How To Repurpose Your Existing Content Without Duplicating It

cat in boxIf you are like me you might have quite a few articles out there in the World Wide Web sphere that are old and not really useful anymore except for being on some article directories.

I have many of such articles, and sometimes I feel like reusing them, or better said, re-purpose them. This comes very handy, especially when I am still wondering what my next blog post will be about and my next blog post is due like tomorrow.  Yes, that happens a lot to me, because writing my little post is not all I’ve got to do. However, comes what may, I will have that article posted, and it’s still got to be up to my own standard.  So re-purposing an old article can come very handy sometimes.

This said, however, I’m not about to create duplicate content.  So how can I reuse or re-purpose an article of mine while creating a totally brand new blog post?

Reusing an Old Article

As I was browsing some of my articles I found one discussing 3 reasons that will make you write “bad content” which would not serve you.  I thought I would revisit that article and see if it would inspire me to write a blog post.

Since that article was written some years ago I could make it different and much better as my writing skill have greatly improved over time.  As I am reading this article, as it’s often the case, I like nothing about it anymore, but it still could inspire me in writing something that someone could take home.

OK, let’s give a totally new purpose to that little sucker.

Like I said, I need to be inspired while I keep almost nothing from that original article.  So instead of focusing on the reasons that would make a “bad” article, let’s focus on the reasons that would make a “good” article.

1)      Writing With a Specific Purpose

This is a killer, indeed.  Have you ever written an article without a purpose?  If so, then, the chances that your content will not be interesting and attractive to anyone are pretty high.  Believe me I’ve seen some of those blog posts that had no purpose but filling up the blank page.  This alone calls for a usually very boring, non enticing content, that no one cares for.

Write with a purpose, and intention. WHY are you writing this post/article? If you don’t know why, then STOP now! Think of something else, and come back when you have a good reason to write what you’re going to write.

See? Or rather, let me just tell you… I’ve just rewritten the whole paragraph of that old article of mine. Not a single word is the same. Just the idea.  That’s what I call re-purposing your content.

2)      Write like you care

If you don’t care yourself about what you are discussing in your own article, how do you think you are going to interest anyone else?  If you don’t like your own stuff, how anyone is going to like it? That’s just impossible.

You’ve got to nurture your own writing to be able to touch people with it.  Here is an example; I’m not saying that to brag, OK! This is just for the purpose of an example of what I mean.  I’ve been told several times that the fact that love what I’m writing about comes through my writing. Do you think that it would be possible if it wasn’t the truth? Well, even though I believe that I am a decent writer, am not good enough to fool anybody. I don’t think that I would be able to pull that one, do you?

If people can feel the love in my writing is because it’s there.  That’s the very reason why I’ve gotten rid of all the blog niches that I used to have.  I had no emotional attachment to them, and it affected my writing, even though I am a professional writer (see testimonial video on the side).

3)      Write For People

I’ve read before that you should write thinking that you’re writing to a specific person.  I usually don’t think of one specific person, but I do write for people. Yes, I do imagine real human beings reading my post.  Obviously, this helps me to write in a way that can touch human emotions much better than if I was writing like I’m writing an essay.

For example, I told you that this post is about re-purposing an old article, while not including almost anything that was originally on that article.  I could have just reuse such article and not say anything about reusing it, but I thought it would make this post more interesting and more conversational by saying how this blog post happened.

I could tell you that I have writing ideas flowing to my mind constantly, but I would be lying.  If I end up with an idea it’s because I go look for them.  I search, dig, read, learn, buy books and study a lot.  It doesn’t come free!

Reuse your Old Articles

So, if you have old articles out there, like I do, go visit them again.  Read them and analyze what you could come up with by reusing them in such a way that you could steal the idea, but not the content.  That’s what I’ve just did.

As a matter of fact, I used the idea and wrote something totally different, but still the “idea” is what helped me.

I re-purposed a 460 word old article of mine that was talking about what makes bad content to what makes GOOD content and in the end none of what I was talking about in that article is on this post. You’ve got to love that!

All I did is use my imagination and my more mature writing experience.  You Could do the same thing with other people’s articles as well (as long as you don’t keep anything of those articles) just for the idea.

We all know that ideas to write about don’t always come easy, so we all need to look for them sometimes.  This is one way of doing it.

So, your turn now. What do you do to come up with your writing ideas? Do you ever re-purpose old articles or even old blog posts? Please, do tell us.

 

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48 Comments

  • Donna MerrillTwitter: donna_tribe says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Thank you so much for sharing your writing skills! I do re-purpose my old articles. I don’t spin them, but get an idea and if I wrote about 3 things, I take one and make it a blog post. Or…I do the opposite of what I wrote like your example above.

    I had to laugh when you mentioned that some people write just to fill a blank space! I cannot tell you how many times I visit a blog and I just shake my head! How the heck am I supposed to comment on that one? It takes more time to comment on something that is not well written.

    Also, writing for someone is one of the golden rules of blogging. I learned early on to create an avatar of a person I wanted to write for. I made a long list of her wants and needs. I even went to a site where you create a little cartoon character. I dressed her up, from head to toe. Gave her the facial features, hair, etc. She sits on my desktop before I write.

    Sometimes I ask her what she needs …. really and the ideas roll around my head.

    Thanks for helping us learn how to write well,

    Donna

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Ah Donna,

      I really enjoyed that comment and was trying to imagine your little reader gal. Gosh, I’ve got to try that, sounds like fun!

      Like I said in my post, even though I’ve never really written for a single person that I had in mind I do visual people read my posts.

      I bet those psychic abilities of yours help make that little cartoon gal answer you 🙂

      Thanks for coming, Donna 🙂

    • David Leonhardt says:

      Great suggestion. I subscribe to a songwriting newsletter by Anthony Ceseri that recently explained why one should ask three questions before sitting down to write lyrics.

      1. Who’s talking?
      2. Who is he (or she) talking to? And
      3. Why?

      I am not that organized in either blog writing or songwriting, but it is a great approach for people writing either.

      I can’t seem to find a link for the newsletter online, but I did hang on to it, so I can email it to anybody if they wish.

      • Sylviane Nuccio says:

        Hi David,

        Nice seeing you here and I’m glad this post attracted you to my blog.

        Yes, sure I would love to read that newletter if you want to send it to me you can do it at [email protected].

        Thanks for your feedbacks.

  • Pauline says:

    Hi Sylviane
    I don’t write articles (maybe I should start!) so the only content I could use is some early blog posts, as you know my writing was not good when I first started so you have given me an idea. I could re- look at some of those posts and use the topic and re-write it or take a couple of the shorter ones and make them into one post after I have re-written some of the content…
    I have started asking my readers what they would like me to write about (I even have a plugin to add a form to the end of my posts) plus some comments that I am getting I am being asked if I can include certain topics in my future posts, this is great I love getting feedback from my readers!
    I also have a pad which I carry with me in case I am out and have an idea that pops into my head.
    Thanks for sharing, hope you have a great week.
    Pauline

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Pauline,

      I’m glad if this post gave you an idea. We all have some type of written pieces that we can use if we have been online long enough, and old posts can do well too.

      Also, since this is not about copying but more about giving you ideas, you can browse any articles and come up with some new ideas to write about.

      Asking your readers what they want is also very good to give you ideas to write about. I’m glad you’ve been doing that.

      Thanks for coming, Pauline

  • Michael Belk says:

    Great ideas on repurposing, I like the word better than duplicate content. I have some old articles as well.

    I might look into bringing them back to life. thanks

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Michael,

      Oh, yes, this is not even close to duplicate content. There is nothing duplicate in doing this, it’s just getting the idea and sometimes going in a totally different direction. Like I did here.

      Thanks for coming.

  • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

    Hey Sylviane,

    Well my computer just went nuts and I lost my entire comment darn it. Urggggg…..

    Okay so what I was saying was that I’ve never even considered repurposing content before. I have a ton of articles I could but I’ve never run out of things to write about so it’s never been an issue with me.

    Now I do have people asking me to either shoot an updated video of a tutorial I had done or a follow up post because what I shared a few years ago may or may no longer work. So just like the article you found it needs to totally be rewritten because what you shared may no longer apply. I would definitely consider doing that.

    I can’t imagine people not writing with a purpose though although I’m sure there are some people that don’t. You already know I definitely care about people and love to help them learn so those are not an issue with me.

    I’ll have to think about this now Sylviane and perhaps this year update some content that needs to be updated. Huh!!!

    Hey, have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne invites you to read..How To Access Your Passwords EasilyMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I know how you feel, don’t you hate when that happens? You’re completed your comment and it’s gone! Sorry about that.

      I know that you never run out of ideas to write about and you’re so fortunate that way, well in my case I sometimes need a little idea here and there, so repurposing an article is an idea.

      Yes, there are people that write without a purpose, I’ve read blogs like that, especially among affiliate marketer’s blogs. I’m not saying that’s everybody, but some are out there!

      Yes, content, whether it’s written or video, becomes outdated over time and we need to think of that as well.

      Thanks for coming, Adrienne.

  • Theodore Nwangene says:

    Hi Sylviane,
    I also have lots of such articles which i sometimes think of reusing but have never tried to do so.

    I strongly agree with you on these tips especially on the issue of stealing the idea but not the content. Whenever i feel like i don’t have anything to write about, i normally visit some of my favorite blogs just to get inspiration on what to write about.

    A very helpful post indeed Sylviane,

    Thanks for sharing and do have a wonderful week.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Theodore,

      I’m so glad this gave you the idea that you can use your old articles to write brand new ones. I’m glad you’ve got the most important point, though, stealing the idea, not the content.

      Thanks for your input.

  • Barbara CharlesTwitter: BarbaraCharlesl says:

    Hey Sylviane
    Love this and yes I’ve thought about refurbishing some of my old articles, especially since I no longer write the same old boring way! 🙂 I’ve got a list that I plan on re-doing as I have learned so much more than the stuff I wrote 2 years ago. This is a critical article because it gives me ideas and tips on how to do it. Very cool. Thanks.
    Barbara Charles invites you to read..Finding Lost Money To Pay Off Debt FastMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post and want to be using those tips to reuse your old articles.

      We all have boring articles out there that are not as good as what they would be if we would write them today, and sometimes very outdated as well. Why letting them go to waste? Reusing and re-purposing them is the way to go!

      Thanks for your feedbacks.

  • babanature says:

    Hello Sylviane,
    Re-purposing a post is a nice idea if one is running out of idea. I’d love to still ideas from my older post but i still have tons of idea which i haven’t explore yet, but until then. By the way, this is a brilliant article…
    babanature invites you to read..10 SOLID WAYS OF GETTING 1500 VISITS PER DAY: TRAFFIC STUDYMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Babanature,

      I’m thrilled that you liked this post and nice having you here.

      Thank you for coming and see you around.

  • Sarah Park says:

    I am also recycling my articles. But I always make sure I give fresh information. I also make sure it passed Copyscape. It is like regathering the information I previously have to make it more purposeful.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, “recycling” your articles doens’t mean copy them by any mean. That’s why I specified “stealing the idea, not the content”.

      Thanks for coming and giving your input.

  • Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera says:

    This is a topic I’ve seen written about a few times lately but you put a unique spin on it, Sylviane, and made me think of it completely differently…. yes, our writing skills do change. In fact, I was reading some of my old posts and thinking yikes, can I hide that one?! But yes, going back and reusing the ideas, with what I know now and my style now… THAT’S a great idea! I’m sure that will make my life a lot easier too because it’s a lot less to think about.

    I also like the idea you mentioned of reversing something – if you wrote about what makes bad content, now write about what makes good. Love it!

    Ok, now I have all these ideas I have to go write down before I forget 🙂 Thanks for inspiring a new way of thinking!
    Carol Lynn invites you to read..On The Bookshelf: LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day By Viveka Von RosenMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol,

      This article came out of “I don’t know what I’m going to discuss this week” to a fun article that I see had inspired people. What a nice surprise.

      I had to laugh when you said that you say “yikes” when you read an old article of yours I do the same and, yes, I am asking myself the same question…. how can I hide this one? LOL!

      That goes to show you how our writing improves and mature. That’s a great thing!

      Thank you for your fun and truthful comment as always.

  • Radu says:

    I was able to rewrite my content but the sole purpose for these article are purely to sign them into article directories and get some juice. The rest, i try to be original most of the times.

  • Corina Ramos says:

    Hello Sylviane,

    I saw your post shared by Adrienne on G+. Thanks so much for sharing the idea of repurposing an article. I’m like you in that I create a post on a daily basis. My goals is to have some written but like you, there’s just so much more than writing that for me, it’s almost impossible but I’m not giving up on that goal.

    When I was reading your 2nd tip to write like you can, I can remember reading a post that didn’t have much meaning to it. All it was doing was promoting a product but there was nothing to the post other than here, try this and click this link so I can get paid. It’s funny but now that I’ve been doing this for a year it’s easier for me to recognize a post that doesn’t have much for the reader and like Donna says, it is hard to leave a comment.

    Thanks again for sharing this great idea. Looking forward to reading more of your post. Have a great week.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Corina and welcome here 🙂

      Yes, I know what you mean. Promotional posts have what I call “empty content” or “filler content” Just write something to fill up the blank and promote my stuff so you can click on my link.

      Now this used to work some years ago when the interenet was still young, but it doesn’t work anymore at all. Those days are over.

      Thank you for coming by and hope to see you again soon 🙂

  • Tonya Stephens says:

    Hi Syvianne,
    Good idea to repurpose or at least take a look at those older blog posts. You never know were your inspiration will come from.
    I have used a few of these for video ideas but haven’t actually rewritten any of them.
    I’m somewhat reluctant because some of my first blog posts were pretty bad. ( :
    Thanks for your ideas here on repurposing!
    Tonya

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Tonya,

      Don’t worry, you’re not the only one finding your first posts to be “bad” most of us do too. However it could still be full of little ideas that you can use to write a brand new article.

      Thanks you for coming and leaving your input with us.

  • Neamat TawadrousTwitter: nkeriakos says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    I don’t have lots of such articles but indeed it is a great idea.

    I love what you said about stealing the idea but not the content. That’s a great advice here. I also liked the three tips you shared here about writing with purpose, write like you care and write for people. This is a great guide to structure a post.

    Thanks Sylviane for sharing such a helpful post.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat
    Neamat Tawadrous invites you to read..Attraction Marketing: Is it Effective for your Network Marketing Business?My Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Neamat,

      I’m glad you came by here again, always a pleasure.

      In my case I used to spend much more time on writing for directories than doing anything else, so I sure have those now rather useless articles.

      Yes, the idea is to get inspired and not to copy the content. Very important difference.

      Thanks for coming by 🙂

  • Ilka Flood says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Great idea and great information on how to re-purpose your articles. I have many old articles that have (IMHO) great content, but since I have written them years ago they are buried on my blog and only those people who land on them through keyword searches will find them. Back then I wasn’t really good with SEO so there are not that many. I took one of them the other day and made a new blog post out of it, expanding on the original subject.

    I’ll take your advice above to heart and will do more of it.Thanks again for sharing your insights.

    Ilka

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Ilka,

      Yes, I know that you’ve recently reused one of your older articles/posts. Like you said, no one would see them unless they stumble upon them through search engines, so that is a great idea to use those oder posts, and expand on them.

      Thank you for your visit and input 🙂

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Hi Sylviane

    I have recently gone back and rewritten some of my earlier post. Well taken the ideas and expanded. When I first started blogging i wrote differently than I do now – you know that finding our voice thing 🙂

    I love your suggestion and the example you have here of taking the not what to do and putting a positive spin on it. That is a great idea.

    Thanks for a great post Sylviane.

    Sue
    Sue Price invites you to read..Personal Development – Who Needs It?My Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      Yes, it seems that most people here used to write differently back then and now. Me included. That’s a good thing, it shows that we are all improving and founding that voice of ours.

      Thanks for coming by Sue and for your input.

  • MayuraTwitter: MayuraDeSilva says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Wonderful ideas coming from a writer like you which gonna be very helpful for every blogger 🙂

    As you know, I’ve been writing tutorials most of the time on my blog and once it’s done, it’s not done really 😀 lol… As the steps get updated over time I have to go through them and update information again for readers in the same post to find that’s not obsolete. If steps are wrong, no point of having it especially on tutorials IMO.

    As it’s about re-purposing, I think I have a limited space Sylviane 🙂 As I have to keep all the posts up-to-date, my old posts are dynamic. Sometimes it’s not what you have seen before a year ago and if the information is obsolete, I have to mark ’em as depreciated. I have to put effort on editing old content than writing a new post too 🙂

    I think writing for people is my goal there 🙂 Isn’t it what we all do as bloggers? Well, the bloggers I know of. Sometimes they are not helpful for everyone but it does for someone. Ideas for me is coming from my own experience as I explore through the web and try out what’s interesting. Next is readers. They always bring out questions and they turns into posts eventually 🙂

    Cheers…
    Mayura invites you to read..Save Web Content or Pages to View Later with PocketMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Mayura,

      Yes, I’m sure that in your case you need to update your post as those online tools change contently. I think that updating our post, when needed, it’s a good investment of our time, because those posts do come up on search engine and people need to get updated content.

      Thanks for coming and for your input, Mayura.

  • Sue Neal says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    This is a great idea – I haven’t re-purposed any of my old articles yet, as I don’t have a huge back catalogue, only having been blogging for the last few months, but I’m certainly open to the possibility of doing this in future. In a way, what you’re doing is simply getting inspiration from your own previous work – and as we all change and develop over time, it’s highly likely that we’d find new ideas, or a different perspective, when we revisit an old post.

    As regards your point about writing with a purpose, I find it helps to sort my headline out first – that always helps to clarify my focus for an article.

    You’re also so right about needing to nurture your own writing – the ability to connect with your readers only improves with experience and confidence.

    Thanks so much for giving us the benefit of your expertise, Sylviane – you have some great advice for us here,

    Sue

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      Well, I was just at your blog replying to your reply before even coming here.

      Thank you for you input. Your posts are always well organized and full of very valuable info, so you might never have to rewrite anything since you don’t have old posts.

      My old articles, on the other hand, really suck, so that’s all they good at these days, re-purposing 🙂

  • Leora says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    I often link to older articles, and twice I did rewrite posts about Facebook business pages. Of course, whenever you write about Facebook, soon enough, the newer post also becomes out-of-date.

    I have one post in particular that comes to mind when you say rewrite old stuff. I could add anything new that is noteworthy, plus I could work on talking and explaining to my audience.

    It’s a good idea in general, to rework old posts in a new way.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Leora,

      Nice to see you here and thanks for you input.

      think it’s a good idea to rewrite article that get outdated fast, we can always edit them at the very least, especially our own blog posts.

  • Sylviane Nuccio says:

    Hi Seth,

    Nice to see you here after so long 🙂

    Well, I’ve written crap too, so don’t feel too bad about it. I think we all have at some beginning point. That’s what I hear anyhow.

    I’m glad that you are progressing with your online venture. Good for you. I’m sure you’ll do great!

    Thanks for you input, Seth.

  • Raena Lynn says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    I think this is a really great idea. I know I have articles I’ve written awhile ago which can be repurposed. There is a big difference between repurpose and duplication. It’s exciting to think about because as you mentioned, I know I write more for purpose these days and I know I could recognize what to change in a past article to bring it up to date. I appreciate your blogging tips:

    1) Writing With a Specific Purpose
    2) Write like you care
    3) Write For People

    I also like the reversing idea and I will keep in my mind how you do it. “I search, dig, read, learn, buy books and study a lot. It doesn’t come free!” Thanks Sylviane!

    Raena Lynn

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Raena,

      Nice to see you here and I’m glad you enjoyed this post as it reminded you that you have old articles that you may repurpose.

      We’ve all improved our writing skills over time so, anyone having old articles out there can re-use them instead of having them go to waste.

      Thank you for your great input, Raean.

  • Sue Bride says:

    I have never spun articles or taken full content from article sites. What I tend to do is copy the main points that I think may be interesting for my readers, so that I can later write about them myself, using all my own words with my own take on the topic.

    In practice, I have masses and masses of notes,all categorized using One Note, which I rarely use. I may browse through them to get ideas for a topic, if I am stuck, but looking at titles are often enough to set me off. I keep telling myself that one day I will make more use of them:-)

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      That’s a very good idea to take notes when you find inspiring topics you may run into. Just want to specify that this post is NOT about spun content though, but repurposing your content while the content is made new. I would never promote spinning content, as I hate it 🙂

      Nice to see you here Sue, and thanks for coming.

  • Lee says:

    Hi sylviane
    I have been looking for a post about how to use your old posts in a positive way for your blog and the way not to be seen duplicating content. We all have material that we would love to keep using. I love the idea about turning your posts on their heads and using them as the other side of the coin. That has given me great ideas for all my old posts now.

    So for great heads up thanks lee

  • Brain Harry says:

    Madam,

    my writing was one person oriented and now i started thinking that it should be for people.

    Nice sharing,

    Bless you

  • Lynne says:

    Thanks for the great advice about writing articles and reusing your old ones. Like you I have come across articles I have written and in the past that I do not like and by having a specific purpose I am able to rewrite it more efficiently.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hello there,

      I had to follow your link to check out who you were, as I don’t accept comments from faceless avatars 🙂

      I think that as time goes on our writing improves doesn’t it?

      Thank you for coming by.

  • MIc johns says:

    Hi,

    I am about write my old article on my facebook page.I am going to keep your points in my mind while doing that and will revert you asap with my photo on my blog.

    Your points are really helpful…

    Lets see the result.

    Best regards

  • Suresh Natrajan says:

    Hey Sylviane

    Like this and I’ve thought about looking back to some of my old articles ( actually they are poems), 🙂 I’ve got a list that I plan on re-doing as I have learned so much more than the stuff I wrote few month ago. This is a critical article because it gives me ideas and tips on how to do it.

    Thanks.

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