Let’s do a good thing with our blogs: Reuse Recycle Reduce
By their natures blog posts share three characteristics: they are written quickly, include connections to other internet sites and have brief lives. You may feel disappointed when a post in which you have invested time and effort no longer gets attention. One way around this for the busy and productive blogger is to use the principles of recycling – a nice case of what’s good in the real world being good in the virtual one too.
Why reuse or recycle?
Why would you reuse or recycle material? Haven’t your devoted followers read the content before? How do pick items or content to repost?
Apparently about 10% of your posts go one being read, are ‘stayers’ or ‘sticky’. Do you recognise this from your blog stats? Looking back over 200 posts I can see which the stayers are: mainly book reviews, including some surprising ones. In the six months since I posted a review of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, for example, it has never been out of the Bookword’s monthly top 20 most popular reads. Another is The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen, a lovely book and my review was one of the first I posted. Neither needed any promotion on twitter to maintain their readership.
Most of the other 90% can be categorized as ‘decaying’. Again, if you keep track of your stats you have probably seen the pattern of early popularity followed by descent into very small or nonexistent readership. And some bump along with a very few reader each month, not quite decayed. I predict that this post on recycling will fit that picture.
What to choose?
- perhaps the topic is good, but the content needs tweaking,
- perhaps there is a special event that could suit a post’s reappearance,
- you may want to introduce a post to your new readers,
- perhaps you just thought it was so darn good you want to publish it again,
- or perhaps you feel the post would do better with a thorough revision.
I have now posted more than 200 posts and over the last few weeks I have been considering which ones could be scheduled for recycling. On the whole I have chosen posts that did well initially and have largely disappeared but still get a very few readers. I have also been serendipitous and chosen reviews of books that I am rereading for my book groups.
There has to be something new or relevant about reposting whatever I have chosen.
A post scheduled for recycling in October fits both categories (did well at first, and I have just reread it for a book group): it will be Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist. It is also timely as she has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015 for her most recent book: A Spool of Blue Thread. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13th October.
In the near future I am going to revise and recycle a post on Short Stories. I love the form and I have a few new collections to bring to people’s attention on the revised post.
Recently as part of Women in Translation Month (#WITmonth on twitter) I recycled The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke. Such a good book deserves to be widely promoted.
Reusing and recycling posts
My schedule for posts extends over the next four months. I have included several recycled posts. If any readers find this annoying please say so when you spot them.
Maintaining a blog can be time-consuming. Recycling can reduce the amount of time you spend preparing posts and reduce the stress of maintaining the flow and high quality. Here’s advice from Robin Houghton’s Blogging for Writers who extends my practice by suggesting recycling material not originally designed for the blog:
You may already have an archive of great content, perhaps you have written an ebook or a course. There’s a lot of great material just begging to be reused! All content can be reused, recycled, revisited, repositioned, and refreshed with new examples and different points of view.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any ready-made material – after you’ve been blogging for a while you will have plenty.
Don’t let a great blog post die – link to it from your home-page (“Popular Posts”), make it sticky or repost in a few months time, slightly updated if necessary. (157)
I could do more of her first suggestion and consider the third. Make it sticky!
Some posts in the Craft of Blogging series
# 9 Problems and more problems (July 2015)
#8 Review of Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton (February 2015)
#5 How I write my blog slowly (July 2014)
#1 … the medium (February 2014)
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