What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Taken verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiates, King Solomon purportedly wrote that as a lamentation on the cyclical, monotonous nature of life in general. Religious text isn’t usually a prime candidate for critical appraising but Ecclesiates is an exception in that it is home to some of the most insightful and brilliant writing ever known to man. To wit, the quote at the beginning of this paragraph.
So yes, there hasn’t been anything new under the sun for some time now. Films and televisions are either adaptations, sequels, remakes and/or reboots. 2 decades after we saw a Velociraptor improbably opening a door, we immerse ourselves once again in a park full of dinosaurs knowing just how well everything went the last three times that happened. We saw a grand total of three different Spider-Men zips across New York in 15 years. It’s only a matter of time before we’re introduced to a new Crocodile Dundee.
Finding new meanings inside old things
Most SEO services and content marketers agree on one thing, be original. And yet, Marvel became a gajillion dollar business simply by lifting characters off of comic books and using them over and over again in the same formula but with slight variations. No, the goal is not to be original, it is to be good. Excellent execution can save a mediocre idea but not even a great idea can save a woeful execution. Put simply, it’s not about what you do; it’s about how well you do it.
Reusing contents might carry a bad rap when it comes to marketing but again, it all comes down to how well you do it. Reusing, or rather repurposing contents, is not about simply republishing an old content in the hopes of reigniting past glories, it is about finding new meaning or a new perspective in a particular content that would make it as relevant now as it is then. Whether it’s about presentation or about timing, here are some good reasons why you should consider reusing old contents:
- By using a different media
The story of how Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained spider-like powers in the process has existed in comic book form since 1962, created by the duo of Stan Lee and the late Steve Ditko. It wasn’t until 4 decades later that this particular story was adapted into the silver screen in 2002 and again in 2012 and finally as part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017. Translating a particular work from one medium to another is a great way of refreshing or updating a particular work, and the world of content marketing is no different.
Have a blog post that’s peppered with numbers and statistics? Why not use those numbers to create an infographic? Data visualization is a big deal right now and rather than seeing those numbers presented dull text, using infographics is one way of making those data more presentable. If you have a particular post that you’re particularly proud of but is merely presented with dull text, consider turning it into a video or a slideshow presentation.
- When there’s something new to be said
After finishing Return of the Jedi in 1983, George Lucas took time off Star Wars for two decades before finally returning with the prequel trilogy. The reason? To wait until technology has caught up with what he envisioned upon which he can finally unleash the horror of Jar Jar Binks on the unsuspecting world. The world changes with time and every now and then, there are moments in which a material you have covered before becomes relevant once again.
Other times, it might just be because you as a writer have changed and that there are some new insights that you could provide on the particular subject. No matter how full of imagination you are, there are times where, inevitably, you’re going to run out of something completely new to say. When that time comes, instead of conjuring some half-baked idea for you to write, look over at some of the things you’ve already written and see if you can connect them to something topical.
- As a compilation
In-depth and longform contents are all the rage these days but if you think that setting out to write a 2,000 words post from the outset is too daunting, consider compiling your shorter contents into an article series. Wikipedia for example has catalogues of series that documents the history of a particular subject, such as nations’ history, timeline of a particular conflict or even the history of an art form.
This practice is actually very common in the world of Japanese animated series where episodes of a concluded series are compiled into one or more feature-length films for theatrical releases. Obviously, some editing is necessary to ensure that it flows naturally but it is an easier alternative than taking on one gargantuan piece of content from the beginning. In fact, it is possible for you to outline your content schedule with this in mind to make the compilation easier down the line.
People make it seem as if regurgitating old posts as new again is akin to an unforgivable sin, a sign of laziness, a distinct lack of creativity or worse, both. To be perfectly honest, those posts on the internet you see consisting of 100 tips and/or statistics gathered together with absolutely no context whatsoever is considerably more problematic. Republishing your contents verbatim is not a good idea but adding any of the twists listed above to your old contents can give them a new lease on life and might allow them to reach an entirely new audience.