Recycling Content & Reimagining to Save Your Assets


Your company is going to fail without having a spectacularly spectacular social media content strategy! If you are not re-imagining and recycling content, you will fail and have to move into your parent’s basement. And then when you go to your 10-year high school class reunion, everyone is going to look at you like “here comes the basement-dwelling no-content, social media strategy, bro!” But look on the bright side, without a content strategy you will eat for free… From your parent’s refrigerator. 

Okay, maybe that opening paragraph was just trying to grab you into this second paragraph (SCORE!!). Still, you really do need to be serious about developing a good strategy for content. And to make this assignment more complicated, it’s going to need to be a fresh take. There is no one size fits all for how to accomplish a winning content strategy. For instance, there’s no way in hell a company like CoreCivic could implement a social media strategy that works for MoonPie. MoonPie is the 100-year-old graham cracker marshmallow sandwich with a hilarious online persona, and CoreCivic is the second-largest private prison company in the United States. 


Obviously this tactic isn’t going to work for CoreCivic’s audience.


But let’s go back a little, a content strategy “provides the right content, to the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons.” According to Meghan Casey, in her excellent book, The Content Strategy Toolkit. So, without having a road map for content, you cannot meet your organizational goals. And your strategy obviously cannot be to update audiences when your company finds the time or finally has something important to say.

Reimagine it in baseball terms. Not every update will be a home run. In Baseball, it is the consistency of getting on base with less flashy plays (and a few well-placed trashcans… rimshot) that lead to success. And while the flashy long-ball can be great for audiences, they are not a sustainable play to bank on.


You may be thinking that all of this content strategy road map stuff sounds like a ton of work. And there is a lot of work, but you can get a leg up on some of it by recycling or reimagining the content you have already produced. Your crazy uncle is totally reimagining those wack pick-up lines, and who knows maybe someday he will meet someone special.

Recycling and reimagining works better when creating new content especially when ideas or time are in short supply. It is also useful in situations where you may have gathered a lot of materials for an otherwise unused project. Elements like unused footage, imagery, and ideas can be repackaged into something new. Creating some great content with already gathered materials.

Your new content will probably work oh so much better than Uncle Larry’s stale lines that would probably work out better as unsolicited sales pitches on LinkedIn.



When I worked for the marketing department at wusa9 in Washington, DC, we wanted to create a small video to let the people of Ellicott City know that they were in our hearts after a devastating flood in 2016. While also letting everyone in our own market know that we were staying on top of the story. Thus, a new video was created using news footage and footage from online sources to put a video together quickly for Facebook.

Another example, in the early 2000s, when I was a production assistant for Lucky Duck Productions, I was tasked with logging tapes for the program Royal Weddings. There were many hours of footage from interviews that didn’t fit the narrative the producers were going for. Several discussions about fascinating royal wedding traditions were left on the cutting room floor. In the social media age, those snippets could be repackaged for content that promoted the Royal Weddings program on Facebook or Twitter.

So, don’t throw away content or drop it into an obscure folder on a far-flung server where you could forget about it. Instead, optimize the pieces you already have that get good traffic or articles that could get better views. You could repurpose a blog post focused on statistics into a set of infographics. Use quotes from a well-received blog post, into several tweets. Write a follow-up for a top-performing post.



In 2017 Discovery Communications and Snap Inc. utilized ideas like these to leverage Discovery to younger audiences. They produced “short-form mobile videos…exclusively for Snapchat” that reimagine some of Discovery’s most popular vehicles, such as Shark Week and Mythbusters.


One of my favorite examples of reimagined content comes from the viral web series, “How It Should Have Ended” or HISHE. The HISHE series parodies flaws with popular movies and reimagine them as cartoons showcasing how HISHE would have ended the films. For example, they created an ending for the Lord of the Rings trilogy that created a hilarious ending that solved the trilogy in a little over 2 minutes (which took close to 9 hours at the theaters). They have also spoofed mega-popular comic book franchises and even secured a cameo by Stan Lee for their spoof on The Amazing Spider-Man.

The series works because HISHE reimagine content for people who don’t always approve of the endings to their favorite movies. Moreover, the folks behind HISHE aren’t just winning because they are reimagining better endings for movies. They are creating content that is very short and hilarious, making it that much easier for sharing online.


Another reimagine favorite in the realm of content comes in podcast form from Grammy-nominated singer Mayer Hawthorne. Hawthorne has produced a slew of Hawthorne Radio podcasts that include classic songs (many underrated Motown numbers), vintage commercials, ancient news programs, and more; into long-form mixes. Quite a bit better than my old personal mixtapes I made in military school and was very proud of.

BTW, the Sinatra salute (below) is splendid.


Even though this kind of reimagining or recycling “may not save Earth,” it will provide other benefits like saving time, defeating writer’s block, improving upon previous results, and increasing the value of the original content. Oh, and it will save you from sleeping on the couch in your parents’ basement (I’m pretty sure Uncle Larry has dibs).

So, while reimagining content might not save the Earth, it may just save your company’s social media assets.

Really quick, baseball nerds help me out. Could home runs be a sustainable play to bank on? Hopefully, my baseball analogy is sound, but I was a terrible baseball player…So…Let me know how wrong (or right) I am in the comments.

The recycling content post was originally posted in The Social Observer for which I was fortunate to contribute for last year– i have recycled it.

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