Small Businesses: Repurpose (Content) or Perish


For a small business or organization, generating original marketing content with any level of frequency is a significant undertaking. But the return on investment is dramatically increased when that content is routinely repurposed.  Results will include a dramatic reduction in marketing costs (always top of mind with small businesses) and expanded audience reach. So what are you waiting for?

A number of small business owners I’ve spoken with back away from content marketing entirely because of the concern that they’ll never finish what they start. They recognize that generating engaging content on a regular basis, and sharing it across the appropriate communications channels, takes thought, time, discipline and resources. For them, given that their minds are already racing with the day-to-day challenges of running a profitable business — improving products, developing new ones, managing their supply chain, delighting customers with great service, making payroll, engaging employees — content marketing sits on the back burner.

Like product innovation and supply chain management, however, content marketing is a pot that also requires stirring.

One of the more challenging hurdles of a content-based marketing program for a small business is getting started. It’s like writing. Staring at a blank sheet of paper for too long, thinking that your work can never rival the work of the greats, can paralyze a writer. Professional writers know, though, that the fastest way out of writer’s block is to just start writing. In much the same way, a small business owner may look at a competitor’s well-established content program and think, “I can never replicate that, so why even bother?”

Why? Well, how about this for a reason: the future success of your business may depend on it. And your competitor’s now well-tuned content marketing engine wasn’t built in a day.  It all started with that first blog post, that first newsletter, that first email campaign, that first white paper, that first podcast.

Generating and sharing content that identifies you and/or your business as a subject matter expert, an adviser, a recommender, an insider, someone who has their finger on the pulse — and who demonstrates an authentic love for the subject — will set a business apart from the small business owner who lives in a one-dimensional, traditional marketing world and who still believes that authority is king.  The small business that recognizes the competitive advantages that owned and shared content, that is passionate, gives them over their old-school competitors (with all other things being equal) wins the battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of the consumer — every single time.

Can you name a <legitimate> business with a growth objective where a content marketing strategy doesn’t make sense?  Recently, I met with the builder of high-end homes, a niche regional museum with a world-class collection, and the developer of an app for buyers and sellers of household goods. Three businesses that are very different yet share an appreciation for the undeniable benefits of content marketing, such as customer engagement, lead gen, brand awareness, inbound traffic, thought leadership and increased sales, among others.

Now, getting to the act of actually generating content that bleeds authenticity – whether it be a blog post, a video, a white paper, a by-lined article, social media content or an in-person event — is hard work.  Because it’s hard work, resource-constrained small businesses have to become expert at repurposing their content whenever possible — and it’s almost always possible. Creating great content and not repurposing it for use in the broadest range of communications channels is like throwing out the turkey carcass before making turkey soup.

Repurpose.  Don’t be a turkey.

For example, before publishing a blog post on your company website, offer it first to a trade journal, industry blog, business publication, or a newspaper.  These channels are generally more interested in your content if they get to publish it first.  Because of their digital sites, newspapers and magazines have a voracious appetite for fresh, relevant, well-written content from experts.  Generate and offer content that’s pegged to trends in your industry, or provide “evergreen” content that a publisher can run on a slow news day.

If your marketing content is of the “top 5” or “top 10” variety, that post then becomes a contributed article, which can be deconstructed into 5-10 separate tweets, multiple Facebook posts spread out over several days and 5-10 slides that wind up on SlideShare and shared on LinkedIn.

That white paper your team has been slaving over for weeks? With a partial rewrite, it’s transformed into a long form industry-specific article.

Once a small business understands the simple mechanics of repurposing its marketing content, the barriers to an effective program will disappear as quickly as that fresh pot of turkey soup.

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One Response to “Small Businesses: Repurpose (Content) or Perish”

  1. Chas April 1, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    Useful post, Jim. I hope it inspires readers to take action. Procrastination is the most significant barrier but, ironically, the easiest to overcome. Good content is the chicken of the marketing. You can use it in so many ways. Start grilling, sautéing, blackening and simmering…or find someone who can cook for you.

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