For many  businesses, the hardest part of content creation is coming up with new and creative ideas. What is regularly overlooked, however, is the potential value that can exist in old, archived content.

This post provides a quick overview of how to identify top performing content, which metrics to look out for, and some ideas for recycling old content. It’s something that can be done really quickly and requires no real Google Analytics skills, so I’d urge every business to give it a try.

Mining for opportunities

To identify top performing content, you’ll want to head to Google Analytics and fire up the All Pages report, found in the Behaviour reports section.

Next, pull up all of your blog pages by typing in the name of the top-level folder within your site’s URL, in which your content resides – this might be /blog/, /articles/, or /news/ for example.

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By default, you should be seeing your top 10 blog posts, ordered by number of pageviews, for the past month. At this point I’d suggest setting the date range to a year (or longer, depending how frequently you publish content), as this will provide a better picture of which posts perform the best on a consistent basis. You may also want to expand the number of rows to beyond 10.

You’ll now want to dig a bit deeper to establish which of your posts are most suitable for reuse. Key things to look out for include:

  • Content that consistently attracts pageviews – this suggests there is an appetite for the information and that people are actively searching for it.
  • Content with good engagement levels – pageviews are nice and all, but is anyone actually sticking around to read the content?
  • Posts that have a long shelf life – focus efforts on evergreen content, meaning content that is relevant year-round, rather than topical or news-focused content, which becomes less relevant over time.

Ultimately, you should be looking for content that has performed well in the past, that can be reworked to increase visibility further still going forward.

Recycling old content

Having identified some top performing content for recycling purposes, you can turn attentions toward how you’re actually going to make that happen. Here are a few ideas:

  • Break up the original posts into bitesize chunks, create some presentations, and upload them to Slideshare.
  • Transform the original posts into PDFs and re-promote them as downloadable guides.
  • Present the information via podcasts or videos.
  • Transform the information into something more visual, such as an infographic.
  • Simply rewrite the original post with an updated twist.

Exactly how you recycle content will be guided largely by your audience, but I’d urge every business to explore different options to test what works best.

Content creation takes time and effort, so don’t let those efforts go to waste by residing content to the archives forever. While coming up with new ideas will always remain the primary objective for the majority of content creators, looking backwards can be equally rewarding.