We are now in a time where each piece of content you create needs to be selected carefully and needs to be of the highest quality.
Whether you’re linking to it from social media, hoping to build a blog audience, or want to draw attention to your own product, the competition will be steep.
And while in the past very short yet regular blog posts could fool search engines and get you the audience you needed, that simply isn’t the case anymore.
People are looking for quality work, much like you would when searching online.
This can be done, but it can be exhausting without a full team at your back (and regardless, it’s resource intensive). This is where reusing older content comes in.
Done right, and you can focus your efforts more on fewer pieces of top-notch work, while nonetheless building your audience over time.
Here are 7 steps and options you might want to take when looking into content reuse:
#1. Determine Which Pieces of Content Are Renewable
What you start with will ultimately determine how far you can go with an article or another piece of content.
Before going through the process of renewal, check to see which pieces of content are doing the best for you.
You’ll likely want to dig into the statistics for this one, and want to look for content that falls into the following categories:
- Content that got a lot of views when it was relevant, but now is not getting many views as the focal point is out of vogue in the industry (or the news cycle moved on). Something that can be modernized.
- Content that still gets a steady amount of views, but is slowly starting to slip. Perhaps content that has been seen by almost every interested party in your core audience for the format.
- Conversely, consider evergreen content that is still serving you well, and could be expanded upon.
- Content with a lot of data (or key data) that can be reutilized and would still be interesting for a modern reader, ideally data that has a longer shelf life than other things you see online.
- Content that might easily work in a different format. Well written lists and how-to articles can work wonderfully for this, for reasons we’ll be getting into shortly.
Naturally, the pieces you select can fit into more than one of the above categories, or even none at all if you think there’s an ‘X” factor at work that makes it a great candidate for reuse in some capacity.
#2 Use Different Formats to Give Your Content a Fresh Look
More than just giving your content a fresh coat of paint, a new format can emphasize different points and statistics in an article or another type of post, can reach new audiences entirely (especially on social media).
You will want to be careful about what you convert, but consider the following options for your blog posts:
Videos: If you have the resources and know-how, you can turn some of your how-to posts into video tutorials that will show your readers exactly what they need to do.
List articles are an excellent option as well, creating a structure many videos lack. You don’t even need to use the whole article for a video; you can simply state and demonstrate a vital point from an older piece.
The video audience is at times a vastly different one than your reading one, and your videos, if high-quality, can really stand out among the competition.
To switch it around, your blog could easily use an article crafted from the framework of a successful video, provided the visual medium isn’t so vital to the piece that still or photos couldn’t explain the relevant points properly.
Podcasts are an excellent way to reach people who don’t have the free capacity to read but have long car trips or workouts ahead of them. They’re a great way to talk about the main principles of old content.
You can perhaps bring on an expert guest to talk about the main points of an old skyscraper post. You can use previous research to bolster the arguments made on the cast.
The format is varied enough so that there isn’t a universally wrong decision.
You will want to do the research and review of your old content to see what would make the best episodes, what would be the proper length, and other factors. Just seek to do your older content the most justice.
Conversely, you can reach a new audience from your podcast by either providing a transcript or a summary of main points from your podcast.
The process can be a bit of a grind if they run long, but it is a low-investment way of creating content that will reach an audience that would otherwise be uninterested.
Graphics and Infographics:
The first things most people will think about when you talk about repurposing content, graphics and infographics are great choices for social media by virtue of their ideally easy-to-read design and their shareability.
A well-crafted infographic (which in most cases should probably be outsourced to a dedicated professional) can keep your ideas in people’s minds for a long time.
It can also add some variety to your website, and additional graphics can be placed into older articles to give them an extra kick.
If you wish to make a blog post or other piece of content out of an infographic, you’ll want to dive more deeply into the statistics and provide more detailed advice.
Do things only the written word can, namely provide nuance and methodology. Simply restating the points won’t be enough in this instance.
Slideshow posts might be considered low-quality by quite a few experts (and your intuition), and they generally don’t allow for a lot of high-quality information to be presented in the best way, they certainly have their place.
List articles or how-to posts with many steps can often benefit from the format, making it more easily shareable and followable.
If you’re starting with a quality slideshow post, we don’t generally recommend converting it into another format, except for a more visually appealing video.
There’s no real limit to what you can do with old content. The only filter you should consider is “will this be effective and not diminish the content?”
After that, you’ll just want to consider the resources and effort required to make the transfer, and work from there.
We’ll be talking about marketing methods that you can convert content from as well further along in the post, so don’t think that reusing content is limited to modifying and reposting existing pieces.
#3 Consider Foundations You’ve Built
Spin-off content is a great idea if you’ve already worked with an idea and still think you can get more out of it, whether that be diving deeper into statistics or working on a related topic that readers are asking for information about.
In either case, you will likely have a built-in audience, smart internal linking opportunities, and a bedrock of research to work from that will make the content creation process a much easier one for you or your staff.
The spin-off content could be in a different format and be as long or short as you see fit.
The main idea is to use the information you already have that would be of interested to the site visitor to make something new and fresh. Something based on old content that is successful could also renew interest in that old work, as well.
#4 Try Out Content Reoptimization
Google changes its algorithm about 500 to 600 times each year, and that is unlikely to change. In some cases, you might not even need to change your content too much, but you might need to change how it is optimized.
An article that is a few years old might be based on older trends, despite having perfectly good and interesting information.
Keep yourself up to date on what search engines are looking for, and be sure to review your old work to make sure that you aren’t using out-of-date practices.
You might be doing this for things that Google will outright penalize, but that’s only one part of the battle.
#5 Take New Events and Statistics into Account
Sometimes content isn’t no longer useful so much as it needs a tune-up.
Very few things might turn off a reader such an otherwise excellent and evergreen article that uses examples from 2015, especially if there are modern examples that make more sense.
Alternatively, sometimes new solutions pop up that are simply more efficient than what you currently recommend, and in this case, your site can look like it’s behind the times, even if your posts are clearly dated.
The amount of new work and research you will need to do will vary, but you will likely be able to breathe new life into your best articles simply by giving them modern treatment.
#6 Reach Out with the Content in New Ways
Another way to reuse your old content is to start reaching out with it more, perhaps through one of the following ways:
- An email campaign that curates your older content and sends it to readers who have expressed interest, perhaps with additional materials or aids to sweeten the deal for them.
- Strategic social media sharing (if there is a trend in your niche or industry and you have an old article that relates to it, you should absolutely seize the opportunity) to both increase your site’s prestige and simply get more views.
- Use the information to offer basic courses or guides on a particular topic.
Reusing content is one half the content itself and one half how you choose to utilize it. Use your in-depth knowledge of your own work to its fullest effect.
#7 Combine Older Content
One last option to consider is to look at the content you’ve created as a whole, perhaps a series of shorter content you created when that was more popular or you weren’t as experienced as a website manager, and see what you can bring together.
Even articles you’ve written off as non-functioning or dead by this point likely have a few points each you can use in the future, and some series of posts can become more than the sum of their parts if spliced together well.
If you want to combine longer content that is no longer receiving as many views, try the e-book route or an email series that will either bring in another source of revenue or keep people tuned-in to your site.
Just make sure to put in the effort to modernize what you’re using so that readers feel as though they are getting their time and money’s worth.
You might need to experiment a bit, and not every attempt will be successful, but you can perhaps get the most out of your older work through this method.
Conclusions and Main Takeaways
Reusing content in new and creative ways can save you time and money while nonetheless allowing your website to grow and reach audiences otherwise untouched. There are plenty of formats and points to consider, and with some thought, you can keep all your content working for you, not just last week’s news.
Here are a few main takeaways and steps to keep in mind:
- You will need to spend time considering how each piece of content can be best used.
- Different formats will help you reach new audiences and add some variety to your site. Some format transfers will be more effective and easier than others.
- Use previous research to build new pieces of content.
- Review your optimization techniques to make sure old content isn’t underperforming for SEO reasons.
- Bring in modern examples and take advantage of opportunities.
- Try different types of outreach campaigns for your content and site.
- Make combined content that is greater than the sum of its previous parts.
What has your experience is reusing older content been like? What are you hoping to get from your previous work? We would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment in the form below and join the conversation.
Bio: Kevin Conner is an entrepreneur and of CEO of Vast Bridges, a customer acquisition and lead generation company in the home services arena. Most recently he and a small team have launched broadbandsearch.net, a leading home services (broadband and TV) search engine.