Eventually, no matter how enthusiastic you are about an industry or a range of topics in content marketing, you’re going to hit a wall. In older or traditional industries, you might find that most of your topics have already been covered, or that your audience isn’t particularly excited to read about them—for example, the manufacturing industry hasn’t changed much in the past few decades and end consumers aren’t necessarily interested in reading about it. Even in newer or more conventionally “exciting” industries, you may reach a dead-end of your stream of content, unable to come up with fresh material for your next round of publications.
Obviously, one of the best ways to stay exciting is to look to what’s new—read up on industry news, check out your competitors’ blogs, and listen to what your customers are talking about, and use that information to generate some fresh, new material. However, this isn’t always possible. When it isn’t, you’ll have to look back at some of the old content topics you’ve covered and find a way to present them as if they’re new—in a fresh, exciting way.
There are several strategies you can use to accomplish this.
Find a New Angle
Your first option is a relatively simple one: find a new angle for the piece. This can come in a variety of forms, which is advantageous if you plan on reimagining this topic again in the future. For example, you can rewrite the topic from a different perspective—instead of writing about a piece of equipment in terms of how a technician operates it, you can write about that same piece of equipment and how it makes a better end product for the consumer. You can also write more personally about the topic, substituting your experiences and opinions for technical or journalistic details. Doing so might rob the piece of some of its grounding, but will make it more relatable—and easier for you to write.
Tell a Story
Another option is to transform your original article into a story. Storytelling is a powerful approach to writing content because as humans, we are naturally drawn to stories more than raw information. Movies, books, and video games are all popular forms of entertainment because they all tell stories—even documentaries, designed to spread factual information, are typically framed in a narrative.
When looking through your old topics, try to imagine a new story you can tell with that information. For example, can you illustrate your descriptions with a fictional character and an accompanying narrative? Can you tell the story from a customer’s perspective, using a real testimonial or case study?
One straightforward option is to write a follow-up piece to your original. You can imagine this as an expansion, as a sequel, or as a kind of meta-commentary on the first piece. For example, if you want to go into greater detail about some of the sub-topics you mentioned in the first article, you can frame an entire new piece around them. This works especially well for articles where you’ve made a prediction about the future, such as “trends we expect to see in 2014.” In these cases, you can write a follow-up to see how many predictions you got right and how many missed the mark. It’s a fun way to re-engage your audience, and it can increase your credibility too.
Make the Topic Participatory
People are naturally drawn to content that has some kind of engagement factor. It’s why social media has become as popular as it has. People aren’t just blankly reading content on their friends’ pages; they are responding, liking, sharing, and talking about that content in an interactive environment. If you’ve originally published a straightforward article and you want to revitalize the topic, make it more interactive. Simple ways to do this are to include a poll or survey at the end, or develop some kind of quiz that makes a determination about a reader’s personality or current needs.
Include a New Medium
If you’ve already written an article on a given topic, that doesn’t mean you can’t reimagine the topic in a new medium. For example, you can create a video illustrating the topic firsthand, or convert the article into an infographic that you can then syndicate for additional links and brand visibility. You can even conduct an interview with an industry professional on the topic. The key is to use a new communicative format to present the same idea in a new, more exciting way.
Use an Analogy
If you don’t have much to add to your chosen topic, but you want to make it more interesting, you can rewrite it in the form of an extended analogy. This is especially useful for complex topics that aren’t readily understood by the masses. This is your chance to get creative, so try to illustrate your information in a new, more relatable way.
Put these strategies to good use when refreshing your content marketing campaign. Stirring up demand for old topics is just as effective as scouting for organically new topics, but seek a blend of both approaches moving forward. If you only rehash old material, your audience may begin to see you as antiquated or out of the loop. If you only post new material, your audience may lose interest or stop seeing you as an evergreen authority. As with most marketing strategies, the key to success here is balance.
If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!