Last week I had the pleasure of attending the ABSTRACT: The Future of Design in Media Conference, right here in Portland, Maine. I have pages and pages of notes to go through but there was one point that reminded me of something Jenika and I talk to clients about all the time – making old content new again.
Gael Towey, from Martha Stewart Magazine, shared with us all kinds of magic behind Martha Stewart’s magazine and office life. She told us about how a traditional magazine re-thinks how they work to keep up with new technology. We got to see some behind the scenes action from making the Martha Stewart iPad version of the magazine to some of their mobile applications.
Making Cookies in cyberspace with old recipes
One of Martha Stewart’s apps is the Martha Stewart Makes Cookies app for iPhones and iPads. The app itself looks beautiful. It has photos of the cookies, recipes, instructional videos, articles and more. So how long did it take to make this cookie app? Not as long as you think. Why not? Because it is all content and information the Martha Stewart team already had. They found a new way to take their ‘old’ content and give it a sharp new look.
Restyling your content
We hear from businesses often that are overwhelmed with this pressure to create content for the web. Blogs, status updates on social media sites, whitepapers, ebooks… where is all of this supposed to come from? One idea is to take older ideas and older content and just rework them for these new advances like blogs and social media. Think about updates you can make, new data you can include, old internal studies and documents that you can publish. That is where a lot of businesses find some of their best online content – offline or in the archives.
21 Ideas for reworking older content
- Take a presentation you have done in the past and turn the major points into a blog post.
- Use your company’s frequently asked questions, post them to your blog and tease on your social media profiles.
- Still have photos from company parties, reopenings or events? Post them to social media profiles with info about the events.
- Revisit old blog posts from before you had as much traffic as you do now. Update them with new data and republish.
- Go through your analytics data and publish a “best of” list with your most popular content.
- Combine a series of blog posts around a certain theme to make a whitepaper or ebook.
- Take something you have written about and make a screen cap video or an audio file.
- Reverse of the last one. Take a video demo and highlight the key points in a blog post. Embed the video in your new post.
- Take a point you made in a previous post and highlight a case study or example of that point.
- Go through old files or handouts you have and write about how things have changed since they were published.
- Write about a conversation or exchange you had with a valued client.
- Take your data and display it differently. Try a chart or infographic to tell the story instead of words.
- If you come across an article that builds on a point you have made or contradicts – share it, link to your post and add your opinion.
- Take a comment left by a reader on a previous blog post, add your reaction and write it as a blog post.
- Recently received an award or recognition? Write about it and what it means to your business.
- Revisit content from email newsletters or direct mail pieces. Add some fresh ideas or examples and reuse.
- Give content a fresh voice by asking a different staff member to write about it.
- Have a new employee or intern tell you what business principles they have learned. Share that in a newsletter or blog post.
- Turn your favorite or most popular blog entries into an article in your next email newsletter.
- Use a scheduling tool to automatically tweet out some of your favorite posts every week
- Have to read a new report, industry publication or a business book? Give a short recap or react to one thing you read in there.
That is hopefully enough to get you started! Not all content has to be brand spanking new. Take advantage of content you already have and spruce it up. If Martha Stewart can do it… so can you!