Recycling Content To Make It Relevant

Even with a great business plan in mind and on paper, your web content - and even your business - can take surprising turns that change everything. So, what do you do with all of that old, irrelevant? Recycle - and rework it.


It's definitely a bummer when you take the time to create a large amount of posts on your website, only to realize that your brand is moving in a different direction. Or, perhaps you needed some temporary filler for your site as you created more - and more relevant - content. In fact, Meeting In The Media is undergoing the same transformation, from new content to a new logo design, and personal blog posts copied from my personal website just don't work.

For example, below you can see the original content for a post about an event that was previously on Meeting In The Media, because I had curated and produced that event:

After a proposal to MassArt for use of gallery space, I've landed myself a gallery show! I’ll be producing and curating a group art exhibition in the MassArt Student Life Gallery on Huntington Avenue from April 22-27, reception April 25 @ 7pm. The show will feature my recent works from my ‘Liar Liar’ (2013) series.

TransFIREmation group gallery show features MassArt Undergraduate 2D work, sculpture and video installation with a focus on fire, masks and the moon – all with a theme of transformation…”

I even created postcards to advertise the show! The front of the postcard features an image from my ‘Liar Liar’ series:

Postcard created for TransFIREmation Gallery show, produced and curated by Geena Matuson.

To create a post that both has value and utilizes the idea of this event, I decided to think back on the experience; it's all about the 'how' as opposed to the 'what.'

Focusing on the 'what,' such as an event or a date, creates a lifespan for your post - the post becomes outdated once the event has ended. You want to create something timeless that readers and viewers can visit now, and in the future. This idea is called 'Evergreen Content.'

Couple amazing content with timelessness, and you start to see the value of evergreen. Traffic, engagement, and conversions don’t just peak once and then trail off. They grow over time.

- Kevan Lee via

As you can see, I had also designed postcards and advertising materials for this event, which I included in the post to show my additional skills. Though the skills are relevant to the content we want to show - the content isn't there; advertising an event isn't an insight into production experience that can benefit others.

When I decided to rework the content and write an article about the experience, instead, it turned into eight new articles! Rather than write a single post about the entire experience, from planning to execution, I divided the experience up into distinct sections, launching new ideas for entire posts:

  1. Basic art show proposal; use 'TransFIREmation' show proposal I created for MassArt galleries
  2. Is a group show for you, or do you want to 'Fly Solo'?
  3. How Applying for a 'Call For Work' is different than proposing your own show
  4. The difference between having a name and having art; are they buying your work because of your name, or buying your art because it’s pretty and who the hell are you?
  5. Posting articles online as yourself, your business - or as 'admin'?
  6. Advice on marketing materials, vinyl lettering, and more - for a gallery show
  7. The Reception: Free Food
  8. Example of an exhibiting artist who won't share the event, won't post it online, and gets their work to you late

This could be a mini e-book, right? It's pretty crazy to think about all the different aspects, and layers, that go into one experience.

Recycling your older content and reworking it into new, relevant content means you need to understand the new direction your brand is taking.

A great way to recycle old content is to first understand the new direction of your site, brand or business. By doing so, the new content you create will be relevant, and better than ever. And it's no secret - check out these tips from other media-savvy writers and websites, including Digiday's article covering (3) publishers that recycle old content on a regular basis.

'I' Before 'We' Except...

When you're the only person running your business, it's hard to get away from the word "I." It's just you - there is no 'we' to speak of. There's no team, not even a guest writer. It's just 'me, myself and I.'

Over the years, I've worked on both solo projects and collaborations. Though I write "we" when referring to a team effort, I find myself writing about solo projects in the third person so I can avoid the pronouns altogether - because, let's face it, writing 'I' all over the place looks bad for your brand.


On the one hand, you want your business to sound big and important, and using 'we' will help you do that. Then again, you might feel sort of arrogant if you use 'we' when it's really just you.

My new website 'Meeting In The Media,' on which I write about communications, design, production and my personal experiences in 'the [film] industry,' is one such example of this conundrum. The articles are often short stories about personal experiences and/or express personal opinion, and therefore 'I' is both applicable and acceptable. But, then, the description of the site on the 'about' page is full of 'I' pronouns, and we want the business to sound larger - like you just stumbled onto a community here at MITM - so the word 'we' would be more appropriate.

Here's another issue - I just created and scheduled 140 new posts on our Facebook page; half of the posts say 'we' - as in 'we just found this great new resource,' while the other half of the posts say 'I.' It's sort of a mish-mosh, and it can confuse our readers.

Outside of a personal quote, I tend to find it off-putting to see a website full of 'I's. Sure, you want your website, blog - your writing - to be personable. It's hard to see a line between being personable, accessible and direct, and looking professional. You want viewers to engage with you directly, but you want them to feel like there's already an established community behind the scenes of your business, ready to interact, share and invite the viewer to be part of that community.

Google it?

I did some Googling about 'running your business with an I,' and came across two interesting articles. The first of which is entitled 'HBR: When a Leader Should Say 'I' Instead of 'We' @, and it briefly notes that leaders should use 'I' when taking responsibility for their own actions, and use 'we' when commending a team effort, both of which will show strength.

Then I came across this great article from managing director at Foundry Group, Brad Feld @, in which Feld lays out the problem with the head of a company using 'I' when the company is a team effort. However, I didn't find any articles that work the other way around - using 'we' for a solo effort.

Now, if you scroll down to the comments section in Feld's article, many of the commenters give articulate - and great - advice for our problem.

One commenter added a link to an NPR article about dating success based on the use of personal pronouns and their link to power. I thought, that's a great way to think about it - marketing yourself is just like dating. I had heard this from my mother, a marketing writer, but I never thought about it in the 'I' versus 'we' sense - until now.

The article, 'To Predict Dating Success, The Secret's in The Pronouns' by Alix Spriegel, covers a speed dating session and her call to a psychologist interested in the meaning behind pronouns, James Pennebaker. To sum it up, Pennebaker explains:

"The person with the higher status uses the word 'I' less."

"But in retrospect he says it makes sense. We use 'I' more when we talk to someone with power because we're more self-conscious. We are focused on ourselves - how we're coming across - and our language reflects that," Spriegel writes.

We've all run into this issue through emails, before. I call it an 'issue,' because most often the person using 'I' is slightly insulted when the returned response contains little to no pronouns to speak of - it seems a bit impersonal. However, if a return response contains the word 'we,' as in 'we would love to see your work!' - you feel pretty special, right? Not only is someone writing you back with such pizazz, but the group behind the word 'we' is interested in you.

Rise above this personal conundrum!

One way to rise above your 'I' vs. 'we' conundrum is to think about all of the people who have assisted you on your website - your blog, your business - thus far, even if they don't directly contribute to your website content or growth. For instance, do you have a friend you call when you realize your coding skills are limited? Is there someone you show your posts to, prior to making them public, in order to gather opinions and thoughts? These people are definitely part of the 'we' that makes the you-and-your-solo-business, and should give you a sense of how the 'we' can work without the confusion.

Another way to look at it: maybe you have just five followers - people who somehow picked up on your site, your blog, and actively visit. And, hey, maybe they leave some comments. There's your 'we' - the people who make your business look that much more active by simply visiting and showing support!

Feel free to say 'we.'

You should feel free to say 'we' when referencing your business, and when writing about it online. And, if anyone asks who else is part of this 'we' when there are so many 'I'-based posts, explain to them that you want to show people that you're fostering a sense of community - and you want to give people this sense, too, through your use of personal pronouns.

How To Kill Collaborations In A Few Sentences

In May 2014, I was an exhibiting artist with RAW Artists. At the event, I met a ‘visual artist’ who soonthereafter created a great drawing of me, and I shared it online. We didn’t speak again for several months, simply because we were doing our own thing. Suddenly it’s January, 2015, and I happened to share a link to one of my blog posts with him via Facebook.

He wrote me back ‘Thanks hun I’ll check them out later’ which, as we all know, meant he wouldn't check them out, at all. And I was okay with that, but I still added, ‘Thanks, I hope you like them! If you think anyone else will like the project, too, feel free to share! [That link leads to] my blog post about it, and there’s a link to the project page on the blog.’

He quickly responded with, ‘I will we gotta connect again sometime soon I would love to Collab on a project.’ So I wrote, ‘Ooh that would be great!’

I intentionally sent people this blog post link through Facebook because I wanted to disseminate the information quickly, but I opened myself up to very short, poorly-written responses and the liklihood that most people wouldn't take a look, at all. Of course; every social media site has a different use which utilizes a different form of communication.


The next day, January 29, he wrote, ‘yeah would you be down? ill have a art studios rented out for feb an march’

Intrigued by this vague information, I asked several questions, ‘Ooh wow, yeah I’d be down – did you already have something in mind? I mean, when you say ‘collab’ with me what are your ideas?’

There’s a difference between sharing a blog post – an item already created and therefore it does not require additional information – versus sharing information in order to create something.

For example, if I’m sharing a quick link or a brief exchange with someone, I can do so over Facebook. The Facebook message system uses continuous scroll and therefore lends itself to quick, rather unimportant exchanges. You're unable to send one person multiple, different messages, all of your exchanges melded together in one, extremely long, ongoing thread and cannot be separated into individual ’emails.’ Sharing plans and important information over Facebook can easily be lost in an endless thread of information. Therefore, if you make plans to collaborate with someone on a project, or work together in the future, Facebook is not really the proper forum.


If you want to keep contact details and save information more securely – use email. And, if you include the date and topic in the title of your email, it will be easier to find this important information later.

I figured, however, this kid might give me some information through a Facebook message first, and we would then move to email. I awaited his sparkling ideas, but, instead, our exchanges turned into a perfect example of what not to do – how to waste time, ruin a potential collaboration and, maybe, a working relationship.

I didn’t receive any response until February 8 – almost two weeks later. In fact, I wrote him a reminder message, ‘Well if you have a chance just let me know, I’m still interested’ – because what artist wouldn’t be interested in using someone’s rented studio space, right?

He finally responded, but didn’t answer any questions, or explain any of his ideas. Simply, ‘yeah what are you doing 16th or 17th?’
‘Not sure yet! Why what did you have in mind?’ I asked.

Three days later, he wrote, ‘yes / i have a shoot planned / i want you in / i wanted todo a couple of scenes.’

Vague, avoiding my questions and giving me nothing to go on, I wrote, ‘Cool, tell me more! Details, where, when, who else will be there, what kind of shoot…’

The same day, he wrote, ‘well when are you free? / its a bit much to explain via facebook’
I wrote, ‘I may be free on the 17th; did you want to email me?’
One minute later he asked, ‘are you busy the 16th?’

Not only are both my phone number and email address available on my Facebook page for things that are ‘a bit much to explain via facebook,’ but what would be the purpose of knowing my schedule if I hadn't committed yet? Did he expect me to drive an hour into Boston simply to hear his plans? Was this a ‘fuck-around’ project that he was trying to puff-up? You use friends for fuck-around projects, not acquaintances you met at an art event with whom you’d hope to collaborate.

Someone suggested to me that he was trying to ‘sound exclusive,’ as if his work and his time were precious, and he couldn’t be bothered to give me more information; as if it would be a privilege to work with him, and therefore I should drive an hour just to hear his magical ideas. They added that his pseudonym, which is the name of a famous, deceased artist, added to theory that he has a major ego. I just thought he sounded clueless and unprofessional, and this made me think that he wouldn’t keep our plans, even if we did set a date.

I wrote, ‘I hear there’s going to be a big storm Sunday/Monday so I’m not making concrete plans for that day, just in case; I’m an hour outside Boston.’

I expected to receive an email, a phone call – at the least, a brief Facebook message that acknowledged what I was saying, for once, and then maybe a little ‘get back to you soon.’ But no. Instead, five more days passed and it was February 17. He wrote me at 1pm on Facebook, ‘you free today?’ Two hours passed, he added, ‘well let me know when you are / im shooting with antonio.’

I wrote back, ‘I’m not free this week, sorry! I also have no idea where this is happening, and who Antonio is, and what your ideas involve. When you have the time, let me know!’

Two minutes later, I received this response, ‘oh damn you”re not free this week anymore? well alright best of luck to you and your work :)’

The whole time I wondered – would he have actually given me information if I said I was free today? Would he have told me what he was talking about? No, he probably would have given me an address and told me he’d ‘tell me in person' when I arrived – something I had experienced before.

Even if my assumptions were wrong, this is how I perceived him due to his poor communications and presentation.

  1. Does he think this makes him look cool and ‘exclusive,’ as my friend had suggested? The mention of ‘Antonio’ with no last name or link to his work, added to the thought that this was an act of implied exclusivity.
  2. Was his response some sort of attempt at reverse psychology, and I’d suddenly flip a switch to whine and pine for the opportunity to work with him, drive an hour in the snow to discover his brilliant plans, and be part of I-don’t-know-what?
  3. Was he, for whatever reason, intimidated by me and therefore didn’t want to bother? This all struck me as rather odd, because he was the one who had asked to collaborate with me.

This also touches on my thoughts that emailing someone with several questions, all of which they repeatedly avoid, is someone you do not want to work with. If someone can’t provide you with their time, you do not need to provide them with your time. And, if someone is a poor communicator, it would probably be hard to work with them, regardless of how much time they had given you. A great test is, of course, to try and communicate! Send an email and get the ball rolling - if they don't throw it back, leave that ball in their court.