Eight fantastic ways to repurpose your old content
Author: Chloe Edgley
Posted on: 8 August 2018
As a content marketer, being able to produce fresh, current, and creative content is a fantastic skill.
What might be even more important than that though, is making efficient use of that content.
In comparison to the limitless number of opportunities that exist in the digital world, or the ever-expanding number of channels there are to cater for, you only have so many hours in the day and so many resources. That means that, especially if you’re part of a small team, those resources have to stretch as far as possible, and the content you produce in those hours has to work as hard as it possibly can.
The key to making that happen? Repurposing.
Repurposing content refers to taking an asset you’ve already created and reusing it elsewhere. Aside from saving you heaps of time, the technique has a number of other really helpful benefits:
- A headstart on the creative process: No need to search for new topics and subjects when everything you need to get started is already waiting in your own archives.
- An SEO boost: You’ll be able to target a keyword in more places, as well as garner extra high-quality backlinks.
- New audiences: Finding new ways to use your current content can open up options you hadn’t explored before, including new platforms and their untapped audience (or even audiences from different time zones). Having your content in different formats will also allow you to reach a variety of viewers, however they prefer to spend their time online.
- A raised profile: Getting your content in multiple formats and in more places across the web will help to increase brand awareness and give you more authority within your field.
- Better quality: By focusing on creating a quality piece of content you can reuse, you’re likely to produce something better and more comprehensive than if you were constantly dividing your attention between different platforms and posts.
- Reinforced messaging: The marketing ‘rule of seven’ suggests a prospect needs to hear your message seven times before they decide to make a purchase.
- Higher efficiency: Crucially, it allows you to get more use out of your best-performing content, and to get it into the hands of more people in less time.
It sounds simple enough, but marketers can often feel apprehensive about repurposing content. One reason is that they may worry that they’ll be given a ‘duplicate content penalty’ by search engines seeing the repeated content and considering it spam.
Not to worry: in 2013 Google’s Matt Cutts emphasised that about 25-30% of web content is duplicate or repetitive, but it’s not considered spam or penalised. Instead, it’s simply grouped into clusters by the search engine. Google can penalise websites for copying content, but the real application of this is for people who are excessively doing so in a manipulative or exploitative manner - and that’s not what repurposing is about.
Some are also wary that they’ll be seen by their audience as “cutting corners” or being too repetitive. It’s a fair concern, but there’s no need worry as long as you follow this general rule of thumb: always add value to the original.
Repurposing doesn’t mean copy and pasting the same content over and over again until your viewers are bored to tears. It means finding new ways that your existing content can be useful, and that might entail all kinds of alterations - whether those are adapting it for a new platform, giving it an update to account for new industry developments, or finding a way to make it work in a different format.
With all this in mind, here are eight fantastic ways you can repurpose your content to get as much use out of it as possible:
- Turn written content into a graphic or video: There are a variety of fascinating scientific reasons why many users prefer to consume visually-formatted information - so make the most of any opportunity to create some! That data-heavy blog post you wrote recently could become a stunning infographic that can be shared across the web. Take quotes from a recent event or panel you held and create a series of quote-card graphics to release across your social media channels. Turn your product description into a great promo video for your website. Never underestimate the power of a good visual redesign to help make your message really sink in.
- Break up longer content: If you’ve recently written a listicle-style post, why not break each point on your list up into separate pieces? Use the opportunity to go into full detail on each: add background information, graphics, case-studies, tutorials, quotes and further discussion. If you’re in the process of writing an e-book or report, why not break down each chapter into its own promotional article, or each data-set into its own focused study to post on your blog?
- Collate separate pieces: The reverse of the above point is another great way to repurpose content; if you have a variety of posts surrounding the same topic, why not combine them all into one comprehensive piece? Your series of tutorials could become an ultimate guide, or your different product videos could form one video catalogue for all your offerings.
- Turn a one-on-one moment into an educational opportunity: Offline work can be just as good a source for content as your online activities. Consider the consultation you had with a recent client in which you explained some new research or a strategy to them - could this be a good basis for a blog post? After all, if your client is asking, chances are other people are out there looking for the same answers. ‘How-to’ videos, in fact, are one of the most popular forms of video now on YouTube, so why not turn your answer into a general explainer video or educational webinar? You could also consider creating a slideshare presentation, or even an online course.
- Update a formerly-covered topic: Taking a look through some of your old content topics, are there any that feel like they’re in need of an update? There’s never any harm in bringing a new take to a subject that continues to be relevant, or that has become relevant again due to some recent industry news or research. Maybe you’ve simply changed your mind on a particular viewpoint, or have noticed a few links and other details that could do with an update. Regardless of your reason, refreshing a piece in this way is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse and ensure your content remains useful.
- Use internal materials: Many companies have a whole host of training materials used for bringing new employees up-to-speed on work processes and the culture of their organisation. With a bit of tweaking, these can find great use elsewhere. Consider incorporating the information about your business values and ambitions as copy on your website to help humanise your brand and give you a more distinct voice. Your industry knowledge and specific training materials can also become e-books and guides that can help to demonstrate your company as thought-leaders in your field.
- Use old blogs as a discussion point: Repurposing written content for videos or podcasts is a great way to appeal to a wider variety of users, and it doesn’t have to mean simply reading out the same piece as a word-for-word speech. Instead, invite some colleagues or a special guest on and use the ideas in your piece as a starting-point for discussion. Explore different tangents and viewpoints that you didn’t get a chance to in your original piece, creating a free-standing work that will appeal to even more web users.
- Always get the most out of each piece: This one is more of a general rule for any piece of content you produce, but never limit yourself in terms of its use. If you recently recorded a video interview, don’t just post the video and forget about it: create a transcript to turn into a blog post, use the audio and add more contributors to make a podcast episode, create a quote-card series highlighting the most important points, cut out some short clips to use on your social media channels… and so on. There are more possibilities than you might realise out there - have some fun discovering them.
This list certainly isn’t an exhaustive one, but hopefully it can spark some deeper considerations about all the applications there are out there for your carefully-crafted content. Repurposing is all about working smarter, not harder. Far from corner-cutting, it’s a method that will help you find a bigger audience, and free up some time for you to work on new pieces as well.
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Author: Chloe Edgley