Repurposing Content: What You Need to Know

Repurposing Content: What You Need to Know

23/10/20 | Alex Stockton

The idea of reusing existing material in your content marketing strategy might seem a little cheap. After all, you get paid to come up with cutting-edge, steaming hot, [insert business jargon here] content that’s as original as it is inspirational. Isn’t just tweaking what you did a few months back just lazy and unimaginative?

It’s actually the opposite, and we’re here to explain why.

Repurposing your existing content can turn a good content strategy into a great one; you just need to know where to focus your efforts.

By understanding the value of updated, evergreen content, you can ensure that your content marketing strategy is both more effective and extra efficient. This guide will explain why that’s true, how to spot your evergreen content, and what effective repurposing looks like.

A stock photo for content

Why repurposing content is a good idea

Repurposing your existing content has a number of benefits.

For one, it makes your content strategy much easier to manage. In all honesty, very few people have the time or the energy to churn out unique, high-quality pieces of content every single day of their lives. If they are working to that kind of a schedule, you can bet that the quality of work will start to drop off after a while. Creating is, well, creative, and creativity can’t be forced or simply ‘churned out’. To provide some respite, focus on what you’ve already got rather than attempting to find gaps where there are none.

Secondly, we always improve our work when we go back to it. And that doesn’t mean checking it at the end of the day. Taking a week, two weeks, two months away from a piece of work and then revisiting it allows you to look at what you’ve done with a fresh perspective. You may find that you can make your writing more concise, or that the infographic you worked on a couple of weeks back actually looks better with a dash of yellow.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you must consider that opinions (and sometimes even facts) change over time. Let’s say that you wrote a piece about local SEO, explaining the importance of local links, Google Business reviews, and area-specific content. That piece might do really well initially and quickly become a great source of traffic for your website, but we all know how Google likes to change its tune every so often. If a big update were to drop that made appearing in the map results much harder for certain industries, you’d need to refresh your content to reflect that. Otherwise, you’ll have people losing confidence in your brand when they learn that it’s outdated.

What content should be repurposed?

Here’s the thing though: not all content should be repurposed. That blog about the 2012 apocalypse that brought you loads of traffic eight years ago probably isn’t ever going to do as well now, no matter what you do with it. Perhaps you could turn it into a piece about the 2021 apocalypse (surely there’s one of those, right?), but you’re probably better off just writing something from scratch.

An impression image of the 2012 apocalypse

So how do we identify which of our pieces are fit for repurposing? We look for evergreen content.

Evergreen content is simply content that doesn’t have an expiry date. So rather than look at that blog about the 2012 apocalypse, turn your attention to the more general one that discusses the fallacy of all crackpot theories. The first expires (either because we reach 2013 or everyone dies), while the second will always be relevant. There will always be ‘end of the world’ theories, and people will always seek your blog post for comfort.

Identifying evergreen content

There isn’t really a trick or a ‘tell’ for finding evergreen content, but there are clues. For one, if your content relates to a one-off situation or event, then you can pretty much rule it out straight away. It’s also worth checking your analytics, though; if you notice that certain content continues to perform well year after year, then the chances are that it’s evergreen.

Image of the top of evergreen trees, used here to represent evergreen content

You shouldn’t have too much trouble in identifying evergreen content. Provided you’re confident that it’ll still apply in a year’s time, you should be okay.

How to repurpose content

And now for the bit you’ve all been waiting for. To effectively repurpose your content, you must consider two things: what has changed, and how you can improve.

If it’s a case of updating your existing content to retain its accuracy, then that’s easy enough. Looking for ways you can improve your content, however, takes a bit more soul searching. The best advice we can give you is to gather feedback. That feedback could be gathered from your colleagues, customers, or analytics tools. Internally, ask your peers for some constructive criticism; you’ll be surprised at just how objective a fresh set of eyes can be.

Beyond that, customers are often more than happy to let you know how you’re doing – a simple email shot to ask whether they find certain resources useful should yield some form of response, especially if you’re nice and polite!

Analytics tools, meanwhile, provide you with feedback that’s much harder to argue with. If you find that a blog post is bringing in loads of traffic but that the bounce rate is exceptionally high, then it could be a case of focusing on conversions.

An overview of AIM's best performing content - data like this can be used to identify which material should be repurposed
An overview of AIM’s best performing content – data like this can be used to identify which material should be repurposed

Different takes on the same material

So far, we’ve mainly spoken about updating your content, but there’s much more to repurposing than that.

You should also consider whether you can put your existing content to use on other platforms, or in other forms. An article, for example, doesn’t have to be limited to that form. If you find that a few of your website’s blog posts are performing extremely well and bringing in loads of traffic, it would be worth developing that further.

Could you expand on your points and turn that article into a white paper, or even an Ebook? If your industry is visual, could you transform that ‘top 10 X items’ post into a video? It’s worth experimenting with different forms of content because, put simply, it’s likely to work across a few different formats if the message is strong.

Your best performing content will likely be doing well because it strikes a chord, and it’ll strike that same chord over email, on Youtube, or as an infographic. The most important thing is that you consider your target demographic, and that you cater for them. If the TikTok generation is most likely to be interested in your products, there’s probably not much use in providing them with a white paper. Short attention spans, and all that…

Closing thoughts

To sum up, then.

The next time you’re stuck on what to write, film, or design, just take a bit of time to assess what you’ve already got. Look back through your best performing blogs, and those videos with the most views, and ask yourself whether you’ve got everything out of that material.

We’re willing to bet you won’t have, and here’s the best part: you already know that it works. If only all the content we created could be rubber-stamped for approval by the people, eh?

It is essential that you repurpose your high-performing content. Look to the horizon, sure, but don’t forget to check the back garden first.