content repurposing

Our Complete Guide to Recycled Content

Learn why the best players in the content game are recycling content and how you can leverage this strategy for success

Even if you’re like most people and have never heard of recycled content, we’re willing to bet you see it every single day. It’s in your news feed, your podcast feed, and all over Youtube. The reason it may have flown under your radar is that, when done right, content recycling is tremendously effective. It lets creators test hypotheses, boost their ROI, and grow their audiences.


In other words, if you’re not recycling your content, you’re missing out. So let’s explore exactly what recycled content is and how you can incorporate it into an effective content strategy.


What is recycled content?

First let’s start off with what recycled content is not. It’s not just the same old content thrown out over and over again. That kind of strategy is disrespectful towards your audience and a recipe for failure. Recycled content needs to have some value added to it when it’s put out, otherwise it’s just spamming your audience with the same old stuff.


In its simplest form, recycled content is taking older high-quality pieces of content (these could be videos, podcasts, articles, etc.) and putting a new perspective on them. This could be reframing them or something as simple as taking a short clip which focuses on some interesting idea from a longer video and releasing it on its own.

An example of recycled content in action

Let’s go through an example. You begin with an hour-long webinar. You invite your audience to attend, present some great ideas, have a discussion, and it’s over. Normally, that would be the full lifecycle of a webinar.


But with a recycled content strategy, it’s only the beginning. Now you can break that webinar into many shorter videos, write some blog posts about it, pull some quotes and turn them into shareable images, release the audio as a podcast, etc. Once you’ve got all of this microcontent, create some hypotheses you want to test with it and release it on your social media channels. Then, once you’ve gathered the data from that first round, you can make some adjustments and release a second round.


All of that content was recycled, but even if someone saw the original webinar, seeing its contents reworked and refused like this will give them a new reason to think about the experience and potentially share the microcontent. For someone who never saw the webinar, the microcontent might be compelling enough to convince them to go back and watch it. For you, it’s a chance to test ideas about your audiences and hone in on better marketing strategies.

Why your content strategy should include content recycling

For us, recycling content is another form of content repurposing. It’s the best way to boost the ROI from your content by finding more ways to use what you create. The beneficial result is that it then makes more sense to devote more resources into ensuring that content is higher quality. In other words, it’s a way to kick-start a virtuous cycle of quality content which gets recycled and boosts your overall marketing ROI.


Consider the example given in the previous section. Without needing to put in all the work to create a brand new webinar as soon as the first was over, that company’s marketing team had days or even weeks worth of quality content to put out. So instead of exhausting your marketing teams by asking them to constantly come up with new content ideas, you can have them focus on fewer but higher quality ones which they can really spend some time developing.


This is why content recycling is an easy sell for most marketing teams. It takes some major pressure off the creators and gives management better overall ROI.

How to use recycled content to boost your content and marketing ROI

Start by calculating all of the costs and benefits you’re currently getting from your marketing efforts. Be sure to include salaries and other ancillary costs associated with your marketing team. Now you’ve got a basic sense of your starting ROI.


The next step is to look at the largest and most substantial pieces of content you’re currently producing (or could be producing if you’re planning to start a new strategy). Next, plan out how many pieces of smaller content you could realistically create based on that initial piece. You can talk with your marketing team to get an idea of how much effort it would take to do this.


Once you’ve developed an initial estimate of the effort involved, you can begin the process of creating and recycling content with a general sense of the investment involved. As you go through the process, always ensure you have some sense of what you’re trying to achieve or test. Recycled content presents fantastic opportunities to test small ideas about media types, messaging, etc. and how they perform with specific audiences on your platforms.


Using recycled content in your marketing is never a finished process. Every time to begin again, you’ll need to incorporate the learnings from the last round into what you’re doing. This is in part how you can ensure you keep the quality up and don’t fall into the bad habit of just throwing the same content out and hoping to squeeze more value out of it.

Your next step

Recycling content is a powerful tool, but it takes some practice to get it just right. It helps to have experienced help on your side.


If you’re interested in building a new strategy or incorporating content recycling into an existing strategy, let’s find some time to talk about it. We help businesses like yours realize the full potential of their content and explore using episodic content strategies to take their content marketing to the next level. So before you spend another day feeling frustrated that your marketing isn’t producing the results you want, consider whether recycled content might be what you need to succeed.

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