What once was old can always be new again, and that includes your content.
Here’s what you need to know about repurposing content the right way.
- Repurposing is great for both your bottom line and your content’s visibility.
- Penalties for repurposing content are incredibly rare, so there’s no need to worry about duplicate content.
- Focus on adding value and/or reswizzling formats when repurposing old content, and your audiences won’t get bored.
Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” never repurposed their content. So, let’s talk about how repurposing content is one of the greatest content creation approaches we can almost guarantee you’re not doing enough of today.
The Benefits of Repurposing Content
Repurposing content is an approach that takes existing, published content, refreshes it, remixes it, and puts an entirely new spin on it to create something totally new and wonderfully different. I’m a huge fan of repurposing content for two main reasons:
1. Maximize your content investments.
Contrary to popular belief, content isn’t free. In fact, it’s actually quite expensive to create. It takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money, and those are things that not every marketing department or brand has excess amounts of. Repurposing content can absolutely help maximize the existing investments we’ve already made.
2. Refresh existing content.
You, like most brands, probably have a mountain of content created already. When we’re solely focused on creating new content, we keep adding to that mountain. And that means that old content, even if it’s really good, doesn’t get seen by users because it gets buried under all that new content. Repurposing content really can take a lot of that great, old content and give it a breath of fresh air (and some much-needed visibility).
Dispelling the Myths of Repurposing Content
When it comes to repurposing content, there are a few myths to clear up. Just know that the big takeaway here is that repurposing content is one of the absolute best things you can do for your budget, your content calendar and, most importantly, your audiences.
Repurposing myth #1: You’re going to be penalized for having duplicate content.
Obviously, we don’t want to be penalized by search engines or even cause frustration to users by having duplicate content. But, remember, repurposing isn’t duplication, and it’s definitely not a copy and paste approach. Instead, it’s a remix and refresh approach.
When you remix and refresh your content, you’re taking a white paper and turning it into a blog post series or taking a blog post and turning it into an infographic. You’re not copying and pasting—you’re providing something new and different. That means search engines and users aren’t really going to see that as the same content.
In addition, you would have to repurpose incredibly large amounts of content and also be seen as having malicious intent for duplicating that content. Again, that’s not what we’re doing here.
Repurposing myth #2: You can’t reuse other people’s content.
This simply isn’t true. Sometimes the best content on a specific topic we want to write about will come from other people, and that’s okay. If somebody created a framework or published a blog or has an infographic that you have feedback on or you can provide your own take on, by all means, you should use that content and provide your point of view on it. But before you do, there are a few rules you must follow:
- Ask for permission: If you’re repurposing other people’s work, like building a blog post around their framework or using their photos in a whitepaper, you absolutely want to ask for permission and let them know what you’re going to do with their content before you repurpose it.
- Give credit where credit’s due: Always, every time, no exceptions. Make sure you credit them in the final published work, and link to the original source content, too. It’s the right thing to do because paying homage is cool, but theft is not.
Repurposing myth #3: Your audiences are going to be bored.
Again, content repurposing isn’t copying and pasting. If you publish and post the same content on every channel, over and over and over again, yeah, your audiences will be bored. But, as we talked about before, if you take an infographic and you turn it into social teasers, or if you take a white paper and turn it into a blog post series, it’s going to be new and it’s going to be different. And as long as you’re adding value and you’re providing a reason for readers to read that content again, you’re going to be okay. Also, focus on other channels as well. You don’t have to keep republishing in the same channel that that original content was published in.
How to Repurpose Content
There are several approaches you can take to repurposing content, which we’ve outlined below. But just know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to repurposing. It really comes down to what that existing content looks like, what format it’s in, how outdated it is, and your goals for repurposing. Once you determine that, it’ll be a lot easier to repurpose content and see the impact it can have on your content, goals and audiences.
Start in the content planning stages: As Amy Woods, the Founder of Content 10x, said on the Social Pros podcast, “Content repurposing should not be an afterthought. Create content with repurposing in mind.” Trust us, planning upfront will make it a lot easier to repurpose down the road.
Use the 1:8 rule for content atomization: At Convince & Convert, we love atomizing content, which is repurposing content. We use the 1:8 rule, which means that for every big piece of content we create, we should be able to get at least 8 smaller pieces of content from it. So, let’s use our 2019 Best Websites Among America’s Top University’s report. That’s one huge piece of content, which means we could do at least eight smaller pieces of content, such as:
- Webinar to review findings and criteria
- Social-formatted infographic of the top 3 universities
- Instagram + Facebook Stories reveal of the top 5
- Blog post summary of the criteria we used, plus a link to download
- Blog post about how to conduct a website audit like the one we conducted
- Social quote cards of key snippets from the report
- Blog post summarizing findings and highlights
- Downloadable report charts and graphics for others to repurpose too.
Update existing content: Maybe you have some greatest hits content that’s still pulling in traffic, but some links or examples are really out of date. In that case, just give your content a slight refresh and republish it. Oh, and be sure to also add some new content updates while you’re there, even if it’s just an extra insight, updated stat, or additional examples. That way, you can bring back audiences that may have already seen it. That’s actually exactly what we did with this post, and what we do with a lot of C&C content, because references and links can get out of date fairly quickly, depending on the topic.
Just like Doc Martens, vinyl records, and acid wash jeans, what once was old can always be new again, and that includes our content.
Want ideas on the different ways you can repurpose your content? Check out Jay Baer’s list of ways and places to atomize your content. Or maybe you need some content inspiration altogether? Then you need our blog on 16 Techniques to Power Up Your Content Creation.