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Sorting your content for recycling: five ways to know if it's recyclable

All of a sudden, it seems the whole B2B world has finally woken up to content marketing. Which is great, except… it’s like the race has been on to shovel as much STUFF online as possible. Quickly. With no thought or planning. The internet’s brimming with a high percentage of useless guff that wastes a lot of time and effort all round, and it means your content needs to be even sharper to cut through all the noise. ` 

We all know good content is expensive to produce. And really great, original content will always stand out and be admired. So if you’ve got a fantastic insight, angle or idea, it makes sense to make as much of it as possible. Which brings us to ‘Recycling’ – that is, making your assets work harder as part of a content marketing plan by sharing them more than once, using different formats and channels. If you’re thinking of recycling content (and you should, because good content is too expensive to use just once) we suggest asking yourself five questions before you start re-issuing content into the market without a clear direction: 

1. What do I want this content to achieve?
Be really clear about why you’re doing this. Remember SMART objectives? Set some… and then measure your results. (And be honest with yourself: if your content isn’t really up to the job, look for a way to improve it first.) 

2. Who is this content going to help?
People generally go to the internet to solve problems – so try to choose content that will achieve this. If the content is strong, knowing your audience and the challenges they face is the first way to decide what they’ll find most valuable. 

3. Which channels and formats will make that happen?
Think about where and how your audience will want to consume your content. Are there any channels you didn’t use before? Would bite-sized chunks help make things easier to digest? More channels can mean a larger audience but they won’t always deliver more value. 

4. Do I need to say this twice?
It’s quite possible your audience missed something the first time around, so there’s a case for repeating yourself from time to time. But pause a moment: is it a message that’s really important to them, or only to you? And what about people who did see it the first time – is there anything new or fresh you can add for them? 

5. Is this really our best stuff?
It’s tempting to just recycle everything, as a matter of course. Don’t. Some pieces are more valuable than others at different parts of the buying process, some have broader audiences, and some lend themselves better to particular formats. The better and more relevant your content, the more people will want to read the next piece. 

Personally, if I’m in any doubt, I think of the content as a mini-conversation. Take a moment, and stop treating the job as if you’re broadcasting a message. Think about who you’re trying to engage, what you’re sharing with them and how you want them to respond – it makes the whole business of choosing which content you should recycle, how and where, a lot easier. Ultimately, this isn’t about feeding some faceless online monster. It’s about connecting with people with relevant, high-quality content. Like all marketing should be