recycling content

Photo by nickwheeleroz.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably had a day where you thought, “I have nothing to blog about! I’ve blogged about everything I can imagine already!” It happens to everyone.

So what can you do? You could try clearing your head to come up with new blog post ideas or taking a break from blogging until you’re inspired again.

But those two options are passive—you’re waiting for the good idea to come to you. If you don’t have the time to wait around for inspiration, reworking some older posts to be current and relevant is a great way to get blogging again.

While recycling old blog posts might seem like “cheating” at first, it can be incredibly valuable for your readers. Some may have missed the old post and others may appreciate the new insights you bring after some time away.

That being said, you shouldn’t just repost old content—if you’re recycling an old post, you need to find a way to keep the content current and engaging. Here’s how:

How to make your new content better than the old

Photo by fossiled.

Photo by fossiled.

1. Use analytics to see what’s working. Before picking any old post to rework, pause to reflect on what your analytics already tell you. Which posts have done the best for you? Then take a deeper look at the content in those posts—are there any common topics or formats that your readers best respond to?

By using your analytics to figure out common threads in your most popular posts and then applying them to your recycled post, your new post will be much more likely to succeed.

2. Listen to feedback from your readers. Besides checking out the numbers associated with previous posts, read through successful old posts’ comment sections for ideas on how to rework the post. Through comments and shares on social media, you may find new angles or ideas for the reworked post you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

If you end up using reader feedback for the post, be sure to thank them—they’ll be pumped to hear that you’re listening just as much as they are.

3. Use Google Trends (formerly Google Insights). You can also use Google’s search data to spice up your content. Can your old post be seen differently in light of a current news story or trend? If you’re expanding on a topic you only briefly covered before, is it still relevant to people today? Google Trends will help you figure out just how fresh your post is and how to make it even better.

6 ideas for awesome reworked, reused, and recycled posts

Photo by nhuisman.

Photo by nhuisman.

So now you know how to make your new posts better than your old, but what types of posts do best as reworked forms of their old selves? Here are a few ways to do it: 

1. Follow up with Part 2.

Have a post that did really well or drew out an intense debate? Breathe life into that old post by continuing the story or addressing unanswered questions in a new post.

One of our Channels Featured Publishers, Amy Lupold Bair of Resourceful Mommy used this tactic in the fall when there was a huge controversy with NickMom stealing content from other bloggers and then passing it off as their own. Amy put together this incredibly detailed and thoughtful post about the situation.

A few weeks later, Amy issued a follow-up post about content curation, using the NickMom scandal as a case study. Since her readers were already familiar with the situation from the previous post, they could immediately relate to the examples she gave and feel knowledgeable engaging with Amy on the topic.

2. Create a themed series.

If you notice that a post format has done tremendously well, try turning it into a series. Whether you make the series a weekly post or just one that pops up from time to time, continuing a theme builds anticipation and regularity for your readers—a great way to establish a solid reader base.

3. Pull back the curtain.

If you can take a personal spin on a post you’ve already written—do it! For example, if you’re a food blogger and have written a recipe that rocked, try putting together the process behind finding that recipe. How did you find that secret ingredient? Did you have to go through a bunch of horrible recipes first? Did your family or friends help you along the way? Your engaged readers will love getting a behind-the-scenes look and learn a thing or two about what you do all day.

4. Reflect and add more info.

You can also update an old post with new information, especially if there is a lot of time between the two. One of my favorite bloggers, Gini Dietrich, used this technique over the holidays. More than a year ago, Gini wrote a post about Evernote. She republished that post a few weeks ago with more insights on why Evernote rocks—because she had more than a year to reflect on the post, she could provide even more value to her readers, even to those who had read the initial post.

5. Create The Ultimate Guide to Something.

After blogging for a while, you probably have a ton of posts that could fit nicely together…so why not round them up into an Ultimate Guide? Ultimate Guides are great ways to get readers to discover more of your posts since you’re linking to them all in one place. We’ve done this on the Shareaholic blog before with an Ultimate Guide to WordPress and had great responses from our readers.

6. Get visual.

Try using the same content in a new medium. Make a video explaining the post more in-depth or add an infographic to download for free. For example, if you’re a fitness blogger, you could do a video workout and a one-sheet guide of all the moves you’re doing. Your readers will enjoy seeing your awesome content in a new light.

What creative ways have you seen content be reworked, recycled and reused? Share a link with a reason why that post STILL rocks in the comments. 

  • Truth be told, that was the first time I’d recycled an old post and I was surprised at how well it worked! And it took me about 10 minutes to rework it and schedule. Much better than the hour it normally takes!

    If you’re interesting in another topic for getting blog ideas, I started doing something that works really well. If I read an article or blog post that gets me thinking, I stick it in my drafts folder with a date on it. So, when I go to write my blog post that morning, I already have a topic and don’t have to think about what I’m going to do. I’ve done that since last week (six blogs posts now) and I’m surprised at how well it works.

    • Ginny Soskey

      I would have had no idea that reworking that post only took 10 minutes! I definitely appreciated seeing it again and I know others did too.

      And what a great idea for getting and keeping track of blog posts ideas! I normally keep a notebook (in Evernote…) with a running tab of ideas, but I like how your process ties the brainstorming process even closer to the writing process. I’ve got to give it a try!

      Thanks for stopping by the blog–I always appreciate your insightful comments. :)

  • Reuse, rework and recycle old blog posts are good. Don’t let your best content go to waste. Get some ideas from the feedback of your readers to improve your content. You can also update your old posts with new information. Be creative and imaginative in reusing your old blog posts.

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