social media posts, website content, helpful direct mail pieces to recent purchasers and potential buyers.

Your speeches: These are a very strong source. Odds are, the content is pretty unique and only used for this one purpose. If you’re a typical speaker and use PowerPoint – you’ve got built in visuals and copy. Each key point belongs on your website at the very least. They probably will make excellent blog posts/newsletter articles or an entire direct mail series.

Remember that when you recycle, it doesn’t necessarily mean using the exact same copy in the same way. It’s certainly possible but you may have to change the length, add some set up to give the content a frame, or add details to add value. On the flip side, a piece of long content may need some pruning or it might make a great series, rather than a single piece.

When you start looking at your existing content, ask yourself if you could use it to create:

  • Ebooks
  • A Slideshare deck
  • Case studies
  • Pinterest board or Instagram series
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts
  • Newsletter articles
  • Direct mail pieces
  • Podcasts

Look at your existing work as the building blocks for your future work. You’ll love the consistency, the time savings and new tools you can create when you recycle.

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