Do Less Work and Get More Fans: The Magic of Recycling Old Content

There’s a common problem every creative entrepreneur runs into: creating consistent, high quality work, and getting people to see it.

You may be struggling to stay on top of your content schedule due to any number of reasons:

  • Lack of time to make new content
  • Lack of ideas
  • Lack of resources
  • Inconsistent life schedule

But you know that staying active online and creating new, engaging content allows people to discover your art. You know it’s also how your current fans feel closer to you. And you’re not wrong.

Do Less Work and Get More Fans: The Magic of Recycling Old Content

Posting often and strategically will multiply engagement

At the simplest level – the more content (pages, posts, tweets, shares, etc.) you put out there, the more opportunity someone has of finding you.

Now, take that with a grain of salt. Every medium is subject to algorithms that dictate who will see what content and when. More on that in a moment.

But simply stated, there rarely is ever such a thing as too much good content. By good, we mean valuable. Content that gives something back to the viewer. The stuff they want to see. Not just photos of your breakfast, unless you’re a food blogger, like the impeccable Emily of Bite Size Vegan.

For those of us who blog, you’ll want to consider posting two to three high quality 1000+ word posts per week. Why is this? Because you’re offering long form, high value content. Why not post every day, then? You don’t necessarily want to over-serve your email list, and, if you’re any kind of creator who isn’t used to writing thousands of words every week, this could burn you out very fast. But if you do get the itch to share several 1300 word articles per week, then you will technically be giving search engines more to rank. SEO is much more complex than that, but you’re providing plenty of raw materials for them to work with which is certainly not a bad thing.

What about social media? Forbes has summarized studies on post rates per platform:

Twitter: 3 to 50+ tweets/day
Why? Tweets are fleeting. The more you tweet, the more opportunity your tweets will have to show up on someone’s feed. Your engagement also goes up when you tweet more, so fly, Twitter bird, fly! More in depth info in this Social Bakers study.

Facebook: 1 to 2 posts/day
Why? Facebook carefully calculates who will see what content and when. It’s really out of your hands unless you pay to boost a post. But 1-2 shares will do the trick to garner clicks and engagement on your page.

Instagram: Any, as long as you’re consistent
Why? Instagram rewards consistency. Plain and simple. Post as often as you like, just do it consistently.

Pinterest: 5-100+ pins/day
Why? Like twitter, Pinterest feeds are fleeting. Feeds are subject to algorithms like Facebook’s, but it’s still much less specific. You cannot over-pin, as long as you’re being thoughtful about what pins are going into what boards. Try Tailwind for auto-pinning throughout the day.

Here on Patreon, the Experience Research team has determined through careful research that creators who post more frequently get better engagement. What’s interesting about this bit of analysis is that quantity prevails over production quality. To a patron, the fact that you’re sharing directly with them is the valuable part. Not necessarily how many hours you put into editing the content.

At 2016’s PatreCon, Patreon’s conference for creators, CEO and creator Jack Conte spoke on finishing vs. publishing art.

So how do you stay consistent while catering to all your sharing obligations? By recycling older content, my friends. Here’s how:

Take inventory of your old content

Look at the stuff you’ve posted 6 months ago, a year ago, as far into the past as you care to go. Do a quick audit of that content. Which are the posts that have performed the best? Are they still bringing you traffic or getting shared? Do you have any evergreen content, or stuff that stays relevant even as trends come and go? Those are the posts you want to take note of. Write them down or collect links in a bookmarks folder.

You can check Google Analytics to see which posts in your blog or news feed were the best performers. Most social media networks offer an analytics dashboard, as well.

All that high performing content is the good stuff you’re going to want to remix and re-share with – key point – added value.

Re-wrap your greatest hits

Now that you know what your best and brightest posts were, it’s time to remix and re-share them.

Your goal here is not to simply repost the exact same item with a different timestamp. You want to work on this thing. You want to make it a better version of itself.

This will add value for your fans, instead of tossing just another fluffy share out into the internet at large. A valueless post will only drive people away. Show your fans you care by re-sharing material that has been made anew. Here are some specific ways you can do that:

Writers: Turn long form posts into ebooks.
Take your best posts and turn them into downloadable PDF ebooks. No one needs to search around your website to find all this good material, you’ve made it readily available for them in one place. This is a great option for authors, poets, bloggers, and other writers.

Musicians: Re-record an old cover video.
Got a cover video that performed well back in 2013, but the video quality is awful? Re-record it. You’re a better musician now. Ask other musician friends to collaborate with you.

Podcasters: Do follow ups.
Had a podcast that performed really well last year because of a cool guest you interviewed? Call them back to catch up. Promote the future podcast by re-sharing the first interview with a “Part 2 to come on [date].”

Visual artists: Put your art on merch or sell prints.
Make it physically available for other people to purchase and enjoy. Order prints, get it on canvas, make a desktop wallpaper, put it on a t-shirt.

Even more ways to recycle content:

  • Re-write popular blog posts from your current perspective
  • Re-post popular content on anniversaries (“It’s been one year since this happened and look how far we’ve come!”)
  • Participate in Throwback Thursdays #TBT
  • During the holidays, re-share holiday content as a resource for fans
  • Record audio versions of written content
  • Post a “Best Of” roundup of your most popular content
  • Post lists/other roundups based on different themes (Tools, Inspiration, Genre, Peers, etc.)
  • Practice Pat Flynn’s method


Keep giving value: Always make it new again

I want to reiterate this critical point: make sure you find a way to make this old content new again so you’re still giving your fans value. That can be through a total reimagination of the piece, or a simple “Hey, remember when? This was so fun, want to do it again?”

Now go find your best content and start filling up the gaps in your sharing calendar. Recycling your old content is a great way to get ahead in the middle of holiday travel madness. Your fans will thank you!