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Before you Repost it Rethink It

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Reposting your blog on LinkedIn and Medium is a no-brainer. Which is precisely the problem – it takes no brains.

Reposting your blog post to platforms like LinkedIn and Medium expands exposure for your ideas, company or whatever else you’re trying to promote, at almost zero added cost.

This is particularly the case on LinkedIn, where the algorithm almost certainly rewards rePosts over Shares to get more content into its rotting walled garden.

So why not do it?

There’s a better option. 

Let it simmer …

Instead of simply copy-pasting your post to LinkedIn/Medium the day after its initial appearance on your site, leave it there for a week or so. Let your post simmer in the deeper recesses of your mind as you give your brain a break from that particular topic. You may even get some comments – they’ll be useful later. 

Sooner or later, you’ll have a new, original thought on the same topic as that post. Now is the time to break out your twin friends CTRL-C & V.

But don’t hit Publish straight away – take that new thought and use it to Rethink your old post: update it; argue with yourself; quote another source; explore a different angle; expand it; tighten it.

For example, on January 13 I published Where is social media taking you in 2016? on my primary blog on BlogActiv, about the effect social media has on us as individuals. I then got to work on the next edition of my Top3ics enewsletter, which I publish on my TumblrHub. Naturally, in that edition I mentioned my post (go ahead and sue me for self-promotion: it was one link in about 20).

But when I was rereading some of the other material about social media I had curated for my enewsletter, I saw I’d missed an opportunity in that original BlogActiv post to explore another effect social media has — this time on society. So I mentioned that briefly in my enewsletter. It went out January 17.

And then, on January 22, I mashed both posts together on Medium: importing the original BlogActiv post, and then integrating and developing the newer ideas summarised in the newsletter. Result:

Where is social media taking you in 2016?

SM selfie

How is that better? After all, I could gain that reposting benefit (widening my audience) by copying and pasting both post and enewsletter without engaging my brain. Two reposts have to be worth more than one half-original new one, right?

You’re looking in the wrong place. The benefit is in the ‘simmering’ phase, and it’s located between your ears.

Why are you publishing anyway?

If your main purpose is to raise your profile, you’re probably doing nothing more than rehashing other people’s work. That may have worked for a while, but now you’re probably finding yourself, along with content marketing in general, in the Trough of Disillusionment.

The true benefit of writing: it forces you to think.

In my case, it’s forcing my fingertips to think. Because most of my ideas don’t come from my conscious mind – they appear to materialise in my fingertips, summoned forth by my keyboard and an empty digital page. It’s happening as I type this. 

I only truly realised recently that this was why I blogged – to make my brain produce new ideas. 

See, for the preceding 12 years I’d been storing other people’s stuff I particularly liked in an online library (del.icio.us and then diigo, in case you wondered).

Then a few years ago I started publishing much of what I stored in my Library in a Hub I built on Tumblr. The idea is to make sure I was actually reading – not just Saving – all that stuff. I didn’t know it, but I was treating a problem Tony Haile diagnosed so brilliantly a year later in What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong (here are my two takes).

Using web automation tools keeps the overhead down: over 90% of the time spent pushing those 2000+ posts to the Hub was spent reading and thinking about them.

“As a career move, rehashing other people’s knowledge is about as useful as mastering a photocopier.”

But even then, last year I realised that reading, tagging and hitting Share was not enough. I’ve still only really been skimming those articles. So I started a curation-oriented newsletter, where I brought the Best of the Best of what I was reading every couple of weeks to literally tens and tens of subscribers.

Because building a massive subscriber list isn’t the point – if it was, I’d publish a simple, low-value list every day, not a curation post every two weeks. Instead, I give myself the time to reread the content I’ve stored and shared over the last few weeks, and draw common trends, correlations, interesting comparisons, parallels and contrasts … and in the process think about the stuff I was reading.

And come up with a few original ideas myself. Because innovative ideas often come by combining other ideas together.

So reThinking before rePosting is just another way of forcing myself to continue thinking about what I’m writing after hitting ‘Publish’, rather than simply repeating myself in different places.

After all, you may be copying yourself when you rePost, but it’s still copying. And as a career move, rehashing other people’s knowledge – even your own – is about as useful as mastering a photocopier.

PS: This post is – inevitably – a reThink of and rePost of:

 

This is a guest post by Mathew Lowry, cross-posted from his LinkedIn blog. Reach him at @mathewlowry.

About Mathew Lowry

Project Director & Manager, Web & Editorial Team Leader, Business Development Manager, Communications & Innovation Strategist, Information architect, Editor.

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