Don't Forget to Recycle Your Custom Content

Debbie Williams

Written by Debbie Williams on Tue, Nov 29, 2011

The content you develop, like all good products, can have a second life as something else of value. Jeans can be transformed into home insulation. Boat sails into tote bags. Plastic water bottles into life jackets. The same is true for the content you create. You wouldn’t dare toss a plastic water bottle into the garbage can (in good conscience) would you! So why would you spend valuable time and effort creating purposeful, inspiring content and forget about it after publishing?

Your content shouldn’t be seen as having a limited shelf life. Informative, engaging content can be repurposed, repositioned and reused. Articles inspire topics for e-newsletters, Facebook posts are shared across the social networking space, and blog posts are often quoted in news articles. Good content lives on long after it has first been published.

How does the content recycling process work?

content life cycle

Say a hair care company launches a new product. The information on the product packaging can be used as the basis for an in-store brochure and sales collateral. That new product can also be featured on a web page on the brand’s site, including descriptive content that educates consumers about what it will do for their hair. Then, an online press release can be written announcing the product launch. The same keywords from the webpage should be included in the release with links back to the product page on the website.

The brand can then write a blog post announcing the new product and describe all of the great benefits it offers, mirroring the original package copy, sales collateral and website content. Beauty industry bloggers will take note and likely write posts about the product as well, linking back to the original post or product website. Next, the brand can send out an email to its subscribers including a coupon code for purchase of the product, with the same key messages on the web page (package copy, blog post, etc.). Finally, the brand can craft a series of relevant posts for all of their social media outlets, reinforcing the key messages and linking to the website. Ta-da! A full content life cycle.

How to Repurpose & Reposition Your Content

Companies should invest the time and resources to develop several solid pieces of content and recycle them to get the most leverage out of them. For example, after putting together a presentation, write a blog post highlighting the key messages, and post the presentation on Slideshare. The post and presentation can also increase SEO and come up in relevant searches on the topic or your name or industry. If you write an informative e-book, break it out into a series of blog posts and share them through social media channels. A single piece of content should never be just that.

Remember to Reuse & Re-share Relevant Content

Just because you publish a great blog post, it doesn’t mean that your Facebook fans saw it, your Twitter followers read it or your e-mail newsletter subscribers noticed it. Not all of your customers are connected to your brand in the same way. They can choose to receive information from you at one or a variety of content touch points.

Have you written a great blog post that got lots of traffic and Retweets? Chances are if one person in your audiences is interested in it, others would be too.  Remember that just because you Tweet out a blog post once, it doesn’t mean all of your Twitter followers saw it. You should Tweet out a link to a blog post or article four times on average. Tweak the message slightly each time to keep it interesting.

Reuse the content you create for industry organizations or publications as well. Don’t let great information live in one place. With permission, repost or share content you create for other relevant resources. Always cite the original publication source and include a link.

The most important element to recycling your content effectively is a customizing it for each audience and platform, while remaining consistent in your message. Like all recycling efforts, your content should come full circle and take on new life of its own.

What ways have you successfully recycled your content? We’d love to hear about it!

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