Content Repurposing: How to Make the Old New to Drive SEO

Cover image for article on content repurposing showing a notepad and pen

Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time, and most people agree with that sentiment. But what about improving the wheel? There’s a reason the owners of show cars and collectible vehicles put the time and elbow grease into making wheels shine. That little bit of sparkle can mean the difference between a blue ribbon or an honorable mention at a car show.

The same sentiment holds true when it comes to content marketing. Yes, Google and everyone else loves unique, creative and relevant content. But if you’re reinventing the wheel with every word by starting with a from-scratch editorial calendar, then you’re probably wasting time, burning out creative resources and falling behind the competition when it comes to publishing content.

Because here’s the not-at-all-secret tip that successful content marketers use to capture audience attention and drive SEO: You can reuse your old content to support new wins in SERPs and new traffic to your site or social profiles.

The Benefits of Content Repurposing

Regardless of the type of content you plan on reusing, this tactic has some benefits for SEO and your bottom line. Some reasons to repurpose your blog posts and other content include:

  • Saving time and money. It’s often faster and easier to repurpose what you already have than it is to come up with something completely original. Plus, chances are if you’re reusing a landing page or article, you won’t have to rewrite the entire thing. That can save you money if you’re paying someone by the word.
  • Expand your reach. You can take a blog post and split it up into dozens of different social posts, create an infographic or slide decks from it, use it to fill out content for email subscribers, or turn it into a short script for video content. The same idea now lets you engage target audiences across numerous channels.
  • Get more ROI out of high-quality content. It takes a lot of effort to create high-value marketing collateral in the first place, and repurposing content lets you get more out of each piece.
  • Keep up with a robust publishing schedule. Whether you’re trying to get out six Tweets a day or want content on your company blog three times a week, keeping up with the demands of an editorial calendar isn’t easy. Sliding your old content into the mix — albeit with a slight facelift — can help you keep content churning consistently without diminishing quality.
Girl dancing and throwing hands in the air
So. Many. Benefits.

ALSO6 Content Marketing Tips That Ensure You’re Following Best Practices for 2019

How to Repurpose Content

When it comes to reusing content, you can do so in a number of ways. Here are some of the most popular methods for turning existing content into something new.

  • Refresh an old post. This is akin to a minor renovation on a room. You’re not taking anything down to the studs, and a lot of the writing is going to remain intact. Instead, you replace all the stats and facts with the most updated information and add anything that’s relevant to today. You then republish the post with a more current date. This is a good method when you have content from years past that’s simply a bit out-of-date.
  • Rewrite an old post. This is a bring-it-down-to-the-studs effort. Plumbing is getting ripped out, bathtubs replaced. Or, in the case of a post or article, you’re scrapping all the words and starting from fresh with only the topic and some of the talking points. Choose this method when you’re sure the concept of the content was on point, but it failed to drive SEO for some reason.
  • Reuse existing content in different formats. You can take content you created in the past or today and expand its reach by converting it into different formats. Pull out quotes for social media, turn data into visuals or simply publish a shorter form of the content on a site like Medium to get more viewers. Use this method when you have strong content but your site isn’t yet getting the traffic you need on its own or you want to delve into multichannel marketing.
A table listing long, short and visual forms for repurposing content

5 More Tips from Content Marketers About Content Repurposing

1. Plan Seasonal Content with the Future in Mind

Although BestCompany.com Content Manager Alice Stevens typically aims for evergreen content that stands the test of time, she knows that in-the-moment blog posts also perform well. But one-and-done work can be a form of waste in the content world, which is why she plans each piece of content with the future in mind.

“I do some seasonal content to capitalize on trends or events,” says Stevens. “There are some articles that are seasonal, like articles about health insurance open enrollment. When I write these articles, I plan to update and repurpose them as necessary for the following year.”

2. Use Analytics to Choose Which Content You Repurpose

Popular posts from the past can be made fresh again, but when you’re creating content, remember that the blog content that’s performing right now can also be repurposed to drive more traffic or engage different audience sectors.

Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, says his company doesn’t tend to consider whether existing content will be valuable again in the future. But they do look at their past content to see if they can use it again as different things trend.

“For example, when Rakuten, the largest eCommerce site in Japan, first started gaining popularity, we wrote about it on our blog,” says Maff. “A year or so later, when Rakuten was trending more and more on Google, we optimized that blog article for current SEO trends and are now a top listing for the topic.”

Hamna Amjad, a Content Marketing Executive with Gig Worker, adds, “You should consider recycling those pieces of content that have already done well with your audience. Those pieces of content that became very popular are likely high-quality and relevant to your audience and can be repurposed. Your focus should be on adding value to the original content.”

Quote from Hamna Amjad about repurposing content

3. Present the Content in New Forms with Added Information

Amjad provides a few tips on how to add value to your existing content when you repurpose it. Some ideas Amjad provides for content repurposing include:

  • Create infographics. “It’s been proven that audiences are attracted more by visual content rather than plain textual format,” says Amjad. “This format works really well if you have a lot of data in your content.”
  • Develop podcasts around the content or content around podcasts. Amjad points out that “podcasts are the only passive way to consume information, so more people are hopping onto this trend. Podcast transcripts can easily be converted into blog posts and vice versa.”
  • Create videos based on content. Video is highly engaging and often favored by younger audiences. Amjad notes that you can easily convert a blog post or article into a video script.

4. Combine Blog Content into Longer-Form Content

Go through popular blog posts and turn them into an eBook, or gather customer testimonials and data to create a case study. You can also convert information from popular posts into large Slideshare presentations that position you as a leader in the niche.

5. Rescue Mediocre Content and Give it New Life

“In my experience, content can be split into two categories when it comes to repurposing,” says Reece Cambron, search specialist at Lucid Agency. “The first is content that has been live on the site for a while but has never quite achieved the results you had hoped for. The second is new content that is designed to serve a specific short-term purpose. In both cases, a strategic repurposing of the content can yield an improvement in rankings and organic traffic.”

So, how does Cambron give unsuccessful existing content new life?

“As a best practice, I try to repurpose a few unsuccessful content pieces each month,” says Cambron. “These are typically blogs with useful information (not just internal news or press releases) that didn’t have the success I expected.” Cambron provides a step-by-step approach for positioning this lackluster content for better SEO success.

  • Start by conducting additional keyword research around the topic to see how search volume or intent may have changed since the piece was originally written
  • Rework the content to optimize for these phrases.
  • Adjust the metadata, H tags, and even the URL if necessary to ensure the blog is transformed into a new, better version of itself.

ALSO6 Situations Where Content Rewriting Can Help Your Marketing

Need Help Repurposing Your Content?

Whether you simply can’t keep up with the publishing schedule that works for your company or you need a fresh pair of eyes to figure out how to make your content shine, freelancer writers can be an invaluable resource. Check out all the ways Crowd Content freelance content writers can help you get more out of existing content.

Eric Hoppe

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Eric has been working in marketing and product management for over a decade with companies in the software, eCommerce and content creation spaces. He’s particularly drawn to both content marketing and SEO and is excited that the two areas are increasingly converging. While he’s pretty serious about marketing, he does love to drop a great dad joke on occasion.

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