Everything you produce begins when you write. If you struggle to consistently create and release content, you can repurpose what you’ve already created to cover multiple platforms while still respecting the unique properties and strengths of different platforms.
When you write, write with no specific platform or use case in mind; just start writing. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find you can get a lot of mileage out of your message when you break down your writing into a few distinct pieces every time.
This is the biggest piece — what you’ve written in its entirety. It might be lengthy, but that’s OK. You can draw pieces out of the full text and use it for almost anything. There isn’t a magic length for your full text: you could write 300 words or 10,000. There’s no right or wrong answer. Your full text is whatever you’ll direct people to consume.
Best for: blog posts, news releases, email newsletters, downloadable guides, and ebooks.
Short-form content is important, and it’s incredibly versatile. Excerpts and summaries are used to pull people in to read your full text. Create an excerpt with all of your writings that distills your message down into a paragraph at most. If someone had 15 seconds to walk away with your message, what would you say?
Best for: Email newsletters, Facebook posts, blog archives, and LinkedIn.
You’ll have to condense your message even further for platforms where you’re working to stand out in an unstoppable stream of thoughts, ideas, and links. The best way to stand out is to deliver some sort of value in your social posts themselves (none of that “click here to check out my latest blog post” nonsense — don’t be afraid to share your message). People will share their posts to their networks — you make them look smart for following you because you share value every time. Create one-sentence takeaways every time you write.
Best for: Twitter, Instagram captions, and Pinterest.
Everything you create should include an accompanying image. Not only does this help create a mental association between the promotional snippet (or social post) and the content itself, but creating images helps you leverage image- and photo-heavy platforms like Instagram. Images help your content stand out in noisy social streams and show you care enough about what you’re putting out.
Best for: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Also makes your blog look nicer.
Video (and audio)
Most social platforms have some sort of native video right now, and they’re rewarding accounts using native video. No, it’s not always easy to create video content, but if you can do it, do it. You don’t need a full-scale production — you could talk about the subject for a minute or summarize your ideas. Videos are sharable, look great, and build a connection between your audience and you.
The same idea applies for audio. Podcasts are growing in popularity; they’ve become a terrific way to share ideas. Ryan Hoover of ProductHunt says “podcasts are the new blog.”
You’ll have a leg up if you can go beyond static writing and images on the screen if you can repurpose something you write with even simple video content.
Best for: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and your website.
Yes, it’s easier to write a blog post and publish it the next day. Yes, many brands have a social presence that’s not much more than “click here to read my thing on my website.”
But if you’re resourceful and thoughtful, you can get far more mileage out of your message by repurposing bits and pieces of your content, not to mention the engagement you’ll start to see by producing value that’s tailored around the strengths of each platform.
About Steve Luvender
Steve Luvender is a Senior User Experience Designer at Liquid Interactive, where he works with organizations to design and implement solutions that delight people and create business results.