Extend the Reach of Original Content: Adapt and Distribute

In last week’s Friday’s Five at Attorney at Work, Joan Feldman highlights five great tips from the Third Annual Super Marketing Conference. I’m especially fond of this one:

“Recycle your writings. Developing good, targeted content is hard work. So, to get the most leverage from all those hours you put into it, be smart and develop a content plan that maps out all the different ways you can repurpose what you write. “If you’ve written something one time,” says [Beth Marie] Cuzzone, “you can reuse it at least nine times. A newsletter can turn into a few tweets, or a blog post, a checklist and a link on your website bio.” How does that work? Sometimes you’ll write a speech from a 30,000-feet perspective, explains [Cynthia] MacCausland. To repurpose it, you can focus in and expand on the brief bullet points you made to write a different article, posts or even a press release. She adds that if you write for local business or bar publications, be sure to link to those articles on your website, blog and social media sites: “Cross-posting exposes your work to a broader audience and increases the chances that others will share it, too.”

One word of caution: Repurposing doesn’t mean publishing the exact same content in different places. Excerpt, rewrite, expand, condense—but don’t copy. For one thing, it can be obnoxious. But also, White notes, Google doesn’t like to see duplicate content spread around the web and could punish your search rankings.”

It frequently takes a lot of time and effort to produce just one really good piece of content – so it makes sense to extend the mileage one gets from its circulation. Cuzzone mentions a good piece of content can be reused “at least nine times”, so I decided to brainstorm some methods for extending the reach of existing content – either through distribution or adaptation. Here’s what I came up with.

Adapt it:

  • For presentations: take note of the questions that attendees asked, during or afterwards. Turn them into a follow-up paper, blogs post, or FAQ collection.
  • For articles or papers you’ve written, produce a blog post announcing it. Again, not copying, but simply creating referential pointers to its existence.
  • If you’ve produced a number of content items on the same topic, write a roundup post (hat tip to Allison Shields via her Slaw post “Maximize your Content Marketing: Get New Traffic from Old Content“).
  • Turn an article into a checklist.
  • Keep a list of client questions you get over and over again. Turn it into a series of blog posts, an article, or an FAQ collection.
  • If you have the skill, inclination and resources, record it and deliver that advice via podcast or video.
  • For blog posts: consider publishing an e-book or printed collection of your most successful writing.
  • Turn a stats-heavy article into an infographic.

Distribute it:

  • Convert your longer content pieces into downloadable print-worthy PDF Guides. Be sure your name, date, and the topic are clearly visible on every page of the PDF; making it both search-friendly and readable in printed form. Invite the reader to contact you with any questions about the paper or the topic.
  • Copyright permitting, submit it to a relevant journals or industry publications, whose readers would find it informative and helpful.
  • Distribute via JD Supra, Lexology, or Mondaq.
  • Share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+.
  • If you’ve created any infographics or charts, add them to Pinterest.
  • Post your slide decks to Slideshare, and make sure you’ve got the widget in your LinkedIn profile, on your blog, or your website.
  • Write news items about any form of third-party publishing on your firm website. Link out to the publication, any journalists involved, and the article itself.
  • Within new blog posts, link liberally to your older posts.

Should you do every one of these things for every piece of content you craft? Absolutely not. But taking even a few carefully considered extra steps for each piece can significantly extend the value of your original work.  Most authors would be well advised to step-back from their writing post-publication; consider who their intended audience was, and then hand-select a few “adaption or distribution” tactics to push that piece a little further.

For more ideas, check out these articles:

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