Ever feel like phoning it in when you’re doing content creation?

Ever had a day where you just can’t think of anything to create?

Let old content save the day! Chances are that if you’ve been creating content for a while, you’ve got some old gems in your back catalog. The lazy marketer would simply repost the old stuff and call it a day, but you’re not lazy. You want to present something better than purely recycled content. You want to up-cycle the content into something better!

Here are 3 steps to help you up-cycle old marketing content.

Step 1: Refresh your writing. When I look back at posts written years ago, I cringe at some of my language. I’ve learned many tricks since the old stuff was written, many ways of writing with greater clarity. Tools like SlickWrite and Hemingway can take your older content and show you the error of your former ways. Copy older content and paste it into these tools, make the necessary edits, and you’ll have better content in an instant.

Here’s an example from an old post called Transparency is the Currency of a Trust Relationship, from 2007:

Hemingway_Editor_-_Untitled_Document_.jpg

I’ve got a couple of difficult to read sentences, one REALLY difficult to read sentence, and some cleanup to do. Here’s what the rewrite looks like:

Hemingway_Editor_-_Untitled_Document_ 2.jpg

That’s a significant enough difference that it’s new content, up-cycled from older content that, looking back, wasn’t great.

Step 2: Refresh your knowledge. Tools change. Algorithms change. Look back at your older posts in your Google Analytics data. Find the posts that are popular even years later but contain out-of-date information. Refresh the knowledge in those posts with the latest and greatest, and you’ve got new content. Even if the algorithms and tools haven’t changed substantially, there are new tools and methods you can apply to your old knowledge.

Step 3: Refresh your visuals. Again, as your skills improve, you should have newer, better ways to visualize data you’ve presented in the past. You might have presented an ugly bar chart that should now be a line chart. You might have presented a line chart that needed a moving average added to it. Use your current visualization skills to upgrade old content with new analysis.

If you’ve got straight photos or other non-data visuals, you can improve those, too. You might have a photo that you can improve with the newest Photoshop, or modify in an app like Waterlogue. Here’s a photo I used in a post back in 2008:

Homemade pasta with Oma Sauce

Here’s the same photo, now washed through Waterlogue:

Derivative work of Jessica Spengler
(used under Creative Commons By Attribution license)

This new image is an improvement, to me, of the original. Even if I don’t change anything else in the old content, this offers some improvement.

Refresh your writing.
Refresh your knowledge.
Refresh your visuals.

Do these 3 steps, and your old content will be better than ever as your new content!


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