How to recycle old content

With more and more organisations and individuals taking to blogging it can be hard to think of original and engaging content.

When you’re struggling for inspiration it can be easy to look at old posts or other people’s posts for content. But is changing a few words and reposting old content right?

Here are some points to consider:

Blogs are covered under copyright law

Using other people’s content without permission is not only unethical but illegal as blogs are covered under copyright law.

The act of copying or adapting someone else’s work is a restricted act. Any adaptation will be legally regarded as a derived work; so if you simply adapt the work of others, it will still be their work, and they have every right to object you if publish such a work when they have not given you permission to do so. They are also entitled to reclaim any money you make from selling their work.

The UK Copyright Service

It is never right to pass someone’s work off as your own, and if you are caught you could face both reputational and legal repercussions. By all means look to others for inspiration – but remember that your customers visit your blog to hear what you have to say, not what you’ve copied and pasted.

This includes your own content

While you might think it’s ok to change a few words on some of your old posts, I would think again.  If the content was written by an employee or former employee you will need to check their contract to make sure that anything they write during the time of their employment is owned by the organisation.

It’s also worth considering your followers, loyal and regular visitors of your blog will be expecting new content.  Fobbing them off with old posts could lose your followers. However, if you are really struggling for inspiration….

Make sure you have something new to add

You can use other people’s content – with a caveat.  Make sure it is credited and linked through to the original and that you’re adding a response or new angle in your own words. If you’re using a large proportion of their original work, it’s also good to check with the original author to make sure they’re ok with you doing this. While this isn’t legally necessary it is common courtesy.


As an example, here are three blogs  covering the same topic:

The Fake News Crisis: What it means for business – by AntiSocial Media.

Commercially speaking, clickbait and fake news can seriously damage a business’ reputation with social media users.

I wrote this blog last month and the title is pretty self-explanatory. It looks at how the fake news crisis affects businesses and how organisations can remain vigilant.


A draft public relations framework to tackle fake news – by Stephen Waddington

Public relations is on the front line in helping organisations tackle fake news. Here’s how.

This is a post written by Stephen Waddington, Partner and Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice at the Newcastle University. His post discusses how public relations can help organisations who are affected by the fake news crisis.



From where I sit, the fake news crisis is an opportunity: a teachable moment for all marketers who might have lost their way.

This final post is a contribution to the Huffington Post by Julie Ginches – Cheif Marketing Officer for ViralGains. In her post, Julie addresses new research into spotting fake news stories and how marketers can be more responsible to themselves and their profession in response.


As you can see, although these three posts have the same theme they all address different aspects of the fake news crisis from different angles. While none of these articles are repurposed, I wanted to include them to demonstrate that just because something has been covered before, it doesn’t mean that you can’t update the conversation with new information or opinions.

Further information on author attribution can be found here.