How organizations can ensure they don’t repeat stories and content that they already shared

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

There’s a real danger in digital content marketing to publish duplicate or at least content that dilutes other content.

Here’s why that happens:

We forget that we already written about it.

Print journalists repeat stories all the time. Yes, I know some hardcore print people will argue with me on this one but it’s true: Writing similar stories year after year are maybe needed for a newspaper or magazine but don’t work for digital.

I did it as a print newspaper guy. Yes, we tried to do different weather stories, but at the end of the day they were all similar. It snowed. Drive careful.

Sometimes something unusual would happen and that would make the story different!

And I was reminded of this when I took this photo and time lapse:

I was reminded how much I like lifting and setting rep goals versus specific exercise goals. I blog a lot as you know, so it’s hard to keep track what I’ve published and what I just wrote in my head.

So I went to my site search and ran “reps gym” as I wanted to write about this.

And there’s a story – pretty much the same one I was thinking about writing.

So I didn’t want to, shouldn’t and didn’t need to write it again. In fact, if the existing story was ranking on Google at all a similar story might hurt it.

Okay, so I didn’t need to write that one. How about “How organizations can ensure they don’t repeat stories and content that they already shared?”

That story idea came to me after I went through the above thought process. I also know that clients and I have talked about this before.

Site search revealed that there was nothing yet on the topic. Surprising, actually. So here it is.

Here’s how organizations can use this

When you have true breaking news don’t overthink it and don’t use this process as much. Just write, link to other content, publish and distribute!

When you are thinking of a story that just happened and is potentially not as timely to use use the process. For example, this article was scheduled to publish Feb. 8 but I wrote it almost a month earlier. It’s No. 20 of queued to publish articles at time of writing.

Process ….

When the team has a non-breaking news idea, don’t overthink overvet the idea but do a quick search for the terms you want to use.

If there are no results on your site or mostly unrelated, you likely are good to go.

After all, your article will be hitting different keywords. If you use the SEO Yoast plugin on WordPress it even tells you if you’ve targeted a word before.

Consider a quick keyword research project on Google Keyword Planner to see if anyone is even searching for the terms. There’s still value in sharing relevant stories even if search volume is currently low but we truly maximize content when people are actually searching for what we are writing about.

Then produce and publish.

Easy breezy, right? In theory!

But what if we miss a similar story?

Don’t sweat it. Organizational content marketing is very much like football. Next play. Run it. If that was 3,893 plays ago learn from it and let it go.

Content marketers run plays because good plays win the game. Sure, running a bad play blows but if it was 8 games ago and somebody is focusing on it still they are likely just nitpicking.


This process can help teams identify when a story or a similar one has already been published. It’s easy enough and might even give us new ideas. Sometimes it might be worth updating an old article with new information. That’s allowed!

Content marketing is moving fast and this can help us maximize what we are producing. See, I got another article out of it myself even.