Leftovers are a natural part of content creation.
Like a movie remake, most content ideas that you create usually have more value than a one-time release.
Fast and Furious, Fast and Furious 2, Fast and Furious 3, 4, 5, Shaw and Hobbes…
That’s because while you may have presented a strong, clear, and succinct topic within your content (the latest Hellboy movie excluded), it’s natural for people, especially fans of the idea or topic, to seek and consume multiple permutations of that content.
How many version of Batman have you seen (The Michael Keaton version? The Christian Bale version? The Ben Affleck version)? How many times has the origin story of Spiderman been retold in movies?
How far can we consume rehashed content, two words, Sharknado 6 (a.k.a The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time).
Content repetition extreme. Why do we keep watching rehashed content?
Because we’re absolutely okay with multiple ways of telling the same story. We want breadth and depth in the things we like. So if that’s the case, as a content creator, you shouldn’t ignore extracting all the value you can from your existing content by talking about that content or topic in different ways.
As you create content with different angles on the same topic, you help readers and fans around the content envision the topic from a different perspective and feel like they are getting a richer or fuller insight.
How do you recycle content?
Sometimes re-purposing content is simply an act of taking a known topic and restructuring it in a way where a particular reader who is interested in the general topic now feels the topic is even more relevant to them. That’s usually accomplished by adding an additional element to the story.
For example. The article you wrote on “Tips to save for retirement,“ might become “Saving for retirement at 50.” Same base content: tips for retirement. But for a 50-something who might want to know how retirement strategies can be applied to their age and unique saving timeline, that new story feels a little more relevant.
Voila! You’ve re-served content.
Motley Fool does it. Boy, do they.
Speaking of financial content. The Motley Fool. It’s an organization that has fused investment and advisory services with content around promoting their services. It is essentially content marketing. A lot of its content is tailored and written to pull in investing minded or retirement-worried consumers into its content universe and expose them to financial products and its own financial advisory services. To produce a steady stream of content magnets, their organization seems to relentlessly write many different versions of content around the same financial topic.
And it works.
I can’t tell you how many times I have read one of their articles on investing which turned out to be the same content served back to me in what felt like 200 different ways.
“Are you too late in saving for retirement?”
“What people miss that ruins your retirement? “
“How much should you have saved for retirement by now?”
These types of headlines with the same base body content: Start saving now, save as much as you can, take advantage of catchup savings programs and employer match.
It’s like Taco Bell. Five ingredients make up all the food you can order from the fast-food joint.
Another way to recycle. Go back and look at your edits.
When I write, I can’t tell you how many times, I feel like I leave good ideas around the topic I’m writing about on the “cutting room floor” due to space constraints in the current content or the additional idea has too many loose ends to keep what I’m writing focused and flowing easily.
Pick up the “scraps” from your writing cutting room floor. Those ideas you edited out may not be right for that particular content piece, but certainly good for another one. Use it to build a new story or create content that provides a deeper look through that new perspective.
Look at matching existing content with new scenarios.
There was the movie Shaft. Then, at some point came Shaft in Africa. Don’t know why we would expect somebody to ask themselves “Hey, what would it be like if Shaft “threw down his thing” in Africa?” Not sure if scientists were asking that question, but Shaft fans might. And that’s who that new version of Shaft content is for, people who want to see a permutation of a premise.
Think the same way about your existing content. Add a scenario that allows your readers to see and explore a topic in a different light.
The effort to tailor your existing content may make you feel it’s warmed-over leftovers, but to readers eager to know more about your topic, it can still taste pretty good.
Got content-hungry audiences? How to use existing content to make new content readers will love.