The Craft of Blogging #10 Reuse Recycle Reduce

Let’s do a good thing with our blogs: Reuse Recycle Reduce

202 RecycleBy 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?

202 recycle 2Among your blog’s decaying posts will be some that you may want to reuse in the same form or to recycle the material with revisions:

  • 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.

Some Examples

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

202 recycle 3

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.

And reduce?

154 BFW

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Don’t worry if you don’t have any ready-made material – after you’ve been blogging for a while you will have plenty.

  3. 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!

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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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Filed under Books, The Craft of Blogging, Writing

8 Responses to The Craft of Blogging #10 Reuse Recycle Reduce

  1. I think these are great practices. Old decaying or buried posts are new to new readers. “Older” readers may have forgotten earlier posts and it doesn’t harm to revisit them. If the post is recalled and there is nothing new to be gleaned from it the reader doesn’t need to do more than skim. That doesn’t mean they won’t be back to see what you have posted next time.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for these comments Norah. As an experienced blogger you will recognise some features of what I have said in the post.
      Actually I intended to largely recycle the post on short stories, but not only have I rewritten it but I am about to reedit it as more material emerged since I worked on it. It’s the next one up!

  2. Eileen

    Well Caroline, if you are selecting ones that are ‘so darn good’ you will have loads to choose from! So glad you are choosing Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist to recycle. As you know it is my favourite.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for the endorsements. I am intending to create new ones mostly, especially as recycling can mean more work than I asnticipated. Revisions, as you know, take time.
      C xx

  3. Thanks Caroline for another thought-provoking blog. I confess I struggle with the idea of recycling written material. There’s a squeamishness on my part about putting out anything that doesn’t seem (if only to me) fresh and original, but I’m willing to see that as a neurotic expression of my perfectionism rather than deriving from any coherent philosophy!
    I’m also concerned about the environmental impact of the proliferation of content on the internet. A recent report from Greenpeace on the contribution of ‘cloud computing’ to climate change warns of the implications of people posting more and more stuff online.
    None of this is to discourage anyone getting the most from what they write, or sharing valuable insights and information with as many people as possible; it’s simply a reminder that the internet is not ‘free’ and that everything we post has an impact. Let us hope the positive continues to outweigh the negative!

    • Caroline

      Hi Jon,
      thanks for this comment. I naively thought that there was little impact with virtual versions of everything. I had better look up the Greenpeace report. Will it stop me blogging? I do hope not.
      As for your other point about presenting fresh and original material – well I have to admit that not much of my stuff is fresh. I work it over and over. But there are all kinds of writers, and I envy those that ensure that freshness.

  4. Sounds good… So, if you re-post, would you take off the original or leave it there if it’s suitably re-written without too much duplication?

    • Caroline

      Hi Amanda,
      I leave the original post, provide a link to it in case anyone wants to look at it, and in the recycled post explain that it is recycled, slightly revised, usually re-formatted. Duplication doesn’t seem to matter too much on the blog.
      Have you done any recycling?
      Thanks for the question and visit.

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