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Your Blog's Secret Weapon: Old Content

Your Blog's Secret Weapon: Old Content
image credit: Tom Murphy VII

If you've ever had one of those days when you struggle to come up with yet another new idea for a blog post, never fear. You're most likely sitting on top of a goldmine of potential content ideas in the form of your blog's old content.

When you publish a blog post, you promote it for a few days and hope that the majority of your readership sees it before it fades into obscurity under your newest entry. But what about those loyal readers who just happened to skip a day on your site? What about new readers who may not have the time to read back through all of your archives?

The solution to both your content-generation struggles and reaching readers who may have missed your past posts is to refurbish and republish your old content. You don't just want to change the publish date and re-run old posts as-is. Here are a few ideas for maximizing the value of the content that already exists on your website:

Revise dated content: I work in the field of digital marketing, which means that new strategies and algorithm changes are constantly revising industry best practices. So imagine that I had written a blog post titled, "The Comprehensive Guide to SEO" a year ago. Chances are some of the things I'd written would be out-of-date by now.

If you have posts -- especially popular posts, based on your analytics data -- that contain expired information, you can always go back, update them and then republish them. Your audience gets new content and you don't have to come up with new ideas. It's a win-win.

Related: 5 Lessons About Blogging You Can Learn From BuzzFeed

Add a 'Part II': On a related note, suppose you've learned something new or changed your opinion on something since you blogged about it the first time. In these cases, there's nothing wrong with going back and creating a separate post that addresses your new perspective.

To do this, choose an old post and then link to it in the "Part II" post you create. Describe your new thoughts or feelings in this second post, and you'll drive traffic to both entries, benefitting your entire readership.

An example of this is The Beginner's Guide To Online Marketing because it's a neatly designed guide with multiple chapters.

Share old posts in link roundups: One popular blogging technique is to periodically publish "link roundup" posts that gather fun, interesting or relevant links from around the web. Not only is this a effective outreach tool that allows you to connect with other site owners, it improves your audience's perception of you as an expert in your industry.

But if you use this technique, don't lose all of your site's traffic to external links. Try including a final section near the bottom of your roundup titled, "Past Posts You May Have Missed." Not only can this give your old posts the attention they still deserve, it can keep people on your site longer and increase the odds that they'll convert in whatever way is meaningful to your site's objectives.

Related: How a Content Audit Can Turn Your Site Into a Publishing Powerhouse

Call out old posts on social media: This strategy won't help you to fill the impending holes in your blog's editorial calendar, but it can help you to maximize the value of the content you've already published to your site.

Set aside one day a week to use your social channels to promote old content on your blog. For example, you could regularly post a "Throwback Thursday" message on either Facebook or Twitter that links out to past blog articles. Doing so is an easy way to provide value to your social followers and to keep your profiles from becoming too commercialized and self-promotional.

Change up your content formats: Who says that your old blog posts need to remain old blog posts? There are dozens of different content formats you can play around with in order to get the maximum value out of the articles you've already written.

As an example, why not take an old blog post that was well received by your audience and turn it into a fun video? Or add its content to your newsletter or email marketing autoresponder sequence? You could even gather a handful of old posts on related topics and compile them together into an ebook that can then be distributed for free on your site, given away in exchange for a newsletter sign-up or even sold to improve your site's bottom line. Or how about an infographic?

There are numerous opportunities when you begin to look at your blog's old content as a valuable resource to be mined, rather than a series of posts that'll never again see the light of day. Take advantage of these content reserves and you'll turbocharge your blog's performance while reducing the stress of cranking out new content week after week.

Related: 10 Words to Cut From Your Writing

Eric Siu is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain. He also interviews successful entrepreneurs on business and personal growth at Growth Everywhere.

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