Recycling Content: What’s Old Is New Again

Content RecyclingBranded content is like bacon—you can never have too much of it!* Experts predict that businesses will spend more than $118.4 billion on digital advertising in 2013. And yet, 64 percent of B2B marketers say one of their biggest challenges is producing enough content to meet the demand of their consumers.

Coming up with content on a regular basis is difficult, especially when you’re dealing with budget restraints and time restrictions. How can you produce engaging new content several times a week without dropping off in quality?

Well, the fact is that not all of your content has to be brand new. You can recycle existing content and find a way to present it that’s fresh and compelling.

The Right Way to Recycle Content

Just to be clear, recycling content doesn’t mean simply changing the date on an article you wrote three years ago and reposting it. While it’s certainly less time-consuming than creating something original out of whole cloth, recycling content properly still requires some effort and creativity. The idea is to take something you’ve previously created and to rework it, add value to it, and release it as something new.

Seven Ways to Recycle Your Content

Here are some methods you can use to repurpose your older content and give it a new life:

  • Break it up. Long-form content, such as an eBook or a white paper, can be broken into smaller pieces to create a series of articles or blog posts. In that same vein, a long video can be edited and shared online as a series of clips.
  • Collect it. If you don’t happen to have an abundance of long-form content lying around, you can develop some fairly easily. Look for existing blog posts or articles that are unified by a theme or idea, and bundle them together to create an eBook or white paper.
  • Expand it. Dig down deeper into a piece of your existing content, and provide some details. For example, with just a little research and effort, an article about five best practices can be expanded into a five-part series of articles that examine these practices in depth.
  • Reformat it. Presenting your older content in a new format is a great way to breathe new life into it. It can be as simple as creating a transcript of a video or podcast, or putting together an infographic based on data from an existing blog post. Videos can be edited into slideshows, and white papers can be presented as webinars.
  • Update it. Some content, by its very nature, has a very short shelf-life. That article may have been timely and fresh when you wrote it, but now it’s about as cutting edge as your grandma’s green polyester pantsuit. You can extend the life of dated content by going back and adding an update. Provide some recent statistics, or explain in a paragraph or two what has happened since the piece was first published. Even if you decide to write a newer version of the article, you can still keep the older one around and link to the revised content.
  • Change its audience. Peruse your existing content and ask yourself if it could be reworked to appeal to a new target. For example, you could take a highly-technical white paper and simplify it for a layman audience. Widening your content’s appeal is a great way to increase exposure for your business.
  • Promote it. You can develop new content to feature or highlight your existing content. For example, you can promote an eBook by writing a series of blog posts featuring excerpts and reviews. Or you can promote your blog by repurposing some of your posts into a weekly newsletter. Not only will you be coming up with new content, but you’ll be extending the life of your existing content.

This list is by no means complete, but it should give you a good place to start if you’re looking for ways to recycle content. Recycling is a terrific strategy for augmenting your content output, but only if you do it well. You’re not just repurposing your content, but you’re doing so in a way that gives your audience something new.

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*Doctors and dietitians might disagree, but what do they know about content marketing?

Let us know what you think!