Whether you use online marketing as a tool to recruit students or donors, you probably already understand that continuous content is a fundamental component to your digital strategy. So you’ve likely also discovered that quality comes at a cost. It’s a herculean task to churn out videos and whitepapers and press releases and blog posts and more, on a regular basis and maintain both their quantity and quality—without paying a premium. On the other hand, institutions of higher education have a decided advantage. You already have plenty of content. Your professors, students, fellows, alumni, and other stakeholders create great content all the time. But what do you do with it?
Benefits of Repurposing Content
When you don’t repurpose content, you allow valuable assets to go unused, wasting time, money, and potential. On the other hand, take existing content and give it fresh life and you also can:
Revisit Relevant Topics
Especially in academia, much of what has happened may happen again. A guest lecturer is set to make another on-campus appearance; dig up info from the last and add it to your newsletter. That article about climate change that your Environmental Science professor wrote nearly a decade ago, guess what? He was right! Set up a podcast and give him a chance to weigh in.
Reach a New Audience
You have new students attending on-campus and virtual classes. Former students are now successful alumni. Pitch old content to these new audiences. That great study abroad video that one of your star students uploaded to YouTube? Highlight it on social media for the next wayward traveler. The fundraising effort that built the new Arts Center—potential donors don’t know the history. Share it.
Optimize Your Efforts
It’s not just time that’s money. Money is money too! If you’ve invested significant budget for a tv spot and only use the footage on television, you’re being extravagant and inefficient. That commercial should be a YouTube video, an upload on social media. Snippets of it can be spread across digital media. You can turn it into ads, add it to your homepage, and load onto your social media channels. Have you?
How to Turn Old into New
Step 1: Curate
Before you can repurpose content, you need to know what assets you own and where they fit into the bigger picture. That means dusting off peer-reviewed articles, finding old interviews, looking through blog and social media posts. It may also mean grabbing those glossy brochures, annual reports and development entreaties.
Once you gather the content, it’s time to look at it with a discerning eye. What still works? Think evergreen, useful and interesting. For digital content, look at analytics and see what worked in the past; it may in the future. Measure the results of direct mail and old-school advertising campaigns. When you’ve done something well, leverage it for a phase two.
Step 2: Create Personas
Before you repurpose any content, you need to know to whom that content will be delivered. If you do not already have them, it’s time to build out personas. This will ensure that the messages you send out into the world will be well-received by their intended target. But don’t think of a single, perfect match. The message and content you target to a prospective student interested in engineering shouldn’t be the same as your liberal arts prospect. Likewise, messaging to potential donors should have a much different call-to-action than what you’d send to current or future students.
Step 3: Audit Content
You probably discovered some patterns in your curation about the content you have—and don’t. Now look closely for overlaps and gaps. What’s redundant and what’s missing? Are there areas that cry out for more robust content? Fill in the blanks.
Another component to an effective content audit is to look at what competitor institutions do. You can pat yourself on the back for what they’re missing (that you have), but what you should really care about is what they’re doing well. Copy them. It’s that simple. Obviously, you can’t take a cut-and-paste approach but you can take their good ideas, make them your own and improve upon them.
Step 4: Transform
Now it’s time to actually repurpose your content. Think expansively; be creative. You have a blog post that has performed well according to analytics. Have its author edit it down and record it for a mini-podcast. That eBook? Pull images and turn them into ads. A popular professor PowerPoint? Turn it into a SlideShare and let the public see just how amazing your faculty is. You get the point. Transform a single-use piece of content into multiuse.
If the what is that video, blog post, infographic, eBook, then the where is equally important. Note the preferences of your personas and place your content on platforms that make the most sense for them. Segment your audiences and be where it is. Don’t target potential donors on Snapchat. Do target international students on WhatsApp (when ads roll out). What’s important is to reach your audience where they are. Search is an entirely different subject.
Step 5: Analyze
That may have been a great story that you shared in your eNews. Or you maybe only you think it was a great story. What do the data say? Use analytics to make sure what you do works. Replicate the good and abandon the bad.
You’re capable of producing great content. But before you shoot another video, write another blog post or build another infographic, look at what you’ve already done. And if you’d like some help, contact the content experts at ESM Digital today.