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The key to speedy campaigns? Being a crafty recycler

Uberflip Blog - Speed up content delivery by being a crafty content recycler

Most content campaigns resemble the infamous, metaphorical iceberg: What’s available for use is only a sad sliver of what actually exists. And most of what ends up being used is new. (And expensive, and costly, and time-consuming). 

That happens for two reasons.

First, without a content library that’s been lovingly tagged and organized, old content takes a long time to find. And second, we humans have an innate bias towards new things. Given the choice between fresh content or existing content, we tend to want to put out fresh stuff. But as marketers we have to stop and ask, isn’t “freshness” in the eye of the beholder?

In his now legendary autobiographical manifesto Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy relates an anecdote that’s just as true today as it was 60 years ago. A general manager of an ad agency walks by his creative team drafting an ad. The next week, he sees them discussing the same ad. And the next month. And the next quarter. Finally he leans into the room and bellows, “Are you still running that campaign!? Give the client something new!” To which his team sheepishly replies, “Sir, it hasn’t run yet.” 

“Freshness” means something very different to you than it means to your audience. On LinkedIn, your buyer will only ever see 4% of your posts. They’ll only ever read 5% of your website, open 20% of your emails, and perhaps 1% of your CEO’s Forbes Contributor Network posts. And that’s just what they remember.

“Freshness” means something very different to you than it means to your audience. On LinkedIn, your buyer will only ever see 4% of your posts. They’ll only ever read 5% of your website, open 20% of your emails, and perhaps 1% of your CEO’s Forbes Contributor Network posts. And that’s just what they remember.

I would encourage you to think like a buyer and craftily recycle content. It comes at no cost, it’s still new to them, and it slashes your content requests down to a manageable size.

Four clever content recycling ideas

1. Build and organize a content library

The key to recycling is searchability. There are really only two options—appoint one smart person with a hand on everything, which, in the enterprise, is ludicrous. Or you build or buy a content experience platform to keep everything organized. 

A content experience platform is different from a traditional content management system (CMS) in a number of ways. The CMS, which hosts your website, is a database. It becomes a content dumping ground and grows unruly with time. It tends to only be accessible by Web or IT. A content experience platform, on the other hand, is designed to organize and surface relevant content to viewers. It’s flexible, smart, integrates with your CMS, and is accessible to you, the marketer.

Here’s the argument for buying an experience platform rather than trying to build your own: It’s supported by a full-time product team whose job is to always improve it, and a support team who sweats the little stuff. Custom built knock-offs or budget CMS add-ons (or heaven forbid spreadsheets) create mountains of maintenance debt with nobody to manage them.

A good content library will allow you to easily search for assets (and their contents) by keyword or tag, and link them together in pre-set streams of curated content for certain roles or accounts and their stage in the buyer journey. So, not only can you quickly pull up existing content during a campaign, you can pull it up before, for planning. If you’re considering doing a media and entertainment play, for instance, you can look to see what already exists.

A content experience platform lets you:

  • Tag assets
  • Create curated streams for roles, verticals, etc.
  • Grant other teams (controlled) access
  • Publish “destinations” full of relevant content
  • Integrate your tech stack
  • Understand what’s working and what’s not 

2. Let a robot do your recycling for you

Depending on the content library or experience platform you choose, you can also tell it to do the recycling for you. Uberflip, as one example, has a machine-learning recommendation engine built in. So, when you publish a new content stream, landing page, or destination, you can insert a dynamic window into that page which surfaces relevant articles, studies, videos, and more.

You can get very targeted with this, too. Because the library features integrations, you can use targeting providers like Demandbase, Bombora, Clearbit, and 6Sense to always show assets targeted to that account.

For example, the recommendations below. They’re for you, and if you don’t recognize them, well, my point exactly.

3. Recycle plus new

Now that automation has relieved some of the pressure to create anew, you can also use the library to further limit your content request scope. Rather than ask for an entire new sales play replete with an ebook, microsite, and personalized ads, you provide the content team with a list of things you’d like updated.

Here’s a little insight into your content team: Creativity is a renewable yet limited resource. It’s a lot more draining to start from scratch than it is to revise something, which some writers call “blank page anxiety.” If you give them something already made and ask them to simply revise, it will take far less time and effort.

4. Round-up with abandon

Finally, the really tactical stuff. Create round-ups for everything. As we explored in the introduction, most of your audience has not seen most of your content. If you create lots of round-up posts, podcasts, articles, newsletters, nurtures, etc., it won’t be seen as lazy—it’ll be seen as helpful. Ninety-five percent of what’s in your library is still new to any particular reader. And the parts that aren’t new will give those who have already seen them “completion satisfaction”—that joy of realizing you’ve already completed that task, and now have time back in your day.

The great thing about round-ups is you can make them part of nearly every content request. Anytime you’re creating a series of anything, request a round-up.

For example: 

  • An article featuring your blog’s “top hits”
  • An summary of an interview or webinar series
  • Commemorate big dates with a retrospective roundup
  • A best hits newsletter nurture—e.g. “Sign up to receive the top hits”
  • Gather old assets into a role-specific campaign
  • Gather old assets into a vertical-specific campaign
  • Break an existing nurture into role- or vertical-specific flows

Go be a crafty recycler

Ask not what your content team can do anew. Instead, ask what you can renew for them. Build out your searchable content library so finding the old stuff is faster, displaying it is automatic, and when a buyer remarks, “Hey, I’ve seen that before,” you can relax, because you know they’re simply one in a million.