You put so much time and effort (and money, possibly) into your epic blog post.
And boy did it get you results.
That sucker got shared, and commented on, and people even told you they saved it to reference over and over again.
But life went on for your readers.
Post views trickled off.
You published other stuff.
That awesome, epic, valuable piece of content is now collecting virtual dust in your archives.
But there’s no need to shelve the benefits of all that hard work!
You can spin or repurpose that content into many different formats, get it into the hands of so many more people, drive your message home in a new way and reach entirely new audiences – without having to create anything from scratch.
I’m going to share 10 different ways to squeeze more value out of that long-form post …
But first! …
Pick Your Post Wisely – Then Let Your Customer Pick the Format
First things first. Look at your metrics.
- What long-form blog posts are already performing well?
- Which posts are the highest quality?
- Which posts are evergreen (i.e. still relevant today)?
Once you’ve picked the long-form blog post you want to work with, look through the following 10 ideas and pick your medium.
Just keep in mind …
The most effective medium / channel / format is always going to be the one that works best for your target customers.
Read through these ideas and view them through the lens of your customer.
- Where do they spend their time online?
- How do they consume content?
- What types of content have worked well for you in the past to reach ideal buyers?
1. Turn It Into A Gated (or Ungated) PDF
This first method is probably the easiest. Simply take your long-form blog post and put it into a neatly designed PDF.
You don’t have to go whole-hog on this if you don’t want to. You can simply add a footer with your company logo and page numbers, and maybe a final page with a call-to-action and/or contact info.
Or you can get creative. Have a designer create a nice template for it. Add some graphics to illustrate your main points. Add images to the header of each section.
I did this with my long-form blog post, The Evolution of Content Marketing: 2 Trends You Should Pay Attention To.
I hired a designer friend to spruce it up and make the PDF even more valuable than the original blog post was (and that blog post was super valuable).
I used Attach.io to host the PDF so I could track the views.
Then I added a button to the end of the blog post for people to download the PDF.
To gate, or not to gate. That is the question. Now you have to decide if you want to make people give you their email address in exchange for the PDF – or give it to them for “free.” There are benefits to both.
If you gate your content, you can use the PDF as a lead magnet to build your email list. This works best, of course, if you’re adding a lot of value with the PDF and you’re actively promoting the page where people can download it.
If you don’t gate your PDF, more people will probably download it. Especially if you’re actively promoting the page where it’s housed.
Plus, you’re truly giving people value for free. You’re not asking for anything – even an email address – in return. If you want to showcase your expertise, or if it’s a piece of content you think will really help your sales if people just read it – it might be smart to leave it ungated.
Not sure if you should gate the PDF or not? This flowchart from HubSpot may be helpful.
I personally chose not to gate the PDF at the end of my content marketing trends post. It got a lot of views, but obviously didn’t do a whole lot for building my mailing list. That said, I did make sales from it. Several people inquired about my services after downloading that PDF.
The great thing is, you can always change your mind later. If you don’t gate the PDF, you can gate it later – and vice versa.
2. Break It Up And Spin It Into An Email Drip
Breaking up your blog into an email drip not only stretches the content out over a period of time, but it reaches your prospects where they check in often: their inboxes.
Most long-form blog posts are already broken up into sections. They almost have to be, to be readable. By definition, a long-form blog post is over 1,000 words – and that’s just too much to read without it being broken into sections with compelling cross-heads.
This means your post is probably pretty easy to split up into an email drip. Just turn each section into its own email, and write a quick intro and outro for each.
Then you can drip it out to your existing mailing list – or, even better – use it to build your mailing list. Create a landing page and offer the email drip as a course or a value-packed series in exchange for an email address.
Here are a couple of posts I’ve come across recently that would make great email drips:
The first one is from AWeber’s blog: 6 Proven Ways to Make Your Writing More Influential.
Each of the six ideas in this post includes not only a strong point, but also studies that back up those points, plus a prompt for the reader to try the technique themselves. It would be easy work to turn each section into an email. The emails wouldn’t even need outros, really, if you used the “try it yourself” prompts as CTAs – you’d just have to write a quick intro for each.
The second example here is from Shopify author Dennis Moons: Your 3 Step Guide to Building a Marketing Plan That Works.
This post would work well as a five-part email drip series, actually. It has a nice juicy intro for email one, three sections (steps) for emails 1-3, and a nice conclusion with a CTA to round the whole thing out in email 5.
This Crazy Egg post you’re reading right now would make a mighty fine email drip, too! (Ahem, editorial team.)
3. Create A SlideShare Deck Out Of It
SlideShare is known as “the quiet giant of content marketing” because it is one of the most powerful and influential platforms online today. It’s one of the top 100 most-visited sites in the world.
SlideShare has a lot of authority.
Slide decks are primarily visual mediums, so spinning your long-form blog post into a deck worthy of engaging with is mostly a matter of paring your content down into bite-sized pieces and adding great visuals.
Long-form blog posts that have statistics, quotes, and actionable insights and advice are particularly well-suited for a slide deck.
Ideally your deck will be a summary or recap of your original post – something that hits the highlights, and is visually engaging, easy to read and thought-provoking enough to share.
I love this example from Buffer and Kevan Lee. Kevan wrote the post If Don Draper Tweeted for Buffer, which included 27 copywriting formulas. Then Buffer took the top 10 formulas that worked well on social media and created this SlideShare deck. As of this writing, the deck has almost 400,000 views.
Once you’ve created your slide deck, post it on SlideShare to get the attention of search engines and slide-deck searchers.
From there you can easily share the deck on social media, use it as a sales tool, and embed the deck on the original blog post for added value.
4. Break It up And Turn It Into Guest Posts For Other Sites
You know the value of guest posting. Right? You extend your reach. You get in front of new audiences. You get your name on sites with much more traffic than you currently have. Sometimes you even build a great relationship with the company you’re guest posting for.
But you’ve got your own blog to worry about. You don’t have time to write guest posts, too.
Or do you?
If you have a great long-form blog post already written, it’s easy and much less time-consuming to use that content to create guest posts, too.
Use your long-form blog post to spark new ideas for guest posts.
- If you have something new to say about a topic, put a new spin on what you’ve already written.
- Turn one of the sections from the original post into unique original content.
- Pare the original post down into something less in-depth.
- Or vice versa, expand on the content and add more details and/or examples to make it even bigger.
No matter how you spin the original blog content, using an existing post as a starting point for a guest post will save you some work.
Here’s an example from another post I wrote for Crazy Egg.
- I could trim down the details (or change the examples) and turn the “How YOU Can Create a Buyer (Or Reader) Persona” section into a how-to guest post.
- I could take the section entitled “Now Write Your Buyer Persona Using Those Insights” and create a guest post around “follow these steps to turn your customer insights into a powerful buyer persona.”
- I could take the two company examples and write a guest post around what companies are doing right with buyer personas.
- I could take the last section, “How to Use Buyer Personas to Improve Your Content Conversion Rates,” and write a guest post around three ways to use buyer personas to create better content.
In fact, I was inspired after writing that post, and wrote a totally new guest post for Datanyze about using customer research surveys to build personas.
Sure, that second post for Datanyze still took me a LOT of time. It’s a big post! But the topic was fresh in my mind, so writing it was less work than it would have been otherwise.
5. Turn It Into An Infographic
Like SlideShare, an infographic is a more visual medium. Unlike SlideShare, however, in many cases an infographic can be used as a graphic in many pieces of content.
A blog post with a lot of data or statistics will lend itself well to an infographic. In fact, putting that data into infographic form can actually help tell the story in a more relatable way.
But even posts that don’t have a ton of numbers in them can work well as infographics.
Check out this infographic from Spiceworks. This company is known for its thriving IT pro community. But Spiceworks also helps tech brands understand their buyers through market research – in other words, they have a lot of stats on hand. You’ll find a lot of great numbers-driven content on their marketing resources page. But this example doesn’t include numbers at all. It uses Spiceworks’ own expertise to tell a story visually through an infographic.
Outsourcing this to a designer, however, can result in an even more professional (and unique) infographic. Plus, it’ll save you time! Just give the designer directions in terms of what content to include, and a sketch of the layout if you have ideas in mind.
Once you have your infographic in hand, promote it!
- Post it on social media.
- Add it to the original blog post.
- Send it to the editors of websites that might get use out of it, and ask them for a back-link if they use it in their content.
Companies send me infographics all the time. Occasionally one will inspire a blog post. The infographic you see in this post was sent to me by Ghergich & Co., and it came at a time when I was thinking a lot about productivity. Sure enough, it was easy for me to add the infographic to my post and point some of my traffic back toward their client’s site.
Since we’re on the topic of infographics, I have to share one of my favorites from Copy Hackers …
6. Make It Into An Audio File
As a writer, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of believing everyone likes to read.
Do you fall into that trap, too?
The fact is, people consume content in myriad ways – and everyone has their own preferences.
I personally like to read content. For example, if a podcast doesn’t have a transcript, I likely won’t follow it. I just don’t have time (or frankly the attention span) to listen to content.
But many busy CEOs don’t have time to read content – instead they listen to it on their drive into work, or during their workout at the gym.
Some people are visual content consumers. They are more engaged when they watch a video, versus reading or simply listening.
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. How do they prefer to consume content?
If the answer is “they prefer to listen,” making an audio file out of your long-form blog post might be a great way to get that content in front of more people.
I suggest outsourcing this task to a professional. I don’t often recommend Fiverr, but in this case it might be a good solution. Hire someone with a professional voice to read your blog post aloud and record it.
Then, add the audio file as a free download at the end of your original blog post. Send it out to your email list. Or, if you’re really industrious, submit it to a podcast database.
7. Turn It Into A Guide, E-book Or Workbook
Like turning your long-form blog post into a PDF, you can also spin it into a guide, short e-book or workbook (I often call these pieces “standalone content”) with a few little tweaks.
The difference? This downloadable content is a little more formal than a blog-post-turned-PDF, should have a lot of design elements, and is often saved to a reader’s hard drive for later reference. Also, the layout is typically different than a blog post (less copy, more design per page). None of those are hard-and-fast rules, of course.
The trick here is to keep the document very focused. If you include a few major points in your blog post, you might want to zero in on just one for your guide, e-book or workbook.
Numbered posts or list posts make great standalone content. They don’t usually require as much tweaking to put them into a more heavily designed format. Each numbered point can often be its own page in the designed document, too, making it easier to decide on the layout.
Here’s a great example from Axero.
And here is the e-book they created from it:
Using my Evolution of Content Marketing post as an example again, I could take part 1 and create the following standalone content from it:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Long-Form Content
- Maximizing SSLIM Content for Budget-Strapped Businesses
- Why You Should Be Setting Aside Budget for Long Content
- Creating Content That Pays for Itself
8. Spin It Into Social Media Posts
You probably have a bunch of tweets and Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+ posts written and queued up to point back to your original long-form blog post. But you can actually do so much more with social media content.
And you should do so much more. Think about how quickly social media content gets stale. Think about all the different time zones in which your target audience lives. Think about all the new followers you’ve gained since you last posted that tweet. If you’re not constantly posting fresh content to your social media pages, you’re not getting the best reach from that content.
This is especially true for Twitter, where the newsfeed can feel a bit like drinking from a fire hose. You might think that you’ll annoy your followers by posting a lot or posting the same content multiple times – but you won’t. In fact, research shows that reposted tweets still attract significant engagement compared to the original tweet.
So use that long-form blog post as idea fodder for more social media posts. Add the URL to the post when it makes sense to, but you don’t have to do that every time if the social media post stands well on its own (like a quote).
- If you have interesting data or statistics in your post, write those out as individual social media posts.
- Create a shareable graphic with a great quote from your content.
- Add click-to-tweets throughout the original blog post.
- Try slightly different variations of the same social media post and point it back to your blog to test how your audience responds to each version.
9. Make It Into An Opt-in Bonus Or Content Upgrade
Most of the content ideas you’ve read up to this point would make great opt-in bonuses or content upgrades for other blog posts:
- Email drip
- Audio file
- Guide, e-book or workbook
What’s the difference between an opt-in bonus and a content upgrade?
Opt-in bonuses are typically site-wide lead magnets. Throughout the website, there are opt-in boxes where users can provide their email address in exchange for (hopefully) high-value content.
Content upgrades, on the other hand, are created specifically to add value to one blog post. It’s related to the content of that blog post, and adds an additional resource that helps the reader in some way.
For opt-in bonuses, you’ll want to choose content that is super high-value. The rule of thumb is the content should be worth the reader’s personal info (at minimum, their email address). And readers aren’t giving that out lightly these days, so it’s worth more than ever.
So if you have a long-form blog in mind to offer it as an opt-in bonus, you’re likely going to want to add elements to it to make it more valuable.
- A PDF with an additional expert tip inside
- An audio file with a never-before-heard interview included
- A workbook with a bonus checklist.
When it comes to content upgrades, the content needs to be applicable to the blog post it’s featured on, plus it needs to add value to that post. More often than not, content upgrades are shorter and less resource-intensive than an opt-in bonus (think checklist versus 5,000-word e-book).
So how does this loop in with squeezing more value out of your long-form blog post? I’m so glad you asked.
If you have content in a blog post (we’ll call it Post 1) that applies to something you’re writing about in a new blog post (Post 2), you’d usually just add a contextual hyperlink from Post 2 back to Post 1, right?
Not so fast.
This is actually a great opportunity for a content upgrade.
Take that applicable content from Post 1 and spin it into a content upgrade for Post 2.
Let’s use an example from Crazy Egg (since you’re obviously a big fan).
The post The Cosmo Kramer Guide To Writing Attention-Grabbing Copy talks about writing sticky copy. Author Dustin Walker writes, “But after nailing down what you need to say, pay close attention to how you’re going to say it.”
An awesome content upgrade for this might be pulled from this post: 62 Power Words That Will Help You Sell. A simple list of 62 power words could go far as a content upgrade on Walker’s blog.
10. Split It Up Into A Series Of Shorter Blog Posts For Future Publication
This last idea works best with older long-form blog content. Once the blog has been in the archives for a while, it won’t be fresh in people’s minds, and it’s ripe for repurposing as a series of new, shorter blog posts.
Posts that are already broken down into sections are easier to do this with, of course. List posts can also work with this method if each numbered item can be expanded on enough to constitute its own post.
I’ll use an example from one of my favorite sites: Copy Hackers.
This post written by Henneke Duistermaat, Do These 7 Tragic Mistakes on Your ‘About’ Page Chase Customers Away?, includes seven mistakes people make when writing their About pages. Each of those seven items could easily be expanded on into its own separate blog post.
Some example spins on “Stinky mistake #1: Ego puffery:”
- Why You Should Stop Bragging About Your Company’s Successes
- The #1 Way to Win More Business
- Is Your About Page a Monologue?
- How to Make Your About Page a Conversation With Your Customer
- Tell Your Customers What’s in It for Them – Before They Run Screaming from Your About Page
Don’t let those long-form blog posts go to waste. Repurpose them!
They’re high-value on their own – in fact, content over 1,000 words receives more shares and links than shorter content – but you can squeeze even more value out of them by spinning them into other pieces of content.
Not sure what kind of content would be the best use of your time and resources to create? I’ve got a cheat sheet right here for you. You’ll learn what content works best at what stage in the buyer’s journey – from social media to white papers.
Author bio: Jessica Mehring combines sales-focused copywriting with content creation to help her clients turn white papers, guides and e-books into clients and revenue. Follow her on Twitter at @horizonpeak and connect with her at HorizonPeakConsulting.com.