Content recycling: Smart tips for repurposing your old content for maximum impact
Creating new and relevant content on a regular basis - that's the biggest challenge for every journalist and thought leader.
Creating new and relevant content on a regular basis - that's the biggest challenge for any journalist and thought leader.
So why not polish up and reuse content that has been painstakingly created and popular? Because this much is clear: the effort to recycle existing content is much less than worrying about creating completely new content.
The benefit is clear: the effort required to recycle existing content is much less than creating entirely new content. For this reason, content reuse should be an important part of any content strategy.
Content reuse is critical to your success. It's the fastest way to create high-quality content. If you haven't integrated this tactic yet, definitely consider doing so.
What you'll learn in this blog:
- Why you should recycle your content
- How to find suitable content
- General tips for content revision
- The 3 key principles of content recycling
Why you should recycle your content
To that end, let's first take a closer look at the biggest benefits of content recycling.
You know how tedious and time-consuming careful content research can be. Recycling a piece of content also requires work. However, it doesn't compare to creating it from scratch.
Also, let's say you've put a lot of time and effort into researching and writing an article. First of all, you probably feel a tiny bit of pride.
Second, wouldn't it be a shame to give your readers just one chance to consume your high-quality content as well?
Content recycling saves you a lot of effort and time. You also benefit from your best content one more time.
Many companies share this assessment as well. Take a look at Curata's chart, for example:
Content recycling means that you prepare your content into different formats. The main formats are audio, video, and text.
If you play out your best articles again after some time, e.g. as a podcast across different platforms, this will significantly increase your reach.
Although the users in your target group probably have a lot in common, they most likely do not have the same learning style. More than half of them do learn primarily visually, but the rest prefer audio, for example. This means that you are not optimally addressing this rest with articles and videos.
Republished articles as podcasts can thus help you perfectly reach the remaining 30% of auditory learners.
Let's stay on the subject of psychology for a moment.
The human brain learns primarily through repetition. This is another crucial point why it is advisable to distribute a message in different versions and formats, as well as across different media.
This way, by reusing your content, you ensure that the information remains in the memory of your target group.
Did you know that 51% of the traffic on websites on average comes from the organic search results of Google & Co? This was the conclusion of a study by BrightEdge.
You might wonder what this has to do with content recycling. Well, recycling your content gives you the opportunity to update all SEO-relevant data.
You should check if the keywords are still correct, the links are still up to date and if metadata is stored.
In the first part, I briefly discussed the reasons for content recycling. Perhaps you are now asking yourself the question: Which content is actually best suited for recycling?
How to find suitable content
So, first things first: Of course, theoretically, any content can be reused. However, not all content is equally suitable. Some of your articles are much more suitable than others.
So what should you look for when you're looking for content to recycle?
In general, the most suitable content is that which is either
- was often shared,
- ranks well on Google,
- has many backlinks
- and above all is still relevant.
But one after the other.
Take a content inventory
You start with a so-called content inventory. This means that you analyze your existing content. The following criteria are best suited for this.
By looking at Google Analytics or your analytics tool of choice, you can quickly identify the content that has the most page views. Remember this content for later recycling.
Are there social media posts that catch your eye with above-average social shares?
Blog posts that have received many positive comments should also be looked at. Likewise, blog posts that gave rise to lively discussions.
If the topics are still current, you can pick up on them and revisit the topic.
Now look at those posts that were able to generate many backlinks. This means that this content was particularly relevant for other content creators.
For this, I can recommend a very readable article by Quick Sprout about the types of content that generate the most backlinks.
Example topic: "How to build a dog house in 5 steps". An article with clear explanations and attractive photos makes excellent timeless, relevant content. Because this much is clear: Even in 5 years, people will most likely still keep dogs.
Allow me to make a small comment on my own behalf. Our integrated content intelligence goes one step further: it even gives you seasonal topic recommendations.
With just a few clicks, you can use countless data to discover in which months topics such as cycling, recipes or university are particularly popular. And this much is certain: the results are sometimes amazing.
As you can see, there are many criteria that help you find suitable content for recycling. You simply focus on selecting the content that scored well on as many criteria as possible in your analysis.
Pretty simple, huh?
General tips for content revision
Before you start recycling your content, it's important to consider the following points.
This will ensure that the older content still fits your goals and values.
- Does the selected content still match your company's positioning? If not, adjust the core messages accordingly or dispose of the content.
- Has the target group remained the same from back then? If something has changed here, the content must be changed accordingly.
- Are the keywords from back then still up to date? Or is it appropriate to adapt them?
- You should review and update numbers, dates and facts. Nothing is more embarrassing than old data.
- Check all links. Google penalizes non-functioning links with a worse ranking.
The 3 key principles of content recycling
Once the content has been selected, you can start to make your old content shine again. I'll now show you the three key principles you can use to do this.
1. serve content tidbits
The most common form of content recycling is this: You divide a longer piece of content (e.g., issues) into several small "bites" (including articles). Keyword content model. Let me give you three examples.
Whitepaper -> Blog
Split a white paper or e-book into a series of blog posts. In each post, link to the original format and offer it to your readers as a free download.
Longer articles are also great for a series of newsletters.
Blog -> Social Media Posts
For social media, you can break content down into even smaller bites. Sometimes a quote or an image is all it takes.
Just take an article like this one 33 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Your Own Body.
From that, in turn, grab part of the introduction for a short teaser on Facebook. And just use the most interesting quotes and stats for Twitter. Like in the following example:
Videos -> GIFs or shorter videos
Do you have a longer video about your company, products or whatever? Then recycle it. Create several short videos or animated GIFs from it. These takeaway videos grab attention, so they're great for social media.
Also possible: Simply publish your existing content on a new channel, such as Apple News+.
2. several short contents become one long format
The reverse approach is also possible: You create a comprehensive content format from several short pieces of content.
Blog posts -> whitepaper or e-book
For example, you could collect well performing blog posts that belong to the same topic. You enrich this content with some current information. And from that, you create a whitepaper or an e-book.
We humans love simplicity and good summaries. These are ideal conditions for regular compilations. You can use this type of content on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, for example.
Compilations are short teasered listings of your best blog posts. They are usually read with pleasure and shared frequently.
Short How-to Videos -> Video Course
Have you created several thematically similar how-to videos? Great, then combine them into one video course. You can then offer the video course for download on your website.
3. put your content into a different format
The last common option is to publish your existing content in a completely different format. Remember the three main formats of text, video, and audio?
Print -> Digital formats
As a publisher, you have a lot of printed content such as magazines, brochures or studies. Why not reuse that content?
Enrich the content with interactions and animations and you have the perfect content for social media, your website or your blog.
Video -> Blog
If you have created a video, then you can convert this video into a blog and embed it on your website. The advantage of this is that the new content now also ranks with the search engines. And thus provides more traffic to your website.
Blog -> Podcast
An increasingly popular form of content recycling is turning a blog into a podcast. According to a 2017 survey by Edison Research , 24% of respondents listen to a podcast at least once a month.
So take your most popular posts and articles and turn them into podcast episodes. Don't have a podcast yet? Well, it's easy to get started.
Furthermore, podcasts have one key advantage: your voice. Just like video, it's a very personal medium. With a podcast, it's relatively easy for you to establish a personal relationship with your listeners and build trust.
Try out new platforms
Of course, you can make it even easier by simply testing new platforms with existing content.
When publishing content to other platforms, you don't have the pressure of having to rewrite or edit the original content.
Sites such as Medium, LinkedIn Publisher, and Business2Community enable content syndication. These huge platforms can help you share your content with a larger group of people.
However, before you decide to share your articles on these sites, there is one more thing you should check first.
Namely, whether your original content contains a "rel=canonical" tag. This little tag gives Google the important information where to find the original article.
You can quickly add the tag using the Yoast plugin, for example.
An important aspect of a functioning content strategy is to regularly serve your target audience with varied and relevant content.
Content recycling is therefore an indispensable way to conserve your own resources and keep the time spent low. Properly applied, it also has the potential to have a tremendous impact on your website visits.
Finally, a personal suggestion: let the three principles just listed guide you. And feel free to playfully try out one or the other format.
Just by experimenting a little, you'll find out how content reuse can help drive significantly more traffic to your website.
Do you have any other ideas on how to repurpose content? We'd love to hear them. Just drop us a line on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
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