Repurposing content: how to select which content to repurpose

Creating content takes time. Creating good content takes even longer. Find out why you should be repurposing content and how to select which copy to start with.  

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In the first of this mini series into content repurposing, I’ll be focusing primarily on how to go about selecting which content to repurpose.  

 

Most of the time, for most companies, the problem isn’t that they need more content, it’s that they need more people to see their content. That’s where content repurposing is useful. 

Repurposing content is exactly how it sounds; you’re essentially reworking or recycling existing content. This could be a case of simply updating an old blog post, it could be editing an old guide with a new goal in mind, or it could be taking the overall concept of your existing content and converting it into a new format. 

Often, repurposing content is something that just doesn’t cross our minds. Once we’ve written something and promoted it, we move on – mentally and physically – but it’s a good tactic to have up your sleeve, from both a time and performance perspective. 

Why repurpose content?

Creating content takes time. Creating good content takes even longer. Repurposing content means you aren’t starting from scratch, you’re editing rather than creating, and the majority of your research has already been done, so it’s inevitable that you’re saving time. 

But more than this, it’s about making your content work harder. When you’ve put time and resource into creating good quality content, it makes sense to consider what more you can get from it. 

It may also be that your objectives have changed. You may be focusing on reaching people at a different stage of the marketing funnel, your immediate priority might be towards a different channel, or as a business you may even have a new target audience to consider. 

How to select what content to repurpose

Deciding what content to repurpose will largely depend on your objectives, as mentioned above. Always keep this in mind when auditing your existing copy, but there are a few different types of content that can be a good starting point for reworking:

Content that has performed well

If a piece of content has historically performed well, you can be fairly confident that it’s on a strong topic, that’s relevant to your audience, and well written, therefore it makes sense to lean in to this. Repurposing content isn’t just about bringing something up to date, it could be a case of taking a blog post, and creating an infographic based on it too, or using the topic for a webinar for example. You’re essentially developing on something you already know is working. 

Content that hasn’t performed well

This might seem like a bit of a strange one, but hold the thought! Sometimes a great piece of content fails to get the eyeballs it deserves through no fault of its own. It may have been down to timing. For example a B2B blog post shared on a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday could easily become a distant memory all too quickly. Similarly, you may have a stronger domain authority or social following than you had at the time,  meaning that this piece would naturally get more attention now. Not all content works, but if there are pieces you feel really should have worked, that just didn’t, they could be a good candidate for repurposing. 

Similarly, it might be useful to identify content that has a high visibility in the search engines, but low click through rate. Google Search Console is great for selecting content that meets these criteria, and it could be a simple case of updating your titles and meta descriptions to encourage better click through rates. 

Evergreen content

Although the phrase ‘evergreen content’ makes me cringe a little, it is well suited to repurposing content. Topics that will always be relevant to what you do are the best fit when it comes to reworking what you have, as of course, content based on industry news (or company news) will be largely irrelevant months or years down the line. 

Topics that have become relevant again

The above said, if you can find a timely hook that makes older content suddenly more relevant again, fantastic! For example, we might write a blog about what to do in the wake of an algorithm update, that could be repurposed in the wake of a new algorithm update. Ideally, with some additional context about the previous update and learnings from it that would make the piece of content even stronger. 

Content that used to perform well, but doesn’t anymore

There are lots of reasons content performance can decline over time, but if you’ve found a piece that always used to drive traffic or engagement, that doesn’t anymore, it’s worth looking into why, and questioning what you can do about it. It could be simply that a newly published blog typically performs better in the search engines than one published two years ago. It could also be to do with the way your audience consumes content. A really strong piece from 5 – 10 years ago in long form written content may now work better in short form video for example. 

Revisiting content from a fresh perspective, or approaching it with a new spin, is sometimes all that’s needed to breathe new life into it, and boost its performance. 

In the next of the series, we’ll focus on how to repurpose your content.

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