Small business owners regenerate old content to keep up

Re-usem re-cut, recycle...
16 February 2024

The elevator pitch style of marketing is making ever shorter journeys between ever more familiar floors in our brains.

• Repurposed content – more, but shorter – is the rationale behind TikTok mrketing.
• TikTok marketing has proven to be successful, and so is rewriting the rules for all marketing.
• Attention spans are going – wait, what were we saying?

In an era increasingly defined by how we interact with emerging social media trends, most prominently TikTok, marketing has had to adapt to fit our short-form attention spans.

Wendy’s combines memes with an oh so relatable voice.

Be it company Tweets that take on a startlingly relatable voice or your local pub promoting drinks deals via Instagram Reels, brand marketing has shifted out of print. That’s all well and good for companies with huge departments dedicated to TikTok marketing clips and keeping up with viral hashtags, but for small business owners, keeping up can be tough.

Adobe Express surveyed 517 small business owners to see how they’re engaging with an emerging technique for content production: repurposing content. That just means taking already published content and re-jigging it for reuse.

The results show how small businesses repurpose content to boost brand visibility, engagement, and sales.

Repurposed content is increasingly prolific, with 70% of small business owners using the technique in their marketing. On average, content is repurposed seven and a half months after the original post.

Gone are the days of running a magazine ad for months at a time; the trendcycle spins almost too fast to keep up with, and we’ve become conditioned to expect New Stuff almost daily.

“Wait, I think I’ve seen the long version of this…”

TikTok marketing frequently means repurposing content.

The root of the issue but also, apparently, the answer to it, is TikTok, which 83% of small business owners found most effective for engaging target audiences with repurposed content. Instagram followed with 78% and websites or blogs close behind at 75%.

Small business owners reported that the biggest challenges they face are not enough time (46%), lack of technical skills (27%), strategic direction (26%) and resources (21%).

“We got it rehashed, We got it half-assed, We’re digging up all the graves and we’re spitting on the past…” Credit: Ani DiFranco.

One way to level the playing field is by using AI to help: one in six small business owners reported that they use AI to repurpose content. Nearly two-thirds of those who use AI report increased marketing effectiveness and productivity, while 56% of small business owners who use AI to repurpose content save 1-5 hours/week.

Over half of those using AI say it increases sales and that it also funnels buyers into the sales route more quickly.

TikTok marketing through AI tools.

Success was measured by small business owners through increased website traffic (62%) and engagement metrics (50%) – one-third also looked at conversion rates and revenue increase.

All of this shines a light on the fact that TikTok marketing has become the style guide for all advertising. In and of itself, that isn’t necessarily damning – but the effect it has on all media forms is.

TikTok marketing strategy – more, shorter, next!

The top strategy for repurposing content was taking existing videos and making shorter clips. Taking content and repurposing video content for Instagram Reels was also popular.

Indicative of the way we all engage with content online was the success small business owners had in creating video from written content, transforming blog posts into infographics, and making increasingly short clips for TikTok.

Apparently, we are all averse to reading, waiting for any kind of story arc to develop, stopping scrolling for more than thirty seconds.

For small business owners, this is a trend that has to be bought into for survival. Creative tools like Adobe Express can help turn old videos and images into fresh and engaging content.

Still, at some point we’ll need to examine why such a fast turnaround is necessary – is it possible to get back to a place where content lasts long enough that small business owners and content creators have time to create something new every time they post?

Welcome to the age of “TikTok Brain.”