Repurpose, Reuse, and Recycle: Chris Baggott on the Secret to Maximizing Your Content Marketing Investment

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part Q&A with entrepreneur Chris Baggott, who co-founded email marketing platform ExactTarget in 2001 and is currently the co-founder and Chairman of content marketing platform Compendium

When Chris Baggott founded Compendium in 2007, many still viewed the concept of “content marketing” as a passing fad. Five years later, however, startups and Fortune 500 companies alike are lining up and guzzling the content marketing Kool-Aid.

While Baggott is thrilled to see the widespread adoption of content marketing, he’s not convinced that the majority of marketers are executing it effectively. The problem, Baggott says, is that too many marketers create content for specific marketing channels without any consideration of how it could be cross-pollinated or repurposed for maximum impact. For example, a company might publish an eBook, but fail to extract any additional value from it by posting excerpts on its blog or using pieces in email campaigns.

Baggott, who co-founded email marketing company ExactTarget in 2001, sat down with OpenView to explain how repurposing content across multiple platforms can maximize a company’s marketing budget, and what marketers should be doing to ensure their content is found and consumed online.

Some marketers use the phrase “single-use content” when they discuss their content marketing strategies. Why do you think that phrase should be stricken from a content marketer’s vocabulary?

In my opinion, there’s no such thing as “single-use content.” That concept shouldn’t exist. Too many marketers look at specific content types — blogs, eBooks, white papers, or case studies, for example — as individual pieces of content that will be published once and never revisited.

That’s such an inefficient use of marketing dollars. It’s really not a question of whether you should reuse or repurpose content. It’s a question of how and when. You can take chapters from an eBook and turn them into individual blog posts, or you can take an interview for a case study and turn it into a customer testimonial for your website.

Every scrap of content you create is blog-worthy, and all of that content can — and should — be search optimized to create authority, credibility, and history online. The bottom line is that no content ever really gets thrown away or lost, and there’s no such thing as single-use content. If you publish a great case study, it can be recycled and posted to your blog. That post can then shared on Twitter, allowing you to engage prospects and key market influencers.

Should companies be somewhat cautious about what they publish to their blog, or can any form of content be repurposed into a blog post?

Your blog shouldn’t be a self-serving medium that talks only about your company’s offers, success stories, or products. But the misconception most marketers have about blogs is that they’re writing for regular visitors who read the blog like a magazine.

The reality is that about 80 percent of blog readers are first time discoverers. They stumbled upon your blog from places like an e-mail newsletter or a search engine query. So, while you want to publish high-quality content, you shouldn’t be too concerned about occasionally posting blogs about your company’s software features or promotions. I’m not saying that type of content should overwhelm your blog, but I am saying that it’s not as damning as most corporate blogging experts say it is.

When you talk about repurposing content, do specific types of content lend themselves to repurposing more than others?

Some forms of content — blog posts, eBooks, etc. — are easier to repurpose. But if you think outside of the box, you might be surprised by the types of content that can inspire further content development.

For example, I visited Dun and Bradstreet’s offices recently and they had pictures of employees hanging on their walls that included simple facts about each employee and a brief quote from them. It was great content that really humanized the business. Dun and Bradstreet could take that information, reuse it in a blog post about each employee, post that information on its Facebook page, and create a Q&A for its website — without having to do a lot of additional work.

I think marketers just need to open their eyes and start thinking about how the content they produce can be reused to widen its impact. If the goal of content marketing is to facilitate the delivery of the right message to the right person at the right time, then you better create enough great content to address your market’s various needs and buying stages.

If you take a “single-use” or one-off approach to content marketing, then creating that kind of content volume can get very expensive. However, if you look at the content you’re producing and imagine two or three ways it can be repurposed or recycled, then content marketing will be easier, more cost-efficient, and much more engaging and impactful.

After founding ExactTarget in 2001 and serving as its CMO until 2006, Chris Baggott founded Compendium, a content marketing platform that helps organizations capture and create original content in a branded hub for distribution to any marketing channel. Considered a marketing futurist and voice of online marketing best practices, Baggott’s blog was named the best online marketing blog by MarketingSherpa and “Best of the Web” by Forbes.

photo by: Pylon757

Share Your Thoughts

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.hillberry.1 Stephanie Hillberry

    I couldn’t agree with this repurposing philosophy more. I work with a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs to create eBooks and eCourses and we always start the process by examining what content they’ve already created. It seems to energize them, and it saves time and money!

    –Stephanie Hillberry