Turkey Slicing 2.0: A Content Marketing Thanksgiving Tradition

November 26, 2015


If you’re like me, your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers. From sandwiches to casserole to tacos, you can make a single turkey dinner go a long way. It just takes some creative repurposing—looking at the leftover food and seeing the potential it has. For example, you can turn your sweet potatoes into pancakes, like magic.

These days, I can’t think of Thanksgiving without thinking of content marketing. Okay, so I can’t think of most things without thinking of content marketing. But in this case, it makes sense.

Turn Your Leftover Content into Delicious New Assets

A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Rebecca Lieb, Principal at Conglomotron LLC and one of the smartest content marketers on the planet. Given that most marketers find it challenging to consistently produce content, I asked her how she keeps her editorial calendar full.

“I use a Thanksgiving analogy,” she said. “You cook up this giant bird to serve up on one glorious occasion and then proceed to slice and dice this thing for weeks on end. If you are like most families you are going to be repurposing this bird as leftovers for quite some time, creating everything from sandwiches, to soups, and more. Your content marketing strategy can be thought of in the same way.”

It’s an analogy that makes perfect sense, and to this day I call repurposed content “turkey slices.” Turn your eBooks into SlideShare presentations. Turn a SlideShare presentation into an infographic. Turn infographics into videos. See how many times you can re-slice that turkey, add a few fresh ingredients, and make something new. Then you have new content to promote, in formats that can attract new audiences, created with minimal extra effort.

Carve Turkey Slices off Your Big Rock

The turkey slice technique works especially well with Big Rock content. These substantive, definitive works can have a year’s worth of turkey slices in them. Every chapter can be a blog post. If you feature influencers in your Big Rock, you can repurpose the interviews into blog posts to increase awareness. You can break out visual assets to make infographics, put a portion on SlideShare to tease the whole thing, even host a webinar based on topics you cover in the Big Rock.

The only downside of thinking about content creation this way is people ask, “But if they’re small pieces of the big rock, shouldn’t they be pebbles? How are you carving turkey slices out of a rock?” I’m still working on a good answer.

Mixed metaphors aside, creating a Big Rock is a major investment of time and resources. Slicing it up for leftovers allows you to get every bit of potential out of that investment. For example, when I was at Marketo we did a series of “definitive guide” eBooks that were nearly 100 pages each. It was a massive undertaking. But we repurposed content in one guide for cheat sheets, 15 blog posts, two infographics, two webinars, two videos, two SlideShare presentations, and a partridge in a pear tree. Each of the new assets pointed back to the original Big Rock, boosting its visibility and helping new audiences find it.

Find Opportunities in Existing Content

Imagine trying to make a full Thanksgiving dinner every day for a year. How long would it take you to chuck your apron in the trash and order takeout? And how much food would you throw out from each meal, even while you were working to make the next elaborate spread? What a waste of delectable leftovers!

To put it in content marketing terms, 73% of B2B marketers plan to produce more content next year than they did in 2015. Companies with mature content marketing programs will invest nearly half their 2016 budget in content marketing. As the stakes get higher and the pace gets faster, it’s important to get the most out of your existing content.

Make sure your 2016 planning includes a content audit. Take a look at what you already have and see what can be repurposed for new channels, campaigns, and initiatives in the coming year. As any turkey sandwich aficionado can tell you, leftovers aren’t just a waste reducing time saver—they can be even more delicious than the original meal.

For a step-by-step recipe to help you cook up delicious content, get the big rock checklist.