7 Ways to Reuse Your Content Leftovers

We’re left with two things after Thanksgiving: an eternity of dirty dishes and a refrigerator chock full of leftovers. ‘Tis the season for lunchboxes packed with tired turkey sandwiches and reheated stuffing…unless, of course, you were clever and transformed that turkey into something new and exciting. Turkey salad? Turkey soup? Turkey pot pie? You’ll be the envy of the office.

Sad sandwich

Image: Sarah Horrigan via Flickr

Content works the same way. There’s no shame in reusing your past content—especially if you can transform it into something new. Good writing never gets stale.  So stop letting your old content languish in the back of your fridge. Here are seven ways to transform that old content into something brand new.

1. Group your related content into one themed list.

make a listThere’s plenty of content hanging around your archives that your readers haven’t seen or read yet. Curate your own content for your readers by posting several related articles all in one spot.

The Kitchn is notably adept at curating their own content. In their Recipe Roundup posts, the Kitchn staff collects solitary recipes from the archives and lists them as one collected theme– 15 Sweet Apple Treats, for example, or 12 Thanksgiving Cocktail Ideas.

Recipes are eternally useful to the site’s audience, so these lists collect related content (and save on search time) for readers while giving old content new legs at the same time.

It’s the perfect example of reusing your content: take your old work and make it even more useful for your audience.

2. Expand on an Older Post

Take an older, popular post and expand upon it. Let’s say you’ve got an article called “Top Ten Ways to Reuse Your Thanksgiving Leftovers” that brought your site a lot of traffic. This year, break up the list segments and turn it into a series for the week after Thanksgiving: Day One: Turkey; Day Two: Cranberry Sauce, etc.

Looking at what posts performed well over your site’s history is an easy way to find out what interests your readership. Use that past content as a springboard for new content– you already know it’ll be received warmly by your audience.

3. Take Old Data and Update It

Revisit older posts and see what’s changed since it was posted. Look at your past predictions and see what came true. Transform one (or several) of those research-heavy posts into a share-friendly infographic. Just remember to update any facts or statistics that may be outdated since your last posting.

4. Create a “Best Of” Post

What do readers love more than lists?

“Best Of” lists.

Create your own best-of-the-rest list based on your own content. Put together a “Most Popular Posts of 2011” list at the end of the year. Alternatively, collect a “Most Underrated Posts of All Time” list for those killer posts that just haven’t received the traffic they deserve. Other superlative list ideas include “Most Controversial,” “Most Shared,” or “Best-Loved.”

5.) Share Those Old Posts on Social Media

Social Media MessGoogle may frown upon duplicate content, but Twitter could care less. Instead of reposting all that old-but-still-relevant content, post links to your older content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, etc.

For example, I could tweet: The holidays are fast approaching– have you prepared your holiday content schedule yet? Here are my 6 Reasons to Stop Avoiding Holiday Content. It’s an easy way to give your old posts some traffic love while offering new followers some fresh reading material at the same time.

6. Link to Older Material Whenever Possible

It’s always a good idea to link to your older content. Link to older posts within your content. Create a “Further Reading” section at the end of your post. Link to your related tags or archives.

Linking to related material isn’t just about self-promotion. It’s about offering your audience relevant reading material on the same subject– and about giving them a solid reason to stay on your site.

7. Turn Those Old Posts Into an eBook

If you’ve written a wealth of information about a particular topic, don’t let that content collect dust in your archives. You’ve written enough to write a book (literally). Gather it and publish a collected eBook for your readers.

Your Turn: How Do You Recycle Your Content?

Where there's Muck, there's Brass

It’s your turn to share some tips and tricks for freshening up that old content. Do you have some past work sitting around in the back of your virtual fridge? What are your tried-and-true methods for reusing your content leftovers? And what on earth am I going to do with all this turkey?

Sound off in the comments!

About the author

Nicki Porter