All too often, content marketers post to company blogs, YouTube channels and websites and after that one use, the content is forgotten. It acts as almost a content dump instead of a resource of incredible power. Just like a plastic bottle, content can find a second and potentially even more useful life.

After all, if content gets published, it has value, right? (Let’s ignore keyword stuffing and bland content produced simply for SEO keywords since Google ignores it too!) Your ideas and the information you produce retain value even as time passes. Sure, maybe it needs a refresh every now and again, but that doesn’t make it worthless. Updates actually makes for a simple way to add new content .

Once we see that content dump for the unlimited power source it really is, then it comes down to pulling the value from the content. To do that, we employ the 3Rs of sustainability – reduce, re-use and recycle.

Reduce Content Marketing Effort

Reduction can be viewed in two ways. One involves reducing new content production. The other recognizes great ideas already reside in your published content. So you don’t need to be an idea factory.

To reduce the effort, first identify what your customers want. Ask questions like, what gets the most views? What ads or pages currently get the most clicks? This is what your customers want more of!

With this knowledge, look back through previous content. Material that is still current can get reposted or linked to. Or maybe a piece contains ideas that can be further developed. It might even be possible to change the presentation by converting a piece into a different media type. It’ll take less time to review what you have than to create new content.

Re-use Ideas and Content

When you relive an idea every day, it may get old. It’ll take on the attitude, “Everyone knows it.” Well, maybe in your office. Your customers on the other hand probably appreciate a refresher while new prospects may find it ground-breaking (even if you introduced five years ago!).

Now, if you want to re-use an idea or content and get the most from it, it’s essential to follow these three steps:

First, organize what you have. Sort content by idea, type and channel. A spreadsheet works well for this. So does a Sustainable Content Marketing Matrix. (More on that in a moment.)

Next, prioritize topics based on customer interest and your ability to make use of it. For example, an article from two years ago might make a great video, but if you aren’t ready to produce a high quality production, it might not be an immediate priority.

Last, plan the distribution. Here you may need to involve subject matter experts to add current insight. Or maybe, you need to coordinate with your social media or marketing automation team.

To do all this simply, use a Sustainable Content Marketing Matrix. A spreadsheet like this tracks not only the content, but also the date of distribution and media channel. This can be a simple document, or if you want to get a little more detailed, you could use a document like a Lead Nurturing Dashboard. This latter document not only tracks channel and distribution but response as well.

Recycle Content Until Demand Diminishes

When it comes to recycling content, you can update content with current information, push it out through different channels, change it into different media types or take ideas from a piece and go into greater detail. Of course, you can take any of these and combine.

Take that blog from 18 months ago and turn it into a Pinterest Post, a Facebook Ad and a YouTube video. Keep running with it until it stops getting clicks and conversions. If demand builds, then keep going and add detail to give greater value and create more leads.

As content gets recycled, make sure to track. Customers may get excited by similar ideas expressed in different ways, but may not appreciate seeing the same content in the same channel.

Check out this presentation for greater insight into ways to harness the 3 R’s to build a Sustainable Content Marketing strategy.

 


Also published on Medium.