As someone who only wears 10% of the clothes I own, I understand what a drag clutter can be on mood and productivity. We tend to feel better when our belongings are neat and orderly. The same goes for our work lives, too — and I’m not just talking about your home office. When was the last time you cleaned up your content archive? Before you create new content, do you look for ways to repurpose content you already have?

You’re sitting on a gold mine of content — blog posts, white papers, videos — that you’ve already produced. In her Managing Editor Live 2020 session, “Getting the Most Out of Your Content Archive: From One-time Investment to Recurring ROI,” Sarah Greesonbach shared how she breathes new life into that library by repurposing content. Here are a few highlights from her talk.

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

To drive return on investment and build brand authority, focus on producing high-quality content targeted enough to differentiate you from the competition. It’s better to really dig into one topic and create value for your target market than to produce numerous pieces of generic content.

But if you’re going to sink your resources into great content, don’t just publish it once and move on. Instead, repurpose content to meet today’s changing market and demands. First, one of the biggest challenges in content marketing is coming up with consistently high-quality ideas. When you return to existing content, you already have a baseline idea that you can continue to expand — and corner the market on. Updating old content also streamlines your archive, resulting in more substance and less clutter. Finally, you have a better chance of earning backlinks. Someone might find the perfect article in your library to link in their new content — until they discover that it’s more than 5 years old.

Which Content Should You Repurpose?

But how do you know which content to update? Greesonbach lists six ways to identify content candidates for a refresh:

  • Seasonal timeliness: Find content that’s most relevant to your target audience’s needs at this moment and in the immediate future.
  • Performance: Don’t just update trending content. Find content that holds excellent ideas but hasn’t performed as well. This content has the potential to do much better than it currently is.
  • Product: If you’re expanding a product — or even launching something new — revising old content can help you tap into existing themes and remind your audience why they love your product or service.
  • Opt-in: Evaluate the download numbers on your gated content and identify companion pieces to your best actors. Frequently downloaded material gives you a glimpse of what your readers need from you so you can maximize your impact in those areas.
  • New hires: Connect existing content with a new face or voice. If your organization just hired an executive, for example, update your archive with their expertise (these make great PR pieces, too!)
  • Bottom of the funnel: Instead of overproducing generic content around your topic, hone in on revamping specialized content.

How to Repurpose Content

Some pieces may need total overhauls, while others will benefit from light refreshes. Here are a few ideas for updating existing content.

  • Update headlines and the introduction to reflect a new context.
  • Add updated stats and data to older long-form content.
  • Refine meta descriptions and other SEO-relevant content to highlight new angles.

Release Existing Content in New Formats

A great way to get more mileage out of your archive is to optimize your content for different formats. For example, if you have high-performing evergreen content, consider turning it into a visually attractive, shareable infographic. You can also turn your content into a video or audio file. You can also optimize content for C-suite executives to promote via their personal LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

The goal is to reach new people with your best content. The more formats your content takes, the more social channels you can hit. If you turn an article into an infographic, for example, you can promote it on a visual medium like Instagram.

Embrace the hidden power of your content archive.

Watch Sarah’s Managing Editor Live 2020 session on-demand now!