Repurposing the content of your WordPress site or blog. Sounds like a winner, huh? Maybe not much work? Does creating new content from existing content take a ton of time? Well, it all depeynds on what you want to do.
How to Repurpose a Single Piece of Content Into a Lot of Content
There are many ways to repurpose your content. I brief you on several of them as well as give you some strategic and specific tips.
It is obvious that the more content you have, the more you have for repurposing. But no matter how much content we have, if there is any way to produce more of it with ideas driven by existing content, it makes our lives easier.
Repurposing consists of four mediums: text, images, video and audio.
Next we have some gray area as far as what role the different mediums play in repurposing: things like your blog, your website, your podcast. Then there are other platforms, like social. Although some feel that social is a form of repurposing, it is much more limited. It really is more about sharing.
Three Important Reasons to Repurpose Your Content
There are three top reasons most people are interested in repurposing their content.
To Generate More Content
One of the biggest challenges we have as content creators is, well, creating enough content. We all have times when the well runs dry and ideas aren’t coming fast and furious. Repurposing your content means that you have to come up with fewer new ideas. They are already there for you.
To Make Your Readers Happy
Repurposing makes your content more digestible for— and useful to— all readers. But when it comes to attracting new readers, repurposing your content gives you a chance to meet the needs of people who may not have visited your blog and prefer their content in visual form (think video and transcripts of audio) or by hearing it (recordings).
And: If Google Is Happy, We Are All Happy
Google loves content. But it must be good content. And what better way than to repurpose some of your content to get even more of it out there. Also, repurposing helps you to build up your inner-links which helps Google to understand your site better.
Internal Links For a Better Site
Internal linking is one of the huge benefits of repurposing your content. Although you may have this as a part of your content strategy already, it becomes second nature when you are repurposing.
When To Make It Part of Your Strategy
Editing, Updating or Redoing Content – Every time you are doing one of these to your existing content, keep in mind what other content would naturally enhance its reach by linking to similar content.
If you use Yoast SEO Premium plugin, they have an internal link suggestion tool that gives you ideas of potential content as you are creating your post.
Repurposing Your Existing Content
There are many facets to repurposing your content, I will focus here on the content on your WordPress site.
How to Determine What Content to Repurpose
There may be many reasons that drove the decision to repurpose a specific piece of content. Likely the number one reason is that the content is popular with readers and/or has had excellent conversions for you.
First off, you want to look at the traffic. Google Analytics is the tool we have used for a long time. But Google Analytics can be a rabbit hole and for the average user, it’s overwhelming and hard to find the data in an understandable form.
We use a plugin called Analytify that makes it much easier to understand and pulls it right into your WordPress dashboard. There are two specific areas you should look at.
The first are your ranking posts. It’s simple. See what is bringing in the most traffic and learn how you can enhance that content.
Now do some Google searches on the topics that related the those frequently visited posts and see where you posts are ranking. Of course, there are lot of variables and you can start getting into keyword ranking, etc. But I’m not going to go that deep here.
The other interesting data results that Analytify shows you is called “What’s happening when visitors come to your site.” It pulls in your top pages and tells you what is happening. They show you how many entered in the post, and how many of those exited from your site on that same post.
When it comes to the data, conversions are much more complex and depend on many factors such as product sales, list building, affiliate marketing, etc. Each one of these are determined through the tools you use to track successful leads and conversions.
Updating Your Content
One of the oldest forms of repurposing is updating your existing content. There are several reasons you might want to do this. For example, on this site I talk about WordPress plugins and tools that will help you with content marketing. On BobWP, we talk about WooCommerce and all of its extensions and plugins. And often, these are updated, in one way or another.
Instructional content is ideal for this. You may have old posts that still get a lot of traffic but it’s out-of-date. Even though a lot of it may still ring true, there might be things you could change to improve it.
Tweaks and Edits
These are the simple ones, where only one or two changes are needed. So you will make those changes and just update the post.
Or maybe the edits are a bit more extensive. Not quite a rewrite, but enough to where you have to decide whether you update or republish.
In both cases, especially the latter, you will need to consider the value of updating or republishing the post. When you do a rewrite and leave it as the original published date, is it still getting enough traffic to warrant it?
On the other hand, if republishing it and having it go out in your feed makes more sense, you will want to go that route.
DRAWING THE LINE: If you do certain tweaks and edits, you may still want to let your readers know that it was updated. There are ways to have an updated date show up in your meta (next to the original published date) or it can be replaced. But beware. This will happen even if you find a typo and update. So will that mean it’s actually updated? I have a post that tells you more about updating your WordPress posts here.
Doing the Rewrite and Publish
Depending on your content, you may find there is more value in doing a complete rewrite and then republishing. In this case, the new date of the post will reflect the current status of the content.
An example of this is writing tutorials on tech and software. With so many changes happening to products and services, sometimes very major changes, rewriting your post will keep your readers and Google happy.
Two Considerations to Make Here
- When rewriting and publishing, don’t do it too often. I have done it as soon as 4 months, but likely it’s done to a post that is 6-12 months old at least. And make sure you are still doing fresh content in-between. Don’t just repurpose.
- Do not do it for the wrong reason. It might be tempting to do it just because you are lazy or don’t have time to write a new post. Don’t force it.
If you are doing it this way, and using WordPress, follow these three steps.
Go to the post and switch to draft.
Select a new date in the future.
Schedule your post.
Time the Reposting Wisely
How soon or into the future you schedule your post will depend on a few factors. Because, remember, you are taking it off your blog for that time.
If your post has not been doing well in traffic and/or conversions, well, you likely rewrote it to make it even better. In that case, schedule it when you want to.
If it’s a popular or high ranking post, don’t take it off the grid too soon. Keep the new copy as a draft post, then when you are ready to publish, go through your three steps but set the time just a few minutes later than when hit the schedule button.
Keep the Permalink or Slug in Place
Unless you have some very strong reason to change the permalink, don’t touch it.
If you have to, make sure you set a redirect as changing the permalink will break incoming links.
Title, Meta Description and Keywords
This is one of those it depends. If the post is getting good traffic and/or conversions, why fix it if it’s not broken? In other words, leave it alone. The only time I would consider doing this is if the actual content has changed so much that the title does not reflect it or might mislead.
On the other hand, if it could use some tender loving care because it just isn’t doing much of anything, then buff up that SEO.
Deleting The Posts
Part of repurposing is the larger picture of your content strategy. And that comes with deleting content that is outdated or doesn’t fit your site anymore. This is a post in itself. Because there is a lot of gray area in making this decision. Also, as a long-time blogger you may have become a bit obsessive with your content, even the old stuff, where you are finding it hard to let go.
Whatever you decide to do with a piece of content, if you delete it, the preferred method is to redirect it. The content itself will rule where you direct it to.
It could be a post that is very similar in topic. It could be a category or even your homepage. Deciding between doing that or setting the redirect to the 410 Content Deleted header is something you will need to decide.
There are lot of plugins out there that allow you to set up your redirects.
Redirection, a free plugin, is just one of them.
The free Yoast SEO plugin has the option as well.
Both of these require you to manually copy the URL before deletion and add the URL that you are redirecting it to.
To make life a bit easier, the premium version of Yoast SEO will pop up this message anytime you trash content. This is great because it reminds you to do a redirect and makes it easier.
If you already have a plugin in place that does this for you, take advantage of it. To understand redirect even better, I suggest you check this post out on Yoast.com.
Deletion Rule of Thumb
When it comes to deleting posts, make sure you are deleting them for the right reason. If it’s simply because you don’t like it, that might not be good enough.
This is an area where it depends on your content. Our site makes sense as we either update or delete old posts that are not evergreen. A technical how-to post on a plugin that is 4 years old just doesn’t cut it. So we look at it and ask ourselves if this is still useful to the reader? Is it still getting traffic? What strategy do you have behind the deletion?
On the other hand, you might have a photography site and your readers are interested in visiting older posts to see your journey in your career, or perhaps a special moment that you shared as a photographer.
So really thing this though before we send them off into oblivion.
Video, Audio, Text and Images. Repurpose with Media.
This is a no-brainer. Audio to video or vice versa, transcripts or posts written from videos. The options are endless.
An example. As I mentioned before, one of the good reasons to repurpose is that people ingest content in different ways, including reading text, watching a video and listening to a podcast.
In one of our past podcasts, I offered the content in a post, a video and an audio. You may ask why all of that on the same post.
- When someone lands on that post, they have a choice. Choice is good.
- You can also post the content elsewhere, for example, posting the videos on YouTube and creating a specific RSS feed for the podcast.
- And, I will say again, it’s good for SEO.
I can’t say that I do this with every post, but I can say people love it. For example, my old tutorials on some Genesis child themes had two videos. One showed what they could not do with the theme. The second included how to set it up like the demo and tips on how to go beyond the basic look. Then I followed those videos with screenshots explaining everything I had shown in the second video.
Was it a lot of work to do? Yes.
Did people like the format? For sure!
In addition to repurposing through all these types of media, there are opportunities to monetize. For example, here are a few ways to monetize your podcast.
With these three mediums, you have the world at your fingertips when it comes to repurposing your content. There is no one rule of thumb and the strategy that works best for you will be driven by your own needs and what the topic of your content is.
Giving Your Site Visitors Options
Not only is repurposing allowing you to create distinct pieces of content, but it also opens up your content to a larger audience, including making it accessible to those who need it.
For example, on our Do the Woo podcast over on BobWP.com, each post has both audio and video, and with show notes. If you create video, it is easy to use apps to easily extract the audio only.
Turning that idea around, there are plenty of services out there that will create video files from you audios. This is especially popular for podcasts. It gives you the option to add your podcasts to YouTube and other video platforms.
There are several services that will do this for you, including repurpose.io which we have used in the past. Here is what our podcast looked like when we used that service.
Also, listeners have told me that they are used to playing a video and not watching it. Consider all the videos of single individuals just talking away, sharing their thoughts. Are you so entranced with their looks that you will stare at it for 15, 30 or 60 minutes?
It goes without saying, for both video and audio, transcriptions are not only valuable for repurposing, but they open up your content to a wider audience and allow it to be accessible to those who need specific mediums due to their disabilities.
There are several places you can get transcriptions, from Fiverr to individuals. There are cheap options if you use machine translation, but I also have found there are also limits to how the quality will come out in the end and how much work you will spend editing the transcription.
Transcripts done by humans are best. Again, there are lot of options, but if you are willing to spend a bit more and be guaranteed in both quality and turnaround time, I recommend Rev.com.
This unique plugin will automatically create an audio file for your post. This isn’t a replacement for a podcast, but it is a great option to offer another medium for your user to consume your content, as well as making your post more accessible.
The plugin allows you to:
- Toggle it off and on for specific posts.
- Choose from a variety of voices
- Use shortcodes to have text hidden from the post but included in the audio
- Use shortages to show text in your post but exclude it for your audio
- Have the player automatically placed at the beginning or end of your post
- Create an RSS feed of the audios as you would a podcast, so individuals could subscribe to the audio versions only.
Extract and Expand From Your Content
This will involve the canonical link, which I talk about later in this post when I touch on duplicate content.
Pulling Out the Content
You may have content on your blog, a simple paragraph or two (something more than 300 words, please, to appease Google), that will work great as a stand-alone post. Consider this. You do an interview with someone about Facebook ads. You ask them five questions. One of the questions is, what’s the difference between sponsored posts and ads on Facebook? There you have it. A post in itself. What’s great is that it answers a specific question. Some may want to learn all about Facebook ads, while others may be more interested in simply understanding the differences between the two.
I have a post where I go into this even more here: An Interview Question from Your Podcast is a Potential Blog Post.
Expanding Your Content
There are several kinds of content that work for this strategy including:
- In-depth posts
- Lists and tips
- Video and audio
- Online Courses
Extracting the content is pretty easy. But on the other end of the spectrum, how many posts do you have with 10, 15 or 20 tips about something?
Guess what? Depending on the subject and your original post, you can make a longer post out of each one of those specific tips. Obviously, it will take you more time, but it provides even deeper content for the reader and allows you to interlink both posts within you site. The same goes for lists.
In both cases, the SEO is going to be good. If you are like me and a huge part of your traffic is organic search, this is a win-win for you.
How To Avoid Duplicate Content
This is where your canonical link will play into your strategy. Here is what it is in a nutshell, as explained from Yoast.
A canonical URL lets you tell search engines that certain similar URLs are actually the same. Sometimes you have products or content that can be found on multiple URLs – or even multiple websites, but by using canonical URLs (HTML link tags with the attribute rel=canonical), you can have these on your site without harming your rankings.
Here is where you set it in the Yoast SEO plugin:
This is such a critical piece to know that I suggest you check out this article on Yoast.com to learn all you need to know about duplicate content and canonical links.
Cornerstone Content – Its Role in Repurposing
What is cornerstone content? To answer this, I have pulled a great explanation from Yoast.com.
Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site: the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.
Their focus is to provide the best and most complete information on a particular topic, rather than to sell products. Still, they should reflect your business or communicate your mission perfectly.
Cornerstone content can be either a blog post or a page. But whichever they are, you should make sure they’re very well written, update them often, and aim to get them to rank for your most competitive keywords.Yoast.com
Cornerstone content essentially is content that is:
- Uses internal linking
Over on BobWP.com, this is our cornerstone content.
And where repurposing comes in, is that in order to make sure this content is timeless, I must keep it updated.
Yoast SEO has a feature to help you with your cornerstone content. By toggling this on any post or page, it just adds a bit of extra love to your content, knowing that it is your cornerstone content:
It also helps you to remember to keep it fresh.
This feature helps you with the content you have already determined as your cornerstone content. But, by just toggling it on, any page or post won’t magically become your cornerstone content.
To learn even more about it, I would suggest you check out this post on Yoast.com.
Repurposing Using Social Media
In a way social sharing, is, in its own way, repurposing. But in reality, social is simply a tool to share your content. But there are a few exceptions.
YouTube is one. If you create video from the content on your blog, and you have a very popular YouTube channel, likely you will repurpose that content to video and it will land on your channel. Hopefully, it also resides on your website if it’s appropriate content.
Using Instagram stores is another concept of repurposing on a social platform.
Then there are LinkedIn articles. This is a great way to pull in a piece of content from a post and lead people to click through to the original post. It may be that single-question from a longer podcast interview. Or perhaps you have a post with 10 tips for SEO and you can share two of those tips in the LinkedIn article.
And when you look at all of these social platforms, you are going to find some unique and creative ways to repurpose your own content.
Finding the Time
Finding the time and creating a workflow to keep on top of your repurposing is going to depend on your site’s own particular needs. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet.
A good start is to make a habit of doing a quick check of a post whenever you are in the dashboard doing one thing or another, even something as simple as replying to comment or correcting a typo.
I suggest you also use an editorial calendar as part of your workflow efforts. I recommend the plugin PublishPress. It also has some other features that you will find useful in creating your workflow.
One option we use is the editorial notes. As I mentioned, there are those moments when you are in the post doing something else. I find myself thinking of an update that is needed there. Or perhaps some tweaks that need to be done. So I make myself an editorial note.
I am able to set up an email notification that once I have left the comment, I am sent an email on it. This way, when convenient, I can add the task to my to-do list appropriately.
It’s Going to Take Some Work – Don’t Get Overwhelmed
I believe that many people are attracted to the concept of repurposing because they think it will make life easier for them. And in some ways it will. It may even give your brain a break from the hard work of coming up with new ideas. But in the end, repurposing takes work.
Come up with your own strategy. Make sure it aligns with the resources you have to commit to this.
And whatever you do, don’t overwhelm yourself.
An audio version of this post: