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How to Repurpose Old Content

Let’s face it – constantly needing to come up with new content ideas is time-consuming, frustrating, and stressful. It’s not easy to write new, high quality content every week – which makes it even more frustrating when your content doesn’t immediately gain traction. Several writer’s blocks and short blogs later, you are probably pretty skeptical of the universal “content is king” belief. So how can you improve on your content strategy without spending all your time on finding new ideas? Learning how to repurpose old content can save you time, money, and sanity.

This means altering and improving on past content to boost engagement, or creating new content from your older resources. Repurposing old content is a good SEO practice and all the major content creators do it in some way or another. If you don’t believe me, spend a little time skimming the Moz blog, Hubspot blog, or any other content marketing giants. If they can use old content, why can’t you?

How to repurpose old content:

  1. Conduct a content audit 
  2. Establish what content needs updated information 
  3. Confirm that the content answers the current query 
  4. Combine relevant blogs 
  5. Elaborate on old content 
  6. Connect old and new content 
  7. Find new formats for older popular content 

Conduct a content audit

First things first: What is a content audit?

A content audit is the practice of reviewing and taking inventory of all of the content you’ve written for your company. This means looking at theme patterns, holes in content, quality of your content over time, relevancy, and any other specifications that give you a status report on your writing game.

How do you conduct a content audit?

This can vary depending on the amount of content you have on your site. Some businesses can fit all of their content into a clean little excel sheet no problem. For websites that have hundreds of thousands of blogs, creating an excel list and auditing each blog post could be daunting to say the least. In those cases, looking at outlier opportunities may be a better use of time. That means analyzing the highest performing and lowest performing content. The highest performing content offers opportunities for stretching that success into other formats, and looking at the lowest performing content identifies opportunities to improve on existing content.

Download our checklist of 30+ ways to promote content here.

This is our blog that has high engagement even though it is obviously a couple years old. It’s a great candidate to do a scan and make sure all of the info is still valuable!

Establish what content needs updated information

Your most popular blogs probably still get traffic even though it has been years since you’ve written it. These blogs are super powerful because that is a constant stream of traffic your website is getting, regardless of what your content strategy looks like now. However, if that blog that gets constant traffic isn’t evergreen content, it may not be adding value to the reader.

For example – we have a blog called “How to write a marketing strategy in 2017” that is continuously one of our highest performing blogs. Since 2017, we probably have different recommendations, or at least some additions to add to this blog to make it modern and up-to-date. Is this blog a good candidate for a content update? Yes!

But don’t be fooled – it’s not just the blogs that have a date in the title that need content updates. Some of your content in most if not all of your blogs will need to be updated eventually – especially if you haven’t ever done a content audit.

For blogs with high engagement, here are aspects of content that need regular updates:

  • campaign examples
  • Statistics
  • Stories
  • big-picture ideas
  • Platform updates and functionalities
  • Technology limitations

Confirm that the content answers the current query

One frustration of content writers is when you spend a long time writing good content, and then it doesn’t perform well. Now is not the time to throw your hands in the air and take an ‘L’ – take a step back to understand the lack of traction. Is this piece of content addressing a problem, question, or topic that is relevant to your readers? Is it addressing that topic, problem or question fully and accurately? If you answer no to either of those questions, then you have a great path to boosting engagement for these content flops.

This also goes hand-in-hand with updating outdated information – let’s say you see a blog that was very strong in previous years, but then slowly lost momentum over time. That’s a great clue that the content *did* answer the question, but over time that answer lost relevance. Update that answer with new info or modern examples to re-boost engagement. Need a place to start? Google search console is a great tool for understanding searcher queries connected to content!

We have several blogs on marketing for nonprofits – so we created a complete downloadable guide!

Find opportunities to combine relevant blogs

Let’s say you’re a Cycling tourism company. You’ve written content on the tools you should bring on your bike trip, how to pack your pack, tips for distance biking, and several other blogs on the topic. Maybe some of these got high engagement, and some missed the mark.

A great strategy for repurposing this old content is combining all of these articles to create an “Ultimate Guide to Planning your Cycle Trip”! The best part? You already have all of the information you need to write a great guide. By writing summaries of the original blogs and linking back to them, not only are you creating a valuable complete guide, but boosting the engagement for the original blogs.

This is an especially good content repurposing strategy to try if you tend to write shorter content. Google tends to prefer content that is fully

Find opportunities to elaborate on old content

Every day we are learning new things. That means, are we ever truly done understanding something? Our older content can benefit from new perspectives, enhanced elaborations, modern examples, new image assets… the list goes on.

We already mention how Google tends to prefer longer content – but longer content isn’t the main driver here. Google likes to rank the content that answers questions accurately and in full. So it’s not about writing more for the goal of more writing – it’s about evaluating your content to make sure that no corners go unturned and your explanations are sound. If you have a habit of writing short, shallow blurbs that only graze the surface, it’s time to do a deep dive and see how you can add some depth to your older content.

Connect old and new content

This is a great way to ride on the coattails of your old successes! Linking to newer blogs from your older blogs is a great way to introduce readers to newer, more modern content that is still relevant and valuable to their original Query. Find your blogs that have the highest continuous engagement. If you don’t want to over-edit the original successful blog, you can offer the new content in the body of the old content. The older content will act as a new channel of traffic to the newer blog!

Let’s say you have a blog on “The top 10 mountain bikes of 2016” that is still going strong. You don’t necessarily want to overthrow that entire blog with new information, so a great method of connecting to newer content is adding a link somewhere in the body that says “Click here to see the top 10 mountain bikes of 2020!”

The cool thing is the connection doesn’t have to be as obvious as the example above. As long as you believe that the link to the newer content is helpful to someone researching the older content’s topic, it will be a good practice to include in your content repurposing strategy.

This is subtle, relevant, and will most likely entice the people that want to get the newest information.

This Instagram mini-series was born straight from one of our blogs from 2018!

Find new formats for older popular content

Good content is the gift that keeps on giving – over the years, traffic channels and audiences. This is a great option for those who know how to blog, but are at a loss in other engagement or traffic strategies. During your content audit, take note of the blog topics that would work well in other formats. This is a great strategy because it maximizes chances of traction for certain blog topics, boosts the value of your content across multiple channels, and doesn’t require constant idea creation to do so.

Let’s say one of your blogs was a video diary of the ‘top 10 most scenic bike rides on the west coast’. That would be a great Instagram campaign series – and you already have the images and caption options from the blog! Or, you once wrote an article on the environmental impacts of choosing cycling vacation over flying somewhere – that could make a great and topical podcast.

You are never done with a piece of content, and that is a great thing. Continuously improve your successes and reevaluate your failures to maximize value added from your content strategy. If you need help learning how to repurpose old content, reach out to our team!

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