March 11, 2021
Content Sustainability – Repurposing Your Evergreen
Sustainability is an important topic in design and building
In a world of dwindling resources, economic imbalance, and
social disparity, sustainability implores us to act in a way that helps the
present while always safeguarding the future.
To make sure we’re not greedy in the now to the peril of the
To actually do the things we learned about as kids: reduce,
reuse, and recycle.
The cool thing is: sustainability can apply to your content
too. It doesn’t protect the planet or future, but it can preserve two resources
important to all business: time and money.
Not all content is good, and not all good content connects.
These are two realities marketers need to accept. They are sad. We understand.
Let’s move on.
Having content that is not providing your users with
something useful is a waste of space and time—your space and your users’ time.
And if you waste your users’ time with content that isn’t quality, they will
stop respecting you, doubt your credibility, and cease engaging. In short, they
will abandon you.
So, what should you do about it? The answer is a simple:
routine content audits. Schedule a time every few months to review your
content. Make sure all your links still work and the information presented is
current. Providing a user out-of-date information or a dead link hurts your
Next, check how each piece of content is performing. Remove
pieces that are stagnant, and analyze them. If they are good content, perhaps
they aren’t in the correct medium. Evaluate if trying them in a different
format is worth the return. What doesn’t work as a blog could turn into a
stellar infographic, for example.
Reducing content is like removing dead branches from a tree
so that new growth can reach the sun. Make sure all obstacles are out of the
way of users finding your quality content.
So, you have some evergreen content. You love it. Your users
love it. But now what? What do you do to keep the momentum going?
The concept of reusing content revolves around one basic question:
how can you get new eyes to see your best content? Now’s the time to rev up
your social media engine. Now is when you see if any journals, blog, magazines,
or other platforms are looking for content (backlinks FTW).
This isn’t quite as involved as producing full out new
content based on the old content. This is just reminding users that the content
exists, and getting new users to discover it. In effect, you’re turning on a
spotlight and making sure your evergreen content sparkles for all to see.
Recycling content doesn’t involve destroying or replacing evergreen
content. Recycling content is turning the same information from great
performing content into another form—more commonly called “repurposing content”
(but just go with us for the theme of this blog post). Blog to video. Video to podcast.
Podcast to infographic. Blogs and infographics to white paper. Like that. Plus,
you still have that original piece of content right where it was performing so
well. If you have a piece of content that is so good, why not maximize the
juice you squeeze out of it?
Recycling evergreen content isn’t a “throw everything
against the wall and see what sticks” scenario. It’s a much more calculated and
data-driven “we have a lot of knowledge from past content experiments to know
what to try again.” It’s about building on excellence by replicating it in a
new form. Quality not quantity.
The funny thing is, once you’ve recycled a bit of content,
those new pieces will have to go through the review after a time to see they need to be reduced, reused, or recycled. Not every recycled version of
evergreen content will connect with your audience and become evergreen itself.
And that’s okay. Most likely, after a few experiments, you’ll see a pattern in
what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also be surprised now and then too. That’s
the fickle, liquid nature of what the internet likes.
As you can see, reducing, reusing, and recycling content are
all closely related concepts. That makes sense, since they all focus on
optimizing your past work. And, really, they aren’t clean-cut steps or
divisions. You might find a piece of underperforming content and decide to turn
it from a blog into a video—both reducing and recycling all at once. Or, you
might find a piece of evergreen content and recycle it into a short video
teaser for social media and then reuse the content by pointing the video back
to the original article.
Content sustainability is all about using your energy to maximize the impact of your content while respecting the time of your content creators. Just as with regular sustainability, you don’t want to waste your resources. Every revision, removal, restructure, reinterpreting, and re-presentation of your content will entice, intrigue, and ensnare the minds of users old and new. Everybody wins.