If you’ve ever been on Pinterest or watched HGTV, you’ve probably heard of “upcycling.” You take an old dresser and stain it and repaint it and you’ve upcycled it!
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Upcycling is simply the process of taking something old and creating something new or equally more valuable than what it was before.
And it’s not just for clothes and DIY projects! You can upcycle your content too. Upcycling content is transforming a piece of content for the purpose of adding value and bringing that back into circulation. And, if you’re not doing this already, you really should be because upcycling your content is the smarter way to stay consistent with content, grow your audience and extend your reach.
Why should you upcycle your content?
Most people suggest upcycling your content because it’s a time-saver and it is! You’ve already spent the time and energy to brainstorm ideas, research content, map it out and put it together so you can skip that part of the process altogether with upcycled content! But there are more benefits than time.
You save yourself from what we call the “content creation treadmill.” The content creation treadmill is when you are hustling to create so much content that you feel like all you’re doing is creating and pushing it out and then creating more content. When you get stuck in this cycle, it’s hard to tell what’s actually working for you and it’s a one-way ticket to burn out.
Content upcycling gets you off of that content creation treadmill and gets your content working harder for you.
While getting off that content creation treadmill is less exhausting, the biggest and most beneficial reason to upcycling content comes down to gambling.
No, we’re not talking about playing poker or hanging out at a racetrack. We’re talking about betting on your content. Not every piece of content you create is going to be a best-performer and that’s ok. We can’t all create winners every single time.
But you should want to make the most of the winning pieces of content that you do have. That’s the power of content upcycling.
And when you do upcycle that winning piece of content, you can see even more benefits, such as:
- You’ll have time to create the best content ever
- You have extended reach. People consume content in different ways and upcycled content reaches more audiences who may consume content in a way that’s different from that original core piece of content
- Promotes visibility. You can say the same thing but in different ways
- You respect your audience’s learning style
What should you upcycle?
One of the great things about content upcycling is all you need is one really great piece of content. Take a piece of “core” content and then upcycle it from there.
It can be a blog post, or a podcast episode, an ebook or even a speech you gave at a local networking event. The format of the content doesn’t matter but the content does.
There are certain types of content that are best for upcycling.
Evergreen content is content that is still relevant and valuable, long after it’s been published. In other words, it’s not based on timely trends or news.
A series of content that is based around a specific topic can easily be transformed into an upcycled piece of content.
What content shares your thought leadership or your unique way of working? If you have a piece of content that shows off your personal secret sauce to success, it’s perfect to upcycle.
The key to upcycling content is to avoid anything that timely or evolving because you want your content to remain valuable to your audience for weeks and months after you upcycle it! It’s also important that the core content performs well. If your core piece of content isn’t a winner, then your upcycled content may not perform well either. Remember: always bet on your winners!
So what does upcycled content look like?
Here are 5 easy and creative ways you can upcycle your content!
1. Record something written into an audio podcast.
We just started recording our blogs into our Social Posts podcast! You can also add a little extra personality over audio.
2. Create an infographic around it.
Lots of people are visual learners and they can digest the information faster with a visual representation. There are several fantastic infographic tools like Piktochart that make it easy to create infographics, even if you don’t have design experience.
3. Turn the content into an email newsletter.
A good way to do this is to add some back story about why you created that content to give your newsletter subscribers some exclusive content.
4. Create a social media story.
Stories are a popular tactic these days on social media and you can pull the most important messages or quotes from a piece of core content and create a story or a Twitter moment out of them.
5. Record yourself “teaching” the core lessons from your core piece of content and use it as a video or a webinar.
You don’t have to read it verbatim but just a video of you explaining the most important takeaways can be a great way to get your message out there.
The important thing to note about these different methods of upcycling content that each method is consumed in a different way and each has its own value and can stand on its own. Upcycling content is about the creation, not about the distribution. (That’s what Edgar is for!)
How Can You Start Upcycling Your Content?
You don’t need a huge library of content to get started upcycling. You just need one or two successful pieces. Here’s a quick 4-step process to get you started.
1. Audit your content:
Look for content that performs well, has your own “secret sauce” or actionable takeaways. Check your Google Analytics or review your engagement history on your social media pages to see what content was a high performer.
2. Choose an upcycling tactic:
Look at the lowest hanging fruit. Where does your audience spend time and how do they like to consume content? If you’re not sure, ask them! Or if you’re still building your audience, look at best practices in your industry or what your competitors are doing and how they are sharing content.
3. Set goals
We always say, every piece of content needs a job and that goes for your upcycled content too! Set some metrics for that upcycled content, whether it’s reach, engagement or website traffic. Put it to work for you so you know if that tactic was the right choice. If it wasn’t, you can always try another tactic in the future!
4. Amplify it
After you’ve upcycled your content, we recommend amplifying it and getting it out to your audience, just as you would with a core piece of content! Create several variations of your upcycled content social media posts and use category-based scheduling to keep your upcycled content balanced and make sure it’s not sharing back-to-back! (Psssst! Edgar makes this REALLY easy! Try us out for yourself with a free 14-day trial!)
Upcycling content is the smart content creator’s to staying consistent, reaching new audiences and creating fantastic content without burning out. Are you ready to start upcycling your content? Let us know which tactic you want to try!
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