Don’t Recycle, Repurpose — But Do It Right!
Recently I read an article on content marketing that promised to tell, in so many words, “how to market yourself without extra work.” It then presented an app, showing “how easy it is to automate repurposing your content.”
“Once you have your original material — article, webinar, etc. — repurposing doesn’t require much more work, just some creative thinking.” Uh, no. It’s not that simple. This is akin to saying, “Cold fusion isn’t hard. You just need a few hydrogen atoms.”
Repurposing content is one of the most important things you can do to market your practice — so you need to know how to do it right.
Each piece of content you have was originally designed for a unique medium and audience. As such, the tone will vary and the content will need to be adjusted for each application. And audiences vary widely.
For example, let’s take an article you’ve written on the latest trends in social enterprise corporations. California has two corporate structures specifically designed for social enterprises, the Benefit Corporation and the Social Purpose Corporation. Each has its own advantages. As they are relatively new, they are a great topic to exploit.
Say you start with a piece written by one of your firm’s lawyers for your local legal newspaper. This paper will have its own writers guidelines and editing policies. More importantly, it will also have a specific tone, and you will want to emulate that.
Done. Great. Now comes the work.
Pushing Out Content
Next, you offer the article as a contributor piece to the local business journal. They accept. Do you simply revise the article to adhere to their word count? Absolutely not. You are speaking to a business audience, not a legal one, and you’ll want to adjust your language accordingly. No jargon or multiple clauses. And put the corporate change in a broader business context. Share what the new structure is designed to do, who is using it, and what advantages have been gained so far.
Great. Can we just slap those pieces on the next client alert? No!
Client alerts are shorter and are designed for busy lawyers and clients on the go who may only have time to scan the headlines and subheads. Take that first piece and cut it in half. But link to more expansive materials for those who need more information. This means creating a white paper. (Don’t worry, you can reuse it by linking to it from multiple platforms.)
Now you have steam, and everyone wants to do an hour-long breakfast CLE program to show off the new content. This means detailed slides and course materials that drill deep into each corporate structure. You can start with the white paper, but you’ll need to revise it to make the tone a bit less formal.
Can you spin the CLE program into a webinar? Nope. No one is going to sit through an audio-and-slides presentation for an hour. Take the CLE program and cut it in half. This is likely going to mean cutting slides and replacing others to package the content into 30 minutes.
Can we take the webinar and make it a podcast? Not without work. Ideally, podcasts are 15 minutes long, perfect for clients on their commute, but not so much that it wears them out. And you’ll want a more conversational tone to help the listener along, especially as they won’t have slides to back up the information.
Can we just video the podcast and put that on YouTube, or film the CLE and slap it up? I wouldn’t advise it. The Twitterization of our attention spans means the ideal video is two to five minutes long. No one suffers through an hour-long video if they aren’t getting CLE credit for it. And you don’t want just a talking head. Intersperse shots of your presenter with slides and voice-over narrative. Keep the tone conversational and the material easy to digest.
I Think You Get It by Now
Repurposing is one of the most important marketing things you can do. But don’t do it with a cookie-cutter. Do it with all the sophistication you can muster, and you’ll own the topic in a way no one else will.
Susan Kostal is a legal affairs PR, marketing and business development consultant based in San Francisco. She writes the "Content Under Pressure" column for Attorney at Work, and has covered legal affairs as a journalist for nearly three decades. You can follow her on Twitter @skostal and view more of her content at www.susankostal.com.
More on this: Read “Five Ways to Make Speaking Engagements Pay Off” by Merrilyn Astin Tarlton
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