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Retro Content: Best Practices for Archive Inspiration

In a digital world constantly craving fresh and innovative content, there’s a unique charm in looking back at the content development scrapbooks of yesteryear. Archived and overlooked content can hold a special kind of magic when reopened in new light. They connect us with old ideas, evoke nostalgia, and — sometimes — offer unexpected inspiration.

For creators and curators, revisiting archives can do more than spark creativity; it can also provide a rich repository of ideas and styles with new resonance. Let’s delve into the art of drawing inspiration from past pieces and blending it with present contexts to create engaging content.

Give cut content a second chance

It’s inevitable: Some content always falls on the cutting-room floor. But if it ends up there in one moment, it doesn’t need to stay there for all time. Cut or unused material offers an opportunity to uncover hidden gems within your archives. These pieces might contain unique perspectives or insights that, though they might have fallen flat in past zeitgeists, can be relevant and engaging through a contemporary lens.

To revive cut content, start by evaluating its relevance and quality. Focus on evergreen material that withstands the test of time and refer to engagement metrics to identify pieces with a history of audience interest. Take some time to polish it a little: Introduce interactive elements, transform formats, and optimize copy for SEO. Then, reintroduce it as a fresh spin on an old topic or as a follow-up to content that previously performed well.

Reference classics with a modern twist

To identify classic pieces that stand the test of time, visit your archives and look for content that continues to attract views or engagement. Classic content tends to be evergreen: maintaining its significance regardless of changing trends. It typically presents information in a clear, concise, and memorable manner, often reflecting brand identity, core values, human interests, and deep expertise.

With classic content in hand, incorporate modern elements to rejuvenate its appeal. Update statistics, case studies, or examples to reflect current trends. Introduce interactive elements such as quizzes or polls to reengage your audience. Avoid simply republishing; take the time to offer your audience something new that makes your content worth looking at again.

Reposting, repurposing, and recycling

Knowing when to repost content is crucial. This can be particularly beneficial during periods of low activity or times when you’re trying to reach a broader audience. It’s important to strike a balance, being intentional and strategic with the pieces you choose to move back into the spotlight without becoming reliant on reposting.

And don’t be afraid to transform your content. Sometimes, changing the format entirely can open the door to a profound new experience. For instance, turn a blog post into a podcast, create an infographic, or develop a video. Each format caters to different audience preferences and expands the reach of the original material. It’s also a great way to cross-promote content while capitalizing on the trends of different platforms.

Look back to move forward

Retro content can be a wellspring of inspiration for the future. By giving cut content a second chance, infusing classics with a modern twist, and masterfully repurposing what already exists, you’ll breathe new life into old narratives. It’s important to explore the depths of your archives with fresh perspective, remembering that every piece of content — old or new — has the potential to inspire and captivate.

Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.

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