How to Treat Content as a Renewable Resource

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there are only a certain number of really good ideas out there at any one time. Why not recycle them?

We don’t mean putting out the same press release—or tweet—10 times. But we are talking about looking at your content as a renewable resource. Like recycling.

So where does recycling PR content start? With your existing core content. This information resides in media interviews, marketing materials, consumer or industry research, white papers, speaking engagements and customer communications, including newsletters. Organizations have spent time and money in the development of these materials; now it’s time to leverage it.

Is all of this content suitable for PR? You’re the judge. You may be surprised to discover how many new ideas, angles and opportunities can come out of existing material. Sure, some content may be dated or proprietary or off strategy. But first you have to do the audit to know. But what are the recycling tools? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it has to include:

Bylined articles. A workhorse, if sometimes overlooked, of traditional PR. What better way to get your messages to customers and clients who have the ability to buy your goods and services? Frankly, many good trade publications and professional journals are eager to publish your ideas, if you follow their guidelines.

Press release. Write a press release on the topic, positioning your executive team as experts on the subject. Utilize SEO for keywords that are important to your brand.

Organic search. Press releases are valuable search content. You can distribute many press releases on a small budget, either by using an inexpensive local route on a paid newswire like PRNewswire or Business Wire, or by trying one of the new free newswire services like PRLog. Both get your content into Google.

Media outreach. Use the recycled content as a pitch to your most important media targets, or just send them the press release for background on your company’s strengths and abilities.

Web site content. Post the byliner and press release on your Web site. The more new content you have on the site, the more often Google and the other search engines will have a reason to visit your site.

Customer communications. Reshape the idea into content that your customers will want to read. Segment your lists, and send it.

Social media. Any content you create of relevance to your key audiences is fodder for social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, among others. Social media devours content. Now you’ve got some. Embedded links in social media also give users a good reason to visit your Web site. What’s not to like?

How does this work in the real world? Pretty well.

One of our clients is a successful media investor who is often invited to speak at various industry events around the world. So when he asked us how to leverage the presentation he made at a high-level industry event in Germany, we said, “Write a byliner. Better still, write two.” He did, one focused on his industry vertical and one focused on deal-makers. Both were published and, because of the divergent audiences, had no overlap in either content or targets. Then we suggested that he get even more mileage out of the content by using them on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Another client, a major nonprofit organization with affiliates around the country, wanted to leverage projects and initiatives that the affiliates do all the time in their own communities. Our suggestion: Use the content that is already provided for their own corporate communications, including their Web sites, as a source for your own content (giving full credit to the affiliates, of course). That content is now used by our client as press releases, Web site content and blog content.

A third client, a financial services solutions provider, developed research papers for marketing purposes. Our suggestion: Use them as content for press releases, bylined articles and media outreach.

Another avenue: Have consumers interested in the client’s services also leave messages on its Web site. In the interest of demonstrating why consumers value their approach, we used selected quotes from those posts as content for a press release (on a blind basis, of course).

So you’ve audited your content for good opportunities. You’ve leveraged the opportunities. Now what? Repeat the process. Make it a point to review your content often, certainly on a quarterly basis. Get started today. You’ll be amazed at how much fun recycling can be. PRN


This article was written by Greg Miller, president of Marketcom PR. He can be reached at