Content recycling is not a compromise — it's a craft.
It involves the artful transformation of old materials into fresh, relevant content that better resonates with your audience.
By mastering the way you repurpose content, you can bring new value to your audience, whether they have seen that content once before or not.
In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits, strategies, and creative techniques that’ll empower you to breathe new life into your aged content.
Why is recycling content important as a marketer?
Repurposing marketing content will save your life as a marketer.
Let’s get it straight, creating valuable content takes time and we all know that time is money. Arguably, repurposing, reusing, and reconstructing your old marketing materials is the best way to save your time and money as a content creator.
Simultaneously, recycling content can have a positive impact on your audience if you do it right.
There’s power in repetition:
Don’t take this as a free pass to repost the same image 10 times on your social media account — instead, find relief knowing that no one is keeping close tabs on the things you’re publishing.
If your audience keeps hearing the same message, they will become more familiar with your brand. Familiarity through repetition enforces brand consistency and drives audience engagement.
How to assess if existing content is worthy of recycling?
Depending on the type of content and the value baked into it, your piece might be worthy of recycling into a new post. Whether you are debating on reusing copy, a statistic, or an image, there’s likely a way you can reuse it or make it better.
Many times, especially in blogs or articles, marketers can identify reusable assets within their content by conducting a content audit. As a best practice, try to run a content audit multiple times throughout the year to help save your creative thinking power and clean up your website and socials where it’s needed.
When conducting a content audit, there are three main steps. You should first identify the difference between evergreen content and time-sensitive content. Evergreen content is relevant and unchanging — the information in the article will remain valuable forever. On the other hand, time-sensitive content may be harder to revamp because it is often topical and only relevant for a short period.
Next in the content audit, it’s important to optimize old content. If you have an old blog post that is still driving a great amount of users to your site, consider revamping that page. Go through and focus on revising outdated sections, adding keywords where you see fit, and writing strategic meta descriptions. Look at performance metrics to help you determine what is worth recycling.
Thirdly, listen to audiences’ feedback — it’ll help you determine what best resonates with your community and why. You can dig into audience feedback through a sentiment analysis — look into the tone of comments and responses, data analytics of posts, and much more. As a note, if it performed well previously, it’ll likely perform well again. Conducting a marketing sentiment analysis will help you focus more on what your customers want.
Once you collect all this information, you can pull pieces from old posts to spark new creations or weave together various pieces. Use what you learned in the content audit to repurpose content — but, be cautious and avoid republishing the content without making any changes.
*If you repost the same article without making changes, you will confuse the search engine and negatively affect your SEO (search engine optimization).
How to recycle your marketing content?
There are many effective ways to recycle content. The more creative you get, the longer your content’s life cycle will be. Marketers often have a few go-to recycling strategies, here’s a short rundown of mine.
Share the same content through different channels. There’s an endless amount of ways to use cross-channel promotion. At Holder, we turn our Hold on for Dear Life podcasts into blog posts — pushing out the same content into two completely different marketing channels. Without much effort, you can do this more often than you’d think.
Break long-form content into smaller pieces. Breaking up your content into smaller chunks allows you to reuse it and expand on it when it’s needed. This can be done for written or filmed content. Often, you can pull a paragraph from a long-form article and dive deeper into the topic, pulling a paragraph and turning it into a blog. For long videos, you can cut it into multiple short clips that will perform better on social platforms — make sure you crop it to be no longer than a minute long!
Give your old content a facelift. Sometimes your old designs need a visual makeover. If you posted an infographic six months ago but the information is still relevant to your target audience, try redesigning the graphic so it looks different before resharing it. You can do this for videos, charts, and other interactive content.
Incorporate user-generated content. Gather your customers’ testimonials and success stories. Prospects want to see real people attesting to the value you provide. Easily weave in user-generated content into your digital presence to remain real and relevant. An easy starting point is creating case studies — outlining your customer's problem, your product or service, and the impact it had on the client.
Reconfigure the structure of your content. Not always, but sometimes content doesn’t flow. If you aren’t seeing the results you expect of an article, consider restructuring the flow and order of the story. Sometimes a simple change like this makes a big impact.
What tools to use for content repurposing?
Recycling content can be messy if you don’t have tools to properly manage your project — especially if you’re working on a team, you need to have a framework in place that everyone is using. If you don’t properly manage this task with tools and a framework, it’ll quickly become a daunting task.
Luckily, creators and marketers can turn to various marketing tools to help with repurposing content. If you’re devoting hours or even days to conducting a content audit, consider using a content management system. You can use a third-party management source or something as simple as a Google Doc to help you stay organized. With whichever route you choose, begin categorizing your existing content into two groups — evergreen and time-sensitive. Within these groups, make a list of articles, videos, etc. that you think are worth reusing. Having a sorted list of content will help you when it is time to really dig in and get started.
As mentioned before, understanding how your content is performing is a necessity. Gather insights and data analytics through performance tracking tools. Spend time in Search Console and Google Analytics — although these platforms can be overwhelming at first, I promise it’ll be worth it.
After you rework your old content, you should create a plan for when you will republish it. Build out an editorial calendar for your whole marketing team to see — this should outline when you are posting blogs, reports, campaigns, socials, and anything related to marketing. An in-depth calendar keeps everyone in sync and helps enforce deadlines to be met. By utilizing a shared marketing content calendar, you can visually plan when and where to fill the gaps with recycled marketing materials.
Finally, after organizing, analyzing, reworking, and planning, you’re ready to schedule the refreshed materials. Use automation tools to schedule and automatically post pieces based on your editorial calendar. After you schedule your new content to go live, all you have to do is sit back and wait to see the magic happen.
After recycling content, what’s next?
You did it! You repurposed content and published it, now what?
Remember when I said to use Search Console and Google Analytics, well as it turns out, these platforms should become your best friends. After your content has been live for a few days or even weeks, it’s important to monitor how it’s performing. (If you post on social platforms, other tools like Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social can help you track analytics).
Build a strategy around checking the performance of each piece. Don’t be afraid to adjust it as needed! Above all, content creators need to continue monitoring posts and repeating the process.
Additionally, always have an open ear for what your customers and audiences have to say. By listening to the market, you will gain first-hand feedback. By dialing into feedback, you’ll learn, grow, and optimize. Sometimes your community will even generate new ideas or a different perspective for you.
So, the next time you see an opportunity to recycle content, embrace it! Always remember, your customers don’t care about what you post, they care about the value it provides.