You’ve written some great content.
It’s well targeted, cleverly written and people love it.
But you screwed up. You missed an opportunity.
Do you think if your audience was frozen for 70 years they’d want to come back if your content was still the same?
The question is, how are you going to make things right? By upcycling! Here’s how…
How to Upcycle Existing Content
Upcycling content is an efficient and cost-effective way to improve the value of your offering to your audience in a way that’s all but guaranteed to succeed.
Why? Because you should only upcycle content you know has value or is showing popularity. There’s no need to put time and effort into rubbish content. Just let it go.
That’s Upcycling. NOT Recycling.
Recycling content is all about taking something you’ve done and regurgitating it in a new way.
It’s handy if you’re posting content to different platforms, or as part of outreach.
Essentially it’s money for old rope.
Which is fine, but upcycling takes your content further.
Upcycling = Adding to existing content to provide continued, up to date, VALUE.
#1 Upgrade Your Content
Have you ever read a breaking news article and seen an UPDATED: section? Do that with your content.
If something new is discovered regarding a topic you’ve already written about, add it onto your existing content. You can then either re-post it or promote it on your marketing channels again with the new info.
Making regular updates to your existing content means that, eventually, you’ll have the richest source for your chosen topic on the internet.
Research has shown that longer form content gets better engagement from users and seems to be considered more favourably by Google.
When updating content, make the newer sections easy to find for returning visitors. Add a contents section with anchor tags to the content, or add your update above the existing content.
The key to adding new content is to make sure that it’s valuable to the audience. Don’t add content for content’s sake. Make sure it’s insightful, informative or entertaining. Preferably, make it all three.
#2 Add Functionality
If you’ve identified a piece of content that’s popular, find ways to make it more useful to your audience.
If you’ve already updated the content, you may have enough to create an ebook or pdf download of your content for people to take away.
- If you’re talking about ways to make a decision, build an interactive quiz.
- If the content discusses things that can be measured, build a calculator.
- Use an interactive application to make tables and lists more engaging.
Functionality isn’t just helpful to your users, it’s more sharable. Users who find tools helpful are more likely to share them with their peers.
The trouble with adding additional functionality like this is that it takes time. And time costs money.
This is why it’s important to have a strategy when it comes to content creation. Don’t invest time in a tool or an application that only applies to one piece of content if you’re unsure whether it will succeed.
One strategy is to create the content as best you can with the resources available, then invest more time to create additional functionality once your data shows that the content is valuable to your audience.
#3 Change formats
Written a blog? Turn it into an infographic!
Got an infographic? Make a video!
Created a video? Record a podcast!
Recorded a podcast? Write up the transcript into a blog!
Written a blog… you get the idea.
Different content suits different formats, but what you might find is that elements of your content can be used in a variety of ways with a little bit of tweaking.
Take our Bumper Blog of Social Stats for example.
It’s a lovely list blog full of stats that did its job perfectly well. To upcycle it, we created the images in order to better display the content.
We could then use them on social media if we wanted, or collect the stats into a storyline and make a nice animated video.
Do you have three or four blog posts that fall under one topic? Turn them into an eBook.
Each post can be its own chapter. So all you need to do is add an intro, a conclusion, and unite it under cohesive design.
What’s the Best Content to Upcycle?
As mentioned already, don’t bother with your worst content. Invest in content that is already proving its worth, or has potential.
Let your bad ideas die.
#1 Timeless content
Evergreen content is timeless and ideal for upcycling. It’s very nature means that it will always be relevant to your audience.
Keeping it up to date and high in value will keep readers coming back six, nine, twelve months, even years after publication.
#2 It’s full of rich insights
The best content for upcycling should have some substance to it. Whether that’s actionable advice, rich data or highly searched content, the depth of the content is where the value lies.
By updating it or presenting that information in a new way, you can make the content even better!
#3 It has room to grow
(Bet you were expecting a Groot gif there, weren’t you?)
Some content (in fact, most) can’t ever be finished. It always has room to grow. In digital marketing, SEO is a prime example of this.
Not only can you talk about SEO until the cows come home, but it evolves so fast you can do it all again next week.
When repurposing content, you should be able to seamlessly add new information and insights to what you originally wrote in order to make it fresh and appealing.
Assemble Your Content Team
Encourage your team to get into the habit of thinking about upcycling for every original piece of content that gets created by your company.
Challenge your content creators to create nothing from scratch.
Only let them create content from your existing assets. You might be surprised with the results of a fresh pair of eyes on your content.
Upcycling your content is an essential part of creating content that leaves a big impact on your audience.
Turn your content into something even more useful. Improve the overall effectiveness of your content marketing programs, to help fill the funnel and drive lead generation.