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Finding value in old content

I’ve written a lot of blog posts and newsletter articles. Hopefully I’m not the only one who thinks there is valuable information amongst my writing and that people have learnt a thing or two from me!

So to reshare some of that past information, I see two options – copy it to make it appear recent or refer to it.

Copying old content

It is an interesting question – should you grab old content and just paste it in as a new blog post or newsletter article?

I prefer to offer new information so someone could theoretically read back through all my posts and not read the same piece twice.

I guess I’m a bit of a purist as pretending old content is new seems like cheating to me, but I accept that most of us need to save time – and it isn’t always easy to think of new things to write about.

However, I see bigger reasons to not copy old content forward. For one, my old content is still available where it is so anyone can search for it if they’re after that topic. It seems a little silly to copy it across so it could show up in twice in a search – and wouldn’t do my credibility much good, either. Then there is the duplicate content punishment it could potentially get from Google and friends.

Writing by quill and candle light

Old content still has value despite technology advances

If we’re talking about a post from at least a couple of years ago, I would think an update is often a good idea anyway. Things change quickly in this technological age – an article on online marketing five years ago would have excluded Twitter and Pinterest so that article would be out of date and less valuable now.

Referring to old content

I much prefer referring back to old content.

In fact, I do it all the time by adding links to my blog posts and newsletters that lead back to older posts so people can get further, related information.

Instead of copying across an old post, I think it’s more valuable to link back to that post and expand on that topic or give an update. Going back to out online marketing example, I could write a new blog post along the lines of “Back in 2007 I wrote about online marketing. With the introduction and growth of new social media channels, it is now time to update my list of marketing options.” I don’t have to rewrite all of the old content because the link does that for me.

Social media itself provides another way to reshare old content – it is just as easy to tweet a link to an old post as a new one, for example.

Resharing my old content

At the start of each month, I send out my newsletter.

Starting now, at the end of each month I will look back at some old content from that same month (for example, in May I will refer back to something I wrote in May in a previous year).

Some of that content may need updating, other bits won’t as grammar and good writing doesn’t change the same way technology and business practises can.

So look out for some reshared ideas on Thursday…

And you?

How do you share your old content?

What do you think about seeing old content?

Is copying content across as if new a time saver or not-quite-right? Would anyone even notice?

9 Responses to Finding value in old content

  • andrew320 says:

    It really depends on how old the content is. There is no point in copying old content if there have been many updates to what the original copy alluded to.

    I share my old content via Twitter if something recently happened and my written copy relates to it somehow. People aren’t really interested on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter, seeing what Christmas sales were on in 2007, but they could be if you did a story on inflation or the number of Xmas sales.

    When it comes to seeing old content, I have no qualms about it. The Internet is vast and there are many, many sources, outlets and publications.

    Copying content is never right, unless it is just quoted and properly sourced. With hundreds of millions of people using the Internet, I’m sure at least one person would notice the copied work (we also have Copyscape).

  • FamilyTreeClimber says:

    I rarely reuse old content. When I do, I change the date of the post, so it will appear first on my blog. Then, I put a statement at the top of the post stating that it was an earlier post and I am reposting it for a specific reason. Usually, it is because the post represents some sort of special day or event.

    I will link to my own posts, too. This is usually when I am presenting new information but want to refer to the earlier post as the information is still timely.

    • tashword says:

      That’s an interesting way to reuse old content, FamilyTreeClimber. By changing the date I like the fact that it will keep the internal links updated – if you deleted and copied it as a new post, you’d lose those links.

      Linking to your old posts is a great tool.

  • UmiNoor says:

    When I’m writing content that is related to an old content, I would link back to the old content from the new content that I’m writing. Not only will this linking back reduce the bounce rate of my content, it will also revive my old content when people click to read related content.

    I’ve never copied old content. I would usually expand on the old content. For example, if I have a list in the old content, I will choose one of the items in the list and expand on the topic and create a whole new article based on the item on the list.

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