Fit for (re)purpose: does your old web content meet your current goals?

By Tony Faccenda, Senior Content Manager

You can tell a lot about a business by its online content back catalogue. Skipping back from the polished assets promoted on its latest landing page, you can get a sense of how that company’s focus and priorities have evolved.

Having a strong bank of content shows a sense of purpose. Your business has thought deeply about the topics, trends and issues surrounding its industry, and has invested in producing something practical, thought provoking and informative to help its audience navigate the choppy waters.

No sooner have you pressed the ‘publish’ button, however, and your content ceases to be as fresh and thrilling as it was on day one. The spike in traffic it attracts slowly dissipates and falls mercy to the gods of SEO for its on-going value. That is, at least, until it’s repurposed.

The case for repurposing

Repurposing can be a great way to quench your audience’s thirst for content at speed. By definition, repurposing is distinct from simply reusing. You will still need to review old assets and refresh to remove any reference that pegs it to a particular time and to account for any dramatic changes in the market.

Your content remains relevant as long as it continues to attract attention and solve your customers’ pain points. Allowing old content to fall to the annals of your online category makes it less accessible to those that need it. Repurposing gives you a new opportunity to give it a marketing boost and make sure the information is reaching the right audience.

This approach can be particularly effective should the content find renewed relevance by tying in with a current news event or emerging trend.

The case against

Repurposing is, however, not always the magic bullet for filling your content funnel, particularly for content intended to attract new site visitors. Well-written and informative content has a habit of finding its way into the right hands. Peer sharing helps to build momentum behind an asset, improving its search visibility for those in need. If your content didn’t hit this goal the first time around, don’t expect it to on the second go.

Furthermore, repurposing content can often compromise quality. As your business evolves so does its personality and brand proposition. It’s natural to look back on whitepapers or videos from three or four years ago with a degree of discomfort. Trying to reconcile that former self with your current brand identity can be a tricky gulf to bridge.

The decision to repurpose therefore shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ideally, it will only be reserved for your most popular and evergreen pieces that already have had success in the market and would benefit from an update or refresh.

Trying to reconfigure it out

In many cases, you will find the greatest success not in repurposing content but in reconfiguring. The difference is nuanced, but an important one to understand.

Reconfiguring entails conceptualising an entirely new piece of content that matches with precisely what your business wants to be saying to the market. Then, rather than starting with a blank page, going back through your past content to pick out the ideas, arguments and proof points that support the new proposition.

The end result? A fresh asset that aligns with your current brand, appeals to new visitors and tells your existing audience something they don’t already know.


If you’d like more killer tips on how you can repurpose your old content, get in touch with our team.

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