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Repurposing: Your secret marketing weapon

I’ve worked on 306 white papers, and I have a secret:

Less than 1% of those white papers was ever repurposed.

Only a tiny handful of my clients, large and small, ever thought about repurposing. And usually only when I mentioned it.

That White Paper Guy | recycle logo on laptop screen signifies repurposing content online

A secret weapon for marketing

That means repurposing can be a secret weapon for any B2B marketing team.

You can use it to do more with your marketing dollars than the other guys. Let them continue to miss the mark while you up your game and run rings around them!

The best news: You can repurpose any good white paper you ever published. You can breathe fresh life into that older content.

And when you’re planning a new white paper today, plan on repurposing from the start. While the cost is minimal, the impact can be ferocious.

Why bother repurposing?

Why do people recycle?

  • It’s more sensible than making everything new
  • It’s more sustainable to reuse valuable materials
  • It’s wasteful to trash things you could use again

All this applies to recycling a good white paper.

As you know, I believe an effective white paper is foundational content with the best research you can find, the most compelling logic you can develop, and the most persuasive arguments you can make.

If you put that much effort into publishing a great white paper, why just park it on your website? Why not squeeze more value from it?

Here are 5 benefits you can gain from repurposing:

  • Boost your SEO
  • Engage more prospects
  • Tear down content silos
  • Tame your editorial calendar
  • Stretch your budget

What marketing person doesn’t want all that?

And what white paper writer doesn’t want to help their client achieve all that? Especially when they’re happy to pay you hundreds of dollars more to achieve it?

Boost your SEO

The more pieces of content posted on your website or circulating on the web, the better your SEO will be.

That’s one good reason why companies still publish press releases. Sure, journalists and editors may look at them. Bloggers may find them useful.

And the search engines happily index press releases and weave them into their search results.

Everything else being equal, a B2B website with press releases will outrank one without any.

And once you understand the format, creating a press release from a white paper is simple.

Read this article to find out more about repurposing white papers into press releases.

Engage more prospects

Repurposing means recycling existing content in different media for different audiences to access in different ways at different times.

Let’s face it, not everyone wants to read a 3,500-word white paper. Not everyone has time.

But break it up into 4 or 5 short, snack-able blog posts and time-pressed prospects will gobble them up.

Boil it down into a slide deck and visually-oriented prospects will jump at the chance to click through it.

Present that slide deck as a webinar and record it, and presentation-oriented prospects will be happy to view it at their convenience.

Offer them an audio version, and commuter prospects will be happy to listen while they’re stuck in traffic.

That White Paper Guy | photo of old silos represents repurposing content

Tear down content silos

Too many B2B marketing teams generate different types of content from different people, with little overall coordination.

I’ve seen this first-hand in most of my clients, who tend to have teams that look like the following:

  • A web team to do web content
  • A social media person to oversee daily interaction
  • A PR agency to write press releases
  • An outside writer for case studies and white papers
  • Another agency to do presentations and infographics

It’s natural: There’s a ton of work to do. The problem is that all these creative people never talk to each other.

Everyone starts every project over again from square one. When one person comes up with an apt metaphor or a powerful argument, no one else picks up on it.

So the gems in your content are flung far and wide, with no one bringing them together into an integrated campaign with a consistent message.

That means a big chunk of your marketing budget is wasted by constantly reinventing the wheel.

Happily, repurposing can reduce all that.

If you pour your best research and your most persuasive arguments into a white paper, you can instruct every other team to work from that as the foundation of a new campaign.

You can tear down the content silos, and build up an integrated content marketing campaign.

Tame your editorial calendar

Another sad truth of content marketing today: The editorial calendar rules like a dictator.

“Yikes! It’s already Wednesday, we need another blog post for tomorrow!”

“It’s the 14th, we need a fresh case study on the web this week!”

“Did you get that stuff loaded onto LinkedIn yet? What do you mean, we have nothing?”

An editorial calendar can be a useful tool to guide your content efforts. But in many companies, the editorial calendar is an evil dictator whose every whim must be obeyed.

While marketers and creative teams want to create useful and engaging content, the editorial calendar looms overhead yelling, “You’re late! You’re late! For a very important date!”

Some teams even have their bonuses tied directly to the editorial calendar. That means missing a deadline to finish and polish up some content costs everyone money.

This guarantees that they publish pieces that aren’t quite ready, just to avoid being docked. And this means the editorial calendar boosts quantity over quality. That’s a ridiculous way to operate.

Repurposing can end this dictatorship. With a good white paper to draw from, you can repurpose another 7 to 12 pieces within a few days:

  • A press release
  • 3 to 9 blog posts
  • A slide deck
  • A webinar script
  • Even an audio version

This will help restore the balance between speed and quality. Get back in your corner, editorial calendar!

Stretch your marketing budget

For a tiny added fee — or none at all if you have a reasonable writer in-house — you can publish many more pieces of content drawn from a white paper.

For say 5% of the cost of your white paper, you can get a press release.

For 10% more, you can get your writer to create 3 to 9 blog posts.

For 20% more you can get a slide deck with speaker’s notes. And from that, you can develop a webinar.

For 30% more you can get an audio version that catches the booming wave of interest in audio today.

Add them all up, and by upping the budget for a white paper by 65%, you can get 7 to 12 more pieces of content… all with a consistent message based on deep research and iron-clad arguments.

Now that’s integrated marketing!

And if you have no one in-house with time or talent to do this, ask your white paper writer.

Click here to see our cost-effective fees for repurposing.

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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300 white papers on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, from household names like Google and Verizon to tiny startups with big ideas. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned more than 50 5-star ratings on Amazon. And named 2019 Copywriter of the Year by AWAI, the world's leading training organization for professional copywriters.

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  1. Lynn Shapiro on February 23, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Gordon,
    Are you teaching a course in White Paper writing?

    If so, would you email me at:

    I’m was a legal and political reporter who recently lost my job when my boss retired after Thanksgiving.
    I’ve also written about medicine and business.


    • Pauline Clark on March 26, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Hey Lynn;
      Gordon is just wrapping up The Ultimate White Paper Writing course at AWAI but keep an eye out as it may be offered again in the future.

      Until then, there’s lots of resources here on our website. Gordon’s book, White Papers for Dummies is also a valuable resource.

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