Content Repurposing – Why to Release your Archives and Recycle Content

Online Content Marketing Management: Finding the hidden assets that can fuel your online marketing program

A bonanza of previously published content can be reused to attract search engine traffic and build links to your website.

David Foster is a thoughtful, experienced and highly respected publisher.

He is a past President of SIPA and for many years was the president of IOMA, Inc., a subsidiary of the Bureau of National Affairs, the publisher of management and professional information.

Today, David heads up Business Valuation Resources, which publishes a monthly newsletter on business valuation topics, Business Valuation Update newsletter, and a variety of electronic databases that include Pratt’s Stats, with data on almost 8,000 sales of privately held businesses; BV Law, with the complete texts of over 1,400 federal and state business valuation cases; and other databases.

Not surprisingly, when David Foster speaks, other publishing professionals prick up their ears.

Against that background, it is worthwhile to note that one of the most difficult conversations we ever have with a potential online publisher is explaining where the online content will come from. That’s because so many publishers resist the idea of reusing their archived material.

At the basic level, there are three sources:

  1. archives of printed content,
  2. a regular schedule of emails, whose content can be reused on the website, and
  3. free special reports that can drive an online circulation campaign.

But so many publishers seem oblivious or unaware of why and how to do this.

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So, when David spoke at a SIPA meeting and challenged all to take a mental walk though our office, looking for content, his words shook a few more traditional publishers in the audience.

“How many of you have content that is sitting on a shelf, or on a hard drive, and that generated zero income for you during the past 12 months?” he asked.

Almost everyone raised a hand.

“All of that content can be reborn, recycled, and put on a website as web pages that will organically contain the keywords your users are searching for. This reborn content could be, should be the backbone of your organic marketing program.”

David is absolutely right.

Every print publisher has at least 1,000 pages of old content. Many have 10,000 pages; some have as many as 100,000 pages.

Overcoming objections to recycling content

Let’s dispel any excuses for not mining your wealth of recyclable assets.

Excuse Number One: Our old content is dead.

Fact: Your old content can have a life beyond the library shelf.

Excuse Number Two: Our old content is out of date.

Fact: If the content was accurate at the time it was originally published, you can republish it with the original date, and readers will understand that it was accurate as of that date.

Excuse Number Three: The writer/editor doesn’t work here anymore.

Fact: The content is probably a work-for-hire product. You probably own all the rights to it.

Thinking through your article release plan

Are you ready to revisit your archives in search of content that can fuel your online marketing program?

Your content recycling strategy requires you to answer three questions.

  1. What content do I have?
  2. How can I break it down into minimum information units?
  3. How can I get it formatted, categorized, tagged and uploaded into our website’s content management system?

See Raiders of Lost Content for suggestions on how to handle the busy work.

Periodical Websites (any site with a dated archive, like blogs) are not encyclopedias, their basic taxonomy is a chronology. The basic structure of a Periodical Website is editorial content organized first by date, then by subject, then by author, and then searchable by keyword. Every article is a minimum information unit (MIU).

Whether you own magazines, newsletters, books special reports, videos, conference transcripts, or audio programs, you can do a content inventory and establish both a policy and a schedule for repurposing old content online.

A previously published magazine article with three sidebars can be posted online as four minimum information units, each with a hypertext link to the others.

The publisher of a financial newsletter can post any previously published article online, in its entirety, for one MIU. They can then break this same article into individual discreet stock profiles, each of which constitutes another MIU.

Breaking this content into MIUs, each on its own webpage, makes the publisher’s stock recommendations easier to find through organic search.

Following this republishing strategy results in an exponential growth in the number of website pages, which results in a greater number of keywords, more incoming links, and, ultimately, more organic website traffic.

The goal of an article release plan is more organic traffic. Pages drive keywords. Keywords drive incoming links. Keywords and links drive traffic.

Expressed more simply, the more pages, keywords and incoming links on your website, the more organic traffic it will attract. And in almost every publishing sector, the site with the most pages gets the most traffic.

You already have the archived content to fuel a vigorous online marketing program. It’s right on the shelf (or the hard drive) where you left it.

Thanks for a terrific tip, David.

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