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Ah, the topic of repurposing content or recycling it, if you prefer.  I ran into this recently with my craft business blog regarding a series I wrote last year on birthstones, one each month.  I realised that this year I could repurpose them each month as their content was still relevant and new readers might want to check them out.  But how can you repurpose content in a positive way?

Why you should consider repurposing content

The idea of repurposing, recycling or updating a post might seem like cheating.  After all, you aren’t actually creating something new.  But this assumes that everyone who wants to read your posts did so when it was published.  And that they never want to read that content again.  Neither of these things is liable to be true.

Using my craft blog example, someone might have read about the March birthstone last year as inspiration for a present for a friend with a March birthday.  This year they might read it to learn more about aquamarine because they’ve realised they really like the stone.  Or they might not have seen the post last year at all so, to them, it is basically new.

According to the experts at Buffer, there are other reasons to repurpose content including:

  • Reaching a new audience of people who have never read your blog before but might be searching for that topic if you recycle it
  • Getting an SEO boost by having multiple pieces of content on the same subject if you repurpose it
  • Publish it in new ways on social media to catch a fresh audience (I made a new Pin for my March birthstone piece for example)
  • Adding new information to a piece to ensure it is current when updating a post

Repurposes, recycling or updating?

Perhaps the trick with content repurposing or updating is to be fussy about what you work with.  For example, if you write a post about social media trends for 2017 in late 2016, it might not work to update that piece.  It may be easier to simply write a fresh one when late 2017 comes around for next year’s topic.

The content that is best to repurpose is what is known as evergreen content.  This is the piece that isn’t time or season specific and can still be useful to readers years after it is written.  Tips on starting your first blog or choosing plugins might be a good example and here you can update the details to ensure that all of the options used are still relevant, working and worth recommending.

For inspiration as to what posts might be best to focus on, take a look at your Google Analytics or other such software.  Check over the last month and the last year to see which of your posts is the most viewed and then run it through the check to see if you can do anything new with it – can you repurpose, recycle or update it?

The content marketing cycle – By Ingridarcher Ingrid Archer (Own work made by spotonvision) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Repurposing options

Once you know what content might benefit from an update, repurpose or recycle then you can start to look at what you are going to do with it.  Updating it is likely to be the quickest option and allows you to add new facts, stats and systems to your posts.  But there are other options.

For example, you can turn a series of blog posts into a guide.  You might have written a series of posts on Instagram – setting up an account, designing graphics, gaining followers.  You could then repurpose those individual posts into a single guide on how to gain a presence on Instagram.  This could be published on the blog or even used as a lead magnet to gain email list subscribers.  You can tart them up a bit, use some new graphics, update any stats or processes so they are different from the originals but not the same as writing a piece from scratch.

If you have a post that contained a lot of images, then you could transform these into standalone graphics and create a Pinterest board featuring them.  While you might have the original image on some of your boards, you can use the images repurposed on a new board to reach a new potential audience.

If you wrote a big listicle post containing loads of tips in one piece, why not think about breaking it down into a series of smaller pieces that look into each element in a little more detail?  An example could be Facebooks Ads – after you have written one big guide on how to create them, what audience options there are, how to set budgets and more, you can write a series of smaller articles looking into each in details.  Those smaller articles might just appeal to people who wouldn’t read through a single large piece.

You could also take a series of quotes and stats from a piece and use them to create Tweets or images for Twitter.  Once you have freshened up the info on the piece with new stats, you can use this information to draw readers to the full piece.

With the huge growth of video, if you have the skills you could turn your blog post into a podcast and catch a whole new audience with it.  There are still lots of people that prefer to watch a video than to read a post so by creating a podcast from your old post, you have the potential to catch new people with it.

You can rewrite the post and use it as content for guest blogging opportunities.  That way you can reinforce your message while ensuring that the guest piece and your original post are different enough for search engines.  It saves researching a new piece and means you can backlink to the original piece to boost SEO.

Finally, you can turn the post into an abbreviated version of itself and use it on a newsletter update.  Use enough to provide some interest to readers then lead them to your blog to read the rest of it.

Dress it up nicely

Sometimes you read your post and think ‘well there’s nothing to repurpose, recycle or update here and it still gets traffic’ and that’s cool.  But if you still want to do a little something, you can always update the images, make a new header image or pop in a mini-infographic to the piece to enhance it and offer something new.  You can even change the publish date to show that it has been recently updated in some form – there’s a tutorial at http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/display-the-last-updated-date-of-your-posts-in-wordpress/

Conclusion

Repurposing, recycling or updating content isn’t cheating – it is simply making the most of the work you have already done.  By remembering that not everyone will have seen your post first time around, you can potentially reach new audiences and remind existing ones of the points that you make.  And there are lots of new ways to use that content to make the most of the work that went into creating it.

Repurposing Content - Why Not Every Post Needs to Be New