Do you remember when Friends or The Simpsons would do a ‘clip show’? They’d make a whole episode out of the best bits of other episodes.
That’s repurposing content. It’s nothing new, and it still works.
Repurposing content works because of one unshakeable rule: If people like your content, then they won’t suddenly dislike it if you post it again. Just like they watch re-runs of Friends on Netflix for hours.
Creating consistently good content is hard work. It’s tough to produce at scale and it requires a lot of patience to witness the rewards – particularly if you’re a small business.
If you have any or all of the following – a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, blog, Instagram, YouTube channel – at times it’s going to feel like there’s no time to service them all.
That’s why repurposing, recycling and reusing content is an essential shortcut to posting regularly across all these many mediums.
And I’d rather repurpose something good from yesteryear than produce something poor today.
Here’s a few tips on how to do it effectively.
List content that’s already worked
That time you created a video about a new product and everyone loved it? They will probably love it again. Take some time to vary the content and make it different.
You could probably make it shorter, or identify the 30 seconds of the video that people reacted to and edit it down.
Or you could pop a different sell on the post, or post it with a testimonial.
To keep track of everything that’s work that you can use again, start by making a big list of every successful piece of content that’s worked in the past 12 months.
Pop the list on a spreadsheet with the date when you first published it in the next column. In the column to the right of that make a note of how you’re going to recycle it. Then on have a column for when you’re going to publish again. Rinse, repeat.
Produce a big piece of content and then chunk it out
Commonly you’ll see accounts posting longer videos to YouTube, or maybe a Facebook Premiere, and then being embedded into blogs.
After that, they’ll get split into bits for Twitter and standard Facebook video posts. Then you’ll spot even smaller versions popping up in Instagram Stories and again on Facebook.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. You’ll probably be thinking that posting the same content twice will probably be boring. Actually, probably not.
If you do a tour of your store most people won’t watch the three minute video to the end. So chunk out the bit at the end for a separate video.
It works across different mediums. If you do an all-encompassing blog about how to maintain your bike in winter, then chunk the bit out about caring for your winter tyres into a separate blog.
Here’s a good example from Road Cycling UK
They’ve produced a lovely blog about winter bike maintenance here, that covers everything from fitting mudguards to the type of pump to carry and how to clean all the little parts: https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/maintenance/winterise-bike.html
And then there’s a second blog here, all about using mudguards: https://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/five-reasons-use-mudguards-winter.html#IUJvgjMTsHG5cAap.97
And then there’s a YouTube explainer on cleaning all the little parts:
There’s an SEO advantage here in targeting the related long-tail keyword. While most people will search for ‘winter bike cleaning’, there will also be search for ‘winter mudguards’.
Pick out the magic moment
If you post a three minute video but the best line is a minute in and it lasts 10 seconds then post those 10 seconds on their own. Don’t worry if it’s too short – you’ve drilled right down to the magic moment and that’s ok.
This can also work with images – if you bulk post 10 pictures, repost the very best one, or the funniest one, or the one which provoked the biggest reaction. Or post all 10 individually, with dedicated captions rather than one generic caption for the lot.
This video has been posted several times on the Facebook page of Mayflower 400 UK. It’s a tour of the places in the UK linked to the story of the Mayflower.
But at six minutes long, it’s a lot to take in. In the comments of the first post there was a good reaction to Worcestershire making it into the video.
So a shorter version at 30 seconds in length was posted just about Worcestershire, with a post that highlighted how past US presidents had visited the town, as the regarded it to be the ‘home of democracy’.
That video was viewed ten times as much, despite offering ‘less value’ than the original. It’s since been posted three more times, always attracting views, with a different fact about the county each time.
Post at a different time
Yes, if you post twice then some people will see your post twice.
And it’s unlikely algorithms are going to reward you for posting the same URL twice.
But your audience at 7pm on a Sunday is probably quite different to 7am on a Wednesday, so give it a go. If it doesn’t work, then learn from it.
The important lesson here is that if the content flew the first time you did it, it will probably work again at a different time (you might want to put a caveat in the sell like – ‘for all those who didn’t see it the first time round’).
Crucially, if it didn’t work the first time then it probably won’t work the second.
Don’t be tempted to blame it on the posting time (unless you accidentally scheduled it for 2am).
Go back to your duds
It happens to the best of us.
Nobody creates perfect engaging content every time they post. It’s impossible. You’ve got to make plenty of mistakes in order to educate yourself about what works for your niche.
Sometimes your duds weren’t actually duds. Sometimes they actually were just executed wrong. Sometimes they were just way too long and everyone missed the best bit. Sometimes you realise the sell was just too boring. Or the images weren’t up to scratch.
Realising your dud isn’t actually a dud normally works this way:
- You try harder to create a different piece of content on a similar content and it works.
- You go back to your old dud and take the fresh approach that worked with the new piece of content. Post again.
If it bombs a second time don’t beat yourself up. Chalk it up to experience.
Look at what you did last year
Particularly when you approach key dates in the calendar like Valentine’s, Halloween, Easter etc. At the very least you can do a ‘remember when we did this?’ post.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 1, 2018
I’ve seen the video of these Tottenham goals on New Year’s Day 2015 hundreds of times. But there’s no reason this tweet won’t work every New Year’s Day for the rest of time.
Quite often revisiting old content like this will open the door to latent ideas you didn’t even know you had. That customer who won the T-shirt you gave away last year? Maybe they are still wearing it and they’ll send you a pic.
Make your old content relevant
Or, you could read this as making your old content evergreen.
Your guide to summer barbecuing was right on trend back in August ’18 and help brings loads of traffic to your cookery website.
Surely pulled pork won’t still be EVERYWHERE in 2019?? So it’s going to need updating.
You could write a new guide from scratch. Or you could spend a bit of time bringing your old guide up to date again and use the spare time to write something else targeted at another popular foodie keyword, like chicken katsu.
Then before you know it you’ve got two things to post on social and two pieces of content targeting different but related keywords. Boom.
Give your old content an SEO spruce-up
Particularly blogs and YouTube. Everything you did well last year, particularly around competitive keywords, will need love if it’s going to continue to rank this year.
That means making sure it’s relevant, reposting to social and finding people to link to it.
Do a highlights reel
If you post about something regularly, and it works regularly, get all your favourite bits for a highlight reel.
This could be as simple as a text post that marks your five favourite moments. Or it could be a video of edited highlights.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 4, 2017
Streamline your platforms
Prioritise what works first before you panic about not having sent a Snap for three days. If you find that you’re having to recycle content ALL the time then that’s probably not healthy. You need to maintain focus on creating content bespoke for the different channels, with a recycling strategy that complements that.
If you’re repurposing too much then scale back your activity on the channels that don’t convert as well for you. Instead, double down on what works.
Thanks for reading, and if you found this guide useful, I’d really appreciate a share. Check back on the blog for more content tips.