A lot can happen in a minute. Consider this: every minute, 571 new websites are created; YouTube users upload 48 hours of video; Google receives more than 2 million search inquiries; more than 100,000 Tweets are sent; and Tumblr, the online blogging service, publishes 27,778 new posts.
Social media and mobile and digital publishing have seriously altered how people consume, share and interact with information. These same innovations have also changed how those of us who create content work. The stats are enough to make even the most seasoned editor’s head spin. It gets even harder when you factor in the reality that many publications are cutting editorial budgets, and few have the resources to hire new staff or dedicate precious time to creating more content.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
So how can you create so much more content when you are already stretched to the limit with your regular deadlines? Well, according to TMG managing editors Corey Murray and Chris Blose, you’ve got the raw material already — you just need to use it in a new way.
Murray and Blose shared tried-and-true ideas for getting more from your content without creating a ton of additional work at the Construction Writers Association annual conference on October 23. This wasn’t just another talk about “repurposing” content; seems that a lot of people talk about how to repurpose content, but it’s not an effective tactic when it’s an afterthought.
Murray’s advice: The key is to plan how you’ll distribute your content at the point of creation.
Blose and Murray offered these five tips, along with practical examples, for how to make your existing content go the extra mile:
1. Open your reporter’s notebook.
Three quarters of every reporter’s time is spent conducting research, and not all of it will make the final cut. Don’t let it go to waste, Murray advises. If you flag a statistic or other useful information during your reporting, share it with your audience in a quick online post.
Example: While conducting research for an article about education and technology, Murray discovered an infographic about teachers’ opinions on classroom technology. He wrote three short paragraphs and posted it online as a standalone piece. In less than two days, more than 400 readers shared the short piece within their own social networks.
2. Forget the nut graph; go for a nut list.
People love lists. You add a lot of value if you can create a list from information that your audience might otherwise find daunting.
Example: To promote a corporate whitepaper about education on one of his client’s sites, Murray extracted “21 reasons why technology works in education” and posted the list online with a link to the full whitepaper. The result is less daunting — and a lot more digestible.
3. Make existing assets work for you.
Do your organization’s leaders speak at events? Do they do Q&As? You can grab some gold from these existing pieces and turn them into content.
Example: Blose worked with a client to round up key talking points from a recent web chat with a respected physician. The result—without a lot of extra work—is a helpful piece on childhood diabetes.
4. Round ’em up.
Do you have 10 stories on the same topic? Pull them together in a list or primer that allows readers to access all the resources in a single location. Write a short introduction, then include brief descriptions of each item with links to the original pieces. You’ll drive traffic to a new piece of content and give second life to older articles readers might have missed.
Example: Murray collected 10 articles that were written during the summer months and assembled a list of “Must-Reads” for educators getting ready to head back-to-school.
5. Pull it all together.
Ask your fellow content creators what they are working on, says Blose. You might find material that has already been produced that you can craft into new content.
Example: A videographer at Cleveland Clinic had already produced a series of short videos about a heart transplant patient. Blose used transcripts from those videos as well as a little new reporting to craft a seven-part web series that gave the audience multiple ways to experience the content.
What do you do to get more from your content? Share your tips!
[Image: Happy Krissy]