Photo courtesy Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Not long ago, I read the results of a new survey. It kind of blew my mind.

Orbitz Media asked content creators about the amount of time they spend blogging. They found the average blog post now takes 3 hours and 57 minutes to write. That’s up 65 percent from 2014! The same survey shows 52 percent of bloggers report that it’s getting harder to get readers to engage with their content. WOW.

We live in a world dominated by a relentless and never-ceasing stream of content. But libraries can’t just turn off our content communications streams. Our very existence depends on our ability to educate the public about what we offer. We use our content to convince people to use the library.

So, what’s the solution, when your library staff is overworked, and your audience is oversaturated? Be more efficient.

There is a way to make your work stretch further and get your communication into the world. You can do this by republishing your content.

What is republishing content?

When you republish, you take an old press release, blog post, infographic, or video, and update it to include new and relevant information.

If your library has been publishing content for a while, you probably have quite a catalog. Most of it is still useful and relevant! Good content will never go out of style. These “evergreen” pieces of content are opportunities for you to republish.

Republishing content has many advantages for libraries.

  • It saves you time.
  • It improves your library’s chances of being found in search. When you improve content in the republishing process, you optimize it to bring it up to today’s best practices for headlines, tags, keywords, and length. That leads to improved search results.
  • It helps you to fill your editorial calendar when ideas and staff are sparce.
  • Your audience has changed since your original publish date. You’ve gained new cardholders and fans.
  • Your audience needs a reminder that you offer certain services.

How do you decide what pieces of content to republish?

Here are some ground rules.

First, take inventory of what you have already. This is called a content audit. Use a spreadsheet or organizational software to write down the blog posts, videos, and other pieces of content you previously published (and start keeping track of the new additions).

In your audit, make note of the following:

  • The type of content (blog post, press release, video, brochure, etc.)
  • The original publish date
  • The original headline
  • The keywords or tags used in the original piece
  • The word count or length of the content
  • The number of views, likes, comments, and shares the content originally received

Now you’re ready to make some decisions. What are your marketing goals? Are you (or your supervisors) looking to drive more people to your library webpage? Are you trying to increase social media engagement? Once you establish your goals, look at your old posts and determine which ones will help you reach those goals.

For example, if you want to drive more people to your webpage, and you have a video about your genealogy databases that drove a lot of traffic to your website at the time it was published, mark the video to be updated. It will likely have the same effect today, particularly if it’s refreshed.

Here’s another example. Let’s say your library director really wants to see likes, shares, and comments increase on your library’s new Instagram account. In your list of old content, you notice a blog post from two years ago about a uniquely themed story time that drove a lot of engagement when you posted it on Facebook. Mark that post to be updated. Chances are, with some careful recrafting, it will create the same kind of audience reaction when the updated version is promoted on Instagram.

Now what?

Once you identify the pieces of content you wish to republish, it’s time to update those pieces. Here’s a checklist of options for updating your content.

  • Are the statistics still relevant?
  • Are the links and resources still available?
  • Are quotes still relevant?
  • Are there new keywords or tags to add?
  • Can you freshen up the headline?
  • Do you need to adjust the original length of the piece to make it longer or shorter, based on current best practices?
  • Can you add a poll, a survey, or a comment section to enhance the content experience?

If your original piece of content requires no changes, you can republish it in its original form. Make a note at the beginning to let your readers or viewers know that you’ve republished it without changing it. You might say, “Here’s a popular blog post you may have missed” or “Here’s something from our archives.” Include the original post date for full transparency.

Have you republished content? What were the results? Share your experience in the comments.

Bonus tip

A few months ago, I wrote about another way to stretch your content distribution. Here is the article: Re-purposing Content Saves You Time and Reaches Your Whole Audience. Here’s How to Do It Right.

Latest Book Review

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Find more 60-second Book Reviews here.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on the “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.