How to repurpose content

Updating, optimising or reformatting your content for a different goal, audience or channel can extend the life of your copy, as well as help underperforming content shine.

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In the first part of our mini series on content repurposing, we looked at what content repurposing is, and how to select which content to repurpose. In part two, we think about how to repurpose content. 

 

As with any piece of content you write, the first question should always be why. Why are you repurposing this particular piece of content? Because that will dictate how you go about it. For example, how you decide to recycle content that’s performed well but has the potential to reach a larger audience would be very different to how you repurpose content that has true value but perhaps missed the mark for whatever reason the first time around. 

When you’re clear on what you’re looking to achieve, there are a number of different ways to breathe new life into your content:

 

Bring it up to date 

One of the simplest ways to repurpose content is to take existing copy and evaluate what needs to change for it to be relevant today. This could be from a business perspective, industry perspective, or even wider. 

For example, your company may offer additional products or services to when this content was originally created, or your business focus or messaging may have evolved and need reflecting in your language. 

Or the changes could be more to do with your audience. Have their priorities changed? What challenges do they face now that they perhaps didn’t at the time? 

Don’t just stop at the actual copy either, if you work in a particularly visual industry, consider whether your imagery needs updating too.

This sort of approach works best for content that you know is strong and worth reassessing. In particular, it makes sense to look at content that has historically performed well but has perhaps slowed down in recent months. 

Make it more in depth 

Again, this works best with content that used to perform well, but it can also be helpful for articles that you’re confident are strong, but are perhaps being outranked by slightly meatier pieces in the SERPs. 

I’m never a big fan of writing more words for the sake of it. Word counts are the work of the devil, but considering what other sub topics you could cover that would add value to the content and actually be useful to your audience is certainly worthwhile doing.

Looking at what other companies are writing about can provide inspiration, and keyword research tools can give you suggestions on related topics. Other tools and resources like Answer The Public, and Google’s People Also Ask feature are also really useful for pre-empting people’s follow up questions. 

 

Optimise (or reoptimise) it

The content that drives the most traffic isn’t always the content that’s the most insightful, or well-written. While Google tries to reward good quality content, it’s not uncommon to see content that struggled to get the recognition it deserved first time round because of matters (partially) out of your control. 

If the original content was not well optimised, or if it was optimised around a keyword that’s just too competitive, or not quite the right fit for your audience, then it might have missed the people who will most benefit from it. 

Take the time to think about who would be searching and why, and look at what already ranks for these phrases, then consider whether you need to reoptimise your content for slightly different keywords. 

It’s also worth reviewing your meta content too. If a large percentage of your traffic is from organic search, then it won’t matter how amazing your content is if no one clicks through to it, so if your title and description aren’t compelling, then rewriting these could be a quick win. 

 

Consider different formats 

This is perhaps the most obvious way to reformat your content. 

If your content has performed well, and you’ve put a lot of time, effort and research into it, then it makes sense to get as much out of it as possible. If it’s currently a guide that sits on your website, then why not also turn it into an email, and create some social posts from it. For key topics, why not even create a webinar series?

If you’ve got a large whitepaper containing research, make an infographic of the stats, share individual stats, or put together a summary blog post. 

For content that maybe hasn’t worked as well as you’d hoped, think about how your audience consumes content. If they tend to prefer easily digestible content over long form pieces, why not create short videos on the same topic instead? It’s also a good idea to take a look back at the format of some of your most successful content and see what patterns work best for you.

 

Think about timing 

Sometimes a piece of content’s success or failure is determined by something as simple as bad timing. Perhaps it was launched on a Friday afternoon, and slipped through the net, or you attempted some outreach during the summer holidays and got too many Out of Office replies to gain real traction. News from other big players in your market that coincided with your content may also have affected your performance, so sometimes it’s worth sharing again at a different time to test the waters. 

 

When you’ve finished writing and promoting a piece of content, it’s easy to forget about it and move on to the next piece, but making time to look back at older content and how it could better serve you now can be a really time effective way of boosting traffic and engagement.

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