The other day I was chatting with a coach friend about writing and marketing. She was curious whether she could recycle old content, specifically articles she wrote a few years ago. All the information is relevant, and she wondered if she could just freshen it up and use it again.
The answer is YES!
That made her happy. She just saved herself hours of time.
She was worried about making search engines and sites that monitor for plagiarism mad. She heard if she reused articles she’d get dinged for having duplicate copy. She wanted to know how much she had to change to make the new content “original.”
First let me say, I am a huge fan of recycling old content. I love it. These five tips offer a great way to recycle old content, making it fresh and relevant again.
How to Recycle Old Content
1. Update an old piece of content to make it current.
Don’t worry about getting dinged for duplicate copy. If you aren’t plagiarizing, you are okay copying and revamping your own work. Chances are, if you submit it to some big article mill and they run it through copyscape, they’ll flag it and reject you. That happened to me once. Annoying. But Google and other search engines are totally okay with you tweaking your work.
Updating your content to keep it search engine optimized and, more importantly, current with what your audience is looking for, is just good marketing.
There are a few ways to go about recycling your old content. My personal favorite is to use the core message and find new examples to illustrate the points. That keeps it fresh and timely.
2. Change the format of the content
Got a great article or blog with a list? Or maybe you have some wonderful tips or stats. Turn the article into an infographic or a video. You can use the exact same copy, but putting it into a new format makes it brand new. I do this with videos. I like to write, and then do a video using the information in my article.
3. Create a series
Some people like to read short blogs and articles. So, if you have something longer, you can cut it up into a series of smaller pieces. For example, I could do a separate piece of content for each of these tips on how to recycle old content (if fact, I think I will). The bonus to this is each article in the series can link back to the other articles and to the original. You can also add examples in the shorter piece that perhaps didn’t fit in the original content.
4. Get more life out of the original article
Refreshing great, albeit older, content is great… and easy to do. Simply create social sharing messages from the main points and schedule them over time.
Another way to breathe life into your old content is to turn it into downloads. People LOVE downloads. Take a well-performing article or post, put it in a nice format, and make it available for download (building your email list at the same time). I’ve done it with a few pieces and it has helped grow my list!
5. Recycle the old content to appeal to a new audience
Finally, a great way to recycle your old content is to tweak for a specific audience or niche. For example, I serve coaches and small business owners. I could take this blog and narrow it down to teaching life coaches how to recycle content, or perhaps focus it on holistic healers. It only takes a few minor changes in examples to do that and your audience loves it.
Want more ideas on what to write? Download my content creation cheat sheet. It will spark your creativity and help you narrow down what content to recycle and what to do with it.