If you’re a Lady Gaga fan and enjoyed her Oscar-nominated performance in last year’s hit movie A Star Is Born, you probably didn’t mind — or even know — that Barbra Streisand played the same role in 1976. As did Judy Garland in 1954 and Janet Gaynor in 1937.
Pretty much the same movie has been made four times for new generations of moviegoers. Each version of the film won awards and made a tidy profit even though parents and grandparents of the current audience likely saw it before.
A Star Is Born is perhaps the definitive example of repurposing content. What can content marketers learn from it? One answer is, appropriately, found in the theme song of the 1976 version: “Evergreen.”
Consider the lyrics of the song that reached number one on the Billboard charts, won two Grammys and an Academy Award for best original song: “Time, we’ve learned to sail above. Ageless and ever, evergreen.”
Finding evergreen content
The first step of repurposing content is to look through your old blog posts and white papers to see what themes are still relevant. You can label material as evergreen when it is both timeless and high quality.
- Are there posts that speak universal truths or address problems that haven’t yet been solved?
- Has there been a development in the news that you can comment on while using the foundational material in the original post?
- Do you have a new insight or something more to say about otherwise relevant material, or was there a post you didn’t get to say everything you wanted?
- Maybe some posts continue to generate a fair number of clicks – update them to drive even more traffic.
- Are blog posts covering a particular topic that you can turn into a training series?
- Did you publish a popular listicle in which each point on the list could be spun off into its own blog post?
Repurpose versus reuse
Each A Star is Born movie is a hit in its time because the current version isn’t just a replay of the 1976, 1954 or 1937 versions. While the general story is the same, it’s perpetually updated to reflect modern issues and tastes. The film is about singers, but each movie features new songs.
Successful repurposing of content follows this example. It’s not about reusing old content as-is. You take the good bones of the content and change it enough to make it fresh. Cast your Lady Gaga as the leading character to draw new and younger audiences.
What are the best ways to make fresh content based on previously published themes?
- Publish an ebook — Expand quality blog posts or series into an ebook.
- Make a presentation — Turn your content into a slide deck that highlights statistics and quotes from an original blog post.
- Create an infographic — If your content is data heavy, tell the story visually with graphics that do more than a simple slide deck presentation.
- Host a podcast — Use original blog content as an entry to talk about the issues in a deeper or more nuanced way. You can also capture an audience that might prefer to listen to your content than read it.
- Start a video series — Turn your content into a video course that teaches viewers how to accomplish a task or tackle an issue.
- Launch a webinar — Repurpose your expert content as an online training seminar where you can answer questions directly from the audience.
- Offer a daily email series — Your original post told the story in one long blog post. Break it up into smaller pieces and edit them into a daily series that tells the story over the course of a week.
Don’t let your content be forgotten. There can be a lot of benefits for taking the effort to dust off old blog posts and give them a second life. The time spent doing it will actually save time in the long run because you won’t always be starting from scratch or reinventing the wheel.
You’ll be able to reach and build new audiences by repurposing articles in different ways that speak to each group you’re targeting. The first version might have only reached a certain segment and the next version can cast a wider net.
Content repurposing can also pay handsome SEO dividends. The SEO boost comes from being able to publish multiple pieces of related content that feature important keywords. And content used outside your website can generate quality links back to your homepage. This is a clear return on investment in creating the original content and refreshing it.
The more you repurpose quality material, the faster you can become known as a thought leader in a given topic. This helps establish your company and brand as the go-to subject matter expert. Your increased authority on an issue will only further grow your SEO value.
Repurposing is the new repetition
Everyone knows the “Rule of Seven.” It’s a venerable concept in marketing: people need to hear or see a message seven times before they will buy it. Creating seven different touch points for every issue is resource intensive. That’s why repurposing can help you reach the messaging quota without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that the producers of the A Star is Born movies spent a lot of time thinking through the best ways to repurpose the material. There’s a reason Lady Gaga headlined the latest version and not Miley Cyrus or Madonna.
You will need to ponder what material is suitable for repurposing and what can be left behind. The wisdom to know the difference depends on understanding what has changed in your industry and being an expert in the latest information your repurposed article will share.
Some pieces will be easier to repurpose than others, which means prioritizing where to begin. But one thing is certain. Sometime in the 2040s, audiences will be enjoying the fifth installment of A Star is Born.
Joel Engardio is an award-winning journalist and a content manager/creator at Firebrand with a record of motivating action. Previously, Joel worked as a Communications Strategist for the ACLU and Senior Content Manager for Doctor on Demand.