Can You Recycle Old Content?

Yes, you can recycle content that has been used before – but that rule comes with some caveats. When using content marketing as part of an overall communications strategy, it is reasonable to expect that some past content will be recycled for future use, whether that content is online articles, blog posts, videos, photos, infographics, white papers or case studies. With that in mind, here are some rules for doing it correctly.

Mind your SEO: When it comes to articles and blog posts, recycling them at some point down the road is acceptable as long as the content is changed enough to protect your search engine optimization objectives. Google will penalize a website that uses duplicate content (either from its own website or another one), so it’s important to change the content to be sure the recycled content isn’t duplicating the original. Working with your PR or online marketing professional can help make sure you are following the latest algorithm changes.

Keep it current: Some content is evergreen, which means it is just as relevant today as it was the day it was written. If the content is dated, it can still be recycled; however, outdated facts must be updated for the sake of accuracy. If statistics are cited, the year they are from should be acknowledged so that readers understand when the figures were pulled. If no more recent statistics are available, it’s fine to say, “According to the 2012 data (the most recently available statistics)” … This recognizes that although time has passed, the figures you’re providing are the most accurate ones available.

These rules primarily apply to written content – but as far as videos go, nothing looks worse for a brand than an outdated video. Recycling old videos must be done judiciously; embedding an old video in a blog post, for example, can be great if it’s done with a nostalgic introduction (“Remember this?”) or a nod to the video’s irony. But if it’s a product demo or how-to, a 20-year-old video is laughable. Recycling the script is fine, but filming a new video is typically a good idea.

Make a sequel: This can apply to videos, blog posts and even infographics. One way to partially recycle content is to use portions of the original content and update them with a “part two,” or even create a series of subsequent editions. Doing this allows you to use some of the original content while advancing its story.

Recycling old content is a good strategy, but it has to be executed correctly. These tips are designed to help marketers master that execution. Don’t have time to recycle your content or create original content, give Desmond & Louis a call.