Here's How to Wring Value From Outdated Blog Posts
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Over the past nine years, I have consulted dozens of clients on their marketing campaigns. A lot of my assignments have been related to organic brand building and content marketing. Today’s question comes from Gregory Bullock from TheraSpecs. He asks, “What is the best strategy for dealing with outdated/low performing blog posts?”
Bullock tells me that his company website has a lot of blog posts related to clinical research from several months back. Many are outdated and do not bring any new traffic. What does one do with such content?
This is a common issue businesses face across industries. In recent times, for example, a lot of UK-based businesses are talking about GDPR and its impact on their specific industry. There is a wealth of information to be sought here. Yet, a couple of years from now, this information is going to be redundant. Worse, if you run a news-focused business blog, your articles are going to become stale even before the week is over.
There are a number of steps you could take to fix this problem.
Categorize your content.
The first step in this process is to build a list of all your blog posts that don't bring any traffic to your business. Put each of these articles into one of the following buckets:
Bucket 1: Outdated news content that is still relevant to a section of the audience today.
Example: This news item on The New York Times website about the U.S. Tax Bill was published in Dec. 2017 and may not bring traffic at the end of the news cycle. But it is going to be of interest to anybody in future who is researching on their taxable income.
Bucket 2: Content that is relevant today but does not bring traffic.
Example: This article about net neutrality is going to be relevant every time there is a discussion about this issue.
Bucket 3: Content that is not relevant today.
Example: This random sports story from 2015 is not relevant anymore.
Although I have primarily linked to news-based stories here, you will find that even your blog posts can be put into these different buckets. The third bucket of content is neither relevant nor can it be revived in any way to bring new customers to your business. It is safe to discard or ignore all content in bucket 3.
The next step is to identify a revival strategy for content that falls in the first two buckets. There are several ways you can do this.
User engagement: Content in buckets one and two have a valuable part to play in your SEO strategy. Google loves websites that have higher engagement levels. Make it a point to frequently link to relevant but outdated content from bucket one from your new blog posts. Visitors reading up on the latest tax reforms, for instance, may be interested to click and read related stories from the past. This improves your website engagement and contributes to better ranking.
Refocus on SEO: Content in bucket two (articles that are relevant today but do not bring any traffic) may do well with a little focus on SEO. Google algorithms have evolved quite a bit over the past few years and long-form content ranks better than short articles that are under 500 words long. You may look at updating your articles with more data and featuring it from your blog homepage again. This helps the updated content to be crawled by search engine bots, and you could start seeing more traffic from these pages once again.
Social Media: A chunk of content in bucket two is likely to be list-based articles that are targeted at your social media users. It is a good idea to revive these pages by sharing them on your social media channels once again. You may also look at signing up with a social media management tool like HootSuite to automate this process of sharing your old content once in a while with your followers.
Repurpose: Marketers put a lot of effort into researching and publishing articles, and it is a shame to not make the best use of such valuable content. You may look at repurposing such well-researched content into new material for your blog or social media channels. For instance, you may turn a statistics piece on your blog into an infographic that can work well on Facebook. Similarly, you could look at turn a "how to" piece into a video that can be promoted on YouTube.