Measuring the ROI of a single content piece is hard. Measuring your entire content marketing strategy can be grueling.

Even after grasping the myriad metrics tracked by analytics tools, and even when you can correctly attribute conversions to individual pieces of content, things like brand awareness, trust, and brand equity — all of which can be bolstered by a consistent content marketing strategy — are nearly impossible to quantify.

Measuring ROI from content is one part of the broader content crisis facing modern brands. In this article, Part 3 of our content crisis series, we’re covering the impact of content repurposing on your ROI, and how to repurpose content efficiently.

Content repurposing: How (and why) to extend your content lifecycle

Creating more content seems to be the logical next step for brands looking to level up their content marketing strategy. Content repurposing, however, is often the easier and more cost-effective path toward content marketing efficiency.

Content repurposing is the process of recycling — or extending the life of — a piece of content already published or hidden away in one of your backend systems. Repurposing can take many forms. It can mean reformatting a piece of content intended for one channel into the format required by another. It can mean inserting one content type into another (e.g. an image used in an e-book can be reused in a video). It can mean combining smaller pieces of standalone content into a larger piece; or the other way around – breaking up a large piece into smaller pieces, like taking section headers from a blog post and turning them into tweets. There are many more ways to repurpose content, but these should get your imagination moving.

When you consider the cost of a single piece of content, and the potential ROI if it’s repurposed at least once, you’ll want to reconsider your current content strategy of create, publish, and forget. This is especially true when you think about digital assets like video and images that are even more expensive to generate than written content. And yet, as of 2020, only 43% of B2B marketers are measuring ROI, and only 65% have established KPIs. When it comes to B2C the situation isn’t much better, with only 51% measuring content marketing ROI and only 63% having established KPIs.

The keys to an effective content repurposing strategy

Once your marketing team is on board with the idea of extending both the life and the breadth of use of each piece of content, the only things standing in your way are the technical barriers to content repurposing. These barriers often take the form of poor content management infrastructure and a lack of cross-functional digital asset management capabilities.

If you’re facing these technical challenges, the following key considerations should help you to sidestep them as quickly as possible, so you can get back to delivering compelling content at scale.

First things first — measure what matters

Assuming you have a customer journey map and you’ve aligned the content you produce to it (social media for brand awareness, a whitepaper for the bottom of the funnel, a how-to guide for post-sale engagement), the places to start are reach and engagement.

For reach, you probably want to measure unique visits, devices used (mobile, desktop, voice), and geography. The classic engagement metrics are page views, bounce rates, and time spent on page. Social sharing is also a good metric to track. For your social media channels, you probably want to add sentiment to this metric list. And for all of your content, you definitely want to track conversions.

But don’t go overboard. There are a lot of tools out there to help you measure — well, almost anything. But just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should.

We created the Engagement Value Score to help marketers hone in on the essential metrics and weight them appropriately. Whether you use this or another model, just ensure you’re measuring what needs to be measured and not getting lost in a data storm of your own creation.

Then start with your best performing content

This should ensure your repurposed content is of high quality. High-performing content has a much higher ROI potential than content that didn’t perform well the first time around. And it likely includes nuggets of useful information, which you can expand on. The great thing is that repurposing your best content often leads to better content than creating content from scratch with an unpredictable outcome.

Map out your content repurposing strategy

Once you know your source content, it’s time to map out the process of repurposing. For instance, you could begin with a string of videos from a recent event that has received a lot of engagement and views. Your next step could be to extract the audio to turn the content into a podcast or transcribe it into a series of blog posts. Alternatively, you might begin with a whitepaper that answers some of the common questions your sales team gets and then turn it into email newsletter content, a podcast subject, or a series of social media posts.

It’s OK to map out your content use after the fact, but ideally, you’d have a plan for repurposing your content before you start repurposing. You should also consider the specific channels where you’d like to publish the content so that you can break it down into smaller modules or pieces of microcontent that’s much easier to reuse.

Modularize your content

Modularized content is created with the intention of reuse in mind. Breaking down the content you create into microcontent that forms the building blocks to larger content pieces is ideal for maximizing reusability. This is especially true with some of the latest touchpoints growing in popularity — like voice-enabled devices and chatbots — which work best with bite-sized pieces of content used in a conversational form.

Modularizing content also helps with personalization efforts. Instead of recreating whole pieces of content for your different target segments and channels, modularization allows you to tweak only certain sections that pertain to the target segment and channel – while reusing the other sections as is.

Another benefit to modularized content is the consistency it brings. By reusing smaller snippets that have been reviewed and approved, shown strong performance, and been frequently refined, you’ll ensure the repurposed content you publish will continue to be on brand and contain quality information.

Select the right technologies

Determining the content you want to repurpose and having a strategy to do so are great steps in the right direction, but you still need the right technologies in place to effectively repurpose content.

For one, content repurposing is made easier when you have your content stored centrally (and not siloed into channels), tagged properly, and managed headlessly. It should be obvious, but if you can’t find the content, you’re not going to be able to repurpose it. Your marketers should be able to tag and add metadata to content (and microcontent), enabling them to pull from multiple areas inside and outside your technology stack.

Beyond making content easier to find, to maximize the life of each asset, you’ll want to make sure your content management system is API-driven. That means it should be straightforward to pull and push content to different channels and external platforms. This enables you to push to more channels without having to re-create content for each one. For instance, if you want to use existing content for an Alexa Skill, you can leverage APIs to feed the Skill with written scripts that you’ve produced from blog posts and whitepapers.

Content repurposing at scale: How Sitecore ticks all the boxes

We’ve already spoken about avoiding content silos with Sitecore, which is an ideal starting point for reusing content. With a centralized, API-driven content hub, Sitecore® Experience Platform™ (XP) enables marketers to auto-tag and modularize content into ready-to-go content blocks that can be reused and repurposed across campaigns, regions, and channels at speed and scale.

In addition, Sitecore also has digital asset management (DAM) capabilities with image editing features that ensure marketing teams can easily find and repurpose digital assets.

Beyond storing and retrieving content with ease, Sitecore Content Marketing Platform (CMP) has a marketer-friendly editor for content creation and real-time collaboration with reviewers and approvers, with previews and version comparisons available across devices. This makes it easy to create and approve microcontent that can then be assembled and reassembled for publishing across multiple channels.

Across the globe, marketing leaders say speed (44%) budget (39%), and automation (39%) are the top pain points keeping them from delivering content at the scale and speed they need to. We designed Sitecore Content Hub™ to help them address all of these challenges.

Repurposing content is one way to speed delivery and increase scale. We highlight many more in our guide, “How to solve your content crisis: The practical guide.”

Jose Santa Ana is Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Find him on on LinkedIn.