20 ways to re-purpose existing content and make it work harder

You’ve expended blood, sweat and tears to create website content. You may have been doing it for years. So is all that amazing old content worthless, or can you harness existing content to your commercial benefit? As it turns out, legacy content seldom dies… unless you let it.

Search engines value freshness. When you update, upgrade and improve old content, you might find it resurfaces in the search results, to be found by a new tranche of searchers in your target market. Here’s how to resurrect old content, empower it and give it a new lease of life.

How to resurrect old content and turn it into brilliant fresh bling

  1. Have you included an image or graphics in every page or post? Add fresh images to ageing content to give it a visual boost and make it more attractive to your audience
  2. Has all your old content been optimised for search engines? If not, backtrack and make it so, giving it a new lease of life with good meta data
  3. All content isn’t evergreen. But almost all content can be updated. Say you have a blog post covering changes that took place in your sector five years ago. Can you update it, adding extra information to inform people what the current situation is five years down the line?
  4. Can you re-purpose an old piece of content so it fulfils a new role?
  5. Are any of your oldest posts completely beyond redemption? If so you can delete them and use a 301 redirect to send people to a suitable alternative page or post
  6. Have your opinions changed through experience and over time? If so you can append old content with your new thoughts to create an engaging argument for your readers
  7. Is the advice you’ve provided out of date? Revisit old posts and pages to update them in line with the latest tech, new research, a new commercial landscape and so on
  8. Did you always ask for reader feedback, comments or opinions? If not go back and add calls to action to older content to promote engagement
  9. If old posts relate to other, newer ones, do internal linking to make it easy for your audience to follow the thread
  10. Are your titles rubbish? If so re-write them so they do more to attract the interest of the right kind of people
  11. Remove or mend any dead links in older content
  12. Have you gathered a load of spammy comments? If so, delete them. Spam comments don’t do you any good and can do harm under certain circumstances
  13. Extend short, thin content so it’s worth having
  14. Would a piece of written content be better expressed in pictures or video? If so, recreate it
  15. You might have got a lot better at writing over the time you’ve been creating content for your website. How does your old stuff sound? If it would benefit from a quick ‘n’ dirty edit to make it flow better, do it
  16. Did you do keyword research the first time around? If not, do it now and weave three or four relevant keywords throughout the piece to improve its SEO focus
  17. How’s the formatting? IF your older content looks like a dog’s dinner, reformat it so it’s easier and more pleasurable to read
  18. Is the keyword research you did the first time around still relevant? If not, do it again to improve the content’s focus
  19. Check evergreen content is still wholly relevant, and update it if not
  20. Don’t forget to promote and share your updated and revived content on social media

You could do all this in a vacuum. Or you could do the decent thing and take a snapshot of the stats beforehand, so you can actually see whether the changes you’ve made have driven more traffic your way, caused a social media sharing spike or shot up in the search results.

What’s your experience?

Have you ever resurrected an old piece of legacy content to spectacularly dramatic effect? If so we’d love to hear about it.