What’s Important to Know About Updating and Repurposing Content

What’s Important to Know About Updating and Repurposing Content

November 10, 2022 | By Julia Borgini | No Comments

Content marketing is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long-term and ongoing marketing effort. This means that content is not just published and left alone. Creating content takes time and effort, so it only makes sense to get as much mileage out of each piece as possible. That’s why many marketing managers are regularly updating and repurposing content.

Yet many think updating content and repurposing it are the same thing — but that’s not true. Repurposing and updating content are two different tasks that require different work levels and different fee structures. One might involve just as much work as creating content from scratch, while the other could involve a significantly longer timeline.

So, what’s the difference between repurposing content and updating it? And how can you help your clients understand the difference? Let’s take a closer look.

Which Is Which? Repurposing vs. Updating

When repurposing content, you’re transforming the content from one type to another. For example, you can repurpose a blog post into an infographic your client posts on social media to drive traffic to the post or their main website. It’s based on the original content but isn’t necessarily tied to it. The new piece can exist by itself or alongside the original one.

When updating content, you’re refreshing the existing content with new examples, data, stats, quotes, and more. For example, you could update an e-book with new stats and examples, links to newer videos or images, and remove or edit outdated information from it. You’re revising what is there, not creating something brand-new.

3 Main Differences Between Repurposing and Updating Content

While it might seem that the two approaches are similar, there are three main differences:

  1. Purpose: The goal of repurposing is to maximize the content in as many ways as possible. The goal of updating content is to ensure it’s relevant to your audience, and, well, up-to-date.
  2. Time and resources required: Updating content usually takes less time than repurposing, especially if you created the original piece. You’re already familiar with the topic and know where to find updated information, so adding and editing the content is faster. Repurposing content usually takes longer because you’re creating something brand-new from the existing content. You may need to get other people involved, have additional reviews, and need more stakeholders to approve the new piece.
  3. Outcome or goal: The outcome of updating content is to have the same fundamental piece of content that’s simply been improved with new, relevant elements. It is typically used for the same business objective or has the same place in the sales funnel. The outcome of repurposing is a new stream of content in various forms based on the foundational piece that’s used to reach a broader or new audience.

Your B2B client may confuse the two terms when asking for your help on a project. They may ask for repurposing when they really mean updating and vice versa. You’ll only know which they mean when you dig into the project requirements, so be sure to ask as many questions as you need to figure it out.

Some good questions to ask are: do you want a complete or partial rewrite or just a refresh of the stats and quotes? And do you have staff that can create the asset, such as a graphic designer or layout specialist?

What writers do when repurposing or updating

Once you know whether you’re repurposing or updating content, it’s time to get to work.

To repurpose content, you’ll need:

  1. To know the end goal of the new content piece. For example, will it be used to reach a broader audience or support a different part of the sales funnel?
  2. The desired content format for the new piece. Will it be an infographic, online case study, slide deck, e-book, etc.?
  3. Access to the original piece and any supporting materials for the topic, such as templates and brand guidelines for the new pieces.
  4. A clear timeline of the project.
  5. To know if you’ll need to collaborate with other internal resources to get the final piece done or if you’ll just hand it off to your client, and they’ll run with it.

To update content, you’ll need:

  1. The original content piece.
  2. The type of updates they want. For instance, do they only want text updates (stats, quotes, dates, etc.), or do they want new images and embedded videos?
  3. A list of new keywords to include (if applicable).
  4. A list of competitors not to include or link to. (This is especially important if you weren’t involved in creating the original piece.)
  5. Any new calls-to-action they may want to include.
  6. The timeline.

Both repurposing and updating content play a role in any content marketing strategy. They help your B2B clients scale their content efforts while still aligning with their marketing strategy and overall business goals. And you can help your clients with both since you do those tasks every day. Repurposing and updating content are two services you can offer to all your clients, whether they’re existing or new ones.

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Julia Borgini

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