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The Value of Recycling Content

The Value of Recycling Content

You can recycle pretty much anything these days. With a little creativity and our friend Pinterest, you can turn your old TV into an aquarium, your bowler hat into a lampshade, or your old CD case into a bagel holder (someone did this, I don’t know?).

So maybe just because you can doesn’t mean you should. But sometimes repurposing makes a lot of sense. Kind of like the random items in the back of your closet, certain content can be recycled for a quick and easy bolster to your content marketing program — without a lot of expense.

Our D Custom marketing team is currently performing a content audit — going through our content closet, if you will — and we’re seeing new potential in many of the blogs we’ve dug up. Here’s a look at how we recycle content.   

Related: While you’re at it, it might be time to reassess your brand guidelines.

Where Do You Start When Recycling Content? 

Most often, we see companies revisit old work when embarking on a rebrand, a new website, or a channel launch. Think of it like cleaning out the closet and deciding which items to keep, donate, or toss — but in this case, you’re deciding which content to optimize, update, or rework entirely. 

There are plenty of ways to recycle your content:

  • A white paper can be republished as a series of articles or blogs, or even as an infographic.
  • High performers can be optimized and promoted to drive traffic to your site. 
  • Old blogs can be updated with new information.

Our Process for Recycling Content

First, you’ll want to perform a content inventory, taking stock of all your content so that you can evaluate and ensure the pieces you reuse are your best. (That plastic CD has long been trash.)

When it comes to content, you can rely on hard data to determine the pieces that performed well. In our current content inventory, we are using analytics as one of the determining factors when deciding whether or not a piece is worth repurposing. 

We are also taking a strategic approach to our editorial retouching — incorporating new messaging; brand, voice, and tone changes; as well as revised audience personas. Chances are your corporate voice has evolved since that 2005 white paper was published. All recycled content should be updated to reflect these updates.

We also recommend reoptimizing your content against current standards in online marketing. This means altering the entire document to reflect your current SEO approach and incorporating all of your learnings about what’s worked on promotion (because your strategists are always testing and optimizing, right?). 

Things to Watch Out for When Recycling Content

As we went through the blogs we did plan to refresh, there were a few key things we noticed that were often off. Look out for:

  • Casing in headlines: Is it consistent?
  • Use of key style points: Are you consistent and up to date with your current style guide?
  • Imagery: Is it reflective of your current brand standards? (And is it good?)
  • Links: Do they work?
  • Facts and figures: Are they up to date?
  • References: Are they relevant (and appropriate)?

Separating Trash from Treasure

The key to success is understanding that reworking a story can often take more time or money than writing one from scratch. Some pieces require too much work — the voice or style is way off or the writing is just plain bad — and those should probably be tossed. The same goes for content focused on current events or data-intensive copy — if it’s not from roughly the same calendar year, there’s a good chance you’ll have to get rid of it or replace it. 

In our content-recycling audit, we’re dipping into the archives to fill out our content calendar while we try some new content-optimization techniques. The effort should save us time and money and give us a little breathing room as we try a fresh approach to our content (stay tuned). A team of editors are reviewing posts for voice, style, and timeliness, and we’re keeping the stories that are still relevant and won’t require wholesale rewriting, like — brace yourself — the one you are reading.

Not sure which content to recycle? Think it might be time to reassess your content strategy as a whole? Contact us — we can help.