10 Ways to Turn Old Marketing Ebooks into Fresh Content Marketing

by Katy French

We love ebooks. They’re an awesome way to build relationships with people, provide valuable content, and, of course, get leads. But a well-crafted ebook takes work: great content, great ebook design, and great promotion. Since you’re putting in the time and energy, you should be getting as much out of it as you can. But we often see marketers set an ebook live and leave it behind the gate. Sure, it will get some eyes. But there are some simple and clever ways to turn all that great information into even more valuable content (and even promote your original ebook in the process).

We want to see you get the most out of your work, so we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to reuse, repurpose, remix, and reinvent your ebooks. We hope it inspires you to dig into your archive and give new life to old content.

How to Find More Stories in Your Ebooks

Before we dive into the specific content formats you can create from your ebooks, let’s talk about storytelling first. Telling unique, interesting, and compelling stories is the key to connecting with people. Luckily, there are stories all around you—and it’s likely that your ebook has a few extra hiding in its pages. So, your first step is to comb through your archive to look for inspiration. If you’re not sure exactly what you should be looking for, here are five ways to find new angles and fresh ideas.

1) Cover a specific topic in more detail.

Ebooks and reports are full of valuable information, but they can only cover so much on a given topic. By exploring a related subject or doing a deeper dive into a single topic, you can create an interesting piece of content that educates your reader—and encourages them to learn more by checking out the original ebook. Pro tip: Comb through the sidebars or callouts in your ebooks or reports—those are often great subjects to explore.

Example: To promote their What DDoS Attacks Really Cost Businesses survey, we helped Incapsula create an infographic on the anatomy of a DDOS attack. While the survey covered how the issue affects businesses, it didn’t precisely explain how these attacks happen. Creating this infographic allowed Incapsula to further educate people while promoting the survey.  

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2) Create a how-to.

People are always eager to learn something, and if you can provide them with practical information that makes their lives easier, they will love you for it. Turning your best tips and tutorials from ebooks or other cornerstone content into a handy infographic or checklist is a great way to provide value—in a highly shareable format.  

Example: Hubspot created this simple copywriting checklist to help digital marketers strengthen their writing. It’s an easy way to share helpful information and promote their Digital Marketing Certification Course.

3) Summarize a chapter or topic.

Not everyone has the time to dive into an ebook or research report. Condensing the information in your ebook via a simple infographic or blog post helps you share the most important, interesting, or relevant information (and, hopefully, pique their interest in exploring the full ebook when they have time). 

Example: Education company Course Hero is dedicated to helping people learn online, so we partnered with them to create a series of infographics that summarize famous works of literature. These infographics are useful study materials for busy students, helping them learn in less time.  

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4) Find a news angle.

Creating content around trending topics can be a great tactic to give older content new relevance, as long as it’s done appropriately. (Follow these tips to make sure you do it the right way.) Think about the trending topics in your industry or in the larger media landscape. Do you have data that might shed light on an industry trend? Is there a social tie-in that might make your content more interesting?

Example: To help businesses navigate the Pandemic, McKinsey created a hub of content and resources to help educate and support the business community. 

5) Tell a data story.

Data and research often contain interesting, unique, or surprising insights and discoveries that tell a worthwhile story. Turning that type of information into a compelling infographic is an easy way to repurpose content and get more attention.

Example: We helped High Five craft an infographic based on their 2015 Workplace Culture and Communication Report. The story revealed the negative effect that tech has on the workplace—a surprising take that is relevant to people in all industries.

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10 Types of Content You Can Create from Old Ebooks

Once you have your story idea, you can think about the best package to deliver that story. Here are some of our favorite content formats to bring your idea to life.

1) Infographics

Good ebook design is inherently visual, whether you use rich illustrations, eye-catching imagery, or detailed data visualization. These visuals are already on hand, so why not turn them into an infographic or mini graphic? Not only are infographics highly shareable but publishers are eager to enhance their stories with these types of visuals. Turning ebook information into an interesting infographic puts you on the fast track to more views. (Find out more about how to make publishers fall in love with your content.)

Example: We partnered with LinkedIn to create a fun infographic that offered tips on how to create a great marketing machine. The infographic was used to promote The Marketing Skills Handbook, which included many more great tips.

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2) Webinars

If you want to really build a relationship through content, some good old-fashioned interaction will do it. Your ebook has a wealth of valuable knowledge, which you can easily share via a webinar. These are particularly great because they give you a chance to really demonstrate your expertise, and they give participants a chance to engage, ask questions, and have a personal interaction with you. Also, if you record your first webinar, you can post it as gated content, giving people yet another avenue to the info.

3) Interactive infographics

Interactivity is a great technique to create interesting, engaging content experiences. Ebooks have plenty of valuable info that might benefit from the interactive treatment. Say your ebook is about small business tax forms; you could make a quick interactive tool that guides readers through filling out the forms. (See the interactive we created for Intuit that does just that.)

Example: We worked with Microsoft to create their Anatomy of a Breach interactive website, which includes animated data visualizations that show how prevalent the crime is. 

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4) Blog posts

Sometimes people will take a collection of blog posts and turn it into an ebook, but reverse-engineering is a great way to tease the ebook and bring in different audiences. You might turn a whole chapter into a meaty blog post, spin a sidebar into an interesting article, or expand on topics not comprehensively covered in the ebook, then kick readers to the ebook to find out more. It’s a great way to maximize your reach. (Learn more about a divisible content strategy to get ideas to do this.)

5) Presentations & Misc Collateral

When you think about repurposing any sort of content, whether it’s ebooks, infographics, or data visualizations, consider every communication touchpoint an opportunity to reuse existing information. You might use an ebook data visualization to enhance a presentation. You might reuse a diagram in a sales brochure. You might even create a visual press release with ebook info. There are more ways to reuse it than you’d think.

Example: We partnered with the Gates Foundation to design a highly visual presentation, using data visualizations to make the information easier to synthesize.

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6) Motion Graphics & Videos

People LOVE video and motion graphics. (Haven’t you noticed your FB feed full of them?) They’re easy to consume. Just press play and watch. They can also save time in explaining concepts or delivering a story. Your ebook probably has lots of opportunities to tell a narrative story in a motion graphic. (Find out more about how to make motion graphics that make an impact.)

7) Animated Infographics and GIFS

Animated infographics and GIFS aren’t quite the same as interactives. (Interactives require the viewer to do something that triggers an action; animated content does it on its own.) But they can also be a great way to bring content to life. An interesting data visualization GIF series can enhance a blog post, and an animated infographic will catch someone’s eye in a blog.

Example: We partnered with Takepart to create a set of GIFS that highlight important statistics about veterans’ mental health. Though simple, the animated data visualizations make a powerful statement.

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8) Podcasts

This doesn’t mean you turn your ebook into an audiobook, but it can provide plenty of fodder to fill a podcast episode. You might use a chapter as a prompt for a roundtable discussion. You might break down a single subject and offer your best tips on it. You might have a debate between two experts. It isn’t always just about repurposing a visual. Information is information, and it can be translated into any format.

9) Microcontent

Microcontent is one of the easiest ways to repurpose all of your content. What is it? It’s the little stuff you extract to use on social, enhance blog posts, seed through your newsletter, etc. A single stat, data visualization, expert quote, or standalone image can help you promote content quickly and easily. Even better, they can be tailored to different types of people, helping you expand your reach. (Learn more about how to make microcontent work for you.)

Example: We collaborated with the Golden State Warriors Warriors to create a piece of data visualization microcontent to celebrate Stephen Curry’s MVP award.

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10) Templates & Tools

If your ebook teaches people how to do something, or offers tips to help them do it better, go a step further and create a tool, template, survey, or other supplemental information to help them put the information into practice.

Example: We created the Brand Strategy toolkit to supplement our Ultimate Guide to Build a Brand Strategy.

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How to Find More Content Marketing Ideas

Keeping your editorial calendar filled with high-quality content isn’t easy, especially if you’re running low on brainstorming energy and inspiration. Luckily, if you’re looking for new ways to tell your brand story, we have plenty more for you.

But if you don’t have the energy or resources to tackle content creation yourself, turn to the pros. Follow these 12 tips to find the right content marketing agency for you, or hit us up. We’d love to talk about how we can bring your brand story to life. 

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