As a business blogger, you may occasionally panic as you look ahead and see nothing but deadlines staring back at you, day after day, week after week, or month after month.
Calm down. I’m here to share a trade secret: it’s really OK to reuse your blog posts. I have many reasons why.
Before I do, let me remind you that I blog weekly for myself (since 1999) and for other clients. Never do I share blog posts between clients, nor do I use a client’s blog on my site or vice versa. Every blog is, and should be, original content.
While I sometimes reuse my own blogs on my site, or update them to be published under my name elsewhere, I never use a client’s blog (or newsletter, case study, web site copy, email content, etc.) anywhere else.
Does this mean that once a blog is done and published, it remains frozen in time like a figure in a Madame Tussauds exhibit? Not at all.
Good blog posts cast long shadows. In the content marketing world, this means a blog post can influence future blogs.
If you’re writing an informational blog post, even a “how-to” post, you can extract sections or a single idea from a post – or approach it from a whole other viewpoint – and write a new post later on.
Say I write a blog post for a printer client about digital printing, focusing on what it is, in what situations it makes sense to go digital (instead of offset), and the types of applications it’s perfect for.
This would be a great basic post for people who have no knowledge of printing processes and would also educate them on what digital printing means.
Right away I can think of several follow-up posts that I could tackle in the months ahead, with hypothetical headlines like these: How to Know When a Job’s Best Suited for Digital Printing, What Can Digital Printing Do for Me that Offset Can’t, 10 Things to Know about Specifying Paper for Digital Printing, Preparing Decent Files for a Digital Printer, Digital Printing in the Packaging World, and so on.
Here’s another example. Let’s say your original post describes digital printing for corporate print buyers new to the field. For a new post, think like a marketer and rewrite this piece from a marketer’s perspective. Revisit it later on and rewrite it for an audience of consumers. Don’t forget new graphic designers – yet another target audience for this topic.
Taking a different perspective (i.e., writing for another audience) is a legitimate reason why a blog can be reused. Sure, you may have to tweak it, even rewrite sections of it. But the core concept is there. You aren’t starting from scratch.
Writing for a different audience is one good example of why blogs should be reused, but here are 8 more. See how many you identify with, as a consumer of content:
- Our memories are shot. Do you honestly remember every blog post you’ve read? I know I don’t. If you blog often and have done so for many years, don’t assume your readers recognize an old post that’s been recirculated. It’s not something you want to do regularly, but even re-publishing an old, popular post is fine every now and then.
- We don’t read everything that’s put in front of our face. I apologize to those among you who send me your posts regularly. Even with my very favorite bloggers, there are days when I just don’t have the time to read everything.
- Your audience changes, so your old posts can reach new people. If your stuff’s good enough and it’s relevant to a large market, you’re attracting new readers/subscribers all the time. Likewise, if you’re publishing your posts in new channels, your followers may be totally different in, say, LinkedIn, than the group on your email list. It’s OK to publish an older post in a new channel.
- Much of the time, good blog content is updatable. Posts written to share insights about an industry trend or to reflect on current news fall in this category. For example, if I were writing a post about the lasting value of printed materials, I might add links to online articles that support my position. Maybe they have to do with a renaissance in catalogs or letterpress, or the proven popularity of printed books with young readers. News articles like these show up regularly, with new evidence supporting my original position. So I would revise an original post with new facts, new data, and new research findings included via links.
- You can usually “slice and dice” sections of a blog post to narrow your focus. Many blog posts don’t have a laser focus. Go back to posts like these and see if you can extract one specific point that in itself is interesting and relevant. For example, if I write a general blog post on the value of a marketing portal, and I list the top 7 benefits from a marketer’s standpoint, I guarantee you that in the future I could write separate posts about each of those 7 benefits. Expand. Enlighten. Be more specific.
- You’re swamped. If you’re a weekly blogger or a daily one (God bless you), and you have clients to tend to, you get a pass. Go back through your blog library. Read through the headlines. Which ones still make you proud? Are they still relevant? Dust them off. Read them through and update as necessary. Publish them in a pinch.
- You’re entitled to a vacation. The more often you blog, the more likely you’ll need to take an occasional break. I used to forbid myself from missing a weekly post. Not today. If I’m going away on vacation or for business, and I cannot write a new post for that time period, I either rerun an older post or take a week off.
- Occasionally, even the best bloggers run out of gas. Don’t assume that everyone who blogs a lot has an endless supply of energy and great topics to write about. Now and then, the tank’s on “empty” and you need to pull an older post from your archive. Give yourself permission. I have.
I wrote this post to assure you it’s OK to republish a post more than once. Blogging should be fun and fluid, purposeful and painless.
If every now and then you need to enter your “blog closet” and show off something you’ve already made public, do it. Use good judgment. Update as necessary. Refresh it with new links and a snappier headline, and off you go.
© 2015 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.