With the widespread use of digital marketing programs and the insatiable need for content - the topic of repurposing content has recently acquired some cachet.
Essentially, that means reusing content that was created for another channel, format or purpose.
Having produced a lot of content across many formats (award-winning PR, video, and reams of articles and web pages) we would advise caution on repurposing.
There are two reasons for this - one is whether you are repurposing for a different format, or recycling some historic material (repurposing the time frame).
These are two different perspectives - one is time, the other the format of presentation.
Either one can get you in trouble.
The reasons are that when a message is created for one format - it is typically structured to use the strengths of that format. For example, the written word - press releases, case studies, etc. - don’t always lend themselves to being repurposed for real-time - such as video or audio (podcast) formats. It’s like a book that doesn’t translate well into a screenplay.
In a similar fashion, material that is created at one point in time may not translate well to another point in time. The reason being is that a lot has changed - technology, competitive issues, regulation, etc. Do you make purchases the same way you did a year ago? Will you make purchases the same way a year from now? Probably not. So why would you think your customers are any different?
You may have heard the term “future proofing” - usually applied to video. I’ve always found that interesting, because I have yet to shoot a piece of video that if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t shoot differently. That’s simply part of the creative process.
Same goes for “evergreen” (meaning material that is timeless.) This is very difficult to pull off , unless you are producing referential material - which really doesn’t get heavily used in short-form digital marketing.
So if your are considering repurposing, you really need to design that in from the beginning. For example - if you were shooting a video that you also wanted to use as a podcast - you need to pay special attention to the narrative and the audio - because the podcast listeners will not have the advantage of seeing the accompanying video.
Similarly, if you want to “evergreen” some content - you need to remove any chronological references which would date it. Otherwise, it’s like watching old episodes of Law and Order that have monochrome CRT computer screens on the set.
Since content needs to constantly change to reflect the ever-changing competitive environment, you might ask yourself if it is worth trying to repurpose material, rather than simply creating a newer version.
Since you have the original version to serve as a guide, and as long as your production costs are reasonable - creating new material will probably serve you better in the long run.