How to re-use archive content – 4 tips

Tony Hallett

Tony Hallett

Managing Director

June 13, 2012 9:27 am

How should you make the best use of archive content?

It’s a question that assumes you have some, for one thing. I was speaking to an old contact this week and he pointed out that everyone sits on more material than they realise. It doesn’t have to be in the form of topical blog content or even anything that feels editorial. That’s OK.

You will have something to get working with. Here are four approaches:

1. Most of the benefits you’ll be looking for come from online. (Think link-love, including pages to point to from e-newsletters or social media.) So work out what you have offline that can be digitised. At the very least you might have old client-facing brochures or custom publications where the odd gem or two resides, possibly never to see the light of day again – until now.

2. It’s not just about text – whether online or in print. Think images, whether photos, illustrations or video. There is an overhead to converting things like offline pics or video but increasingly that kind of content is catnip to those you’re trying to reach. Consider breaking down video into chunks of 60-90 seconds. Consider cropping and repurposing photos, perhaps using them in a gallery with short written commentary.

Your archive isn’t this boring*

3. This one isn’t really a do but rather a don’t. Don’t cut and paste content from one part of the web to another. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be doing this with other people’s content but even with assets you own, repeating text – and this is mostly about text – doesn’t sit well with the search gods (Google, we mainly mean). Consider curation techniques to introduce content that already sits somewhere, just as you do with curating content from elsewhere on the web. (Which you do. Right?)

4. With all these types remember to add calls to action that are relevant to you now. Re-using existing content doesn’t mean you can’t edit it. You might well surprise yourself with older opinions or offerings that were a little ahead of their time. Highlight this. Let the world know you got it. Relate this content to what you offer as a business now.

In a related post, Ken Makovsky this week in Forbes talks about how to sweat content, in his example following a PR agency whose thought-leadership white paper became articles (short and long) which then fuelled social channels and resulted in a couple of business partnerships.
So this isn’t just about mining your past. Consider a longevity mindset when you create as well.

Investing in good content is valuable but it isn’t cheap. Make the most of it.

*Image ‘Files (85)  by dougww used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5)


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