Repurposing Your Own Blog Content; Good Thing Or Bad?

I wrote a post titled Repurposing Your Own Blog Content; Good Thing Or Bad?, where I talked about using things you’ve written before on your intended subject, maybe editing it a bit, and putting it out as blog content. It can work well for those people that have written a lot of stuff, as I have, when they don’t have lots of time to write new things, or now have a new audience to see some of what they’re written in the past.


by Cheryl via Twitter

Something I’ve wondered about lately is what the rules are, if there are rules, for repurposing your own blog content. What if you wrote something years ago that’s still pertinent and would benefit from being talked about again?

I’m not talking about this blog, though it would certainly qualify if I were. I’m actually talking about my finance blog, Top Finance Blog. That blog is now over 3 years old and has a lot of content on it. Some subjects like budgeting are timeless; I actually started a tutorial that I never took further than two posts because traffic indicated that it wasn’t a popular subject at the time. The economy was started to get bad, but hadn’t crashed, so to speak.

So, an a subject like that, if I decided to write about it again, how to budget, I’d probably tell people the same exact thing I wrote previously. As a matter of fact, if I were going to do that, I’d probably link to the previous post as well and use a lot of that same content, changing a word or two here and there.

But is that proper? Is it ethical? It’s an interesting question I’ve been pushing through my brain because, well, I see a lot of other people doing it, and often it irritates me. People who will tell you 5 or 10 things to do if you want to write a successful blog, but it’s always the same 5 or 10 things with nothing new added. I see a difference because budgeting taught as a tutorial is a process that never changes, but there’s literally thousands of ways to talk about better blogging, including some very creative ways.

But is it really different in the long run? And, if it’s something crucial, does it matter? Let’s put it out there for a conversation topic; what do you think?
 

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23 comments on “Repurposing Your Own Blog Content; Good Thing Or Bad?

  • I wouldn’t say that it is ethical just because many other do it. For me it isn’t ethical, and I think that most of the readers don’t want to read the same post, although it has been rewritten or actualized a little bit. But this is only my point.
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    • Interesting point Emilia. But let me ask you this. On this blog here, have you gone back and looked at any of my posts from 4 years ago? I guess that’s kind of the point; almost no one ever goes back and looks at the archives of a blogger. I have done it here and there for blogs that have been around more than 3 years because I like comparing writing styles from period to period but almost no one else does. I ask this because if not, then how would you know if something older might not be something that you could actually use now?

    • I’ve wondered about that DeAnna, and how to really deal with it. I think I link back to older posts more than many people do, except those using a plugin. Still, there may be ways of doing it on that blog that mirror how I use it on this one. Have to think about it a bit more.

    • Thanks for your opinion Olawale. Just asking, but when you visit blogs do you ever go back years to see content they might have written in the past if the blog is older?

  • I have done something similar, but not exactly. I have shift several times from fully fledged e-commerce website to blog, which is the same, similar or semantic niche. There is no real recipe for that. On two project results were positive – higher PR, the project also get out of sandbox. In the other case, sales dropped for quite a long time, even there things were prepared more professional and URL were properly redirected at .htaccess.

      • Few tips from me – don’t use “request re-inclusion” at Google webmaster tools, this may send the website in sandbox. Just create a new categories if necessary. WordPress blogs creating archives which are divided by months. Old content in archives older than few months usually don’t get traffic from Google, we probably there will be a lot of competition, that’s why movement can be very easy. The domain name is pretty much broad, so i think you will not have any problems with that.

  • John Dilbeck says:

    Hi Mitch,

    I see nothing wrong with repurposing your own content however you want. In fact, I think it’s a good idea.

    There are many ways that you can take a basic article or blog post and present the same information in different ways and in different media — to completely different audiences.

    It is not a good idea to constantly present the same information in the same, or nearly the same, way, though. As has already been stated by others, that degrades the reader experience.

    You make an excellent point about gems being hidden in the archives of your blogs. I’ve dropped most blogs from my reading schedule, but I always read yours, because you offer helpful advice, good commentary, and thoughtful questions.

    Blogs are notorious for having a high bounce rate, because people check out the latest post (and maybe a couple of others), but rarely dig into the archives.

    I sometimes read many old posts on a blog if the contents are categorized and tagged in a way that I can find what I’m looking for, but I really think I’m in the minority in doing so.

    Posts on evergreen subjects are great for repurposing. I have a couple of projects in the works where I’ll be reusing some of the material I’ve written over the years that is still relevant. Of course, some of it will need updating and expanding, before it really will be useful.

    I’m working on a book, several ebooks, some videos, and rebuilding a blog as a website.

    In most cases, the people reading what I’m presenting now are different than the audience from a few years ago. I think the same holds true for your audience, especially the large majority who never comment.

    I say go for it.

    Act on your dream!

    JD

    • Thanks John. For that particular subject I handled it by coming up with a new concept and then linking to all those old articles telling people how to do what I wanted them to learn, which in this case was budgeting their money. I hope it works out okay.

  • Hi Mitch,
    I usually don’t write about the exact same thing ~ simply because that would bore me to tears 🙂 LOL. There are so many thousands of things to write about.. I really don’t need to hammer the same thing over and over again. But each person does what they feel is the best thing to do for their blog and I certainlyd on’t judge anyone who does write about the same thing over and over again.
    All the best,
    Eren

    • Eren, staying on a certain topic but being creative about it isn’t a bad thing. However, there are times when you want to stress a point about something you see as being important. At the same time, with blogging, once you’ve written a post sometimes that’s it once it passes a certain time threshold. But I think I handled this one issue fairly well, which then means I’ll just have to be creative the next time I think I have to have another go at that topic.

    • Thanks Marcie. I handled it differently but I also believe that sometimes bringing something back to life that was actually pretty good from a content perspective can’t be a bad thing if people aren’t finding it anymore.

  • Hi, Mitch! I see nothing unethical in this article, after all, it’s your work, you don’t rewrite someone’s else work.

  • I think it’s fine, providing you update the content to suit the current situation and that you use posts that didn’t get much if any response in their first posting. I’m doing just that at the moment, though I’ve had to revise the way I’m doing it as a friend pointed out to me that anything in search engines will give a 404 if I do a complete reposting with a new date (which is what I’d intended).

    The other thing is – if your blog is set up (as I think this one is, or was?) to have comments closed on old posts, then having the post again in some form with the comments open can surely only be good?

    Where I think it’s not a good idea is when the post you’re re-doing is not old enough to have been forgotten about by the majority of your readers.

    And – do I read old posts? You betcha! It’s the best way, in my opinion, of knowing where a blogger’s at. 🙂

    • Great stuff as always Val. The original posts didn’t get any response at all, which was disconcerting, but it was early in the blog’s timeline. I get more traffic now and the topic of budgeting is still a big deal. I went a different direction with it, but included links to all the old posts that were on the topic. If people don’t follow them, well, that’s not my fault at this juncture, but I hope I gave them compelling reasons to do so.

  • Hi Mitch, I think if the content is timeless then freshening it up a bit and putting it out there is a valuable service to your readers.

    A new year rolls around every year and everyone still puts a new spin on goal setting each year – so I say go for it : )

    Personally, I don’t have time to go back into the archives and read content. But if it’s fresh under my nose, I’ll read it every time.
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    • Thanks for your point of view Erica. Obviously I tend to agree with you, even if in the particular instance I handled it somewhat differently. I think that at a certain point when you write about a specific topic you might end up repeating yourself in some fashion anyway, so as long as one gets it right no harm done.

  • I don’t have a problem with it. Some of my posts appear on other sites through a syndication process. I don’t see that as fundamentally different from having older posts appear for newer readers or even for longer-established readers. I’m pretty sure that whenever I have re-purposed an older post I had updated or otherwise tweaked it, sometimes given it a fresh title, and have linked back to the older one.
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