White papers are a lot of work. Your team puts a ton of energy into writing, designing, and editing a whitepaper. Then it gets sent out to a specially segmented audience. You may have even distributed it on social media, hoping to lock in more market-ready leads.
What next? You put a lot of time, energy, and resources into creating a white paper. Doesn’t it feel like a shame to distribute it once and then let it sit in a knowledge base?
That’s why we created this post. White papers, ebooks, case studies, and more are all information-dense pieces of content that can (and should) have a longer life than a single send.
Learn how to distill the value from a white paper, then transform that information into various other forms of content.
BREAK IT DOWN
Break down the information in your white paper. White papers, case studies, and ebooks tend to be dense. They’re like academic papers in that every line is packed with valuable information.
This can sometimes make them a little hard to read and digest.
Our first step is determining what is engaging and valuable to a customer. Some value points include:
- Statistics and data – Everyone wants to see the numbers in our digital world. Claim that your product is effective? You better have a statistic about it.
- Quotes – From customers, from your employees, or your CEO. Your audience wants to hear from those who work with, for, and in your brand.
- Problems and solutions – Find the problems your white paper acknowledges and solves. That’s why your leads view your content, to solve their problem.
- Actionable steps – Beyond a problem or solution, your customers want an immediate takeaway from your content.
Go through your white paper and note or highlight these points. They will make it that much easier to transform your content. What formats can you put this value in?
An infographic is often an incredible fit for transforming a white paper into something more easily consumable.
The Creative team has made infographics from a couple of reports from Ascend2. While the white papers are not overly dense, they’re packed with data, which is exactly what you want.
When creating infographics from a white paper, you should:
- Choose an angle – Pick a specific direction to dive into with your infographic. This means you may exclude certain parts of the white paper to keep your focus.
- Choose a metaphor – Infographics are so effective that they usually make abstract concepts easier to understand. This is easier to do when you choose a metaphor. Here we use the metaphor of feeding fish and the sea for our lead nurture infographic.
- Pick compelling stats – Choose the most compelling stats to use first, then work down to less engaging ones.
Another great way to repurpose a white paper is to write a blog post based on it. The creative team has done this for many of our white papers.
To do this, we had to:
- Select the main ideas – Out of our white papers, then translate them into headers for our post.
- Pull images – We only snipped some of the most important graphics in the white paper for this post. We incorporated the graphics that provided value in the blog post.
- Rewrite the content – We didn’t want this blog post to duplicate the white paper, so we rewrote and condensed many sections.
Blog posts based on a white paper can be used to promote that white paper or used in lieu of a white paper on certain channels.
STANDALONE SOCIAL IMAGES
The main idea of repurposing white papers is to make a big piece of content more digestible. This is done by picking and choosing what is important and only presenting a smaller, condensed version of the main topic.
Social media is about as small as it can go, which is why there is so much value in making social media images for white papers.
LinkedIn posts with images get 200% more engagement than text-only posts. It’s worth your while to post images by themselves; they get many preferences in the algorithms.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Ensure there’s value – Ensure there is a reason to share the images you create. Nice images are cool, but they likely won’t get reshared unless you provide a stat, actionable advice, or quote.
- Make a concept easier to understand – Text laid over a background is technically an image. But it’d be better to add something to what you’re pulling from the white paper by visualizing it.
- Pull images/aesthetics – Directly from the white paper. If you promote the white paper using these images, make sure the images match the style of the paper. You can pull elements from the original white paper and enhance them to have more value on social.
Social images can be used independently to gain traction and engagement on the channel you post them on. You can also use them to promote the white paper or any other content you create from that white paper.
These are just a handful of examples you can use to repurpose your white papers. But by following the process outlined at the beginning, your imagination is the limit for the types of content you can create.
Imagine making videos or slideshows. You could even make a webinar or a speech using this format. This is content recycling at its finest. Save energy and effort while squeezing every value drop from your white papers. Let us know what you come up with.
This post was originally published in September 2018; it was updated and refreshed in March 2023.
Let us know what you think:
- Have you ever created new content from an old white paper?
- How did it go?
- Are you inspired to try it after reading our post?