Repurposing Old Content

“Old content can be made new again, simply by looking at it from a different angle.”

So, we're talking about taking your old content and repurposing it. I'll explain more about that in a moment.

But first, let me share with you why I'm writing this particular blog post. It involves time travel, TV repeats (re-runs) and monetary constraints.

If you're reading this long after the early part of 2020 is a distant memory, you may not know that almost the whole world went into lockdown to combat a virus known as Covid-19. Many people had enforced "leisure" time and many watched more TV than normal.

A TV show called "Time Tunnel" has been running several times a day on one of the channels I have access to. The show was quite popular back when it first aired and it's not being shown again. That is reusing old content, but it's not repurposing. The original show production team had to find ways to save money and they saved absolute fortunes by not creating fresh content for their shows. 

Let me explain.

The show involved time travel. The two main characters would be bounced from one time period to another (mostly in the past). To construct a new set for each time period every week would have been massively expensive.

Instead what the producers did was look for existing content that related somewhat to the theme of each week's show. Remember this point, because it becomes important later on.

So for example, when they had a theme about the Trojan war they looked for stock footage and old clips from films that had already been made about similar themes.

What they did with old content.

Old content, on its own, doesn't make for a brand new TV show - or even a blog post. But added in at the right moment it can fill in any gaps - which is how Irwin Allen and his team used the footage they found to flesh out their own show. Most of the people watching the show won't even have noticed that stock, or old footage was used. If the meat of your story engages your viewers they'll enjoy it. 

Any repurposed content will simply seem to fit right in. I'm doing it here. I'm talking about a TV show from the Sixties and describing it to you. I didn't invent that content, or the fact they reused film clips. I'm simply repurposing the show description and a little bit of history to fit this blog post.

If you add in content that matches what you're talking about it will add to the value of your content. That's before we consider another aspect of repurposing.

Types of repurposing

This is likely not the first time you'll have heard this (from me or anyone else). You can take a written item and turn it into audio, a podcast, an audiobook, a video, a meme. The advantage is that the more forms you can make from it, the more exposure it will give you. Some people like to read text, some like to listen to audio and some like to watch video.  

On this page you can listen to the article as an audio file generated automatically for me by Amazon. I normally do my own voiceovers, but I thought it might be fun to show that you don't even have to do that, if you don't want to! 

You can go the other way too - you can turn the spoken word into a text article. I'll probably create a mini-tutorial on doing that if enough people leave a comment. If you want to see such a tutorial leave a comment about your own views on repurposing content.

The benefits

There's more than one benefit to repurposing existing content. I'm not talking about stealing someone else's, by the way. I'm talking about repurposing your own content. Let me list just a few of the ways you can benefit.

  • More informative for your readers, viewers and listeners, if you expand on your main topic.
  • Easier for Google to know what your topic is about, including related content
  • Free ranking - with a longer form article that contains several related sub-topics you can get ranked for keywords you're not even chasing!
  • Better engagement with site visitors - if you give them value (don't just post junk)
  • Saving time and money. You don't have to pay for extra content and if you do it all yourself it saves time in creating new content. Why write a brand new 1,000 word article when you can add an existing 500 word article to older content to create a totally new one?

There's more, of course, but any one of those advantages on its own would be worth having.

When you round out your content with related content on the subtopics closely related to your main topic, you give more value to your content. No, not every single time, but more often than not. If you need a short snappy article then of course that's what you should go for. But here's something else to consider.

How old should content be before you repurpose it?

Actually the answer has already been hinted at in this post. Did you spot it? If you did, great! If not then let me explain.

You can repurpose brand new content. You don't have to repurpose older content. Every time you create a piece of content ask yourself how to repurpose it. In this new blog post I've repurposed the text into audio. I've done that immediately! No need to wait for six months.

“You can repurpose brand new content”

If you start to think of repurposing your content as something that should be done every time you create a piece of content, you'll soon get into the habit of doing so. You can even use automated tools to do it, like the text to audio plugin I used here. You can even have the main bullet points of your text turned into videos automatically with the right tools. Imagine creating a full audio of your written article, then creating a video of the main headings or bullet points. All at the click of a few buttons.

Take it further. Repurpose the repurposed content! 

Take the audio you created, add it to the video you created and boom, you have the written word, audio and a video. And if you want you can upload the audio to podcast directories and the video to video sharing sites.

Exposure equals traffic

If each of those pieces of content get you a little traffic, together they get you more than any single one of them. And they can continue to do so for a long time to come. Each one can drive traffic to the other, building up your presence on your blog, on your YouTube channel (or Vimeo) or even your Podcast channel.

Why work three times harder when you can work three or four times smarter?

This sounds like a lot of work!

It may sound like a lot of work, but it's far less work than creating four totally separate pieces of content. And when you get used to it it can be very quick. If you end up with four types of content from an article, but it only takes you twice as long as the article itself, how much time have you saved? Think about it.

You just doubled your output in any given amount of time. Doubled. And when you get used to this you can do it pretty fast so the benefit increases. 

The blank page syndrome

I've suffered this myself and I've had so many people tell me the same thing. Stare at a blank sheet and it's hard to know where to start.

But take something that's already there and you can follow the structure, you can edit the headings, you can modify some of the key phrases. And better yet, each one will spark ideas in your brain that lead to more content. 

Why make it difficult for yourself? Even the world's best writers have trouble with blank pages. It's called writer's block. What makes anyone think it would be different for normal people like us?

Next steps

First, I'd love you to leave a comment about how you currently use repurposing, or if you don't, let me know why you haven't done so yet.

Second, I'd recommend you take a look at any blog post, or article you've created. Ask yourself how you can use it to add to something else, or to create something new from it, like an audio.

Third, if you do step two please let me know where I can see it! I won't share it with anyone (unless you give permission), but I would love to see how you've used repurposing in your own work.

Don't forget to comment and please share this article on your social media - I appreciate it!


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