It can be tough to come up with new ideas for content to fuel your inbound marketing campaign. Google and your users love to a constant stream of new information, but meeting that demand is challenging, especially considering how many hundreds of articles you’ve already written. If you can figure out a way to re-utilize some of your old content in new, exciting ways, you can save yourself a little time and still give your users and search engine robots exactly what they want to see.
First, a word of warning: do not directly re-use your content. Duplicate content can earn you an immediate SEO penalty, and it can harm your reputation in the eyes of your users. Instead of simply replicating the content you’ve already written, you can take that content and transform it in new ways. Consider the following strategies to accomplish this:
Let’s say you wrote an article at the end of 2013 predicting what major industry changes you expected to see in 2014. Now that we’re well into 2015, we can be certain that all the information on 2014 is in. Now, you can take that old article and post an update. Recap all the points you made in the original article—in this case, all the predictions you made for the developments of 2014. Were they right? Were they wrong? Why? These updates aren’t limited exclusively to prediction articles, either; you can post an update to any article whose original circumstances have changed.
Don’t update your article directly. Instead, write an elaboration on it, or retroactively turn your original article into the first part of a multi-part series. For example, if you wrote an article on how to make guacamole, you could follow it up with an article on different variations of guacamole to try. If you interviewed the CEO of a certain company about a certain topic, repeat a similar interview with a different notable member of your industry or re-interview that CEO on a new topic.
You aren’t limited to simply writing a new post that recaps or expands on your previous one. Instead, you can use your original post as an anchor chapter in an extended whitepaper or ebook. Depending on the length and detail of your post, you may need to edit it to make it fit. It will require more work than simply using the article to generate another article, but the extra benefits of having an ebook in circulation more than make up for that extra effort.
This is especially useful for very concise, quotable articles. Take a look back and try to find an article with ample opportunities for segmentation. Pull out a handful of meaningful sentences from your post and use them as social media updates. You can even post a link back to the original article to rejuvenate interest in the full original piece, and move the article to the top of your blog for the same purpose.
This is a useful strategy for any article that has a list of facts or a series of actionable steps in the body. The denser the original article, the more effective the infographic will be. Work with a professional designer to create the infographic from scratch using information you’ve already researched, then post the infographic as an individual post. Syndicate it out on social media, calling attention to the original article as well as the new piece, and reap the rewards of new visibility and new external links.
Another idea comes not from the original content, but the effects of the original content. Find a particularly interesting piece in your content archives and see what types of comments it generated. Were people asking a lot of one type of question? Did they offer interesting counterpoints? Use those comments as inspiration to generate a topic for a new piece, which you can then develop as an independent work or a follow-up to the original, as you see fit.
If you’re hard-pressed for visual or audio content, this is a perfect strategy for you. Use your original piece as a jumping-off point for an interactive discussion, which you can use in podcast or video format. Either way, invite your users to take part in the discussion and bring up new points related to your old topic.
Another option is to create a new piece that aggregates some of your greatest works of the past. For example, you could compile a list of “Our Top Ten Posts on Bone Health,” featuring titles, links, and brief descriptions of your most popular posts from each category. As long as your descriptions are comprised of originally written content, your users and Google will see the article as a piece of new material, but you won’t have to do much research to put it all together. Plus, you’ll instantly revive more traffic to some of those long-lost hidden gems.
The next time you find yourself stuck in trying to come up with a new topic for a post, or the next time you need a new piece of material on short notice, consider using one or more of these strategies. The more diverse your archive of previously written content is, the more options you’re going to have, so focus on keeping that archive of original content sustained with an influx of new topics in addition to reimaginings of old content.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.