How to recycle content
Written by Carl Escoffier
Making your best work and client’s message timeless, again and again
There are many reasons why a PR would repurpose old work. An old topic may have suddenly become trending again, you’re starved for new thought leadership or your client has a message they want to push hard.
But to avoid plagiarising yourself and annoying editors, how do you ensure your recycled content stays fresh?
Begin by considering a better way to put your message than previously. Just because it’s the same content doesn’t mean you have to follow the same format or use the same real-world examples or wording. The news and research data is your friend in this case. If stuck, imagine how you would write it if you were writing it for the first time.
The next step is to be cutthroat. The length of bylines and op-eds have shrunk significantly in the past few years and a lot of old pieces can be decluttered. Be honest, what can go, and what must stay? But it’s important to keep the same structure so that your client’s USP is still present.
Our top tips for recycling content
When it comes to the actual writing process, here are things to keep in mind. Look at the sentence itself rather than changing individual words. Remember that synonyms are your friend in this case. Swap sentence structures around to give them a fresh spin. Not only that but feel free to split them up or merge at will. A simple trick is to flip positives and negatives around in your articles, changing the tone of the piece but not the core message.
Generally, aim to write it all in one session, so you’re aware of what you’ve been swapping/changing. If you need to take a break or pause, highlight how much of the original piece you’ve covered.
Repurposing does not need to feel like a high school Wikipedia stealing session. You and your client have spent dozens of hours fine-tuning messaging for a specific campaign, it’s important you can squeeze it for every last drop it’s worth.