Marketers: To get more from your white papers, repurpose

You’ve hired a B2B copywriter to create a white paper for your firm.

How can you get more from your investment?

Simple: Plan to repurpose your white paper into multiple formats.

Having essentially the same material available in different formats gives your company more “kicks at the can.” In other words, more chances to engage prospects.

photo of foot kicking tins cans to symbolize repurposing a white paper

When you sponsor a white paper, you pay to gather all the best research and create your most convincing arguments. For a B2B marketer, that’s gold.

Why not recycle that great content into other formats that can reach different prospects who may prefer to access information in a different way?

This isn’t a new idea, it’s a classic

More than five years ago, B2B marketing expert Ardath Albee coined her “Rule of 5” for content.

“Every content development undertaking should produce content assets that can be used at least five different ways,” she wrote.

“Let’s say that you plan to create a white paper. When you know in advance that you need four additional content assets from the project, you can plan production with that in mind.”

You can read more in this post on Albee’s blog.

The problem: Who’s got time?

But if your marketing team is like most, you have no one who can spend hours or days repurposing content. Everyone already has too much to do.

Let’s look at this dilemma a little closer. As you know, there are three parts to producing a white paper:

  1. Planning
  2. Creation
  3. Promotion

As a marketer, you should focus on the first and last, planning and promotion. Leave the creation to your writer and designer.

For more on why this is a good practice, see this article.

Solution: Hire your writer to repurpose

It makes good sense to ask the person most familiar with your content—your copywriter—to do the repurposing:

  • The writer is already up to speed
  • The writer already did the research
  • The writer already knows the material inside out
  • The writer probably knows which parts can be recycled word for word

It makes sense to ask the writer to produce any other formats you need at the same time as they’re creating the original document.

Different waves of promotion

Aren’t you better off with five different pieces to promote than just one?

  • Each format may appeal to different prospects
  • A new campaign can remind the same prospects about something they missed
  • Different waves of promotion generate more business

Each new format can be available for those who prefer it. But each piece can always point back to the original white paper that some prospects might prefer.

The bottom line is that each piece can have a separate social media and promotional campaign that reaches a different set of prospects.

That means more leads for a small added investment in your content.

The most likely formats to produce

What are the best formats to use when repurposing a white paper?

Here are the four most popular formats that white papers can be repurposed into, and the going rates for producing each one.

Type Typical Fees
Blog posts $250 to $500
Placed articles $500 to $1250
Press releases $250 to $500
Slide decks $100 to $400 per slide, depending on production values

You can see that spending an extra $1,000 or so will  buy you a wider range of content. And your writer can probably deliver these materials the same week as the white paper.

In future articles, we’re going to look at creating each of these formats, using a real white paper that we recently repurposed.

Use the Rule of 5

Next time you outsource a white paper, don’t forget  Albee’s Rule of 5:

  • How could you repurpose this in other ways?
  • How could you promote each different format?
  • What formats would work well with your social media campaigns?

Think of all the benefits. For a small added fee, you can get several more kicks at the can with the same high-powered content.

You won’t have to burden your marketing team with the chore of creating it. Your copywriter will be happy to do the job for you.

And you can focus on building a set of effective campaigns that generate new leads, nurture existing leads, or help win new orders.

Have you ever repurposed a white paper? What formats did you sponsor? Which do you think delivered the most value? Please leave your comment below. 


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