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Repurposing your content… at what cost?

There’s no shortage of anything, really, on the Internet, and that includes riddles, proverbs and commentary on something we all presumably consider incredibly valuable.

That “something” is time.

“One must work with time and not against it,” said late American author Ursula K. Le Guin, whose words of wisdom Google retrieved in a quick search.

Those are words to live by, especially if you’re tasked with breathing new life into existing content. Also known as “repurposing,” it’s the act (art, even) of repackaging a marketing asset in other forms, with the goal of extending your reach and amplifying your brand.

Turn a comprehensive white paper into a quick-read blog post. Transform the blog post into a short video. Convert the video into a series of infographics. The list goes on—which helps explain why repurposing content is so popular.

According to a recent poll conducted by bestselling author Simon Kingsnorth, 89% of his readers are repurposing content. To that end, Referral Rock, which helps B2B and B2C businesses scale customer growth through referrals, found that 46% of marketers say repurposing content “brought in the best results (leads, conversions and so on).”

The question is, at what cost?

Two of the greatest benefits of repurposing content are, in fact, the time and money it can save you and your team. As elevator pitches for an effective content strategy go, it’s an attractive one.

But be careful. It can have the opposite effect, on both your budget and your ability to meet deadlines.

Repurposing content should not be an in-house catch-all strategy for feeding your content marketing machine (particularly when times are tight). If your intention is to cut corners, you’re gambling that everything from planning and research to execution and delivery goes off without a hitch. And it may for a period of time.

But here’s the thing about placing that recurring bet: Sooner or later, luck runs out.

Planning starts, stops, then starts again. Research takes more time than you earmarked while planning. Sacrifices to quality are made during execution to make up for falling behind in prior phases. And delivery? Maybe the project is put on hold before you get to that last leg.

All the while, you’ve burned through resourcing hours and, quite possibly, gone over budget. Sound familiar?

Working with a team that understands when and how to successfully repurpose content gives you greater odds to hit your goals. For you, the focus should be how to identify the ideal partner.

These three considerations quickly come to mind:

When does the candidate for partnership suggest repurposing content?

Simply put, this strategy is not meant for all content. The ideal partner will analyze the timeliness of your existing assets and be able to assess their repackaging potential (i.e., power to remain relevant based on current market trends, forecasts, etc.).

Few practices scream “Shortcut!” like repurposing “square” content to fit into a “round” hole.

Is the candidate willing to divide and conquer?

Perhaps you have an in-house team that’s capable of handling stages of the project, just not every one. The ideal partner should have the strategic and creative chops to take the project on in totality, but also possess the flexibility to focus solely on specific phases.

The road to repurposing content can take more than one route.

Does the candidate demonstrate a solid understanding of content platforms?

“One size fits all” content is a thing of the past. The ideal candidate must know how to tailor existing content so it takes advantage of the power various platforms offer—and meets the needs of your audience.

This requires a working knowledge of quite a few platforms. And it isn’t always insight that’s familiar to everyone.

No matter the scenario—small budget, tight deadline, limited resources—it pays to evaluate whether repurposing content is the correct path forward. That starts with determining if you have what’s necessary to consistently operate with efficiency.

After all, “Time is money,” as they say.

Regardless of the one you have, be sure to spend it wisely.