What happens to your old white papers? If you’re like most marketers, they’re collecting digital dust on a pixelated shelf in your resource library. You put a lot of work into them, but now it’s months or years later and they’re no longer front and center in your audience’s attention.
Those white papers might still be perfectly relevant, but they’re stuck at the bottom of your resource pile. How can you bring them out into the light and get more value out of those assets?
Don’t think of those white papers as a sunk cost. The data, references, and storytelling inside are gold nuggets waiting to be repurposed. Try one of these three strategies to breathe life into your old assets.
1. Package them up
Ever bought a box set? I love them. There’s a small thrill to owning the complete collection and it’s more convenient than going out to buy each new book/DVD/episode when you’ve finished the last.
Your readers are looking for just that kind of convenience when they come to your resource center. Coschedule recommends bundling content for that exact reason:
Bundles, when done right, remove the annoyance factor for your readers. Instead of having to enter an email address and download each individual item, they can get extremely valuable content bundles in one fell swoop.
Even though there’s more content in the world now than ever, finding the right kind of content to solve your problem isn’t always easy. For me, when I find an amazing resource that gives me exactly what I was looking for, I want more from that same source. I want them to guide me as I figure out whatever problem I’m noodling on.
That’s one reason I love HubSpot’s resource library–they’ve been doing this for so long, there’s bound to be a resource for what I’m looking to do that fits my experience level. I can move from resource to resource, without heading back to Google.
Content bundles package up all those related assets in one place for me–and I only have to give my information once to get it. That makes the form fill a much more valuable transaction, boosting conversion.
2. Break them down
On the other side of the content bundling coin is atomization. How can you take the great content trapped inside your old white papers and let it out to see the light of day?
Here are some of my favorite ways to break white papers and other long-form assets down into bite-sized, targeted content snacks.
If your white paper is a complex, deep-dive resource on the topic, write a blog post giving a higher-level overview of the key points. If your white paper is focused on strategy and “why,” break out each chapter and dive into the tactics for “how”. With more targeted derivative content, you can add details you couldn’t fit in the white paper due to length or design constraints.
While you’re at it, update the examples or stats you used in the white paper in your blog post. That keeps the content fresh and interesting for your audience, while not requiring you to completely rewrite the long-form piece.
Stats roundups and infographics
Turn your white paper into a snackable, shareable blog post or SlideShare by pulling out key stats. With design resources, infographics take those same stats and turn them into a powerful sharing and backlink-collecting machine.
We do a lot of webinars at SnapApp, and the most time-consuming part is always putting the talk track together. When we do webinars based on long-form content, on the other hand, we’re able to draw so much from the existing content that the talk-track part goes smoothly. That’s especially true when you can get the author of the white paper to speak, capitalizing on their deep familiarity with the topic.
3. Interactivate your white papers
If you don’t regularly step outside of your comfort zone as a content creator, it might be time to start. Interactive content is not only a better way to engage your audience, it’s also a powerful tool for scaling your content marketing program.
By “interactivating” your content, you’re not just breaking your big asset into smaller pieces; you’re creating something entirely new on the same topic or core message.
For example, say you have an ebook all about how to master Twitter marketing. With interactive content, you can build related assets around that same topic–leading back to the long-form content download. You might create:
A quiz: “How Much Do Know About Ideal Twitter Image Dimensions?”
An assessment: “What’s Your Twitter Marketing Personality?”
An interactive worksheet: “Plan Your 12-Month Twitter Marketing Initiative”
A calculator: “How Much Could You Grow Your Audience With Twitter?”
These assets are all related, but not just chopped up pieces of the original asset. Building this kind of library strengthens your brand authority on the topic (and doesn’t hurt with SEO, either).
Don’t leave it on the shelf
Your old white papers are valuable. If they’ve started delivering diminishing returns, don’t forget about them–leverage the data, references, and storytelling to reach your audience in different ways.
For better or worse, we live in a slightly ADD society–we’ve all suffered from “multiple browser tab” syndrome, and are continually inundated by messages from all sides. As marketers, we need to find a way to amplify our messaging so it can get out there and grab our audience’s attention in whatever way we can.
Repurposing your white papers into new formats, whether through content bundles, blog posts, or interactive content, gives you that many more opportunities to reach the right reader at the right moment.