In healthcare, people don’t generally like to think about reusing things –unless, of course, they’ve been sterilized. Whether your hospital just started a new fiscal year or you are getting ready for budget season, now is a good time to be thinking about how you can reuse, reimagine and repurpose content you already have to achieve your business goals.
I’ve worked for and with a number of hospitals and health industry organizations over the past 20 years, and I am continually amazed at the chasm that often exists between great content and poor or siloed communication of that content. Here are just a few examples:
- The PR team landed a great story and received favorable media coverage. No one ever talks about it again. Everyone has moved on to the next topic; yet half of the target audience never even saw it.
- Your organization invests significant time and energy to create a whitepaper. A direct mailer is sent to current and/or prospective clients and it’s posted to the website. Perhaps it is even pitched to the media. Eventually, it’s buried on the website, where it may be found through search but no one monitors the amount of downloads or pageviews. There is no promotion plan and no follow up plan. More hours were spent on the creation of the paper than on a strategy to make sure the intended audience ever sees it or responds.
- A large organization has a lot of activity and great news to share, but it all gets diluted because everyone is managing a specific element –the PR team is pitching one story; the marketing team is focused on its plan; no one owns the web content/updating responsibility, and social media content is disconnected from the pitched story. While each individual effort may have some impact, it will be limited. There is a lack of integration that allows the organization to fully leverage key content for maximum impact.
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, resolve to initiate some new practices for your organization in 2014. The Content Marketing Institute published 50 predictions for 2014 –well worth reading. Based on some of these predictions and my own professional opinion, here are three ways you can reinvest your buried treasure in 2014:
1. Maximize the shelf life of your content.
Think of your content more like pasta than a gallon of milk. Most content has a longer shelf life than you think. Many times organizations use a story in one or two ways, then move on. They often fail to consider how the content can be repurposed for other audiences or in different ways over a longer period of time. Just because you created content for one audience, doesn’t mean it may not be effective for another audience and another goal. Consider repackaging the content in a relevant way, creating a bridge from the original audience to a new audience, using the same content.
- A frequently missed opportunity is sharing stories developed for external audiences to enhance awareness and engagement among internal audiences.
- Clinical research results can be used to earn media coverage, gain additional funding, and recruit new talent. Three different audiences; the same great content repackaged in a relevant way to achieve a different goal. While the newsworthiness with the media may be limited, its value for additional funding and new recruits has a much longer lifespan.
- And just in time for February, content developed for heart month can be used to support fund development efforts, such as a grateful patient campaign.
2. Repurpose your content.
As the old adage goes, it costs more to retain a customer than to gain a new one. Similarly, it is generally more costly to create new content than to repurpose existing content. Of course you can’t recycle forever –fresh content is certainly necessary. But getting the most out of your existing content can help achieve better results and certainly improves your return on investment.
Many times, for example, organizations will invest time and resources in a white paper that they circulate to a discrete audience or pitch to earn media coverage when it is initially released. Whitepapers are rich in content and are a virtual treasure trove for additional application. Have you considered using select quotes or key points from the white paper as tweets or posts on Facebook? Have you written a blog post and linked to the complete white paper? Have you considered creating an e-Book? What about an infographic or SlideShare presentation?
Repurposing content is one of the smartest and most cost effective ways to market. It’s sort of like a prism –your content has many facets, and each facet provides a new opportunity to tell your story. Need a few more ideas? Check out Heidi Cohen’s list… her 56 different ideas are bound to inspire at least one practical thing you can do this month to repurpose existing content.
And one final note: Repurposing content should be about engagement –about finding different ways to make the same content relevant to multiple audiences. Using social media properties to raise awareness of your content is not repurposing the content, it’s promoting it, which is the topic of my final tip.
3. Promote your content wisely.
Even the best content can lose its value and never achieve its full potential without a well-designed promotion strategy. Contrary to traditional sales, smart content promotion is bi-directional. It’s not all about the “push” of information or the shear frequency of the promotion. Instead, it involves some push and some pull, engaging your target audience and inspiring them to extend your reach.
Consider what social channels will be most effective for reaching your target audience and focus a portion of your efforts there. In addition to posting, invite them to engage with you in a meaningful way. Consider getting their attention through social advertising. Develop a blog that features your content in order to capture the attention of existing subscribers and new searchers. And don’t underestimate the power of your internal audience –make sure they are included in your outreach plan, since they already have a predisposition to support you and can further promote your message. Finally, depending on the content and goals associated with it, media relations can be a powerful way to raise awareness and extend your reach.
What new ideas do you have for getting more out of your content in 2014?
Photo Credit: Forrest Fenn