7 Creative Content Writing Ideas to Bring Your Old Content Back to Life

7 Creative Content Writing Ideas to Bring Your Old Content Back to Life

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guide to creative content writing

Know how that goes…

Don’t you just love it when you give it all in every post just to see it buried in the archives a couple of weeks later?

Rhetorical question, I know…

It’s time to do something about it.

You CAN find other ways to give life to your retired content and here’s but a short list of what you can do.

1.   Write an ebook

This is one of the best ways to use your old content.

The key here is to find a bunch of posts that are connected by a common topic and pull them together in a resource post or a free ebook.

Here are two examples of bloggers packaging their free content into ebooks.

In the first one, the blogger provides a free text version of his book as well as a premium paid version, which also includes an audio.

http://nathanhangen.com/blog/brilliance/

The following example is from Zen Habits, where the book created out of the existing content is selling for under $10:

http://zenhabits.net/new-e-book-the-zen-habits-handbook-for-life/

2.  Rewrite old posts for guest posts

I know, I know – many bloggers require your guest posts to be “unique, original, and not previously published anywhere else”.

It absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t use your old posts, especially the ones that were a hit with your readers as a BASIS for a guest article.

Rewrite, paraphrase, add some fresh facts and examples and you are all set to go.

Of course, you can use the same strategy for article marketing.

3.   Turn old posts into Youtube videos

REPURPOSE.

That’s a great way to give your old posts a new life.

And believe it or not, it’s a cinch to do.

I explain more on how to turn your posts into video slideshows quickly and painlessly in this post:

4.   Make old posts into an audio file or podcast

This one is similar to the previous way of recycling your content.

Once you turn your posts into videos, there’s an easy way to turn your voice-over for those videos into an audio file, which can easily be made into a podcast.

All you do is go to http://ListenToYouTube.com, enter your video URL, and press Go.

This free service will quickly strip your video voice-over and turn it into an MP3 ready to be distributed to various podcast sites.

5.   Establish a post exchange with other bloggers

We, bloggers, are always looking for great fresh content to serve to our readers – after all, that’s what blogging is all about, right?

However, it’s amazing how hard it is to come by a good guest post; there’s a reason you don’t see a lot of those on my blog.

What you can do though is put together a group of other bloggers with great content and do an old post exchange every once in a while. It’s a great way for all of you to gain new readership, do some link building, and keep your content fresh with minimal effort.

But what about duplicate content penalty, Ana?

No such thing. At least not in a sense you are thinking about it.

If you have any concerns that Google will penalize you for reprinting someone else’s content, read this post:

6.   Use old posts as the basis for broadcast emails

The purpose of any email list is not to boast about the sheer numbers of it, but to develop relationships with the subscribers on that list.

Staying in touch though is not always easy.

How often do you email your list? What do you say? – all valid questions that need to be addressed.

I, for instance, try to stay in touch with my list once or twice per week and always to offer up some special tips that only my list gets from me.

My old content serves me as great inspiration for that.

Once in a couple of weeks, I peruse through older posts, looking for inspiration for list emails.

Doesn’t mean that I simply email my old posts to my list – what’s the fun in that, right? Rather, I look for some tips that I can give a fresh spin and turn them into something valuable and current.

Inspiration is always the key here, and my archive content provides plenty of that.

7.   Turn your old content into new posts

A few weeks back we talked about how to do a little spring cleaning on your blog and why Google says it’s important to do so.

That post ties in nicely with the concept of recycling your old content.

Let’s talk in a bit more detail about how we can use it to our advantage.

Let’s say you wrote a post about SEO plugins that was a hit back in the day, got a bunch of natural backlinks, ranks highly in Google, and still brings good amounts of traffic.

Problem is that content is outdated by now and could definitely use a makeover.

You have two choices here:

1.   Simply update the existing post. However, your current readers will never know you did that and won’t get the benefit of the new information unless you mention it in a new post or possibly send an email to your list.

2.   “Relocate” your old content to a new page, update it, and publish it anew. This way you create new, current content based on your old one.

Of course, you should always remember to do a 301 redirect of your old URL to the new one; that way you’ll make sure your search engine traffic can find the post they are looking for.

When your guest bloggers outrank you

This tactic also works for guest posts that were published on your blog and are now ranking highly in search engines.

It’s always great to see one of your posts show up in SERPs; however, if it’s a guest post that is ranking, you can potentially send all the search engine traffic to the guest blogger’s blog – good for them, not so much for you.

So what to do?

The best option is to write your own post on the topic…

Let me go back one step though.

First, you need to change the URL for the guest post in question to something different; even adding “part-1″ to the end of it will do.

Then you publish your own post under the old URL as a new post.

What happens now is that the search engine traffic will come to the new post, since it’s published under the ranking URL, and the guest blogger still retains all the links back to their blog, since their post is essentially left intact – after all, link building IS the long-term goal for guest posting, right?

So everyone wins in my book.

This tactic is my take on the living URL, explained in detail in this post on Search Engine Land and expanded upon in this post on Michael Gray’s blog.

Marketing Takeaway

There’s absolutely no reason you should loose your quality content to the abyss of your archives.

I quite often use one of the tips above to revive some of the older quality content on my blog; how about you?

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31 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Re-Writing old posts can help a lot especially when the posts are buried with almost no traffic from search engines. Adding some fresh content/facts, etc. can drive a decent amount of traffic to those posts.

  2. Isn’t the idea of a guest post to provide a useful post for your site at the same time giving the person writing it a plug or backlink? If one is not paying them then I guess outranking is not a big deal. You win because you didn’t have to do much work. You get a new article, blog, or post for free. You potentially can get some revenue from it. Although you are probably not going to get rich off it. I’m not a fan of guest postings.

  3. Thats a pretty sneaky idea about changing the guest posts url. Hmm… I am not sure I could do that as it is all about building a relationship in the first place. Some people spend hours on writing guest posts.

    Amazing idea though! Gotta give you that one!

    I would however do this on guest posts where the posters website does not exist any longer.

    • Mitz, I would not change it right away, but after some time has passed in which the guests would get enough leverage.

  4. Hello Ana.

    This article is exactly the reason why you are one of the top bloggers with a LOT of influence. I know all this, but the key about this information it to actually DO IT!

    I am working on making a ebook available with the 25 BEST author interviews to my readers and subscribers. It’s going to be a WHOPPER. I have TONS of GOOD content I wrote when my blog started out and it is lost somewhere in the hallways of the my archives.

    One book with the top 25 interviews and then a couple high profile people’s audio interviews as a bonus. But your idea of giving a ebook away for free and making a premium one avialbale at a small fee with audio interviews is STELLAR.

    I see one problem with excellent posts like yours, very few people actually implement it. Don’t you agree?

      • I just typed up a long message to you, but for some reason it did not post :(

        THANK YOU for the kind words – you are good for the ego! :-)

        Your book sounds very exciting! Can’t wait to read it.

        YES, revamp those old posts and get them back out there!

  5. Very clever tactic about that URL Ana. Have to admit that I have never used it, and it is really an excellent form to use a “better” ranking post and use that URL for a new one… One question though… what if your URL structure includes “dates”. How do you go about that?

    • And that’s one of the reasons I never recommend using dates in your URL, Francisco. :)

      However, since you do use them, your only option is to republish the post under the same date. You won’t be able to use it as new content, but still bring search engine traffic to YOUR post, which is the most important part.

  6. I love your ways of repurposing content because they are not just about shuffling stuff around, but they suggest actual creative steps which aren’t often found around in other, let’s say, “how to’s”.
    Especially making YouTube videos, or well videos in general is proven to be a very good way to attract interest, since the video media is one of the most engaging. So much that some people have switched to the video format for blogging altogether (like Chriss Voss for example).

    • Thanks, Gabrielle. I am glad you find my posts easy to follow.

      Video media is definitely the way to go and I use YouTube quite a bit. People are often lazy to read and prefer to watch a video instead. They also find it more interactive.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Ana,

    This post came into my life at the right time i needed! Thanks! A year ago I was an avid blogger and then quit for about 9 months and then lost a lot of those blog posts! But recently i recovered them and now i have noticed they are all over the net, copywrited, and stolen. So I am going to use some of these tips and re vamp them and bring them back home!

    Thanks,
    ~Kyle

    • I’m sorry to hear what happened to you, Kyle. But it seems you are back with a vengeance. Glad my post helped.

  8. Ana,

    I hesitate to even touch on disagreeing one SEO with a woman who knows a lot more than I do on the subject.

    But for #5. I know this used to be true, but I thought between the scraper and panda updates that Google has pretty much said that too much duplicate content WILL affect a sites rankings.

    Otherwise I concur wholeheartedly. We all (hopefully) work hard to make our content quality. There is no reason why someone “shouldn’t” to refresh and recycle it.

    -Steve

    • It would seem that way with Panda update, Steve; however, the problem at the heart of the update was not the duplicate content, but lack of original content.

      It hit the sites that have duplicate (i.e. lack of original) content across the board and absolutely not the sites that reprint something everything once in a while with reference sources.

      So far, I haven’t see any particular changes in the duplicate arena; I’ll keep you posted if I hear otherwise.