January 17, 2014
It’s no secret that conventional wisdom in the marketing online world strongly encourages the creation of brand-new content at a rapid pace, to the point that resharing older content is actually actively avoided like the plague by plenty of bloggers. That will likely always be true. However, a closer look at the potential benefits of resharing – used in moderation, of course – might be enough to change your mind on the practice.
As you might expect, this has proven to be a controversial subject amongst marketers. Even so, there’s sufficient evidence to suggest that this is not only an acceptable practice, but even a beneficial one.
Things to Keep in Mind About Resharing
It makes a lot of sense for blogs to set up a posting schedule; this is one bit of guidance that you’ve almost certainly heard before now. Should you set up a schedule for how often you repost older content? That might come down to exactly how much material you actually have to work with. Chances are good that you’ll have some slower weeks along the way, where you’re just not as productive as you normally are. If you don’t have a wealth of older content to pull from, it might make sense to save your reposts for slower weeks, where the newer content isn’t being posted as often.
Make Sure the Content Is Evergreen
Maybe it goes without saying, but the content you intend to reshare should be evergreen. That is, it should be relevant to your readers no matter when they read it. Something you originally posted during the holidays one year should be just as relevant the following summer.
As you can probably tell, you’re not going to be able to repost everything you’ve ever posted. Part of the reason you update your blog regularly is to be able to stay abreast of important headlines, and to react to important news. As such, your readers probably won’t need a rehash of a months-old news story.
So What Type of Content Should You Reshare?
If your blog is like most others out there, you probably have a healthy mixture of news stories related to breaking developments and articles that are more personally tailored to your brand. Reposting a news story months after the fact, unless it serves as a refresher alongside any breaking updates on the story, should be avoided.
What you have to ask yourself is whether the information in the reposted article is both factually correct and relevant to your readers. A good middle-ground, in the event that you want to repost a news-centric post, is to publish the original article with important updates that can take your readers on a guided tour of the original story, right up to the breaking developments as they occur.
Repost with Newer Followers in Mind
One of the main goals of maintaining a blog is to extend your reach to people who have not yet heard of your brand, product, or service. At the end of the day, you’re building a following. As such, your newest followers won’t have had a chance to see the older posts on your blog unless they take a journey through your archives.
As a result, it makes a lot of sense to repost older content from time to time so that your newer followers can get up-to-speed.
Important Sharing Techniques
One thing to keep in mind is that any reposted articles need to be slightly refreshed each time. You don’t want to give your readers the impression that you’re on autopilot, or that your blog has grown stale.
A good example is to “reframe” the content; that is, make slight tweaks to the title, or to the way you introduce the post, particularly on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Even if the post itself hasn’t been changed overmuch (or at all), making changes to how its presented is important.
It’s also a good idea to state the reasons why you’re reposting the content: why is it still relevant? Has anything changed in the meantime? Longtime followers of your blog will expect a solid reason for why they’re seeing the same content again, and even newer readers will appreciate a little bit of context as well.
Something else you’ll want to keep in mind is not only what type of content you’re resharing, but when you’re sharing it. One of the most popular reasons for reposting content is that it gives you the ability to individually target different time zones. If you’re a heavy Twitter user, for example, there are plenty of tools available to help you schedule when your tweets are released.
Use Resharing as a Testing Ground
If you plan to use resharing regularly in the future, you can take advantage of several opportunities to perform some simple A/B tests. Specifically: if you plan on posting the same content multiple times on Twitter, for example, you can reword the headline each time to see which version attracts more interest. After that, stagger the release of each version – about one hour apart is good – to see which headline grabs readers’ attention better.
From there, you’ll have a better idea how to go about sharing the content on other social sites.
Again, a lot of this might seem like an affront to the sacred cows of blogging. You spend a lot of time creating new, thoughtful, and engaging content; why would you fall back on older posts? One way to look at it is to consider everything you write as an investment: ask yourself each time if it’s something that new readers will enjoy reading in the future, and if existing readers might appreciate a refresher. After a time, you’ll start thinking of each new post as a resource, rather than a one-off collection of words written simply for the sake of novelty.
If you’ve never given resharing a thought before now, or even actively avoided it, this might be the perfect time to give it a try.