Most publishers, bloggers, and marketers know the importance of fresh content. They invest a big chunk of their content budget to make sure the stream never dries up. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, and it’s based on sound thinking. Google does have a tendency to prefer sites that regularly publish, all else being equal.
But it’s possible to take that approach too far. Content is an owned resource. Once it’s written and published, it remains a valuable resource for as long as it’s available on the site. Some site owners tend to focus entirely on new content, ignoring the potential benefits of older content.
In case you’re wondering what benefit older content might have to your site, take a look at this study from HubSpot. Pamela Vaughan took a look at where most of HubSpot’s monthly blog views came from. She discovered 76% of the blog’s monthly views were for old content — content more than a month old. What’s more, 92% of blog-generated leads originated from old posts.
For a blog with hundreds or thousands of posts, that makes sense. There are many more old articles than new articles. Even if each new article might attract far more attention than each old article, the aggregate views for older content quickly add up.
The question to ask is this: am I doing everything I can to optimize the potential of older traffic? It may well be attracting a lot of views, but are those views being usefully turned into leads and then to sales. For many sites, the answer is a resounding no.
What can you do to increase the effectiveness of older content and convert those views into buyers? Content is a valuable resource, but we want to make it more valuable.
Write New Content That Captures The Same Audience
One way to leverage older content is as source of information about what your audiences are actually interested in. If analytics tell you a lot of people visit an article you published three years ago, that information should inform your content strategy going forward.
There are some wrinkles here though. If a huge number of people visit an article, but a lower proportion than expected convert to leads, there are couple of possible causes. Perhaps your conversion process needs reconsidering. Or perhaps the article isn’t attracting visitors with any intent to convert.
Purely informational articles may attract huge audiences, none of whom have any intention of spending any money.
Analytics should be able to help you answer this type of question and refine your content strategy and marketing personas.
Update Content So It Remains Relevant
Some content is evergreen — it never gets old. Most content could do with an occasional update. If you observe a particular article is popular, consider adding new content to bring it up to date. If you don’t, it’s likely slip down the SERPs, and new content may help a successful article bring in even more traffic.
Current Standards For Older Contents
The businesses I’ve been involved with tend to follow a specific trajectory where content marketing is concerned. When they first embrace content as a marketing tool, they don’t really know what they are doing. The content is OK, but just OK. As time goes by, they become better at writing and targeting content, and more adventurous about the type of content they invest in.
If that sounds like you, it may well be worth taking a look at content you published in the early days, and bringing it up to the same standard as the content you publish today.
If an older article is a consistent attention generator, consider adapting and expanding it. One way of doing this is to find a popular article among your archive and use if as the foundation for a ebook.
I don’t mean take the article and pretend it’s an ebook. I mean learn from the topic, the language, and the audience of the blog post, and apply that information to the creation of brand new content. It doesn’t have to be an ebook behind an email subscription form; you might use the blog post as the basis for a video, a podcast, a long-form article, an infographic, or any other type of high-value content.
I’ve covered only a few of the insights that can be drawn from older content on your business’s blog, but hopefully you’re convinced an investment in your content archive is worthwhile.
About Matthew Davis: Matthew works as an inbound marketer and blogger for Future Hosting, a leading provider of VPS hosting. Follow Future Hosting on Twitter at @fhsales and check out their tech/hosting blog, https://www.futurehosting.com/blog.