UPDATED: This post about repurposing old blog content was updated for 2016 to reflect new information, more examples and current stats. Enjoy!
We all know that regular blogging for your business is important (content is king, right?), but coming up with new and valuable topics to post about every day or even every week can be time-consuming and difficult.
One way to simplify the process of consistent blog content creation is to repurpose old posts into new formats. The Pareto Principle (a.k.a. the 80/20 rule) states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, and in this context what that means is 20% of your posts are bringing in 80% of your organic traffic.
In other words, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel! So rather than writing brand new content each day, make use of your possibly hundreds of old posts by updating, consolidating and repurposing them. Though the specific repurposing techniques below still require some effort on your part, they aren’t nearly as time-consuming as ideating, researching and drafting articles based on new topics.
In addition to saving you time, by updating and republishing your old content on your website, you increase your organic traffic even more. You’ll have a greater chance of older blog posts ranking better than brand new posts (when using the same URL).
So take a look at several years’ worth of data from your analytics to find your top-performing posts and get to work on them!
Here’s are 9 ways to repurpose your old blog content:
1 – Update or expand old posts
Technology moves pretty fast, with websites, services, and products disappearing as fast as new ones emerge to replace them. Revisiting your evergreen posts every year or two not only will keep them on the cutting-edge, but will help to boost organic traffic.
If you run a digital marketing blog, then you know how quickly information, techniques, and algorithms change, which means that the recommendations you share must change, too.
Here are some ways to update your old post:
- Fix incorrect or outdated information
- Add images/graphs/videos
- Refresh examples
- Include current stats and facts
- Mention influencers
- Add a content upgrade
- Write a CTA
- Link to one or two other posts in your blog
Besides hyperlinking to other blog posts (that readers may or may not click on), we also add this type of link. In this case, we put this “Read More” (or you can say “Learn More” or similar phrasing) right under a paragraph in which we discussed Uber:Keep a few things in mind, however, when you update an old post:
- Add a line at the top of the post to announce the update, such as “updated,” “2nd edition,” “now with more!” or make good use of social proof with “one of our most popular posts, updated to include more…” Here’s what we added when we updated our blog post 10 Companies with the Best Digital Marketing Campaigns:
- When you’ve made all your changes in the WordPress post, simply change the publish date to today’s date (very important) and then click “Update.” If you see the “Schedule” button instead of the “Update” button, just change the time so that it’s at least 15 minutes earlier—you should see the “Update” button then.
- Use the exact same URL rather than create a new one. These last two points will ensure that you don’t lose your ranking and have to start it all over.
2 – Record a video version
Video is quickly becoming the most popular online medium for consuming content. According to Google:
Consider this: YouTube reports that mobile video consumption has increased by 100%+ annually, 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook each day, and it’s predicted that 79% of all internet traffic will come from video by 2018.
Another fun way to capitalize on the wealth of content that can be found in your past blog posts is to record video versions of your older articles. There are a number of different ways you can do this:
- Record yourself ad-libbing on the topics you’ve covered in past blog posts. If you’re comfortable with it, a conversational video on past post topics will come across as more natural for viewers. Keep them to a few minutes, like Growth Everywhere’s Growth Bites on various marketing topics.
- Create screen capture videos that show you carrying out any tasks or procedures described in past blog articles. Programs like Jing, Camstudio or Camtasia can make this process easy.
- Services like PowToon and Animoto allow you to create animated videos using photos, text, video clips, music, and sound effects. This is a great choice for the camera-shy among us.
- Consider exploring the world of live-streaming with Periscope or Facebook Live. It can be a bit nerve-wracking until you get used to it, but people love the immediacy of it.
Whatever approach you decide to take, publish your new video blog post to your own website and then upload it to YouTube, Vimeo and any other video sharing services – including Facebook and Twitter – that you use in order to expand the reach of your “new and improved!” content.
3 – Turn posts into email newsletter
Consider repurposing your old blog posts into new content for your email newsletter.
If you think people don’t read emails, you’re wrong. What your fans and potential customers aren’t interested in is a lot of promotional emails from you. But what they are interested in is receiving something of value, whether that teaches them something new, entertains them, or helps them in some way.
You can post your blogs “as is” into your individual newsletter issues, or you can use a pared down version or simple prompts to redirect newsletter readers back to the original articles on your blog. If they haven’t seen it, it’s new to them!
If you have a selection of past blog posts that are all based around a central theme, consider releasing this content as a series of posts. For example, if you have seven old articles on your blog that discuss link building techniques, load them into your autoresponder like AWeber, MailChimp, or ActiveCampaign and advertise your newsletter as featuring a “7 Weeks to Link Building Success” e-course.
Tying posts together in this way makes readers more likely to come back week after week, versus “one off” messages.
Learn More: 6 Cold Email Case Studies with Great Reply Rates
4 – Create podcast episodes
If you run a podcast, look to your old content to provide the inspiration for future audio episodes. Podcasting is a tremendously popular medium, and it’s only getting bigger: 57 million Americans listen to podcasts and 21% have listened to one during the past month, an increase from 17% last year. And with the fast-growing use of smartphones for more and more activities, the podcast audience is only going to get bigger.
You can either record yourself reading your articles word-for-word, or you can use these past content pieces simply as inspiration for your podcast episodes. Whichever option you choose, focus on making your tone as natural and conversational as possible in order to avoid turning off listeners with a stiff delivery style.
There’s no need to invest in an expensive microphone just yet, either. The voice recorder on your smartphone is likely all you’ll need in the beginning. Record, upload to a hosting site like Libsyn or Podbean, embed it on your blog, and share on social media.
Check out these awesome examples of Neil Patel and Eric Siu’s 10-minute Marketing School podcast episodes.
5 – Create Snapchat Stories
The best way to figure out how a new platform works is by adapting your existing content to it. Since you already know the type of response a particular blog post has generated, you can see whether you’re able to replicate a similar response through an emerging platform.
Snapchat has quickly become one of the biggest social networks out there, and yet it’s still early enough for marketers to see significant ROI – because only 1% of advertisers are using Snapchat for marketing.
You can repurpose any strategies that you discuss or teach in your blog posts into bite-sized Snapchat Stories. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk occasionally talks about business tactics through short Snapchat Story segments he calls “Snapchat Secrets.”
Learn More: The Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat
6 – Compile posts into an ebook
This technique requires a little more elbow grease to pull off, but the results may be more than worth the effort you’ll put into it.
To make an ebook out of past posts, look for a series of at least 10+ posts based around a central theme, organize them in a way that makes sense, and write any additional text needed to create a more cohesive read.
Offering an ebook as an incentive to encourage new readers to join your email marketing list can be extremely cost effective. Rather than having your fans read 10 different blog posts on a single or similar topic that probably don’t appear one right after the other (which means they’ll have to perform a keyword search), making it available to your readers in one handy, downloadable PDF with a fancy cover and a little extra content is very attractive to most people.
You can also use the ebook as a content upgrade or lead magnet for other posts, which is an excellent way to convert your readers into subscribers (we get an average of 20-30% opt-in rates on ours), with a message like this:
A program like Scrivener can export your creation into most of the popular formats, including mobi (Amazon Kindle), epub (iBooks), and PDF.
7 – Make a slide deck presentation
If the thought of creating an ebook sounds a bit too intense, why not undertake the much smaller task of putting together a slide deck presentation based on your past content?
Slide deck sharing sites like SlideShare are hot right now. They’ve got 70 million+ users and over 18 million pieces of content on the platform as of 2015, and the content featured on SlideShare often receives preferential treatment within search results.
You can capitalize on both public interest and search engine favoritism for this content by creating simple slide show presentations based around old content on your blog.Be aware, though, that this technique generally works best with technical or data-heavy information.
A blog post titled “27 Link Building Techniques,” for example, can be turned into a slide deck much more easily than one called, “My Thoughts and Feelings on Link Building.” Choose your past articles carefully for this technique and you’ll increase your odds of seeing good results with your repurposed content.
8 – Run a “best of” promotion
One final alternative to consider when it comes to repurposing your old blog content is to compile several past posts into one “best of” article.
If, for example, you had a series of articles that didn’t perform as well as you’d hoped they would, sharing them again in a new list format might bring about your desired level of recognition.
But no matter what type of repurposing you decide to use, there’s one thing to keep in mind: although many bloggers fear that repurposing old content will bore current readers or run the risk of seeming repetitive, this rarely happens.
Very few visitors will have read every piece of content on your website, which makes your repurposing more of a welcome introduction to past articles they’ve missed, not an unwanted promotion of already-viewed content.
9 – Convert it to an infographic
As hot as slide decks are, infographics are even hotter. In fact, they’re liked 4x more than traditional presentations on Slideshare, and they’re shared 3x more than any other content on social media. In addition, 65% of marketing executives believe that infographics and other visual content better communicates their brand story than just text. They appeal to our visual brains and they don’t require too much of our increasingly short attention spans.
Almost anything can be converted to an infographic, but it does work best with statistic- and data-heavy articles. Remember, this format is visual, so ask yourself if the info can be conveyed with images, numbers or other statistics, and short text. If not, you should probably just write a blog post or create a video tutorial.
Tips for creating an infographic:
- Do your research to ensure that all your facts are correct and be sure to cite them
- Create a draft of the text of the infographic, breaking down the different sections with strong headers, and always proofread
- Send it to a designer or do it yourself, but take the time to think about what look you want for the information and how it represents your brand.
Creating one is a lot easier and faster than most people realize. Popular services to get started include easel.ly, Piktochart, and Infogram. With the right blog post as your source material, you can literally have a visually stunning infographic in less than an hour.
Here’s an example of an infographic that we created (click on the link to see the full infographic):
Beyond these cases, be aware that people like to digest content in different formats. What might seem like a long and overwhelming text-based article could come across as much more accessible in video format, depending on your readers’ unique preferences.
In this situation, you aren’t being repetitive – you’re actually opening your message up to reach an even greater number of consumers.
Look at the techniques described above as a way to both amplify your message and minimize the amount of effort needed to run a successful business blog – a true “win-win” situation if ever there was one!
Which of these or other methods have you used to repurpose your old blog content? Let us know in the comments below!