Are you doing enough to repurpose your content?
Content repurposing is a great way to get more mileage out of work you’ve already done.
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Are you doing enough to repurpose your content?
I was reading a recent Digiday piece about Dateline NBC’s experiments with Apple podcast subscriptions when I came across this passage:
The audio version of Dateline’s TV broadcasts have drawn 775 million downloads since its 2019 launch, with over 30 million downloads in July, according to a Dateline spokesperson citing Simplecast data.
Wow. The universe of podcasts that receive at least 30 million downloads per month is infinitesimally small, and Dateline is simply taking the already-existing TV versions of the show and converting them into audio. What’s more, “the Dateline team has not yet needed to expand its staff to produce the podcasts or the additional episodes.” Assuming a modest $25 CPM for ads, that’s $9 million in annual revenue for not much extra effort. What a great testament to the power of repurposing content!
Content repurposing is a great way to get more mileage out of work you’ve already done, and yet so many media operators are too quick to move on to new projects without first considering the other formats and mediums that can be leveraged to expand their audience.
Let’s go through some of the ways that you can take your already-existing content and wring more value out of it by repurposing it into other formats:
Repurposing YouTube videos
I can think of at least two separate ways you can repurpose your longform YouTube videos:
Shorter clips for TikTok/Twitter/Instagram: A decade ago, your average YouTube video was five minutes long, but changes to the YouTube algorithm incentivized longer and longer videos. Recently though I’ve seen prominent YouTubers build out processes for chopping up their videos into bite-sized pieces for shortform platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. For instance, look at how MrBeast took his famous recreation of Netflix’s Squid Game and repurposed it into shorter clips for TikTok.
Audio versions: Some videos lean heavily on visuals, but many could easily be converted into audio podcasts without losing any important context. Take this Vox explainer on “the fall of unions in the US.” While the graphs and animations certainly enhance its teachings, you could actually close your eyes and retain most of the information. I think Vox is missing out on a huge opportunity to convert its YouTube explainers into podcasts.
Repurposing podcast interviews
Podcast interviews are great for repurposing, and it’s especially important to do so because podcast discovery is so difficult to achieve. Here are four strategies I’ve come across:
Transcripts: Transcripts are low hanging fruit for podcasts, especially since there’s automated transcription software that will do most of the work for you. Not only are they great for accessibility purposes, but they improve your podcast’s chances of showing up in Google search results. They aren’t as great for social media sharing, though, since most readers don’t want to wade through a transcript that’s several thousand words long.
Article/blog posts: Rather than simply posting an enormous transcript, many media operators are taking the most salient points shared in a podcast interview and converting them into an easily-digestible article that’s great for both SEO and social sharing. For example, the CEO of ecommerce platform Malamo appeared as a guest on a podcast and then repurposed his insights for an article on Malamo’s website.
Video versions: I’ve written before about why “it’s time for every podcaster to get on board with video podcasts.” It really is as simple as filming your podcast interviews. If the interview is conducted in person, then simply throw up a tripod; if it's a remote interview, then platforms like Squadcast and Zencastr can produce pretty high quality recordings.
Short video clips: Some podcasters take it a step further by launching a second channel for smaller, click-baity clips of their podcast interviews. For instance, the main channel for the Impaulsive podcast has 4.16 million subscribers and 545 million views. The Impaulsive clips channel has 1.2 million subscribers and 750 million views.
Written content is extremely easy to adapt, mostly because it’s so simple to copy and paste. Here are three repurposing strategies:
Audio narration: You’ve probably noticed that many mainstream publishers have audio players embedded at the top of their articles with an option to “listen to this story” (check out this New Yorker piece as an example). Several case studies have shown that offering an audio narration option lowers the bounce rate and increases time on site. Some publishers hire voice actors to record the narration, but many use AI automation tools.
Tweet threads: When journalists publish longform features, they’ll often break their key findings up into multiple tweets and then publish them as a Twitter thread. This method gives their tweets more longevity as it continually pushes the thread to the top of the Twitter feed. As individual tweets within the thread get retweeted, then that exposes the entire thread to a larger audience, which generates compounding effects. To see one of these threads in action, check out this one from Judd Legum. Notice how he always ends his threads with a strong call to action for readers to sign up for his newsletter.
Podcast interview: Whenever a journalist writes a feature length article, there’s often a lot of research and information that they leave on the cutting room floor. That’s why they often make great podcasts guests; they can expand on what they wrote about in the article. For example, the journalist John Seabrook wrote a 5,000-word feature for The New Yorker about how electric vehicles will transform the ambient sounds within cities. The magazine then brought him on its New Yorker Radio Hour podcast to talk about his findings. It was a great way to squeeze more content out of all the hours of research he conducted.
What other formats did I miss? Are there cool ways you’re repurposing your content for your own media organization? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll feature the best answers in Friday’s newsletter.
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How The Future Party grew to 150,000 newsletter subscribers
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My general sense is that Google AMP won't be missed, but maybe it at least forced publishers to think more about creating a better user experience for mobile. [Kurt Gessler]
So much for Snapchat funding premium media content. [CNBC] Hopefully this means it'll double down on paying organic creators on its platform.
More and more publishers are experimenting with paid subscription podcasts. It's unclear so far whether this is driving real revenue. [Digiday]
A neat case study on how a woman built a podcast network from the ground up. [Sounds Profitable]
Substack is reducing its spending on Substack Pro, which involves giving cash advances and other perks to star writers to lure them onto the platform. This is probably a reflection of it having less cash to burn as the VC climate cools down. [The Information] My best guess as an outsider is that a lot of Substack Pro writers have ended up being financial disappointments, bringing in far less revenue than Substack anticipated. No doubt that some writers viewed it as free money and didn't seriously invest in building a real business on Substack. And now that Substack's Recommendations tool has been so successful at helping writers grow their audience, it has natural network effects that make it more enticing as a platform. So Substack feels less of a need to lure big name writers who demand outsized advances. But that’s all just a guess!
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