Great marketing requires a fair amount of content to keep your online presence running and boost your reach with prospective clients. However, that's not to say you need to spend hours continually churning out fresh, new material daily. In fact, recycling past content doesn't just save you time; it's a powerful strategy that maintains brand consistency and provides lasting value to an ever-changing market.
It also happens to be a useful tactic when new content is particularly light, as it is this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Real weddings might be limited, but you still have plenty of useful content at your disposal if you know how to repurpose your ideas and automate your approach.
JoAnn Gregoli, Owner of Elegant Occasions of JoAnn Gregoli, explains: “It’s very important to stay front and center and relevant. I am a huge believer that out-of-sight is out-of-mind. You must stay current and you must remain visible to every potential client. Repurposing and reposting content will attract different people at different times.”
Juls Sharpley, Founder of Bubbles & Bowties, agrees: “I’ve realized that posting more frequently is king, but also that the algorithm likely means a lot of content that was already posted might have been missed. I am taking the approach of: the more you see something, the more you remember it, like it, and are likely to purchase.”
Automation is at the root of recycling content; since it already exists, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and schedule new material weeks in advance. With all we have going on—from rescheduling client events to overseeing virtual school at home—we could all use a break from posting without the stress of keeping up appearances.
Here’s what you need to know about recycling content to serve the market without losing their interest.
Understanding Content Channels
Before we dive in, let’s explore the many channels that can house your content. On one side, there are owned content channels that you run—this includes your blog, social media channels, YouTube or Vimeo page, and email newsletter. You maintain full control over your messaging and how it’s disseminated to your audience.
On the other side, you have earned media that encapsulates all of the press features, guest articles, TV or radio spots, and podcast interviews published on third-party sites. Ultimately, the opportunities are out there, but you need to make use of them.
Getting Started with Recycling Content
The first step to repurposing your content is, naturally, to take a good look at everything you’ve already produced. Ask yourself: What’s working? What isn’t working? These answers lie in your social media and web analytics—look at your engagement rates for social and blog posts to see which perform best with your followers. Real quantitative statistics will provide you with far more insight than a simply anecdotal perspective.
Your team can also provide valuable feedback on your best content, especially if they’re the ones with their hands in the mix. Ask them what has been successful and what they would do differently—you’d be surprised how much perspective they can bring to the table!
Organizing Your Content
Recycling content requires careful organization to keep your posts from becoming too repetitive in a short period of time, while also ensuring you’re maximizing each piece of content. Savvy marketers have a growing content library alongside a database that tracks content as it's shared and reshared, helping to determine when old content can be given a fresh take to reflect current events.
“We have a massive spreadsheet where we track each blog post and then have columns with all of the places we have posted it or shared it and put the date last posted in the column,” shares Shannon Tarrant, Co-Founder of WeddingVenueMap.com. "With evergreen content, we color-code those rows, so when times of new content are lacking, we can go back and reshare that content again.”
This system looks different for everyone, but the key is organizing it in a way that works best for your brain. It could be a comprehensive app, a simple spreadsheet, or good old-fashioned pen and paper. However you choose, you can start mapping out the rest of the year and automate your content publication as much as possible. However, I advise taking 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each month to ensure that your upcoming pre-scheduled content is still relevant and valuable to your audience.
Evergreen vs. Timely Content
Now, let’s look at the two types of content you may have in your repertoire. Evergreen content, by definition, will have a long shelf life and maintain relevancy for a while. Think topics like “how to save on your wedding” or “tips for finding the best venue” that will never go out of style, as they will be revisited by newly engaged couples every year. Generally, evergreen content is going to work best for recycling purposes.
That’s not to say timely material isn’t valuable; it certainly is. Just consider the topic of micro weddings in light of COVID-19—it’s a popular subject with good reason. However, it likely won’t last the test of time once the pandemic is behind us.
A good rule of thumb is to create a majority evergreen content, but peppered with timely topics when responding to a crisis. A note of caution: be extra careful sharing evergreen content during emergencies, as it can come across as tone-deaf.
Planning Your Approach
Your freshest content should start out on your most prioritized channel for distribution. If you're committed to monthly blogs, start thereby creating SEO-friendly long-form pieces. If you have a podcast, you'll likely begin with your episode topics before churning them out into associated blog posts, email newsletters, and social media posts. For webinar folks, maybe YouTube is the starting place for new content before being repurposed elsewhere.
“Your audience needs to see messages at least seven times before they register and resonate,” says Aleya Harris, Owner of Flourish Marketing. “Often, we feel like repurposing content will make our information feel redundant, but that is far from the case. The best way to repurpose to drive your message home while still keeping it fresh is to use a different format. Change your blog post into a Facebook Live video or break up each section of your blog post into fun Instagram Reels. You will remain engaging while continuing to nudge toward the sale.”
The big thing to be mindful of is producing identical content. Google crawls websites and penalizes sources that share the same copy, so you need to tweak it enough to feel like a fresh piece of content — particularly if they are both of the written word.
Additionally, most media outlets have exclusivity guidelines, so you can’t simply copy and paste your latest Catersource features onto your blog (let alone submit it to another publication). When repurposing content from earned media, let it sit for a while to respect exclusivity. Wait 30 to 60 days before turning it into a new form of content.
Once it's ready, you can start the top of your funnel, which should be wherever you consider most important (i.e., your blog, podcast, etc.). From there, you can trickle it down into other channels, like your newsletter, a lead magnet, an infographic, or your website FAQs. You may even consider combining several of your articles into an e-book distributed on your website.
As you recycle content, consider how you can link the pieces to one another. All of your topics likely overlap a bit, so building links between your blogs, guest articles, FAQs, and so on will build authority for search engines as it's clear you cover the same topics consistently. Internal links and backlinks also happen to boost SEO, so don't be shy when it comes to linking.
Recycling your existing content benefits you and your business, as it churns out valuable resources for your target audience without becoming a timely endeavor. With an organized approach and attention to detail, you can build an effective content strategy that runs like clockwork and requires minimal attention.