Regardless of your niche, preferred medium, or experience level, creating content is a serious hustle. Creators are often expected to pump out new work on a regular schedule to keep their following engaged and to compete with others for their attention. Not only can this demanding pace easily become overwhelming, but it can also lead to disappointment if something you created and are proud of gets buried in the rush before it gets a chance to find an audience. But content repurposing is something that can help with all of these potential problems.
What is content repurposing?
Content repurposing is simply taking something you created and adapting it into something else, often for a new platform than it was originally posted on, and sometimes even in a different format entirely.
We see this happen on social media all the time in ways that are so natural, you may not even have connected the dots and realized you were looking at repurposed content—a viral 15-second soundbite from a podcast interview repackaged for TikTok, a beauty vlogger creating a Twitter thread of advice pulled from their latest video, even a screenshot of a tweet shared on Instagram. All of these are prime examples of content repurposing, which can be a huge asset to creators when it’s done right.
What are the benefits of repurposing content?
Before we dive into the details of how to repurpose content, it helps to understand why doing so can be beneficial. That way, you’ll be better prepared to choose content and build a strategy that will help you work towards both your short and long-term goals as a creator.
1. It saves time.
Remixing something you’ve already created isn’t as easy as simply reposting it in its existing format to a new platform, but it can be a significant time-saver compared to creating something new from scratch. For busy creators with a demanding posting schedule, keeping some content that can easily be repurposed in your back pocket can give you a little bit of breathing room or even get you out of a jam if a new piece of content falls through at the last minute.
2. It allows you to reach a new audience.
Whether you’re repackaging content for a different platform or finding a way to repurpose old content into something new on the platform it was originally intended for, bringing it back around is a chance to bring in new hits and even new fans.
3. It allows you to experiment.
Utilizing parts of existing content is an easy way to get your feet wet if you’ve recently adopted a new social media platform, or if you’re just still trying to grow your audience there. Depending on how you go about it, it can also be a good opportunity to experiment with different formats (eg turning a blog post into a YouTube video) or general strategies related to anything from tagging to editing styles to post times.
4. It can provide an additional source of revenue.
If you repurpose content for a platform where you’re able to monetize your work, you might be able to make a little bit of extra money from something you already did a lot of the heavy lifting to create. If you work with brands or sponsors, just make sure you aren’t breaching any agreements you’ve made first.
5. You can capitalize on a topic or trend coming back around.
If whatever topic your original content hits on gets popular on social media again, sure, you could just drop another link. But it might be more effective to create “new” content by repurposing the old—which brings us right back to reaching a new audience.
What are some ways to repurpose content for social media?
It stands to reason that the more variety you have in the types of content you offer as a creator, and the wider array of social media platforms you use, the more opportunities you’ll have to repurpose your content. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways you can do just that, but it’s a starting place to get your own creativity flowing.
- cut YouTube videos down to short clips for TikTok or Twitter
- post tweet screenshots to Instagram
- use blog posts to inspire YouTube videos
- pull snippets from podcasts to post on Facebook Stories
- turn a TikTok tutorial into a tweet thread
- sort through rejected footage or behind-the-scenes stills for something new
- create an Instagram graphic with a special quote from a video
- use high-quality YouTube stills for your Patreon or personal website
How do you choose content to repurpose?
Even if you’re doing fairly straightforward repurposing, like editing YouTube videos into clips for TikTok, it’s important to be discriminating in choosing which content gets that treatment. If you regularly repurpose all of your content for different platforms, then your audience won’t have any incentive to keep following you across all your social media.
But what makes an original piece of content a good candidate for repurposing? Naturally, that varies depending on your brand, niche, and goals, but here are some good places to start:
1. Content that has already done well.
Check your analytics on the original platform to find out which videos or posts have been performing well. There’s no guarantee that something that hit on Instagram Reels will also hit on Facebook, but presumably, it did well for a reason—so take a chance.
2. Evergreen content.
Your best-performing video may be a parody from the 2016 election, but repurposing it nearly a decade later likely won’t interest anywhere near as many people. Focus instead on evergreen content—content that is continually relevant and doesn’t fade away with the latest trends. It’s always good to have a back catalog of content like this, anyway.
3. Trends that have come back around.
Going evergreen is an ideal strategy, but if you happen to have content that’s particularly timely and aligns with new trends going around, it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of that. Just be aware that you may have to get your repurposed content ready very quickly before the news cycle moves on to the next thing.
4. Anything eye-catching.
If you had an incredible quote in the middle of a video that you think viewers would respond to, pull that sucker out and turn it into a snappy TikTok, or even slap the text copy on Instagram. This is an opportunity to let the little things that may have gotten buried in their original form shine brightly
5. Something that would strengthen your brand.
Ideally, a lot of your existing content is relevant to your brand, but if you’re trying out a new social media platform, or if you feel like you’ve lost the thread of what you set out to do, this can be a good chance to revisit content that encapsulates what you create and how you want to be seen as a creator.
What are the best practices for content repurposing?
With so many different ways to go about repurposing content—text to video, video to images, images back to text, etc—there’s no standard playbook for exactly how this should get done. But we do have a few tips and tricks that may apply, depending on your situation.
1. Tailor each piece of repurposed content to its new platform.
It can be tempting to just slice up a 10-minute YouTube video into five TikToks, but that’s rarely the best way to go about it. You should approach each repurposing as if you’re creating an entirely new piece of content, keeping in mind all the things that make this particular social media platform unique—editing styles, hashtags, framing, limitations, and demographics. This might mean your 10-minute video becomes three 10-second clips, and that’s perfectly okay if that’s what’s right for the platform.
2. Understand your specific goal.
Are you trying to draw viewers to the original content? Or will this new piece be more effective if it stands completely alone? It’s better to aim for the latter more often than the former, but having a clear intent in mind will guide you in repurposing the content as either a tease or a complete and satisfying piece in and of itself.
3. Avoid oversaturation.
Be strategic about your posts, pay attention to the reception and how it translates into views and/or engagement, and go back to the drawing board if something doesn’t seem to be working. If people follow you on multiple social media platforms, they most likely don’t want to keep seeing different versions of the same piece of content, especially close together.
4. Update content when you can.
If you’re pulling something that was timely back when you originally posted it, or that is particularly out of date, look for opportunities to make it feel fresh. This could mean adding new information, changing out the music, switching up the editing style, or adjusting for a relevant trend.
5. Create content with an eye to repurposing.
Once you’ve started repurposing your existing content, you’ll have a better sense of what works, and what might have made the process smoother. When you’re creating new content in the future, you can keep those lessons in mind so you already know exactly how your work is going to look on two or more platforms in different forms by the time you’ve collected everything you need.