Repurposing is what turned a failed product at 3M into one of its biggest successes.

You may know the story:  3M developed a not-so-sticky adhesive for use on bulletin boards, a product idea that really never sold well.  Arthur Fry, a 3M chemist, didn’t give up on the glue that was used, and kept trying it for other uses.  One Sunday, Fry was singing in his church choir and dropped the bookmark from his hymnal.  He realized that his failed adhesive could be used to keep little notes and bookmarks in their place.  Instead of sticking the adhesive to a bulletin board, they could put it on a piece of paper and stick it anywhere.

With this great idea for repurposing, the legendary Post-It Note was born.

As business owners, content creators, producers, and creatives I believe it’s going to be more and more important to figure out how to repurpose each piece of content we create.

The days of creating a killer video or a piece of content that will be shared over and over are gone.  If they do happen, it’s going to be few and far between because the shelf  life for content is growing smaller and smaller.  For small businesses to survive, they must brainstorm and learn the best way to reuse each piece of content.

For example, take this trailer I created for The Manly Pinterest Tips Show.  When I first released it, people were blown away;  they re-shared it even if they weren’t interested in Pinterest.  However, since I first released it, engagement has dropped off and comments have dried up.

A few years ago, that trailer would probably have been good for a whole season of an Internet show.  But with all the great content coming out today, it’s easy to get lost in the noise.

Now, it’s not practical for me to create a new trailer for each episode of the show.  I just don’t have the time.  But how could I use the content I already have to re-energize the trailer and create some new buzz?

Because I was having Peg Fitzpatrick and Rebekah Radice on the show I wanted to do something special.  So I wrote out a short script and filmed an extra minute and broke it in to the trailer in an interesting way (I hope).

Instead of losing a day or two creating an entirely new trailer, I was able to shoot, edit and add effects in one evening.  It essentially gave the old trailer new legs for promoting the show.

I wrote this article to urge you to really think about how you can repurpose your own content.

As creatives it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by trying to be creative all of the time.  And with the speed of new content coming out daily, it’s also stressful.

Here are some ideas to help you with repurposing your existing content.

1.  Brainstorm With Others –  Don’t do it alone.  Sometimes fresh eyes or discussion helps you look at your content in ways you would have never thought of on your own.

2.  Think Outside Of  The Box – Try something crazy.  Could a piece of content be a great video?  Could a video be a blog or podcast?  Could you have people read an old blog post, film their comments and questions and then embed it in a new blog post?  Do something different!

3.  Sleep On It – Give yourself time for your subconscious to churn it around a little.  Some of my best ideas have come immediately after I wake up.

4. Combine With Something Else – Can you combine pieces of content already created to make a resource more powerful than when they stand on their own?

5.  Work Backward – Think about your desired end result and see if you have existing content to use.

I hope these ideas help you think on how content you already have can be recycled for even greater value for you and your brand.  It’s a fast, noisy, and crowded world out there in social media.  The more efficient we are with our content, the greater time we’ll have for creating even more spectacular content.

P.S.  This article is actually repurposed from a post I wrote in Dustin W. Stout’s Creative Social Media Community.  BAM!