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December 20, 2007

Environmentally Friendly Web Site Marketing: Recycle Your Content!

Do you ever hit a slump when you’re trying to come up with new content for your web site? Do you get blogger’s block on a regular basis? It happens to the best of us.

Yet it seems like everyone around you is a marketing genius. Search engine marketers are churning out articles and blog posts day after day and what about those multi-level marketing gurus promoting seemingly endless products and e-books? Do you ever think “How do they find the time to come up with all these new ideas?”.

The answer is simple: content recycling. Yes, the secret behind many of the Internet’s most successful marketers is the recycling of content in different ways to appeal to different audiences. Let me give you an example:

The original Search Engine Optimization 101 course that I created for Search Engine College was based on a brief training manual I wrote for web design staff of an ex-employer many years ago. When it came to writing a full course for the first time back in 2004, I took the original training manual content, checked it for accuracy, expanded on it to bring the content up to date and then divided it into logical lesson plans. Then I added case studies, examples, 3rd party references, diagrams and coding samples. Then I devised suitable assignments and quizzes for the lessons that would test a student’s knowledge of the material. Voila! I had my finished course.

But my use of the material didn’t stop there. I noticed that some of my lessons had sections that would make excellent stand-alone articles, so I pulled out the relevant sections and re-worked the content into suitable article context and added broader appeal for my target markets. These articles were then circulated using various article distribution channels and social media communities. The more popular ones became feature articles in our monthly newsletter and offline marketing magazines. Some became marketing tools for our Search Engine College affiliate network to help drive more sales.

When I receive comments and feedback on the articles, these in turn generate discussion and ideas for blog posts for my search engine advice column. But that’s not all! Occasionally I am asked to give in-house training or presentations on search engine marketing. Depending on the subject matter, I often take my original SEO lesson notes and my articles and rework the content into MS PowerPoint slides and handouts.

The marketing and affiliate gurus are expert content recyclers and they make a LOT of money using this system. But guess what? You can apply the same principle to your own web site content. Here are some ideas:

  • Documentation such as training manuals and client case studies make great web page content.
  • Web page content such as product reviews and descriptions make great fodder for “how to” articles.
  • That silly staff Christmas video might make a terrific viral marketing tool.
  • A set of FAQs would make for an interesting webinar or video blog.
  • A group of case studies could be made into a free white paper or auto-responder email series.
  • A collection of articles or bookmarked tools could easily be converted to a downloadable e-book or give-away CD.

Get the picture?

The more ways you can re-package your information, the wider audience you will reach because not everyone responds to the same medium in the same way. Some people like to read articles, while others prefer a structured training program. Some people absorb material better if it’s presented in-person and others like e-books and YouTube videos.

The more ways you make your content accessible, the better. The Internet’s current love affair with social media offers even more opportunities to get your content and brand circulated. But there’s an even bigger incentive to recycling your material: Google’s Universal Search.

The Universal Search Model that Google rolled out in May this year incorporates web search results with related results from Google Images, Google News, Google Video, Google News and Blogger in the one search interface. The new search model boosts the importance of non-text content within web sites so that image and video content have become major marketing channels in their own right, rather than tools to attract visitors to text content.

It makes sense then that if you offer your site information in a range of formats such as video, audio, news releases, PDF and images as well as general text or HTML content, you provide more potential channels for it to appear in Google search results.

So re-package your knowledge into articles, e-books, webinars, training courses, podcasts, white papers, CDs, videos, blog posts and web pages and recycle that content!

Author:  Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College – an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.