Fresh content brings in new readers and generates better ROI for blogs and websites, right? It makes sense intuitively to try keeping content from going stale. We don’t want anyone to be bored with us or feel like they’ve heard the same message too many times. Of course, as a professional writer, I’d also probably be in dire straights if everyone suddenly decided to permanently recycle old copy instead of posting anything new.
Sometimes, though, there are very great reasons to recycle your content. In fact, this is probably true a lot more often than most people think. That’s because there’s a lot of great ways you can recycle without losing substance or blatantly copying yourself word-for-word.
How to PLAGIARIZE your own blog
Technology and software company blogs, in particular, are under pressure to create a lot of stellar content over and over again. It’s true. But this doesn’t mean you can’t also engage in a bit of good-natured plagiarism. You absolutely can! You can fill out your content calendar with some clever re-purposing here and there. Here’s how to safely plagiarize yourself.
Upcycle old news or a dusty post
Trash or living room decor you paid $1,000 for?
“Upcycling” takes something that looks a lot like garbage and makes it into something really awesome. If you have a snippet of news you posted this quarter, an old post answering a reader question, or some other piece of content you can readily update, you might just have a prime candidate or two for upcycling. Basically, you need to dress-up that old sign you found so you can place it on sale for $100. Instant win.
- Corporate announcements: interview someone in house and get their input. Create a new post that’s not just “news about X,” but “interview with Bob from QA about X.”
- Retiring content: If you’re getting ready to retire an old webinar and remove it from your site, why not post about the resource and offer readers one more chance to see it before it goes offline?
- Unpopular topics: Think it’s unpopular but not ready to pitch it into the trash just yet? If you know why it didn’t work, wait an appropriate amount of time before trying that topic/idea again (depending on your blog and audience, may be a year or a few months) and post a fresh angle on it alongside some new content. Don’t post for like a month with a ton of unpopular topics, but maybe test a few old duds alongside guaranteed winners, every so often at least, if you feel like it serves your audience. If it really bombs, you can always permanently remove it from the rotation, you know!
Just two readers who are so happy that your Q1 post on implementation didn’t create another cliffhanger.
Writing a “part two” post doesn’t always have to be cheesy or obvious (if you’re worried about those things. Personally, I’m a fan of part-twos). Truthfully, there are tons of reasons to post a follow-up on our blogs. Just be sure you have a real update or actual substance to add to the topic. If you need to, invent a reason–create a vlog that’ll revisit the same topic, and you’ve still differentiated the content a bit. Go back and update the details, and voila, you’re done.
- Find the news hook: Have an urgent reason to update that old post. It may seem backwards, but you CAN start with an old post or topic to update and then find a bit of news, policy change, or other piece of information to justify re-opening the case. With a good news hook, it doesn’t matter much if your new post repeats old information, because you’ve found an urgent reason your readers need the information again. Maybe there’s a new federal law impacting how your product is used–an easy example where it’s okay to have a post and include a bunch of old information (just don’t forget the updated stuff, too!).
- Change the resource: Take the old information and rebundle it. Create an infographic based on a post from two years ago, make a video “how-to” post with information you’ve already covered in blog form, etc.
Remember the cardinal rule of relevance
Whatever you do, make sure you understand your audience and provide something relevant. Never, ever recycle irrelevant content! This will totally kill your blog. No one really wants to read something that isn’t serving their business or speaking to their needs. And if you don’t understand what your readers’ needs are, you need to stop right now and identify your target personas.
Per-who? Personas. The people actually reading and using your blog. If you’re not sure on that, you have a bit of work to do. Thankfully, there are some great, straightforward ways you can find your personas and make your blog relevant again.
In my next post, we’ll be talking a little more about that. Until then, happy contenting (NOT a word I made up, at all)!