How Multi-Platform Media is Created from Dusty Archives

Multi-platform media is created by taking one platform of content, like a magazine article, and seeing how many ways you can twist it into a new piece of content.

Recycling is associated with cutting costs, but is cutting costs a surefire sign of downward sales? Not when it comes to publishing and the smart publishers who have succeeded their competitors by embracing it. When publishers think of multi-platform media, they think of digital magazines, but even then, many are only offering carbon copies of their prints. Year after year, piles of back issues are thrown into the stock room, never to be seen again, until they become digital replicas.

This is a fatal mistake, especially in today’s digital landscape. The most successful magazines have adopted multi-platform publishing to grow their businesses and they’re doing it on a budget.

Done correctly, content “recycling” becomes content repurposing; taking your minimum information unit (MIU) and turning it into many. This creates opportunities to attract more viewers, convert them into subscribers, and gain loyal customers to your brand.


No Content Left Behind

Imagine you’re publishing a new issue. Its content is meant for subscribers, premium members, and single-copy purchasers. But, eventually, that content loses its freshness. At that point, possibly three months to a year, articles (and other MIUs) can be recycled over various platforms, either for free on a blog or Portal, or as premium services, such as an online archive.

The most logical first step is to recycle old evergreen content into blog posts.

The benefits of recycling content into blog posts are numerous. Every one of the articles you publish for free, has the potential to drive traffic to your website and can be tweaked with SEO keywords and phrases. Website visitors can read them for free, which opens up the opportunity to soft sell products, subscriptions to a newsletter, magazine issues, downloadable content, or simply place hyperlinks that will get readers to the next page on your website.

From those blog posts, you can pick a series on a common topic and turn them into ebooks, free reports, white papers, and handbooks.

The beauty of recycled content is its utility. A collection of related articles or blog posts can be made into chapters of an ebook, handbook, and the like. Website visitors can download extended content by providing an email address, which means you can now chat with them on a daily basis, like a good friend, through their email. Later on, when you’re better friends, you can convert them into paying subscribers.

All of that content gets recycled into your newsletter on a daily basis.

If you publish daily content, are you sending daily newsletters? If you’re thinking “that’s too much email,” you’ll be relieved to know that people stay subscribed to emails longer when emails are sent on a daily frequency, than a weekly or monthly frequency. Unsubscribe rates are consistently higher on email newsletters that are sparse in their sendings. Your email newsletter provides a medium to keep interested readers up to date on current issues and topics, while also giving snippets of premium content and associated links (if through email). Your email newsletter is how you convert visitors into buyers. Build the relationship up from free content on your website, turn them into email subscribers, and then monetize them once they get to know you through your daily mailings.

Lock and load your content into social media.

Content can be transformed into multi-platform media even more so in social… infographics, little quote cards, gifs, graphics, you name it. Publishers are always finding new ways to promote content. For example:


Social media is a major player for building an online community around a brand. The people who follow a magazine on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn are the prime audience for promoting new and recycled content. By quoting an article in a Tweet or post with a link, you’re opening a channel for online discussion and investigation. You can increase clicks and engagement by adding graphics made specifically for social media.

Turn words into visuals through video.

Did you ever think an article, blog post, or e-book could be recycled into video or live stream? Well, good news: it’s absolutely possible. Content can be tinkered into transcripts for a video series; blog posts can provide topic points for podcasts. The opposite is also true: videos can be broken down into text or embedded in a post down the road—or both!

Turn live events into videos, too.

Most content posted for free can be mixed and matched in various ways. Though we don’t recommend recycling freebies into premium outlets, the trickle-down theory always works, especially with high-fidelity content from live events and webinars. These presentations can be broken down into bite-sized pieces and provide leverage for “exclusive” content releases. Viewers can now have a closer look at what it’s like to attend your event, before they attend.

The Bar for Multi-Platform Publishing is Always Raising

As technology continues to advance and change how we share information, so will magazine publishers who keep their finger on the pulse. Here are a few quintessential examples of magazines using multi-platform media to repurpose various types of content:

The Paris Review

The magazine offers an extensive archive of back issues on their website, dating back to the 1950’s.

  • Selected interviews with writers are free to read.
  • Subscribers have full access to the online library.
  • Short stories, poems, and essays are collected into books.

The New Yorker

The magazine content is repurposed over 10 different platforms.

  • Articles are recorded for audio subscriptions.
  • Issue archives are available to subscribers.
  • Specific content is repurposed into apps.

The Economist

Content is repurposed into snippets and limited free viewings.

  • Article samples of current issues are sent out to registered newsletter subscribers.
  • Back issues are available online to magazine subscribers.
  • Its brand and selected content are repurposed on various merchandise.

As you can see, the biggest magazine brands are taking advantage of multi-platform publishing. However, we’re finding the niche publishers are the ones knocking it out of the park. The niche publishers are the ones innovating. Instead of recycling three ways, they’re recycling ten ways, and they’re following the above strategies to do it.

What’s your opinion on recycling content? Anything you’d like to add? Post your thoughts in the comments!


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