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Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent over six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.
If you are a content marketer (and most agents are or should be), you know that coming up with enough creative content to build an audience and keep that audience engaged is more than a full-time job. Just one of several full-time jobs you may have.
You just submitted offer No. 47 for a buyer who is ready to leap off a tall building. Perhaps you’re trying to get a kid to log into Zoom for a virtual math session or you’re winding your way through the internet in an attempt to vet a COVID-19 vaccine.
Who’s got time to keep up the content stream for blogs, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and whatever the can’t-miss platform of the day might be? Clubhouse, anyone?
Enter content recycling, also known as content repurposing. It might just ease the pain of constantly coming up with fresh content, making your job a little easier and providing you some semblance of sanity in a crazy market.
What is content recycling?
Simply put, content recycling is reusing existing content and presenting it in a new format to expand its reach and lifespan. It’s more than just changing the date on an old blog post and republishing it like it’s new.
It’s not taking an image you used on Facebook and pushing it out on Instagram. That would be cross-channel marketing — a viable tactic but not really content recycling or repurposing.
Typically, recycling is done with “evergreen content,” which is content that’s continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers over a long period of time. A current market report showing recent solds and average days (or hours) on market is great content, but it’s not evergreen content.
Blog posts, videos, infographics that show the homebuying or selling process, Q&As like, “what is escrow?” and “the difference between mortgage pre-qualifying and pre-approval” are evergreen, and they lend themselves to being recycled and repurposed.
Evergreen content isn’t necessarily always pertinent. Seasonal content that may be applicable for only a few months out of the year can also be evergreen. “How to winterize your home” and “when to plant in the spring” would be examples of evergreen seasonal content.
Why recycle content?
The primary point in recycling content is to save precious time. It’s much easier to take an existing blog post and edit it than staring at a blank screen and coming up with something entirely new.
There are also potential search engine optimization (SEO) benefits to repurposing content. Search engines love to see multiple posts on the same topic. It indicates expertise in a subject, and everyone — search engines included — loves an expert.
What can you recycle?
As previously mentioned, evergreen content is ripe for repurposing. But what specific content should you be looking to refresh and recycle? The answer lies in your analytics.
Hopefully, you have a way to track visits on your blog. Google Analytics is the gold standard for tracking web/blog traffic and will show you which pages and posts are most frequently visited.
All the major social media platforms provide analytics as well. That Facebook or Instagram post that gets lots of likes, shares and comments are great repurposing candidates. Ditto for that video on YouTube with lots of views. If people liked or viewed something in the past, they almost certainly will like them in the future.
Sure, you could just go to an old blog post, change the publication date and hit “publish.” Or find that much-liked Facebook post, and copy and paste it into a new update. You, your audience and the search engines would be much better served though if you modified that older content and posted the refreshed piece as new.
It’s also quite useful and effective to completely repurpose old content in a whole new way by changing the format.
Back in the day, I was a big blogger. Every piece of content I created went on that blog, virtually all of it in the form of written content. Video was just getting started, and Facebook was only available to college students.
There was no Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat or Clubhouse. Podcasts were just getting started. So I wrote — a lot. To the tune of a couple thousand blog posts. If I were still actively selling real estate, I’d be repurposing much of that written content into other formats.
Types of content to create and recycle
1. Create a video
If you can write on a topic, you can create a video on the topic. Pick a blog post, any blog post, and convert that post to a script for a video. You don’t need to just read the post into a video camera (because…boring). Find three or four top points, and cover those in a short video.
Post that video on your blog and Facebook page. Tweet it out. If you’re a TikToker, convert a post to that format. Find a nice place outside (maybe in front of a listing) and put it on YouTube. Keep it short — no one will sit through a 10-minute video.
2. Create a SlideShare
This is one of the easier ways to repurpose your blog content as you’re simply converting it into presentation form. Identify a piece of high-performing content, and reproduce it into a SlideShare.
In my opinion, SlideShares are beneficial because they’re easily shareable, and they introduce audiences to your words in a different, palatable way. Plus, presentations allow you to incorporate other graphic elements that aren’t always present in long-form blog posts.
3. Create an e-book
Have several posts on a topic? Combine them into a downloadable e-book. I had countless posts on short sales on my blog, and I took several of those, put them into a PDF file and made a “book.”
The beauty of this tactic is that you can require an email address to access the download, and that email address then goes into your CRM, database, newsletter feed and other ways to maintain touch with the downloader. Blog posts on the homebuying process, the closing process and the lending process were also converted to successful e-books.
4. Create an infographic
Infographics are a great way to make data-rich posts into an easily digestible and shareable format.
5. Extract quotes
Grab a catchy phrase from a blog post, and create a quote image. Share that quote image on Facebook, Instagram or other visual medium, and include a link back to the original post.
6. Create a podcast episode
While podcasts can be a lot of work, they are a great way to reach a new audience. Don’t know what to talk about on your next podcast episode? Repurpose an old blog post.
7. Extract video snippets
Have a YouTube channel? Then you have a wealth of content there that can be repurposed. Edit a short snippet of a longer video, and push that snippet with a link to the full video on sites like Twitter and Instagram.
8. Post transcripts of videos and podcasts
Videos are for watching. Podcasts are for listening. Some people prefer reading. Why not create transcripts of videos and podcasts, and post them for the readers out there?
9. Push podcast episodes to Clubhouse rooms
Clubhouse is the latest craze. It’s audio-only, and the content is ephemeral, meaning it disappears once the session is over. It’s like a live podcast session.
You can’t directly upload a podcast to Clubhouse, but you can certainly take the subject of a podcast episode and repeat much of it in a Clubhouse room.
10. Try these specific repurposing examples
It might be helpful to have some specific examples of recycled content. In addition to those already mentioned, below are three types of repurposed content that I found quite successful.
Incorporate historical mortgage rate trends: For whatever reason, people love to see mortgage rate trends. The nice thing about historical data is it is evergreen by definition. I created trend charts for various mortgage rates and would update them on occasion with new data. A big benefit of this content was the sharable trend charts that all linked back to my blog.
I would recycle those on occasion, edited with new or different places to visit and things to do. They were originally written 14 years ago and still get visited regularly.
Include neighborhood walk/drive-throughs: Real estate gold here. Create a post or video like, Gilbert Real Estate: The Islands, where you write or talk about a specific neighborhoods style, listings and amenities. People and search engines love this content.
Revisit them regularly, adding new info on home prices and availability. The bulk of the post stays fixed, but the edits make them current. Pro tip: Include actual listings for the neighborhood by embedding an IDX search for the neighborhood at the bottom of the post.
Creating fresh and unique content is not easy, and it can be quite time-consuming. Utilizing content recycling reduces the effort required, allows you to expand your reach across multiple platforms and gives consumers, prospects and search engines what they’re looking for.
Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree living in the Texas Coastal Bend, as well as the one spinning the wheels at Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty. “Retired but not dead,” Jay speaks around the world on many things real estate.