If your business has been around for a few years, you probably have legacy content. Here's how to make use of it.

Legacy Content

If your business has been around for a few years, you probably have legacy content. Here's how to make use of it.


by Dave Robson

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The other night, I spent a couple of hours watching Norm Macdonald and Conan videos on YouTube. And I apologise for nothing.

Here’s a little food for thought, though. All of these video mash-ups, top tens, and thematic clip shows (see “Norm Macdonald Interrupting Conan’s Boring Guests”) are put together by fans. For lots of reasons—legal, practical, monetary—none of the parties involved are creating their own mash-ups.

Contrast that with a TV show that came of age in the YouTube era. Brooklyn 99 is constantly posting clips, largely to drive traffic to the show on Google Play or iTunes.

The Office, which has been over for years, still posts clips and best-ofs. They have the content, so why not repackage it and monetize it?

Just like Conan (and NBC), if your business has been around for a few years, you probably have legacy content. Maybe you had a bunch of blog posts that didn’t make it past your latest website re-design. Maybe you shot video tutorials pre-YouTube. Maybe you used to have a newsletter and it’s time to rescue some of that content from your back catalogue.

First, figure out what you have. Got through all your old files and make a list of what content you have, who has it, and what format it takes. Sort it into content you can republish immediately, content that can be republished but needs reformatting, content that can be republished once it’s updated, content that is useful for inspiring new ideas but can’t be republished, and content probably isn’t useful anymore.

Next, commit to a plan and schedule. Depending on how much legacy content you have, this is a big project. So treat it like one.

Consider novel ideas for content that doesn’t fit neatly into categories. Maybe you’ve unearthed a lot of historical images involving your business. Upload that stuff to your Instagram or Facebook page; historical content is pretty interesting to a lot of people. Or maybe you have tonnes of old product manuals. Scan then upload them and watch your webpage become a major resource for legacy products. If you’ve been writing about your business for along time, you’ve probably made a number of predictions or forecasts in the past. It might be fun to write some new material examining your past predictions.

If you pay for content, you need to make sure you make it work for you for as long as possible. This means keeping it in circulation, repackaging it, and turning it into something new. Don’t let your content sit in an archive somewhere, not working for you.