It’s very easy for content marketers to adopt a “hamster wheel” mentality where you’re knowingly trapped in a never-ending cycle of content production. You work, you finish, you publish, and then you start the next one, ad infinitum (or ad nauseum if you hate it).
People don’t generally prefer to think of themselves as rodents, but the hamster wheel is common among people for a handful of reasons:
1️⃣ It does reflect the reality that everyone, to varying degrees, must keep moving forward and creating new things.
2️⃣ It’s a simple routine, easy to understand and easy to follow even under stress, which makes it comforting and an easy “default setting.”
3️⃣ It helps cover your ass. If everything you publish is new and you’re publishing consistently, nobody can claim that you’re not working.
Some of this mentality comes from our schooling, where every essay needed to be 100% original every single time—no copying, no plagiarism, no recycling of any kind. Back then, content production was about the process, about “teaching us how to think.” Content always had to be scratch-made because, otherwise, it would rob us of the practice (and thus defeat the purpose).
That was the reality for a long time… but we’re not in school anymore.
In real (marketing) life, content production is about the product, or what you can give to people that they would want to consume. If people keep wanting to consume the product, it doesn’t need to be re-invented; in fact, the more people come back for it, the more it should stay the same.
Do you have any idea how pissed people have gotten whenever Coca-Cola has adjusted their recipes? 😆
This should be an enormous relief. If any of your content retains value, you can offer it continuously, just like any manufacturer who’s sold the same products for decades.
Some content is like firewood and just burns as it’s published (like news), but other content is like a rechargeable battery and you can discharge it over and over between rests, for as long as it works.
If you’re intrigued (or thrilled) at the possibility of lightening the load and recycling old pieces, but it still feels “wrong” to you, just read the following to yourself as many times as you need:
Most of my audience has not seen most of my content.
Even with open rates over 25%, barely one quarter of our audience sees a given piece of our content. But it’s actually way lower than that, because…
1️⃣ The average reader doesn’t read every piece of content in a mail.
2️⃣ The average reader doesn’t remember everything they do read.
3️⃣ The audience isn’t static; there are always new people who could not possibly have seen old content.
So we, ahem, may or may not republish some old stuff soon—and if we do, we may or may not indicate its republishèdness.
But more to the point: you probably won’t know the difference.
And if you do notice a piece of content you’ve seen before, smile proudly, because it’s (statistically verifiable) proof that you’re rare among our readers.