Let’s face it, a lack of time is one of the chief concerns most businesses and individuals have when using social media.  This concern frequently becomes an issue when it comes to content creation.  Every new social media site or channel that you begin using needs a new source of content to feed it.

Or does it?

In many cases, you can take existing content and use it in multiple ways and via multiple tools.  Here’s  five types of content that you are probably already creating that you can re-use in new ways.

1 – Customer questions.  On your website you probably have a FAQ section.  You also probably get regular questions from customers via email and snail mail.  How about taking those questions and answering them via a new blog post?  And when you do, mention the customer that asked the question, and if they have a blog or Twitter account, link to that.  A great benefit to this approach is that it helps your SEO and will send search traffic your way.

Additionally, if you publish an email newsletter, you can include your answer there as well.

2 – Whitepapers.  If your company is already offering whitepapers on your website, there’s a few different ways you could re-use those.  One way is to break them up into a series of blog posts.  Longer whitepapers could easily be broken down and edited into several blog posts.  Given how often you post on your blog, one whitepaper could provide new posts to your blog for weeks!

Another idea is to offer a whitepaper as an incentive for subscribing to an email newsletter.  This is a great way to encourage new subscribers to your newsletter.

3 – Curating industry news.  This is one of my favorite tips because it’s so efficient.  Let’s say your company is in the packaging industry.  Let’s also assume you read 5 blogs and websites that cover the latest news in the packaging industry.  You do this to stay up to date on your industry, but why not share that information?

You can do that both internally and externally.  The first could be internally by creating a Paper.li for your industry news.  You could then share this with your employees so they can see the latest news and stay up to date.

You could also take the best articles and blog posts about your industry’s news and share them weekly on your blog via a new blog post.  For example, every Friday you could run a new post with the top 5 articles of the week covering the packaging industry.  This is a very effective tool because it creates valuable content for others, and also helps establish your expertise in your industry.

Finally, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, you can share these articles and posts throughout the week.  This serves the same purpose as the wrap-up post, it shares valuable content with others, and helps establish your expertise.

4 – Conversations with customers via social media.  So tomorrow morning you’ll get into an impromptu 10-minute discussion on Twitter about a customer’s call into your customer support line the previous night.  The customer will tell you exactly what they liked and disliked about the call and the service they received.

First, it’s important that you make sure that your customer service department is aware of this feedback, at least.  Secondly, is there an opportunity to use this in a blog post?  Perhaps the customer was complaining about the way your customer service rep did something on the phone, but after you explained to them why that happened, then the customer understood.  Maybe other customers are also confused about this same issue and you could explain via a blog post?

Besides that, conversations with your customers can easily spark ideas for new blog posts.  Probably 25-33% of the blog posts I write are ideas sparked by a conversation I have with someone else on Twitter, Facebook, or my blog.

5 – Change the (Content) Channel.  One of the biggest problems facing blogging companies is finding a way to encourage their employees to blog.  Let’s be honest, a lot of people do not like to write!  So if you are trying to find a way to get your employees to help you by blogging, don’t assume that they have to write their posts.  What about a podcast?  Would they rather record their thoughts for a few minutes and use that as a audio file?  Or simply use voice dictation software or an app on their smartphone to record their thoughts then transcribe into text.

Or what about video?  Instead of asking one of your engineers to write a blog post explaining how to use one of your products, why not record a video of the engineer demonstrating how the product works?  In this case, a product demonstration recorded on video would probably be far more effective than the most eloquently written blog post!

So those are some ideas for how you can take existing content and use it in new and different ways to create more content, and save time in the process!

If you want even more ideas for improving your blogging efforts, please check out #Blogchat on Twitter every Sunday night starting at 8pm Central, US time.  And starting in February, we’ll add a special European version of #Blogchat!  This will happen the second Tuesday of every month, at 8pm European time, 1pm Central US time!

The first European #Blogchat will be on February 12th, and Paper.li’s Community Manager Kelly Hungerford will be our special co-host!  Hope to see you then!

Mack Collier
Mack Collier is a social media strategist, trainer and speaker who specializes in helping companies better connect with customers via social media. He founded #Blogchat, the largest Twitter Chat on the internet. His first business book, 'Think Like A Rockstar: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans'
will be published in 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

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