How To Steal The Print Magazine Content Advantage

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repurpose contentWhile print publications are suffering because the entire industry is moving to the internet, there is an advantage inherent in magazine publishing that doesn’t necessarily exist in writing a blog online.

The other day, as I was walking through a store with my girlfriend, I glanced at a magazine on the rack in front of the check-out counter. I won’t give out the name. But the front cover featured a story about the newest “Sex Quiz.”

“How on earth do they get away with publishing the same thing over and over again?” I turned to my girlfriend and asked.

She was quick with an answer…

It’s simple. These magazines will never run out of 17 year old girls to target. When one wave of subscribers doesn’t renew its subscription, it is replaced by a new wave of girls entering the age bracket.

And suddenly it all became clear to me. These magazines recycle their readers as much as they recycle their content. (Tweet This)

Note: This is an assumption and I do not have actual magazine subscription attrition rates…especially for this specific magazine that I am talking about. Nevertheless, it an assumption that makes a lot of sense to me. :)

We don’t want to recycle our audience. We want to build it. So unfortunately blog publishers don’t have the same luxury of repeating the same content over and over like magazines often do. Or do they?


Updating old posts with new and more relevant information is a good way to create “new” content.

If you have an old post that displays statistics, maybe it’s time to renew it to show the updated information (this is where a content inventory comes in handy).

You would be more than justified in publishing this as a new post to provide the latest information to your audience rather than having it sit in the archives until someone stumbles upon it.


Take old content and repurpose it by putting it in a different format. If you had a list post, you can make it into a Slideshare presentation. Or if you held a presentation, provide a video.

The information in the repurposed content may not be too different form what you have provided in the past, but the format is. And format can make a huge difference to [at least a portion of] your audience.


If you have some great content sitting in the archives that doesn’t get as much play as it used to, promote it to new subscribers with emails.

Once you build up a solid inventory of content, you can actually put together an autoresponder sequence with links leading to those older posts that new subscribers may have missed (I know of one very successful blogger who partook in an interview series who does this).


If all else fails, you can “republish” old posts.

I have seen this done on a few successful blogs. The publisher simply takes a post that already exists and had been published before, and republishes it as if it was a new post.

In WordPress that moves the blog post up from wherever the post existed before to the top of the first page.

This can be risky because your audience may have already seen the post, but I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with taking this approach because people have shorter attention spans than ever. They don’t always browse around your website too long before moving onto the next one. Unless the visitors are coming in through a search engine directly to your older post, they may not snoop around in the archives long enough to find it.

And you could actually be doing them a favor.

Out of the four approaches mentioned here this is the one I would obviously recommend the least. If you’re going to republish something as new, try to spice it up a bit. But if you do decide to go this route make sure of two things:

  1. It has been long enough between the original publish date and the republish date that the content could have been forgotten or viewed as “new” by new readers.
  2. The information is still valid, accurate and applicable.

The Formula

So, as you can see, the formula here is broken down into three (sometimes four) parts:

Renew, Repurpose, Reinforce and Sometimes Republish. (Tweet This)

Don’t Miss the Boat

I’m not sure if magazines will ever reach a point where they have to go completely digital, but we are certainly getting closer and closer to that point (especially with the exponential growth of mobile browsing).

So the girls magazines will be in the boat with the rest of us soon. Unless we can paddle hard enough now to get away :) .

2 Responses to How To Steal The Print Magazine Content Advantage
  1. LaRae Quy

    Great article, Eugene. I love your analysis and the way you worked a Tweet link into the middle of it!

    Thanks for sharing, and thank your girlfriend for her insight, too!

    • Eugene

      I’ll definitely pass on the “thanks” to her :) . The tweet link is something I saw Derek Halpern do and wanted to test it out. I may put those into a few more posts to see how they work and if they have any effect on clicks. I got a few people clicking.

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