You’ve spent a great deal of time crafting and publishing the perfect blog post, are you getting all you can out of that content? Repurposing your content allows you to get more mileage out of the content you’ve created. It’s not that there’s extra work to be done, it’s that you’re able to get a lot more out of one valuable piece of content than having to continuously create new pieces of content all the time.
Content repurposing is an essential part of content marketing, not just on your website, but it allows you to branch out and find your audience on all the platforms and in all the places that they’re hanging out, while at the same time saving your time.
Rich: Ana Hoffman never thought internet marketing would be her career of choice. But when she got her head around SEO, she knew she had found her passion. That passion became the centerpiece of her popular blog, Traffic Generation Cafe, where she brings together the most profit pulling, traffic generation tips, hacks, and resources. Ana, welcome to the show.
Ana: Thanks so much for having me, Rich.
Rich: So, how did you find yourself creating Traffic Generation Cafe, what lead you to that point?
Ana: Lack of knowledge. I was trying to start an online business because I wanted to stay at home with my daughter, newly born daughter. I’ve dabbled in a few things here and there, and no matter what I did, I realized that whatever they were teaching us – which is just build a website – slap together a page or two, it will somehow magically start driving traffic, and you’ll rake in the money. Which of course both of us know very well, that’s not the case.
The more I realized it, the more I just wanted to know more. I started digging into all kinds of information, doing my own research as to how do you really get found online. Once I started researching I realized there was no one central resource for anyone who was in the same position where I was back then. That’s how I started Traffic Generation Cafe. And actually in the first three months of its existence, its Alexa ranking went down to 20,000 – which anyone who knows anything about Alexa ranking is pretty incredible – and this proved that this blog was very much needed. So I dropped everything else, and I started blogging exclusively at Traffic Generation Cafe, and that’s how it was born.
Rich: Excellent. Now, you’ve just published what you might call a manifesto on content repurposing. How do you define content repurposing?
Ana: That’s another thing I’ve been researching quite a bit lately, and the reason for that is things change, as we know. Changes in cost and market in general. Things that worked yesterday, might not necessarily work today, and definitely will not work tomorrow. So to stay ahead of the curve, we always need to kind of figure out where our audience is going and how they will want to consume our content.
A few years ago, social media was amazing. It worked so well, you could share posts, and it would just about go viral. Well not that much, but you know. It was pretty easy to do promotion back then. And then of course everybody started doing it, and that’s where the problem starts. Everybody was talking, nobody was listening, and it was time to find a different way to promote content.
Now the mobile world is developing very rapidly, and because of that, I’ve started to notice that our content was starting to be consumed on different devices. And that’s kind of what started me thinking about how is it that my blog post would be read on a mobile device, because when I write a blog post it’s typically on average about 3,000 words. That’s a lot of words to read on a phone. So it got me thinking, what if I were to post a video to go with my blog post? Would people on mobile watch a video and then follow through with a call to action – whatever it is I wanted them to do – after the video?
And that’s how I got originally into content repurposing. Just trying to play with different things to see if I can promote my content. Because essentially, content repurposing is content promotion, just with a slight difference of it actually creates more content that is consumable on different devices, that’s consumable by different generations, that’s consumable by people who like to watch videos, or like to listen to podcasts, or like to read. You kind of start to cater to all those audiences. That’s in a nutshell what content repurposing is.
Rich: Now, I understand and I get that, but it comes across as being fairly advanced. And I’m sure someone’s listening to this podcast right now and saying, now that’s fine for internet marketers like Ana, who maybe their only job is to blog and create content, but I’m in business, I’ve got all these things I need to do, I’m too busy for advanced strategies like this. What would you say to somebody like that?
Ana: The only thing that stands between you and content repurposing is a lack of skills, and skills are something very acquirable. When I first started content repurposing – let me just say this – Traffic Generation Cafe is a side business for me, this is not a full time job for me by any means. When I first started content repurposing, I knew absolutely nothing. Nothing about recording a video, I was terrified as a matter of fact, to do anything video related. I knew nothing about Powerpoint, I basically started from scratch.
And on top of it, I’m not a visual person. I consume content in text exclusively. I don’t get how people can look at an image, and learn something from it. I need it in text. I need the bullet points, in other words. So I’m the most boring person, as far as content consumption is concerned. Let me backtrack just a little bit.
First of all, a lot of people think that you do content repurposing on top of everything else, but that’s not true. Content repurposing in a way, replaces content promotion, and even content creation. And what I mean by that is you don’t need to create as much content as you do. You need to promote it more, promote what you already have. So basically, you’re using the same time that you’d be writing a blog post. And let’s face it, if it’s a quality blog post it takes hours, days, depending on how fast one writes. It still takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of research. So with content repurposing you already have done most of the work, you just need to turn it into a different form, into a different media format that would serve a different audience.
So, you’re halfway there. At this point, all you need to do is condense the blog post and put it into visuals. And then you can use the visuals to create any other kind of other form of content like video, or Slideshare presentation, or images for Instagram and Pinterest and what not.
Rich: What I’m hearing you say is if the small business owner is feeling overwhelmed, or the entrepreneur is feeling overwhelmed because of the content they have to create, this is actually a time saving device. It’s not that there’s extra work to be done, it’s that you’re able to get a lot more out of one valuable piece of content than having to continuously create new pieces of content all the time.
Ana: Absolutely. If you think about it, when you create content, you create it mostly for your website, right? We’ve been told that the website is a hub. What is happening right now is content marketing is going towards decentralization, because people do not want to be coming to a website to read something. They want to read or view or learn or have the problem solved – in other words – somewhere else, wherever they’re at right now. Whether it’s YouTube, or it’s Instagram, or Facebook, or Medium, wherever they’re at right now.
So if your content is not there when they search for it, they’ll find somebody else’s content, and that’s where content repurposing is such an essential part of content marketing. You really have to do content marketing for your business, we pretty much all agree about it. But content marketing alone that is just centered on one website, on one business, is not going to serve that business any good because you need to get out there where your audience is. It does save time, because you are essentially creating an ecosystem of sorts. You create content for your main website, but the next thing is you need to get it out there where your prospects are. So you take the same piece of content – and you’re not creating anything else meanwhile – you’re just using that time to promote and actually make that content work for your business.
And that’s such a novel idea for so many people, you have no idea. I talk to so many business owners, and they’re like, “You know what, I keep creating content, and I’m not sure if anybody’s reading it. But yet, I’m still writing and writing and writing.” That’s like a vicious circle of content marketing. We are taught to create content, yet without promotion, it basically misses the point.
So again, stop creating more content, take the blog post that you just wrote, and let’s try to turn it into a few images for instance. When you just take the main ideas from your latest blog post, and turn them into images. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it can have just your picture on it, you can use Powerpoint. Powerpoint and Keynote are really the only tools I use to repurpose my content. I’ve tried so many different ones, and sooner or later they all fail. Sooner or later I come back to my Powerpoint and Keynote.
Nothing here is sophisticated, nothing here is difficult. And it just takes a little bit of practice, you know, my first slideshow presentation took me a few hours, and it really depends on how good I want it to be. If I just need to get my content out there, it does not have to be fancy because trust me, the candy wrapper is not what makes the candy taste good, it’s what’s inside. If you solve your prospect’s problem with your content – with that presentation you’ve created, or with that video – they won’t care as much what kind of font you used, or what the background was, or what the image was. They just want their problem solved. And what you as a business owner want, is to bring them back to your website so that you can convert them into long term subscribers, leads, whatever it is that your ultimate business goal is.
Rich: Now, you mentioned SlideShare a couple times. Why do you have such a love affair with SlideShare?
Ana: Because I’ve been doing this for so long, I have honed my content repurposing process to the point where I don’t even have to think about it anymore, I just do it. And as I was playing with different ways of doing it, creating presentations really started to make the most sense as the cornerstone of the whole content repurposing system.
Basically my process of content repurposing is pretty easy and straightforward. You take your blog post, and then you condense it to just a few main ideas, because usually you don’t want to use more than about 300 words per presentation. That’s plenty enough because remember, it’s not about text, if people want to read, they would read your blog post. It’s about giving them – like ‘skinny notes’ I call them – or bullet points, or cliff notes, there you go, it’s cliff notes. Imagine you’re in college, and you just need to know what the lecture was about, what would satisfy that? And that’s what you want from your blog post. You just want a few main points, of few good quotes that people can relate to, and you want to solve your prospect’s problem.
I keep saying that because it’s so important. Every piece of content you create has to serve a purpose of some sort, and the purpose is for you to solve your prospect’s problems because it’s all about solution. They are searching for content of any kind, whether it’s video, or whatever it is, because they have a need of some sort. When I say a “problem”, I don’t really think I broke my leg, that’s a problem I need to fix, not that kind of problem of course. But it could be anything, I could be bored and looking for cat videos, and how do I find your cat video versus any other cat video out there, right? Probably easier to get a cat.
Anyway, so condense everything to a problem solving, very concise form of content. I call it an outline. And then what you do with the outline, you put it into images. Again, Powerpoint and Keynote are the best solutions for that because you can simply import your outline into Powerpoint, and it will automatically create a presentation for you. Now, when you hear the word ‘presentation’, it kind of sounds sophisticated and out there, but really what a presentation is, is an image. It has background, it’s like imagine a piece of paper that you wrote something down on and put it on the wall. In graphic design terms that would be an image, and that would be part of the presentation.
So a presentation is just a collection of images that express your ideas, that continue your outline in some sort of logical way. Probably about 30-50 images is plenty enough. Some of my presentations go much longer than that, but that’s probably because I’m used to doing that, and I use different techniques to keep my readers – viewers I should say- viewing the presentation and going from slide to slide. But really it doesn’t have to be that long. I’ve done some presentations that might be ten slides, five slides, and they do great because somebody manages to solve a problem in five slides, and that’s that.
Again, you know the reason I love SlideShare so much -I’m kind of leading to that – is because once you create a presentation, you can do anything with it. A presentation has the beginning, has the end which is usually the call to action, very very important because their has to be a point to every piece of content you create. Yes, you have to solve your prospect’s problem, but you also have to solve your business problem, which is bringing the prospect back to your website where you can actually convert them. That is your business objective, so anything you create has to lead them back to something that is useful to you, the business owner.
So presentation – the beginning, the end – it goes through a story of some sort. And at that point, SlideShare is the logical choice because if you save that presentation as a pdf, all of a sudden that becomes a SlideShare presentation, because that’s essentially what it is. It’s just a string of images saved as a pdf and you can upload it to SlideShare. And one of the reasons that I love SlideShare is because few people use it, yet the amount of viewers that platform gets is incredible. If you know anything about SlideShare it’s owned by LinkedIn, so you can post those SlideShare presentations, you can actually link them up to your LinkedIn profile. They become very viewable, and this is some of the best content you can put up on LinkedIn.
People who use LinkedIn regularly also do come to SlideShare and research different topics. SlideShare has about 24 different categories – so anything from food, to technology, to business, to social problems – you can find all kinds of content there. So if you have a website about knitting, don’t think that SlideShare is not for you, because plenty of people look for that kind of content apparently. I actually have one student who has an Etsy shop, he crochets – believe it or not – and he drives hoards of traffic back to his Etsy shop from SlideShare. Pretty amazing.
Rich: And for those of you who don’t use SlideShare, you should know that first of all it’s kind of like YouTube for Powerpoint presentations. Like YouTube, you can embed these slide decks back into your blog, your website, and other places around the web.
Ana: Perfect, thank you Rich. Sometimes I miss the simplest things, because I know too much.
Rich: Well, you also nailed about 27 other important points. So, these may be really basic questions for you Ana, so I apologise, but I’m curious. You may say you’re not a visual person, but I looked at your slide decks and they’re stunning, and they do make you click from screen to screen. My first question is – and this is basic – but where do you get your images?
Ana: I have two websites that I go to usually. One of them is a free website, it’s called Pixabay. It has a lot of great images that are free for you to use. Which means that you don’t need any kind of attribution, you don’t need to credit anyone, which is perfect because it becomes a little more complicated if you use images where the author of the image – whether it’s photographer or whoever posted it – will require a link back to them, it just gets messy.
And then I use Depositphotos, which is a paid stock imager site, and it’s extremely inexpensive. It’s about a dollar an image. So if you need five images for your presentation, I mean most of us can afford five bucks to hopefully get hundreds and thousands of views. So those are my main go-to’s as far as images are concerned.
Other than that, it just takes practice. I mean there’s nothing else, there’s no trick, there’s no anything. I take my time when creating presentations just as when creating a blog post. Meaning that I think through the concept without actually working on the presentation. I kind of need to get that idea. Like the latest one about content repurposing. I use mimes in there to kind of create a theme and overall imagery that keeps people engaged. And that did not come to me immediately. I literally – at the end of the presentation when I already put the text and all the quotes – and then I needed something for show, not tell, because I came up with that at the very end, as I said. And then, somehow mimes just came to mind. You just have to kind of wait for inspiration. Some people are better than that. They’re visual people, so you might come up with a presentation with a theme with an angle faster than I do. But it’s one of those things I’ve learned not to rush. Thank you for the compliment, Rich. I do love creating presentations, and I will not put up anything that’s less than engaging and funny. At least I think so.
Rich: Right, and that’s really the most important judge. You also say that you need to keep people clicking through your presentations. I know you said there are no tricks, but do you have any tips or tactics we can use to get people to click through to the next slide?
Ana: Absolutely, it’s like a good movie trailer. They get you to watch the movie, they tell you just enough to want to ‘click through’ so to say, which is watch the movie, buy, rent, whatever it is. The same with a SlideShare presentation, the same with a YouTube video, you want people to continue watching, and you need to make it intriguing enough for them to do so. Now, what are different ways of doing it? Again, it’s making something funny if you can, not everyone’s made to be a class comedian, but some of us have a better sense of humor than others. Humor works great.
Also, if you hit the nail on the head at solving your prospect’s problem, they will continue clicking through because they want to get to the end to see what the solution is. That of course is very straightforward, and yet the most beneficial way to keep people clicking. And then, just in practical terms, what I use a lot is I break up images. For instance, if I have a sentence that is a complete thought, instead of putting the full sentence on one slide, which is what most people would do, I break it up into two slides. And that way, when a person views the first slide, they understand it’s not completed, and they naturally want to click through. And I do it all the time throughout the presentation so people have a hard time not clicking through.
Now there are some times when you cannot do that, and sometimes presentations do get a little bit long. So what you can do is for people to not have to go through 50-100 images of a presentation, put your call to action a couple of times in between slides so that people know if they can not finish something right now they know where to find you and they know where to come back to when they do have more time. So just place your call to action, let’s say don’t ever do it at the very beginning because you first have to sell people on your solution, and then sell them on yourself, not the other way around. Otherwise, nobody will get beyond the first couple of slides. So about slide ten, about halfway through your presentation let’s say, if there’s a logical way to add one or two slides with “Hey, by the way, if you want to learn more, this is where you can do so.”
Rich: Awesome, that makes a lot of sense. And I also notice from a couple slide decks of yours that I went through, you also like to ask a question and then answer it on the next slide as well.
Rich: And my dad who presents quite a bit, says something along the same lines, he’ll say something like rather than just present information he’ll be like, “We got this information, and do you know what it said?” And he’ll just wait, and the audiences is then in rapture, waiting for the next slide to come up. It makes a lot of sense.
Ana: Absolutely, you’re trying to create that moment that naturally just wants you to do bum, bum, bum! And that just keeps the viewers completely glued to your content, and this is called ‘bucket brigades’. It’s kind of a funny term, and if you think about it, it’s just a bunch of people in line passing the buckets of water to each other for whatever reason, usually to put out a fire. But in this particular case, basically each slide, each moment of your presentation becomes another person that is ready to pass the bucket – which is your viewer – to the next and the next and the next. You want to create those kind of moments, as I said, either you break up a sentence into a couple – or maybe even sometimes three slides – and people do want to continue reading because they want to see what’s at the end of the rainbow.
Or, you ask a question. And sometimes what I do is I’ll ask a question and my next image is not an answer, it’s someone wondering. It’s sort of a funny, humorous image that just makes people chuckle, and they love you after that. That’s just the whole point of it, to create the emotional connection with your viewer where they just like you, and they want to continue reading. Not because they want to solve their problem, which is huge, but also because they trust you to solve their problem, and that’s the next connection you want to make with your viewer.
Now, I just want to be careful here because I’m making it sound… I’m afraid that some of the people who are listening to this right now will go back to “I can’t do this”. And my answer is you can. Trust me, it takes a little bit of time, and a little bit of practice. I created my first presentation – again, never used Powerpoint – knew nothing about images, not my thing at all, as I said. We’re watching the Super Bowl, and the 49ers were in the Super Bowl.
Rich: So this must have been a long, long time ago.
Ana: Hey now. But, for some reason, Google+ was just kicking all kinds of social media butts at that point, they’re sort of like 49ers, come and gone. Anyway, all of a sudden I had the idea of somehow creating a parallel between Google+ taking over Twitter because that’s what one of the latest stats was. And the 49ers somehow magically ending up in the Super Bowl, even though they were not the strongest team at the time, for good reason I’m sure.
Anyway, again, I’m sitting in front of the TV and I have this image of a presentation, I open up the computer to Powerpoint, and I start fiddling with it. You know how, my daughter was about 5 years at the time, 6, something like that, and we all think that kids are just amazing at technology, probably because they’re born with it, right? Must be because we can’t do what they do. But if you watch a child learn technology, they just click on every single button they can. Anything that they can get their hands on, and they see what it does. You know it’s very, very simple, but basically you can take the same concept to Powerpoint. Just go and see what those buttons do, it’s really not that difficult. And that’s sort of what I did. It took me a while, but my first SlideShare presentation was about football, which catches the attention of a lot of people, especially in this country. And then it was something about social media, which for marketers is always an interest and sometimes a sore point.
So I kind of hit a couple of birds with one stone, without harming any birds of course, and my first SlideShare presentation, I can’t remember at this point but I think by know, it has about 50,000 views, which is pretty amazing. Imagine on YouTube your first video, and it collects somehow 50,000 views, it’s almost impossible. That’s why SlideShare is such an incredible platform because it’s not as densely populated, it’s a lot easier to stand out. And because – as you mentioned – you can embed SlideShare presentations anywhere.
And that’s the next step of content repurposing, once you create that SlideShare presentation, once it’s uploaded, you know the sky’s the limit at this point. You can take your presentation and of course go back to your website, and embed it there. You can create articles on LinkedIn. They don’t have to be sophisticated, you really just have to frame your SlideShare presentation and say a few words about it, embed it there, and that’s it. You can take it to Medium and Court. You can use that SlideShare presentation in all kinds of context.
But my favorite thing, another thing you can do with it, because what SlideShare is again is a string of images with text. So what happens if you play that presentation on your computer screen while reading through the slides and record both audio and video? You have a video all of a sudden and you can put it up on YouTube. Now, that gets very fun because now you can use those videos as videos on Twitter, and Instagram, and Facebook, and all those platforms kind of consume videos a lot faster than text and definitely links.
So again, no effort at all, it might take about two minutes to record, to go through your presentation and put an audio to it. Or, if you don’t like the sound of your voice, fine, just put an audio track to it. Just make sure you’re able to use it. If you go to YouTube, they have a bunch of audio tracks that are free for you to use, you can just add it to your video right there and then, very very easy to do.
So of course now you have a video, and then, your presentation – as I’ve said again and again – is a collection of images. You can use images just about anywhere, and it’s fun, it’s creative, it creates strong branding, strong message. As you know Rich, what I’m doing right now is I’m trying to play with Instagram. Not my platform whatsoever because it’s all about visuals, and I’m not good with that. But I took my latest presentation, I broke it down into images, I took a little bit of extra time to resize those images into square images for Instagram, but you don’t have to do that you can just use rectangular images just the same. And now I’m creating a storyboard for my blog post, and this is an experiment of sorts because I’ve never seen that done before and I certainly haven’t done that before. I’m about three or four days into it, and it’s going amazingly well. I mean I’m creating a lot of traction from just posting the images, but also I’m creating a lot of leads. Because what I’m doing is I’m inserting a call to action to opt in to get a full pdf of the whole presentation. And I’ve been getting quite a few opt in’s, which is really very exciting, and then the next choice is for people to click on to my website and read the post there as well.
So again, my content is not just sitting on my blog, but it’s out there working for me and bringing traffic back. And what I can do with traffic back on my website, I can pretty much funnel them very straightforward into my email list because that’s my main conversion goal for Traffic Generation Cafe. That’s the purpose of content repurposing, to give your content legs, and to have it bring back all the traffic and leads, something that your content, while it’s sitting in your archives just cannot do.
Rich: And you’re doing all that, plus now you’ve come on our podcast so you’re repurposing this content one more time, going to get links and a whole bunch of business I hope from coming on the show. Ana, this has been great. Where can we -because I know people are going to want to check out some of the stuff you talked about – they’re going to want to learn about you. Where can we find you online?
Ana: The best way, of course, is to come visit me at trafficgenerationcafe.com, and from there -you can absolutely and you should – opt into my email list because that’s where I share a lot of very hands on traffic hacks that take just a couple of minutes of your time. They’re not meant – it’s not a system of any kind – it’s just the tweaks that I’ve come up with over the years to tweak the process of traffic generation, make it easier, make it faster, and make it actually work. So I definitely suggest you do that.
And if you want to learn more about content repurposing, I don’t have an immediate solution, but I have one in the works. I am about to finish a content repurposing course, I have about a couple hundred students right now that are going through it and giving me their feedback. It will probably be ready, if I’m lucky and they’re lucky, within a month. And you can get on the waiting list for the course at contentboomerang.training. Again, there’s nothing there right now but a form for you to fill out, but I will definitely let you know when the course is available for you to take.
Rich: And we’ll have all those links in the show notes. Ana, thank you so much for your time today.
Ana: Thank you so much Rich for having me.
Ana Hoffman knows how to creatively repurpose the content she has worked so hard to create. To learn more of her tips, tricks and strategies, check out her website. And if you’re looking for a class on the topic where you can learn more in-depth information, stay tuned for her upcoming class she’ll be offering.
Tools recommended by Ana in this episode:
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, creator of the Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference, and author of a new book, The Lead Machine. He loves helping businesses fine tune their strategies for digital marketing in the areas of search, social and mobile.