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Ever play 20 questions? This is like that. Just with fewer questions.
If you’ve written a blog post, something must have inspired you to do it—love of the topic. Looming deadline. Desire to grow traffic. It could be anything.
Have you really poked and prodded those old posts, though, and seen if there was more you could squeeze out of them? Much of the time we write a post and think, “There, I wrote about that topic. Done!” and move on to looking for a new idea. We talk a lot about reworking and repurposing content, but maybe you need a mechanism to help prompt you to see your old blog posts in a new light.
Find your favorite blog posts, and let’s go through some questions about them. Time to kick off the dust and see what new content ideas are lurking in your old blog posts.
You may have loved writing the post, but did it get the traffic and traction you’d hoped for? Did people comment and share it on social media? Are you looking at your CoSchedule dashboard and seeing dismal stats?
If the post seems to have bombed, it doesn’t mean the topic was bad, but that your idea was the wrong approach. Or, it might mean that your traffic back when you wrote the post was smaller than it is now, and your new audience might not even know it exists.
Perhaps your post was highly successful in all the usual measurements, getting:
If that’s the case, good job. But keep reading this post. You’re still not done with that idea even if your initial post was successful the first go-around.
If your post just didn’t seem to work the first time around, great news: Not that many people apparently saw it!
You can rework the post entirely, and bring that topic back to the top of the pile. For those readers who might stumble on your old post, use a 301 redirect (not a canonical redirect, which is for search engines) to send your readers to the new one. You keep whatever traffic that old one may have received and funnel it to the new post.
If you’re worried about using a 301 redirect, don’t be. It isn’t going to hurt you very much. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, you’ll lose only a “tiny little bit” if you use this technique.
Don’t dwell on the old post. Point people to the new content you’re about to create.
As much as you may have written in that first post, are you dying to talk more about it? I know I have my favorite topics that I like to write about, and each time I sit down to write about them, new ideas pop into my head.
Often, we can talk about a topic repeatedly because:
Take a look at your favorite posts, especially your older posts. Do these five criteria fit?
This is the best place to be. Not only do you have a foundational post to refer to when you write about that same topic, but you also have reader feedback and reaction to respond and refer to as well.
If you feel like you’ve written the pants off of that topic, you probably won’t get much more out of trying now. I’d encourage you to use your editorial calendar, though, and add a note in six months or a year to revisit that old post. You might have more to say about it then, even if only to point out how that topic hasn’t changed for you.
Whether you want to write more on it or not, your readers may need you to. You’ll know if readers want more coverage by how and what they’re saying on social media (in response to that post) or in the blog comments section.
More than once we’ve written blog posts that respond directly to comments readers have made on this blog. Comments that lend well to additional blog posts follow a general pattern.
New blog posts on that topic will explain what readers didn’t understand. They might show how to use an idea in several real-world scenarios so readers can identify better with how it applies to them.
And, when someone picks out a part they really like…that’s a gold mine. Go into more detail.
If people didn’t share the post much and readers didn’t seem to respond much, or only responded “great post!” it’s time to reconsider the original idea.
You may prefer to write in the style(s) of:
Your reader may prefer content that fits their propensity for:
You’ll naturally have one you prefer to write as, but you can force yourself to take a different style.
Take your topic idea. Choose a different writing style. Wrap your head around what that will sound like. Then choose a learning style. For example, you may write as if you were a newbie relying on lots of text. The next time, you might write as an expert using lots of data.
You know what? That’s perfectly fine. Writing is enough work without writing in weaknesses. If you don’t think you can write about the topic from a different approach, don’t worry about it. You have every right to maintain a consistent tone and style on your blog.
Sometimes those older posts are pretty good structurally, but they need some cleaning up. This is especially true for those massive lists of links that are such great attention-getters (“100 Best Apps For Finding Great Restaurants!”) but that age poorly.
When it comes to cleaning up a post, your focus should be on:
You could rewrite the post but keep it similar in approach. Or, you could reference that old post and talk about how things have changed since then.
If you’re doing long form posts, especially, you probably have a lot of content there that you couldn’t go into the greatest detail because, you know, 3,000 words.
By breaking your blog post into detailed parts, you have the potential for creating a powerful series of content. That can be used in email autoresponder courses to help generate email sign-ups. It can be used as an ebook later.
Hopefully you used a good outline and headings, because that will help in breaking up your post logically.
Perhaps the post was poorly structured, rambled, or carried all the detail you could possibly extract on the subject. Either way, it doesn’t seem a fit candidate for divvying up into smaller parts.
We all like a little behind the scenes. If you have a post that was successful or got a lot of buzz, would you be willing to talk about that experience?
This is particularly valuable if you are in the content marketing niche. Other content marketers like to find out how you create your content.
Pulling back the curtain to reveal what happened behind the scenes of a popular old post makes for a great story. In this type of approach, you’ll reveal:
The last one, summarizing what you learned, is a very popular blog post approach. How many headlines have you seen that say “I did ____ and this is what I learned.”
I have just the site for you: Click here. Even if you don’t have a viral post or some massive 8th Wonder Of The Blogging World, your readers are probably still curious about how you work. But, if you insist no one would be interested, OK.
You’ve done the research and the work. Why wouldn’t you extend it as a guest post? Guest blogging is still a fantastic way to take your content and get it in front of new readers.
The first thing you have to do is make certain that what you will be writing will fit the host blog’s guidelines. If they want only previously unpublished posts, you’ll need to rework it significantly so that your old post is not the same as the new one.
Secondly, you’ll want to write your guest post to fit the host blog’s audience. It might not be the exact same as yours as far as their learning style or how the host blog wants posts written.
That’s fine. Not everyone does.
If you absolutely cannot write on a topic again, you’re still not off the hook. It’s now time to repurpose your blog posts.
You have reached the point where you need to see your written content as visual content, or send it elsewhere to keep doing some work for you.
This means you’ll take your blog post and turn it into:
That list is by no means definitive. There are many ways to repurpose content forms.
Each blog post has an ideal repurposed format, depending on the type of post it is. We’ve identified 10 easy blog post approaches in the past, but there are so many more.
See what you can make of your post. By creating these alternate forms of your written content, you’re pointing people back to the original post in a new way.
Time to get started brainstorming and find brand new ideas. You’ve worn out the idea and squeezed the last drop of content out of it. Good job!
Don’t forget to get your own map of these questions to simply
June 24, 2015
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