Getting More Uses Out of Existing Content

Getting More Uses Out of Existing Content

By John Jantsch

old content

With content taking the marketing world by storm over the past few years, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the content you need to produce in order to stay ahead of your competition, not to mention coming up with new ideas of content that haven’t already been written.

I’ve got good news for you.

While I highly recommend continuing to create new content, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. There are a variety things you can do with the content you already have, and by revisiting this material, your business can actually receive numerous benefits.

Improve existing content

With the amount of new content being generated every day, it seems to become old content almost instantly (think of how quickly content comes and goes on Twitter). With content becoming “dated” rather quickly, it’s important that you have ways to extend your content’s shelf life.

Before I continue, I must say the recommendations below work best with certain types of content. You need to be selective about which content you want to keep alive. For example, if you have content that is no longer relevant to your audience, products, or services, there’s no point in updating it just to get found in search results.

There are two key components you should consider when finding the right content to re-optimize:

  1. Find posts with high traffic but low conversion and figure out how to increase leads on those posts
  2. Find posts with low traffic but high conversion and figure out how to get more visits to those posts

If the content falls under the criteria above, consider implementing the following:

Refresh links

When you are updating old page addresses, remember to redirect old URLs to new ones with 301 redirects. If you don’t, you risk losing the link value of the old page.

Update keywords and meta descriptions

Even if the keywords were stellar when the original piece of content launched, that doesn’t mean they’re still relevant and useful today. You need to conduct a new round of keyword research and update the content with new keywords (or keep keywords as they were if they truly are still relevant).

Add new and relevant information

Times may have changed since the content was originally published. Ensure stats are still relevant and that the content still makes sense.

Re-post and re-promote

If you have any content that is over a year old but still performs well, you may want to consider republishing it, almost as though it were new. This will help to bring new life to it and potentially expose it to a newer audience. Be sure to do this last bit after the other recommended updates above are complete, The majority of the content may still be good, but you still want it to be current. Re-promoting re-optimized content is just as important as the content itself. The updates are pointless if nobody sees them.

In addition to the recommendation above, be sure to update images and add CTAs when relevant and necessary. These updates may seem rather small, but the potential benefits you may receive from these small tweaks make it all well worth it.

A few years ago, HubSpot wrote a blog post titled, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past” and it was a keeper. Essentially, the company tested updating and republishing old blog posts to see if they could get more leverage out of them. By simply re-optimizing old content, HubSpot was able to increase organic traffic by 106%. Yes, you read that right.

These types of results aren’t unique to HubSpot. Many businesses are taking this approach and are reaping the rewards.

Re-optimization works because Google rewards relevancy and freshness. New visits will come out of sharing content within your network, and those new promotions will lead to new inbound links, which will help to boost SEO.

Repurpose content

Optimizing old content may be an excellent way to bring new life to underperforming content, but there are a number of things you can be doing to reuse content that is already performing well by re-purposing it. By doing this, you’ll continue to gain value from existing content. Plus, this tactic will also save you a lot of time and money.

The more popular the original content is, the more likely the repurposed content will be popular as well. Essentially, high-quality content can create even more high-quality content.

Once you’ve identified this content, consider re-purposing it in one of the following ways:

  • Create new blog posts
  • Develop an infographic
  • Craft an email series
  • Develop content upgrades
  • Start a podcast
  • Film a video series (this doesn’t need to be fancy – Facebook Live would suffice)
  • Take bulleted blog posts and turn each bullet point into its own post
  • Create an e-book out of a compilation of related blog posts
  • Host a webinar
  • Give a live talk about a topic that was repurposed for the speaking engagement

For me personally, I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to repurpose content is to start with video and create new content by working backward from there. It’s amazing what you can come up with. Get creative and think outside the box. You may come up with something unique that nobody has thought of yet!

By following the recommendations above, you’ll be able to maximize your odds of getting discovered online, as well as optimizing your investment in these assets by giving them a solid chance at performing, rather than just hoping for the best during launch.

The moral of the story is to not let content just sit there when you can still receive a ton of value from it.

Have you started implementing any of the tactics above? What kinds of results are you seeing?


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