We’ve all been there before. You’re putting together a weekly eNewsletter when you realize you’ve been promoting the same three whitepapers for the last month. The only way to integrate more visuals into your social campaign is to rotate through the same four videos that were produced over a year ago. You have some amazing eBooks that your team created a few quarters ago, but you’ve already exhausted them in every way, shape and form.
You know you need to do something about your old content, but you don’t have enough time to create an archive of completely fresh material. You know you need to make the most of what you have, but you’ve got to start offering something new if you want to increase thought leadership, generate higher-quality leads, and drive more sales.
In honor of National Old Stuff Day on March 2 (yes, that is a thing!) here are a few tips, tricks and suggestions for how to best handle old content:
AVOID Article Marketing
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Article marketing—publishing multiple, slightly varied versions of an original article that link back to your site—isn’t the best route to take. This is less about maximizing the impact of your content and more about minimizing your credibility as an industry leader.
One of the chief goals of article marketing is to get as many inbound links as possible (a black hat tactic from the early ‘00s, along with others like keyword stuffing). Google’s algorithms, however, have grown so intuitive that they now aggressively tackle such things as link scheming, content farms and sites with high ad-to-content ratios. Specifically, algorithm improvements from 2011 to 2012 started an avalanche of notable changes in which Google now meticulously defines site and content quality (you can view a full visual of the evolution of Google’s algorithm here).
Side note: Article marketing is also a go-to approach for companies that feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to consistently blog to increase site metrics. Research shows, for example, that companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month receive almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that publish between 0 to 4 monthly posts. If this is you, check out this blog or this blog as a solution verses article marketing.
EMBRACE Guest Blogging
If you have a great evergreen whitepaper or eBook (that is, an asset with a long shelf life that can be applicable months, even years, down the road), take a stab at writing a guest blog for a reputable, third-party site.
For example, if you have a 2013 whitepaper that outlines five best practices for homeschooling, take one—either the one that’s easiest for you to work with or that you think will perform best—and elaborate on it in a guest post. Of course, you’ll first have to pitch your idea to the third-party site and ensure your blog meets their qualifications for length, quality, bylining, etc. (these vary by site).
Guest blogging enables you to not only reinvent old content, but put it in front of limitless new prospects on a trusted site, surrounded by dozens of other authorities in your field.
I repeat, do not delete! Why? Because research shows that old content—although outdated—still performs very well. HubSpot, for instance, found that 76 percent of its blog’s monthly page views were of old posts. The company sums it up nicely: “We still put practically all our effort into creating brand new content … and virtually none into optimizing the old.”
Don’t neglect or delete. Rather, maximize the time and effort you once put into now old content to make it something bigger, better and newer.
EMBRACE Online Courses
Use old content as an opportunity to educate yourself, and then others. For example, let’s say you wrote a blog series back in 2014 on what’s new with various social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter).
At this point, a lot has happened on these platforms: new updates, features and capabilities. Educate yourself on what has happened over the last three years and then create an online course that goes over the history of each platform in its entirety. This way, you already have most of the required content and you’ll only need to add a bit more to bring it to completion. Best of all, you can create a unique new revenue stream through the online course; you’ll get a share of profit for each download (that is, if you use a third-party company to host and run the course for you).
In the end, you’ve got a ton of great content. The only hang-up is that the byline or publish date goes back a bit farther than you’d like. Remember that there are tons of reputable and recommended ways to strategically use old content…you just have to be open to learning about them!
If you’re really strapped for time and can’t move forward with any of the above options, try creating a simple “Oldies but Goodies” category on your blog. Re-categorize all content that is 2+ years old and make it a fun, vintage source of information for site visitors and customers.