Repurposing content to make it go further is a common recommendation. But can you re-record old podcast episodes? Or are they a lost cause because you’ve already covered the topic? One of my shows recently went from having three hosts to two, and part of our updated strategy is revisiting old topics. So, how do you decide what old content is worth salvaging? And is it possible to breathe new life into it on the second go-round?
Evaluating Old Content
Podcasts vary in theme and episode style, so giving you a step-by-step process to evaluate your content isn’t going to be helpful. But I can tell you what to look for when you re-record old podcast episodes.
1. Popular Episodes
I know what you’re thinking — everyone’s already heard our most popular episodes. You could be right (though you might be surprised), but they’re popular for a reason.
If you take a look, your most popular episodes probably have searchable titles, interesting concepts and bring in a trove of new listeners. If they’re more than two years old, it could be worth a revisit.
I’m a firm believer that repeat content isn’t a bad thing. With a new spin and fresh life, it can be a fun flash-to-the-past for your listeners. I don’t know about you, but there are several podcast episodes I can listen to on repeat.
2. Topics That Could Use an Update
Let’s say you run a true crime podcast, and the Bacon Axe Murderer (not a real serial killer, that I know of anyway) is suddenly caught.
You covered his episode in season three, but the break in the case makes it worth a revisit. Instead of jumping in with a 10-minute recap, it might be worth re-recording the old episode (with updates) as a new piece of content.
3. Content That Went Under the Radar
Once, in the middle of a between-season break, we published an episode we called the “lost episode of Hatley Castle.” It was an episode that I’d lost track of until coming across it by chance.
I should have waited until the next season, but I dropped it as a “bonus” instead. However, due to the break, it slid under the radar and still remains one of our lowest to date. Episode anomalies like this can easily be revisited.
4. Content That Provides an X-Value
This last point is case-by-case. It’s OK if there aren’t any that meet this criteria. Here we’re looking for episodes that stood out for a reason unrelated to the above. Perhaps they were mentioned in a blog or linked in a newsletter. Essentially they had an unpredictable element that got your podcast noticed for another reason.
What Can You Do With Old Episode Content?
Once you’ve decided what content you’d like to revisit, it’s time to figure out what you want to do with it.
But before we get into your options, it’s important to point out what we’re not doing — we are not republishing the old episodes as-is with a new date.
Can you do this? Absolutely. But that’s not reviving an old topic; that’s filling a gap for the week.
1. Update and Re-record Old Podcast Episodes
The easiest choice is to re-record the content.
You’ll want to ensure you update it, as a lot can happen between the original release and now. It’s also worth noting that you want the re-recorded content to provide a fresh, new outlook on the topic.
So, take the time to listen back to the old content and update your script accordingly. Have there been any new developments? Has your opinion changed?
2. Paywall Old Episodes
Whether you re-record old episodes or not, you always have the option to drop them behind a paywall. This could include a single payment to “unlock” all earlier episodes, it could be a per-episode fee, or you could bundle certain topics together.
Keep in mind this only works as an income-earning opportunity if the content is high quality or interesting enough for people to want to pay for it. Plus, you need to remind people that the option is there (you’ll want to discuss it).
If you are going to paywall episodes, make sure you let everyone know what you’re doing. Be upfront and clear about what they can pay to access. You can paywall content through a platform like Patreon. Or you can add a “buy now” button to your site or podcast player page.
3. Repurpose as Something New
This final option comes highly recommended by everyone: repurpose your old content into something new. This could be as simple as a blog post or a video tutorial. However, to get more podcast content, I recommend bundling or breaking down topics.
For example, some of our early episodes were listicles — “most haunted beaches” or “haunted hotels in Las Vegas.” In the updated versions, we broke them down into their individual stories.
But the reverse — bundling content into listicles — is possible too. This requires more work than the first two options, but it results in recycled podcast content that truly feels fresh.
Ready to Revive?
If you have a large back catalog of content, I would highly recommend you take a look to see what opportunities you might be missing out on. With years of past content, it’s possible you have easy opportunities staring right in your face — little work required.
There are endless possibilities when you re-record old podcast episodes and give them new life. It just takes a little creativity! Just make sure you space out your recycled content. You should still continue to put out fresh content too.