Has your well of content ideas started to run dry? There’s a solution lurking in your blog archives: your own content.

5 steps to identify the best content to repurpose

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Has your well of content ideas started to run dry? Are you working on a tight deadline with limited time to produce high-quality articles? There’s a solution lurking in your blog archives: your own content.

Repurposing your old content can be a great way to refresh and reuse successful ideas. This goes beyond just republishing or resharing the same content as before. You can take pieces that have performed well and develop them into new collateral, such as turning a successful eBook into a video blog or an article series into an infographic.

Before you can do that, however, you need to find the content that has gotten you results in the past. This guide will walk you through the process of identifying that which is worth revisiting and repurposing.

STEP 1: Find the content that performed well on your site

When you begin the search for your most successful content, you’ll want to start with page views. Log into your Google Analytics account and segment your blog content in the “All Pages” section. You can navigate here by clicking Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Tip: Make sure your date range is adjusted appropriately. Whether you’ve been producing content for six months or two years, the start date should reflect that.

To display only blog pages, plug in the common denominator of your blog URL structure into the segment field. For example, you can segment pages that contain /blog/ in the URL. This will weed out any other high-traffic landing pages from your results.

You may need to create an advanced segment to exclude pages that only generated a significant amount of traffic in a finite time frame. Also, you might want to exclude category pages or blogroll pages. If your blog URL structure has changed, include the old structure as well as the new (e.g. /news/ and /blog/).

Click “advanced” next to the search bar to create an advanced segment, as shown below.

After you apply the advanced segmentation, you’ll see the blog posts with the most page views in descending order.

To sort through the content more easily, export the Pageviews data and delete any posts with low page views.

Tip: Before you export the data to Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, adjust the number of rows being displayed. Google Analytics defaults to 10 rows, but you’ll want more to work with for the next step.

STEP 2: Evaluate which blog posts should be repurposed

Now it’s time to sift through the results and determine which posts are the best for repurposing.

Is it popular? Only consider the most frequently visited blog content with the most page views. Anything below a certain threshold, which will vary based on your site traffic, can be scrapped right away.

Is it evergreen? Highlight any posts that can still be relevant today and will continue to be useful in the upcoming months and years. Only timeless content should be part of your strategy.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list based on page views and relevance, analyze the posts and look for patterns. Are there any recurring themes regarding the type of content (e.g. lists or how-tos)? Are certain topics more prevalent than others?

Tip: It might help to assign categories to each piece so you can more easily see which are the most common.

STEP 3: Find which posts received the most interaction on social media

Is it engaging? Plug your blog landing page URL into BuzzSumo to identify which posts have been shared the most on social media.

Tip: BuzzSumo offers a free version, but you can set a date range with the Pro Account.

As you sift through the data, look to answer the following questions:

  • What types of posts resonated best with my social audience? Infographics? List articles? Long-form multimedia posts?
  • Is there a correlation between the blogs that performed best on social and those that received the most site visits?
  • What type of media is associated with the best performing social content?

I recommend viewing the social referral data in Google Analytics to find out what posts are driving visitors to your site. You can navigate here by clicking Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. Click on a specific network (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) to see the most popular blog posts among your respective social audiences. Remember to segment your results here as well (e.g. /blog/).

For more robust social data, explore your Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Pinterest Analytics and LinkedIn Analytics. You can also use some of the top free analysis tools for social.

STEP 4: Narrow down your list based on page views, relevance, and social engagement

After taking social into account, compile a list of all the content worth considering for this project. The amount of content you choose to repurpose will be entirely dependent on the results you’ve generated. If you have hundreds of posts with potential for to be recreated, look for ways to narrow the list down. Analyze posts to identify themes and opportunities.

Are there themes in respect to:

  • Content category (topics)
  • Media Usage (YouTube, Twitter or Instagram embeds)
  • Structure (list, FAQ, interview…)
  • Content length
  • Audience

The opportunity of this exercise lies in understanding what type of content your audience likes from a subject matter as well as a visual perspective. It will also get you thinking about what pieces can work together. For example, if there are a few pieces on the same topic, you can tie them together to create a whitepaper or eBook.

STEP 5: Set a plan of action for repurposing each piece

Decide what you’re going to transform each older post into and add them to your existing strategy. A content calendar will be especially useful if you want to create larger assets that take more time and effort than blog posts alone. If repurposed content will make up the bulk of your strategy for the time being, make sure to have a good mix of content types. If this project will be supplementing your strategy, consider how each piece will complement any current content themes or other larger projects.

Want to learn more about the benefits of repurposing content? Check out our Content Cycle infographic.

Sabrina Brett
Sabrina Brett is an Account Director at Brafton living in San Francisco. When she's not working on content strategies for her clients, she's hiking, traveling and painting mixed media portraits.

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