A white paper is never ‘just’ a white paper.

Every piece of content can be repurposed, so look beyond the format to see the words and messages within. Once you know the essence of what you have to say, it’s just a case of respinning it to engage your audience in a new way.

I’m a big advocate of repurposing existing content because it enables you to make it into something bigger, which therefore generates a greater return on your investment.

“But how do we actually do it?”

I’m also a big believer that you should ‘practice what you preach’, which is why I want to share the following examples so you can see repurposed content in action…

Example 1: reforming existing content into something bigger

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my marketing efforts focus on content. Every week I publish interesting, useful and relevant content on my blog.

In particular, I’ve written several posts about the art of blogging, for example:

By pulling all this content together and editing it into a single larger piece, I created ‘The Little Book of…B2B Blogging’:

There is nothing fundamentally new about this piece of content – you could read all my blogs or this single book and take away the exact same information. But in placing the content into a new format, I’ve created a new way to excite and inspire my audience.

Example 2: repurposing content to make it fit a new channel

This time, I started with the larger asset – ‘The Little Book of…Thought Leadership Content’:

By starting with one central idea, I then broke out the key themes from the book to expand upon them through a new series of blogs:

This time, because you’ve started with the larger thought leadership asset, like a white paper, guide or report, the information shared will differ because you’re elaborating further within your blogging content.

In terms of effort, example 1 requires you to do much of the work upfront to generate all the blogging content, whereas example 2 gets the main asset out quickly and then affords you time to generate the blogs throughout the duration of the campaign.

And because everyone loves a bonus – there’s always option 3…

Yes, we live in the age of ‘digital’ where everything is online and the world is driven by data. But it’s just not the same as touching something real.

So as well as making my little books available as digital downloads I had some physical copies printed, which I’ve been sending upon request, free of charge.

The result – not only are people excited about the book, they’re actively posting photos of it onto social media and helping me to spread the word within their networks:

One method isn’t ‘better’ than the other

Whether you choose to follow example 1 or 2 (or 3!), the end result will be the same – interesting, useful and relevant content that forms part of a broader campaign.

Of course, we’re not done yet…

Choose to follow example 1 and you could look at producing a third content asset, like an infographic, that pulls out the key points or lessons learned.

Choose to follow example 2 and you could produce a second thought leadership asset by reforming all your blogs into something new (as in example 1).

…and then you take everything and repurpose it again. This time thinking about how you’re going to drive awareness of your content within your target audience – perhaps through social media or email marketing.

It’s all about giving yourself options and being smart about how you use your content to make it into something more.