Got a great story to tell? Think big! Think beyond your usual print options, beyond your newsletter or brochure. Think about repurposing that story for multiple channels. Could your CEO use it in a presentation? Could you develop a few Facebook posts from it? Tweets? Could it become a video? Is there an infographic lurking in all those numbers? Repurposing content originally developed for longer print articles allows you to make the most of your investment in great writing. The key is to envision the bigger picture before you start.
- Identify all the possible channels your organization regularly uses, along with any new channels connected to current events or opportunities. Create a matrix that includes all the channels across the top, and leave the left hand column open to plug in key elements of the story so you can track options. For example, the story of a great customer experience might include quotes from the customer (repurposed as website testimonials and included on the employee intranet), third party endorsements (repurposed in a presentation) and explanatory information about a newly implemented customer service feature (repurposed as FAQs). By separately identifying the elements of the story, you can direct key pieces to the right channels and keep track of everything.
- Share your plan with the people who have responsibility for the channels you identified. Add to the plan delivery and/or go-live dates when they can expect content from you, and when you expect it to be distributed.
- With the list of likely channels in mind, plan your interviews and other information-gathering steps. Draft a few questions likely to prompt shorter responses that can be turned into tweets or Facebook or other social media posts. If you’re conducting research, gather the data points you’ll need for a graphic designer to create an infographic for the website or Facebook. If you’re talking with experts, look for ways to “chunk” long or complex information.
- Probe for visual options to enhance social media and web content. Find out if a customer is able and willing to be in a video when you conduct the interview. Shoot video that enhances the print story without repetition, but do link the two channels so people can connect to the other channel if they want to. Ask expert sources for visual ideas to help explain hard ideas or important concepts, and work with a graphic designer, photographer or illustrator to capture them.
- Using your plan to guide you – and allowing yourself some flexibility to accommodate the actual information you’ve gathered – rewrite, edit or call-out the components of the main story you’ve identified for repurposing. Add visuals or make the visual the centerpiece of the content, and include a link to another channel where a viewer could find more information. As you massage the content for each channel, you’ll be able to see and apply the “content thread” you’re using to help audiences make connections.
Repurposing content is more efficient than writing for separate channels, especially if the writing team is working in silos, and it’s a more effective way to share a robust message. Get your team together, talk through the plan and enjoy the journey. After your first excursion, you’ll be ready to repeat it!