Every so often, we look through our old blog posts as a way to pat ourselves on the back for the work we’re doing. Okay, not really – the reason for poring through almost three hundred blog posts is a little strategy called content repurposing. Today, we’re going to dig into this content development strategy and answer the questions: what is it, why, which ones, and how.
Get your list of blog posts ready and let’s dig in!
What Is Content Repurposing?
When you’ve had a blog for a few years, your content has a tendency to get old. Especially when you’re in a fast-paced industry like ours, information that was relevant six months ago can quickly become outdated – stale, if you will. Content repurposing is a strategy of taking that old content – the same topics – and rewriting it to meet current standards and information.
My Content Is Just Fine Already… (The Why)
This isn’t an easy job for most people. You get close to your content, especially if you’re the one writing it. Yet, the reasons to go through this exercise are many and, ultimately, they’ll strengthen your overall content offerings:
- More updated content – as mentioned already, repurposing your content gives your readers current information.
- Shows your readers you care – by keeping your blog updated and repurposing, you’re showing your readers you care about the content you’re providing them. This further strengthens the idea that you can be trusted to provide good information.
- Provides fresh signals for the search engines – although search engines like sites that have been established, they’re more likely (for most searches) to provide the newest results first. Updating an article to current standards also means giving the SEs something more recent to rank in the results. They like that!
- Stronger content – the longer you write, the better your writing becomes. It just happens like that; practice makes perfect, as the old axiom goes. Repurposing gives you the ability to create stronger, more authoritative content than the older posts provide.
Which Blog Posts Should I Retouch?
When you have a lot of blog posts, the last thing you want to do is go pouring over all of them, right? Right. So how do you choose which ones to repurpose?
We have a short, three-step process, to help you decide:
- Visit the oldest blogs in your repository.
- Scan the titles – look for outdated terms, or terms that may indicate an area you know has changed throughout the years. For example, here at the SEO Article Archive, any article before 2010 that mentions keywords is probably ripe for repurposing. This should narrow your choices considerably.
- Scan the oldest ten, and look for:
- Blog posts shorter than what you currently put out
- Poor grammar
- Outdated facts
- Lack of word flow – you learn, as time goes by, how to pull your content into a smooth-reading post. It flows seamlessly from point to point. If you started blogging like most, however (i.e. you don’t have a college degree in journalism), your content didn’t start out that way. This is a perfect opportunity to polish those less than perfect articles.
By the time you’re done, you should have a list of at least two or three articles (if not more) you can polish to provide a stronger content offering.
Okay – Now What? (The How)
Unless the blog posts you pull are truly awful, you probably aren’t going to want to scratch the whole post and start from scratch. So how do you go about repurposing an article without making it look like you just reposted?
First, remember that Copyscape is your best friend. If you run your finished article through Copyscape and it shows more than 30% of the same content, you aren’t quite done. Also, keep the list of “whys” next to you, and address each point with the question, “Have I accomplished this?”
Step One: The first step is to touch the most important parts. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or word flow – get the changes in first.
- Change the title – the last thing you want is two blog posts of the same name. Update your title to reflect your stronger powers of headline writing, and write one that calls to your readers. You know them by now: who they are and what they like. Reach out to them!
- Rewrite the first and second paragraph – Generally, these two paragraphs will stand out most in long-term readers’ minds. As well, they’ll be more likely to flag the SE’s duplicate content filters.
- Rewrite the final paragraph – Again, the final paragraph will stand out more readily as duplicated if they go untouched.
- Rewrite any erroneous facts – Anything that is outdated should stand out like sore thumb as you read the old post over. Update the information as you find it (again, don’t worry about how it reads, yet, just replace the information).
- Mark places for more content – As you go through, you might find places where you would add more information. Mark these places in the document and move on.
Step Two: Starting with a new, empty document, type (not copy/paste) your updated content, now concentrating on tone, grammar, punctuation and flow. Don’t feel inhibited by the amount of text on the old post – remember that you aren’t duplicating; add more content as the muse moves you.
Step Three: Check your content through Copyscape. If you have large blocks of text that stand out (i.e. two whole paragraphs in a row and so on), you need to go back to work. On the other hand, if Copyscape reports back that it can find no instances, you’ve done your job exceedingly well.
Step Four: Read your content out loud to make sure everything reads well. This exercise will also help your mind trigger instances where the information is still incorrect, so don’t pass it up!
Step Five: Schedule your blog post, grab the brand new URL, and then revisit the old blog you just rewrote. Add an editor’s note with something like, “The content of this post is outdated. Please visit (the new URL) for our most current post on this topic.”
Other Repurposing Opportunities
Rewriting old blog posts isn’t the only way you can you repurpose content. For example, you can also turn long-winded or explanatory emails, slide presentations and other offerings into new content. It’s not always easy to do, but the returns are well worth the time it takes.
As part of your content development strategy, make sure you schedule content repurposing into your editorial calendar. It should never be more than 10 – 15% of your blog posts, but it should definitely be a part of them. Take the time to show you care; wipe the dust off your content!