How to Reuse Content

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s not just a way to save the Earth. When you reuse content your content team becomes more efficient, more effective, and more budget-friendly.

But reusing content is easier said than done. You need to create content that is focused and valuable. Then you need to find a way to make it work in different formats. Plus, each format needs to be focused and valuable. Otherwise you may reuse content… but it’s not doing anyone any good.

Why Reuse Content

Before we talk about how to reuse content, let’s talk about why. Most organizations excel in a few unique areas. The goal of their content is to promote their expertise in those areas.

What’s more, they want to create content that their audience wants. Ideally, this will be useful, usable content that the audience finds engaging. The audience will love it so much that they will fall in love with the company and spend money on them.

Here’s the problem: when you constantly create new content, you:

  1. run out of interesting topics
  2. stop being relevant to your niche areas
  3. forget that people loved certain older pieces

As a result you spend a lot of money creating content that is read (hopefully by many people) for a week or so. Then it gets ignored in favor of newer content… even if the newer content isn’t as valuable and doesn’t convert as well.

Instead, wouldn’t it be great if you could reuse the older content and make it feel new again?

The Case Against Content Reuse

I’ve seen two terrible use cases for content reuse. Neither works well, and both convince people that they’re better off creating new content every day.

  1. The content team creates a fantastic blog post. They know podcasts are… a thing. So they read it aloud to have a Podcast. The blog post makes a terrible podcast, no one listens to it, and it is a waste of money.
  2. The content team takes that same fantastic blog post and spends hours and hours and hours revising it to be the perfect podcast. They spent more creating the podcast than if they’d just started from scratch.

In both cases, they are reusing content… but not effectively.

How Do You Reuse Content Effectively?

Now let’s look at two examples of effective content reuse:

  1. The content team creates three fantastic blog posts. They realize that most of their audience is listening to podcasts, so they decide which of the three blog posts would translate best to a podcast. They choose one, and set up a conversation between two colleagues about the blog post topic.
  2. Six months later, the content team promotes the podcast and the blog post on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag of a conference on the topic. Since their sales team is currently attending the conference, they’re able to direct their audience to find their colleagues, or comment anew on the old blog post given the insights from the conference.

The difference here is in how the content is reused, and why.

Rules to Reuse Content Properly

Here are some good guidelines to follow to make your content reuse appropriate.

  • Find out where your audience is. If you offer webinars, and get great responses, don’t throw your webinar images up on Pinterest “to reuse them.” Put them on Pinterest if-and-only-if your target audience is also on Pinterest.
  • Consider the appropriate format for the piece. Not every article makes a great podcast. But maybe it makes a great series of tweets, or a great Webinar. Look at how the content is broken up.
  • Build off older content. The easiest way to make old content new again is to make small edits or additions based on new knowledge. If it’s truly evergreen let it be. But more likely there’s a new phrase in town that will bring it back to life.
  • Re-publicize content. This is a controversial one. But think about it – when you share content on social media, you are also creating content anew. So take a look at your older pieces, and see if they are relevant for an upcoming event or conversation. Don’t let them become old news!

Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

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