Many years ago, I was executive producer for a network TV show on a Christian broadcasting network for a very large ministry. The show aired on Friday nights in primetime. It was a big deal. I produced one show about their Christian school, which I thought was an amazing program that people would get behind. The show aired, and the next day, the agency that we worked with sent us an eleven-page report on why that show was really bad. The show, like most all nonprofit marketing, was a campaign for “new names”. It was a good show, but obviously, it didn’t do that well, or so we thought.
Right around six months later, we were in a bind and I had to rerun a show. I don’t remember the exact reasons why, but I do remember that I was left with little choice but to rerun that same show. Interestingly enough, the next day I received an email from that very same agency that wrote eleven pages of why I should never air that show ever again with just one line that read, “I don’t know what you did last night, but keep doing it”. True story!
It was the exact same show. I didn’t edit it. I didn’t change a thing. It was just a different moment in time each time it aired. That repurposed content, or rerun because it was a television show, actually had a great response when it aired the second time.
With Invisible People, I have over 450 blog posts. Over the years I kind of got in the habit of only posting new content. A few months ago I was listening one of my favorite marketing podcasts called This Old Marketing. I highly recommend it. They were talking about repurposing content. It made sense! At the time, I was Chief Marketing Officer for a large non-profit with services in four cities along with a large chain of fourteen thrift stores. On the retail side, we developed a content marketing strategy using consumer generated content that greatly reduced our dependence on paid media. We had about a year’s worth of material to work with. Erin, the marketing coordinator for the retail side, started to experiment by reposting content. We immediately saw an increase in traffic. Repurposing content also helped reduce some of the pressure to create new content.
So I was like, oh my gosh, I’ve got to try this with Invisible People. The first thing I did was to setup an account on Meet Edgar. I am a “one man band” and Meet Edgar allows me to build libraries and then schedule out posts as if I was paying a community manager to look after Invisible People’s social media.
Now, remember if you’re scheduling content if something happens in the world, either really good or really bad, pull down your scheduled posts. You don’t want to be “that non-profit” that’s posting about a volunteer campaign when the world is all collectively communicating about something else.
For a few reasons, mostly because I was not able to be constant in my storytelling, the traffic Invisible People generated had taken a slump. By using Meet Edgar (they have nonprofit pricing) and repurposing Invisible People posts, I was able to bring traffic back from 5 million to 10 million impressions a week.
I must stop for a second to emphasize the importance of consistent storytelling. If you’re not sharing your story and the story of the people you help on a regular basis, you will find it extremely challenging to build a loyal online audience. If you’re looking at your digital presence and wondering why you’re not getting the desired results, look at the consistency of your messaging. Repurposing content can help. It may be an old post or an old video to you, but to someone else – it’s brand new.
Like with the TV show I wrote about earlier that became a huge success on its second airing, repurposing content can help you test your messaging and distribution to connect with the right audience at the right time. You can also take an in-person talk and make it into a blog post. Turn a blog post into a video. Turn that video into a keynote speech! Freshen up an old post with an infographic. Be creative! There are endless ways to take something that’s old and make it new again to reach a different audience!
I’d love to hear your feedback on how repurposing has worked for you and any tips or tricks that you may be able to pass on.
Mark has more than 30 years of leadership and marketing experience and a vast knowledge of homelessness, including lived experience. As an award-winning television and multimedia producer, Mark’s original expertise was in response television. Today, Mark is known for his work in transmedia storytelling, social media, cause marketing and content marketing. Mark is the founder of Invisible People, a unique digital storytelling organization that uses video and social media to change the story of homelessness and give a voice to those who are too often overlooked. He is an internationally recognized activist and ambassador for the millions of individuals and families who reside in shelters, motels, tents along the streets and under highway bridges across the country.
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