Earlier this summer, I mentioned that we’ve been tracking the communications of pairs of national nonprofits working in the same space. Where are the organizations’ strategies in sync? Where do they diverge? What can you learn from their approaches? We are calling the comparisons The Showdown. We will often declare “winners,” but that part is really just for fun. Contributing writer Antionette Kerr is back with her third edition. ~Kivi
Perhaps it was the flurry of adorable back to school photos that inspired me to write a review of how the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Boy Scouts of America handle repurposing content for the third installment of the #NpComm Showdown.
So let’s begin with the cute factor. If you’re ever having an “off day,” these two organizations have a ton of content that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to any face. And these organizations repurpose content like crazy, especially when it comes to adorable kid pics.
As you can imagine, both of these organizations get a lot of play on social media. But while they both seem to do a great job of repurposing content, they diverge on a few strategies.
Girl Scouts embraces social media gab with titles like Tip Tuesday, Troop Tuesday, and Throwback Thursday. Some of the organization’s most popular posts are advocacy-oriented and focused on Girl Power. It uses social media lingo to recycle messages such as this August 20th post that received 890 comments and almost 400 shares.
“Every failure is an opportunity to learn. Girl Scouts provides a safe place to fail while building leaders who take action to make the world a better place.http://bit.ly/29D9hNe“
*This link leads back to a video on why someone should join the Girl Scouts.
The photo also made an appearance on Twitter with this language:
Actually, Girl Scouts almost always links the interested reader back to an article or post on its website (unless it is reposting an article from a third-party media source).
Many of those websites link to pages that don’t show a creation date the way a blog post would. So unless you’re paying very close attention (or reading everything posted for a period of time), the fact that it’s repurposed content will slip right by fans.
It took me a few weeks to realize several posts that feature a different picture or theme actually circle back to the same content page highlighting “Outdoor Resources,” a guide for Girl Scout volunteers to introduce girls “to the wonders of hiking and camping.”
Both entries have different themes, but they (and several other posts) take the audience back to…
The same blog post at www.girlscouts.org
The Boy Scouts of America has enlisted multiple websites and blogs to tailor communications to its various audiences. Once you’ve followed the links from the official website www.scouting.org (look for “official links” because there are a lot of creepy one-offs, copy cats, and legit affiliates using this well-known brand), viewers can find a way to connect with the organization and gather pertinent information.
For the Boy Scouts, most of social media posts circle back to content on:
- Scoutingwire.com – The Official Blog of the Scouting Movement
- blog.scoutingmagazine.org – The Official Blog for BSA adult leaders
- Philmontscoutranch.org-The Official Website of the Boy Scouts of America’s premier High Adventure™ base
- Scoutingnewsroom.org – The Official Website for media
- Scoutsuff.org – The Official Place for anyone with $$$
The boys are really prepared for any viewer and they aren’t shy about repurposing content. This was demonstrated during the recent Summer Olympics when almost every Boy Scout-related source posted stories about swimmer Ryan Held. An Eagle Scout turned 4×100 freestyle relay Gold Medalist, Held stuck with the Eagle Scout program even when swimming began taking more and more of his time. The Boy Scouts interviewed Held and his parents and used everyone else’s interviews to link back to its story about his commitment to scouting.
So who wins this Showdown?
For the first time this summer, we have a tie! Both the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Boy Scouts of America seem to know their audiences and have a great handle on balancing original content and repurposing the good stuff. They both had me at…
So here are a few takeaways from this Showdown…
Both organizations have mastered the basics in repurposing… according to Kivi’s advice in 12 Ways To Repurpose Old Content
- Use a different channel.
- Edit for a different audience.
- Make short stuff longer.
- Make long stuff shorter.
- Pull the headline and use it as a status update.
- Change the lead ( in some cases they just changed the photo).
- Change the perspective.
- Change the format. (Start with live audio and record it as a podcast, video or webinar recording. Or have the recorded audio transcribed and pull text from that.)
- If you’ve written a how-to article, turn it into a top ten list.
- If you’ve written a top ten list about how to do something, rewrite it as an opinion piece or as a review and recast it. (I skipped a few tips that didn’t apply but you can check out the full list in a repurposed blog post.)
There is no shame in repurposing—SO OWN IT! You’re not being lazy because repurposing is about more than saving time. Important messages need to be repeated to your audience because maybe readers missed it the first time or they just need to hear things in a different way.
Leading up to and during the Summer Olympics, the Boy Scouts’ posts related to Ryan Held were a great example of this. Ryan proves the point that sports don’t have to interfere with scouting; in fact, Ryan’s parents said it enhanced his skills. The story needed repeating. Scouting fans loved it, the media loved it, Held & his famil loved it!
If the content is good and generates a lot of conversation, share it again. Put a different spin on the story or present a new perspective about why the organization is excited (chances are your fans will be too). Think of repurposing popular or important content the same way as the DJ playing your favorite song.
And last but not least: if at first you don’t succeed (meaning only a few views or likes, no comments or retweets), to identify another angle or audience and try again. Recently Mark Horvath, founder of Invisible People, shared some ideas in blog post for us about repurposing content. Mark talked about floundering with a television show that fell flat in ratings. He began rerunning the show at a different time and discovered that it reached a new audience. Check out Mark’s story and consider repurposing content that didn’t take off on the first run.
P.S. from Kivi: As a Girl Scout leader, I was tempted to force Antionette to choose a winner, but let it be known that I ultimately left all editorial decisions to her. She’s a good customer during cookies season. 🙂