Develop new ideas for blog posts by re-mixing old content with fresh ideas and new media
If you find the concept of posting portal content several times a day—or even just a few times per week—exhausting, join the club. However the one thing publishers have over any other type of content-creators is an endless supply of content that can be re-mixed and re-purposed into new, evergreen blog posts.
When we racked our brains to come up with a solid list of ideas for portal posts any editor would be able to work with, we came up with 28 different ways to deliver new content without burning out. The best part is most of it involves content you already own!
- Magazines: Article Post, Article Review, Issue Review, Issue Excerpt and Interview Outtakes
- Books: Chapter Post, Chapter Excerpt, Chapter Review, Book Review, Book Excerpt and Author Interview
- Live Events: Event Review, Event Transcript and Event Commentary
- Media Websites: Link Review, News & Commentary and Link Roundup
- Videos: Video Post and Video Transcript
- Podcasts: Podcast Review and Podcast Transcript
- Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter and Forum Roundup
- Original Thinking: Keyword Inspiration, Personal Story and Best Practice Review
Mequoda’s Managing Editor, Amanda MacArthur, also put together a presentation that describes how any editor can use all of these sources to build a robust blog on recycled content.
Idea for Blog Post 1. Article Post
What’s easier than taking exactly what was written in the magazine and posting it online? Not much, right? Here are a few bullet points outlining how other publishers are doing it:
- SEO. They may alter the headline and copy a little bit to make room for SEO. A big archive of articles is great, but who’s going to care if nobody can find them?
- Attribution. They tell you the name of the magazine it came from and sometimes even include the issue, date and page numbers.
- Byline. If the original article had an author, then the byline on the blog goes to the same author. If your blogs don’t include a dedicated byline, you can add the original author in the same place you note the issue.
Guideposts is one of the many publishers who re-purpose magazine content in this fashion:
Idea for Blog Post 2. Article Review
Article reviews bring new life to the original article. They touch on the most important and interesting parts of the original printed article and make a new blog post from them.
In this example from Glamour, they’ve taken a concept that was featured in their magazine and went real-world with it, using photos to demonstrate the technique they’ve explained. No models, no fancy flash photography, just a more casual approach to an interesting topic. They also tell you exactly what article they’re talking about, right in the blog title.
Idea for Blog Post 3. Issue Review
What is an Editor’s Letter really, anyway? Why, it’s an issue review! And there’s no reason why you can’t re-purpose this type of content onto your blog to get everyone jazzed up about the current, or future issues.
In this example by Budget Travel, they’re talking about their 10th anniversary issue, where they are proudly reflecting upon the process of creating an issue that was entirely user generated – from the photos, to the article, to the magazine cover.
Idea for Blog Post 4. Issue Excerpt
A little more specific than an Issue Review is the Issue Excerpt, which grabs bits and pieces from the magazine and turns them into a single blog post. You can grab content verbatim (with appropriate credit to the original editor) or construct into more of a bulleted list of key points.
For example, People recently created a World’s Most Beautiful Women issue and then created a whole “sneak peek” of the issue on their website which excerpted from all over the print magazine.
Idea for Blog Post 5. Interview Outtakes
One of the most popular methods of re-purposing magazine content in the industry today is highlighting the “outtakes” as a way to promote the printed, more elaborate article.
In this example from The Artist’s Magazine, Richard McKinley provides blog-length fodder that ends up promoting a full interview in the magazine. It’s dubbed Richard McKinley Interview Outtakes, but it’s actually quite an informative and robust article all on its own.
Idea for Blog Post 6. Chapter Post
Book: The Four Hour Body
Tim Ferris knows how to get people to buzz about his books months in advance, creating a hype as strong as a new Stephen Spielberg film.
So it’s no wonder that he gets this whole blogging thing, and the fact that you need to give some away in order for people to want more. It also helps that the content is already written and paid for.
Here, Ferris is simply taking the first chapter of his book and posting the whole thing in in its entirety online. He’s also pumping it up with the table of contents. So he’s giving you a full chapter of content, then telling you what else you’ll get if you read his book. Of course at the bottom, he has links to buy the book.
Idea for Blog Post 7. Chapter Excerpt
Blog: 37 Signals Blog
37 Signals is a software development company who just happened to write and market a book so correctly that they’re now a bestseller in both the US and the UK. The Chapter Excerpt you see here is them announcing the book. For this strategy, you’re basically quoting yourself and then adding commentary to it, but you don’t necessarily need to write an “announcement” in order to take advantage of the excerpt strategy. Instead, you can create a series of blog posts that pull excerpts from the book, where you can expand upon them. You can also use this strategy for books you want to review in your niche that aren’t your own.
Idea for Blog Post 8. Book Excerpt
Think the same thing as above, except you’re pulling from various parts of the book.
Idea for Blog Post 9. Chapter Review
Book: Eat This, Not That
Blog: Men’s Health Blog
What Men’s Health was doing was taking excerpts from the whole chapter to create a chapter review. The difference between this one and the last example is that instead of copying and pasting one excerpt and commenting on it, they’re really speculating on the whole chapter here.
While Eat This, Not That has its own site now (fully owned and operated by Zinczenko’s company Galvanized), at the time, while he was still at Men’s Health, was smart enough to leverage his Men’s Health audience to cross promote this particular book, which appeals to the same audience.
Idea for Blog Post 10. Book Review
Book: Knitwear Design Workshop
Blog: Knitting Daily (Interweave Knits)
Consider it a service to your readers when you write book reviews. Some publishers choose to review their own books while others review those of experts in their niche. You can help them decide whether or not to invest their money in a book and whether or not to waste their precious time reading it.
Kathleen Cubley, Managing Editor of Knitting Daily, was so smart about this review that she let the author, Shirley Paden, pretty much review the book herself. The article starts with a brief introduction of Paden and the book and then it’s all Paden from there on out. Talk about easy. The best part? The book is sold in the Knitting Daily store.
Idea for Blog Post 11. Author Interview
Look at this last example and re-imagine it into a series of questions and answers.
Idea for Blog Post 12. Event Review
Events aren’t just person-to-person, they’re also online. There are plenty of free webinars online that you can sign up for and start taking notes. In the B2B world this is often easier to do than in the B2C world because the B2B realm is tossing webinars at you left and right to sell a product. In the B2C world you can still find them, the task just might be a little harder. In any case, you know your industry and whether you have free events at your fingertips. If you do, it’s easy to listen in for an hour or so and create a quick take-away post of everything you learned in the webinar that you can pass along.
You can also write a blog post wrap-up of every single one of your events, which will make it even easier to remember and transcribe the content. Here’s an example of how Beading Daily captured a review of their annual Bead Fest:
Idea for Blog Post 13. Event Transcript
Speaking of transcription, some event coordinators record their speakers and then transcribe them. The major perk to this is you have an easy blog post, and also that you always have something to pull from when you need quotes, numbers and data. Here’s an example of one company who posted the video of their webinar and then the transcript below it.
Idea for Blog Post 14. Event Commentary
Blogs like Wired, MacRumors and even The New York Times are live-blogging major events like Apple’s annual events. Live-blogging makes commentary easy. Below is an example from Wired where you can see them updating the blog in real-time, marked by timestamps and including photos of the stage.
Idea for Blog Post 15. Link Review
A link review is a short review of an article or news story from some external source. The review should give relevant information, a link to the original article for further reading, and personal insight on the topic discussed in the article. Even if you and your staff have full workloads, link reviews can fit easily into your day.
Guy Kawasaki’s Holy Kaw blog is a famous example of link reviews. In this example, there’s a little mix of original content and sourced content. Either way, it gives enough away to be the final destination, regardless if someone wants to click through to the full story.
Idea for Blog Post 16. News & Commentary
What happened recently? How can you tie in a current, general interest event into an evergreen topic using re-purposed content from your magazine or from the blog?
Below, Charmed Yogi, a yoga blog that wouldn’t typically comment on Twinkies, took time out to comment when Hostess went out of business and turned it into something more zen.
Idea for Blog Post 17. Link Roundup
Link round-ups are just that – a round-up of links, usually in a list on your site. For example, in December some publications will make a list of their top 10 articles for the year. In this example from Black Belt, they’re pulling together a list of their top videos.
Idea for Blog Post 18. Video Post
A video post is simply an article that focuses on the content in the video — just like this article you’re reading right now!
Speaking of Black Belt‘s videos, they also have video posts.
Idea for Blog Post 19. Video Transcript
Publishers will post video transcripts in order to get double-duty out of their videos. Instead of slapping a video in a plain post with a few descriptive sentences, you can get a huge SEO benefit by including the transcript below it.
About.com always posts transcripts with their videos. Here’s an example of a video and transcript by our own Amanda MacArthur.
Idea for Blog Post 20. Podcast Review
A Podcast Review is a good way to post a podcast but not annoy your readers by making it so exclusive that they can only learn from it by downloading. Since not everyone has time to listen to a Podcast, create a short post that describes the podcast and includes some skimmable bullet points they can use to determine whether they want to download it.
Wired has a good example, below, where they talk about the podcast and then embed the mp3 below.
Idea for Blog Post 21. Podcast Transcript
No time to review a podcast? Cool. Embed the file and post a transcript instead! In the example below The Guardian does just that.
Idea for Blog Post 22. Facebook
Use your fans for crowdsourcing. Tell them you’re writing an article and need feedback. Use their feedback as quotes. Or, ask them what they want you to write about if you’re totally tapped out of ideas for blog posts.
In this example, BarkBox is leveraging Facebook and Google+ to ask fans to submit photos of their dogs for an upcoming blog post.
Idea for Blog Post 23. Twitter
The media is regularly quoting Tweets now, so it’s officially allowed. Be careful what you use as “facts,” but Twitter can be a great place to find opinions. You can ask certain questions, but you can also use Twitter’s search feature to search a specific topic and see what people are saying about it.
BuzzFeed is famous for using this approach. Some of their editors write posts almost entirely comprised of Tweets, and sometimes they focus on just one and turn it into a headline.
Idea for Blog Post 24. Forum Roundup
If you have a forum, this is a great place to look for intense discussions and turn them into full-fledged blog posts. You can quote your forum users and add your own commentary to turn it into something valuable and conclusive.
Or, you can write a post that simply gives updates on what’s going on in the forums, like this post from MacNN which drives traffic into the forums and builds more discussion.
Idea for Blog Post 25. Keyword Inspiration
Just when you think you’ve written about everything, the Google Keyword Tool can give you a list of everything people are searching for. By typing a broad keyword term into the tool, it will deliver back a list of the most popular search phrases using that keyword. You’d be surprised what people are looking for that you may not have written about yet.
Idea for Blog Post 26. Personal Story
Storytelling is the best-used practice of bloggers, and it’s probably why some bloggers can truly compete with legacy publishers.
CNN published a post called “Why I’m Quitting Facebook” which was uncharacteristically personal, and I thought this would be a good place to share it:
Idea for Blog Post 27. Best Practice Review
Here’s a good, quick-tip type of article that’s easy to write. Determine what the most basic best practices are in your industry and start creating an archive of them. Think of them like glossary pages, except they offer a tip or strategy for doing a single thing. These can easily be pulled in from old magazine or blog content.
This example from Cosmopolitan is 50% image and 50% text and gives a short review of how to do a single hair trick.
Idea for Blog Post 28. Product Review
Is there a product you use that makes you better at doing your job, or at life in general? Everyone appreciates a real opinion on products they can purchase, and affiliate links can make you money. Depending on the size of your audience, affiliate commissions can be a major money maker for you like it is for many bloggers. If you don’t already have an Amazon affiliate account, get on that. If it isn’t a product on Amazon, look at the site for the company or product for a link that says “affiliates”. Many sites have it at the very bottom of the site.
Below is how AutoWeek reviews cars. One thing we like about this particular review is how they don’t just take one person’s word for it, they bring in three people to weigh in.
Do you have more sources to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2012 and is frequently updated.