Content recycling – same same but different

How to turn old content into new one

Christin Wald | © punkt & komma
Christin Wald
Content editor
There’s heaps of content in your blog? In fact, there are so many texts and articles that you have somewhat lost track? Should you delete some of it? Or rather keep it? What’s the best way to make use of old content? The solution: content recycling! Take your old texts and breathe new life into them by turning them into new formats. We’ll tell you how it’s done! 

Taking something old and making something new out of it isn’t necessarily a new idea. Just imagine your personas, let’s call them Miri and Paul, as Neanderthals (ok, this takes a little imagination, but you can do it). Imagine them thousands of years ago, recycling objects from their everyday lives: They didn’t just throw away damaged tools made of stone or bone. Instead, they collected them and turned them into new tools. 

Our Neanderthals, Miri and Paul, already knew how to take something old and turn it into something new to save time and energy. And that’s exactly what content recycling is all about!
Bild einer alten Schreibmaschine von oben

What is content recycling?

Basically, we have taken stone-age Miri and Paul and transferred them to the 21st century. Now it’s all about updating and refreshing! Spruce up your content and give it a fresh and topical kick. It’s no rocket science and a cost-effective way to re-use existing content and feed new channels with it …
3 steps to successful content recycling

Why you should use your content in a sustainable way …

  • Content recycling saves time and money. Sounds enticing? You bet it is! Creating a new post from scratch usually takes up a lot of resources. Whether you outsource it to an external specialist (= cost-intensive) or use your own manpower (or womanpower) for it (=research-intensive/time-consuming): Both options require lots of effort to create new content. With content recycling, you don’t have that kind of effort.
  • By transferring your content to new formats (e.g. info graphics, videos, blog posts etc.), you reach different target groups. This will automatically increase your reach. Your content and message are much less likely to be forgotten when your personas come across them in different places.
  • Re-using your content and keywords increases your traffic and establishes a connection to your readers (if you stay online …).
Step 1

Analyse your existing content

The good ones go into the pot, the bad ones go into your crop. Do like Cinderella did with your content! Analyse which of your content pieces do best and which ones are rarely read. Which of them are shared the most, which get the most comments? Which pages are most frequently visited by Miri and Paul? Which of them only get a couple of clicks? Put together a list of those pages that do best and worst, ideally as part of a complete content audit. 

Miri and Paul aren’t Neanderthal people anymore, but your personas – and they move around the web every day. It’s their needs you want to meet with relevant texts. That’s why you need to clean up your pages, throw out unnecessary content and delete what you don’t need anymore. Just remember: If it hasn’t been clicked until now, it’s very unlikely that it’ll be clicked in the future. 

In your content recycling, you take the content that does best and that Miri and Paul have been most interested in. After all, this content is more likely to be interesting for them in a new, updated version. 
Step 2

Define your target groups and communication channels

Content that doesn’t meet the needs of your target group or personas will not be read. That’s why it’s vital for your content recycling that you know Miri and Paul really well. Defining your target groups in advance helps you find the right words when writing for them.

Whether it’s a blog article, a video or a newsletter: Depending on your target group, you will use different channels. Think about the best way to reach your target group with your new content!
Icons der Social Media Kanäle Facebook, Youtube, Twitter und Co. auf einer Tastatur zu sehen
Step 3

Recycle your content

At this stage, you know everything about your content. You have defined your target group and selected the appropriate communication channels. Now it’s time to revise your content!  
Verfassen von SEO-Texten. | © punkt & komma

5 tips to revamp old content:

  • Countless of your old articles are only waiting to be read? Take them all, add a few new findings – and what you get is an e-book that you can offer for download! 
  • You have content that would be suitable for a video? Use it! Whether it’s how2 content, tutorials or tips – lots of things can be explained way better in a video.
  • How about doing a bit of “offline” content recycling? For instance, turn your texts into a print product. How about a flyer or folder to generate new customers?
  • Take your old blog articles and turn them into an infographic. And did you know that blog articles make for excellent Facebook posts?
  • You have done a talk at an event? Turn it into a webinar or a presentation for LinkedIn Slideshare! Incidentally, the last two tips work great in b2b marketing! 

Conclusion: There are many different ways of re-using, revamping and improving existing content. You’ll see how easy it is to create new content with little effort!

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