The Content Graveyard: How To Avoid Killing Your Content Too Soon
So, you’ve got a ton of content in your archive, but it feels like you are on a spinning wheel of content that never ends? That sucks. I am right there with you, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my archive and thought, “I wrote what, now?” Especially when it comes to my lifestyle blog, I can be a bit clueless when it comes to the content I’ve already produced.
Today, I wanted to spend some time chatting about the content graveyard. Many businesses don’t spend enough time optimizing their old content. They think that the secret to getting ahead is more. Well, I am a content creator, so I’m not going to say no to more content, but I think a balance of the two is more appropriate.
Look, content marketing helps your business stand out. There is an obvious benefit to content marketing and what it does to draw new and interested people into your business. The problem is that many companies spend far too much time on the content side and spend very few resources marketing their content. It’s a two-pronged approach that is so imperative to success as a company.
Understand That Old Content Usually Performs Better Than New Content
New content is terrific but rarely do businesses find success in content that is recently published. It doesn’t mean you should stop releasing new material or promoting any new content you post. Instead, I am telling you this because so many people spend a ton of time marketing new stuff and they don’t reach into their archive enough. Do you post new content, get excited about it for .5 seconds, and then immediately move on to the next thing? If that statement defines you, I want you to stop that.
I love taking over the content creation part of my client's life so that they can focus exclusively on the promotion side of content marketing. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that it’s easy to be on both sides of the fence. If you are doing everything on your own, it’s going to take a lot of effort, but it’s worth it when you see the results you'll get.
Spend Time Reflecting On The Role Your Content Will Play In Your Strategy
When you create any piece of content, it’s important to ask yourself, “what role will this piece play in my strategy?” Each piece doesn’t have to have some grand purpose, but it’s important to spend a bit of time coming up with a reason for the content. Let’s break down some potential reasons:
Is This A Pillar Piece?
Pillar content is the content that you can brag about. These are the pieces that are massive, juicy, and get at the core of your website. What do you stand for? What could you write multiple articles about? This pillar content has got to be some of your most grand work.
If you consider this piece a pillar piece, you’ll probably want to interlink it with other content often and show it off in a variety of ways. You might create videos around it, podcasts about it, and link it on Instagram often. It might even become one of the posts you spotlight on your blog.
Consider this the first piece of content that you’d want new blog visitors to see when they visit your website.
Do You Want To Produce More In-Depth Content Based On This Piece?
If you do a tips article like 30 Things To Post On Social Media As A Human Resources Technology Company, you might want to break down that article further. Hypothetically, you could create 30 more pieces of smaller content based on that post. You can use this post over and over as an interlinking opportunity, and you’d want to share an article like that often on social media.
Where Do You See This Piece Helping Your Customers Most?
Last, but not least, where do you see this piece helping your customers? Maybe you can write a stellar article that will help your customers a ton. For example, perhaps this piece should be included in the onboarding email you send to new customers? Maybe you want to create a piece centered around a question that your sales team gets asked a ton? You could also include a link to a helpful blog post in your FAQ section.
Create A Database With Old Content
Having all your content on your website backend is fantastic, but it can be hard to find content that way. Sometimes it’s better to have a separate database you can access in another tab as you are writing content. I am not talking about creating some elaborate database. You can use something as simple as Google Sheets to create this database. I highly encourage you to create this database in Google Sheets because it will help you use the document in collaboration with other people on your writing team.
Keep your database simple. Use headers like:
You don’t want to make the database too complicated to use. Instead, focus on creating a database that is simple and easy to update within a few minutes. If it takes you or anyone else longer than five minutes to update the database, you probably won’t use it often enough to get any great use from it. Keep it simple!
Interlink 1-2 Old Pieces In Every Post You Make
One of the best things about having a database is that it makes interlinking content a breeze. I would strive to interlink at least 1-2 pieces throughout every piece of content you write. Try to create natural interlinking opportunities throughout your content, so it feels more natural. If you can’t naturally insert an interlink, don’t be afraid to note it by using words like “Related Reading.”
You should always experiment with your interlinking best practices, however. For some audiences, a naturally occurring interlink may work best, but some viewers might appreciate a button linking to your related reading or a “Related Reading” line more.
Whatever you do, create interlinking opportunities in your blog post. Even if you have a related reading section on the side of your posts or at the bottom of your post, interlink in the post too. Google needs interlinking content to be able to read your site better, and those interlinks in your sidebar or at the bottom of your posts do not count.
Make A Habit Of Refreshing Old Content Often
As your content ages, you need to make sure you keep it up to date and amazing. Even if your content begins to trend, you cannot become complacent. Do you know how easy it is to slip in Google rankings? A top spot requires that you keep your content helpful for your readers. If your content is broken or no longer serving the public, it will eventually get pushed out by a better piece of content.
Here are a few ways to refresh old content.
See What’s Trending/About To Trend
First, you can’t refresh it all at once. Refreshing old content needs to be done in batches. Otherwise, refreshing content can become very overwhelming quickly. So, focus on the most important pieces first. This means taking a look at what’s trending. If the topic is trending or you see an uptick in traffic leading to an old post, go through that piece fist. Observe it, understand what makes it tick, and see how you can improve it.
Dedicate A Few Days A Month To Refreshing Old Content
Refreshing old content should become a part of your routine. You should hire a freelance to fluff up old material or block out some of your time for it. Whether you hire this task out or do it yourself, come up with a few different activities that need to be done when a piece of content is refreshed. Those activities might be things like:
Editing the content for spelling/grammar.
Creating or adding new sharable images if the post doesn’t have good ones.
Checking for broken links.
Adding more interlinks throughout the content.
Creating a click to tweet or two throughout the post.
Fleshing out any parts of the content that seems sparse.
Give yourself a time limit for each piece or give yourself a content limit. Dedicate an hour to every content refresh or promise to refresh ten pieces each month. Make sure the goal is reasonable.
Create New Content For Your Older Pieces
On top of merely fleshing out old content, you may want to create new content altogether for your older pieces. You can do things like:
Adding new tips and sections to the articles.
Creating an infographic around the article.
Recording a quick podcast or video for the content.
Producing a lead magnet or content upgrade based on the content.
Overall, you want to take your piece to the next level. What can you add to this piece that will help you serve your audience better? What would make this free piece of content even more helpful?
Promote Old Content
Now, let’s chat about one of the most important steps that many entrepreneurs and businesses miss, content promotion. Creating a strategy for promoting old content is essential to making sure that you don’t send your posts to the content graveyard too soon. Your clients and customers won’t know about that excellent resource if you don’t tell them about it. Make it a habit of linking back to old stuff as well as new content.
Share Newly Refreshed Content With Your Email List
Did you add a ton of helpful advice or a new video to an old post? Now is the perfect time to share that piece with your audience. Share that with your audience via email and let them know how you updated it.
If you have a welcome email sequence, be sure to throw in a few older resources into that sequence too. Create a day in your email sequence related to sharing some of your favorite/most viewed blog posts.
Use Social Media To Bring New Life To Old Content
Social media is one of your best tools for promoting old content. If you use a tool like MeetEdgar or SmarterQueue, you can easily reach into your archive and post old content consistently. If using a paid tool doesn’t make your heart sing, that’s acceptable. Even if you schedule content by hand, using your content database will help you schedule older material often.
Create Short Links For Old Content So You Can Easily Mention It On Podcasts Or Video Interviews
Do members of your team go on many podcasts or do various video interviews? If so, create short links based on your website that they can easily refer to in an interview if they are asked a question that relates to a post you’ve written. This may seem difficult to do, but if you know you are being interviewed about Instagram marketing, write down all the short links and information you have on posts about Instagram marketing. Often when you are doing interviews, you may have a bit of knowledge about the questions beforehand, this gives you plenty of time to look at your archive for applicable content to share beforehand.
On the flip side, if you have a podcast or video series, write down these short links so that you can easily reference them as you record audio and video for your audience.
Guest Post On Industry Blogs And Link Back To Old Content
Backlinks are amazing for SEO, and they can also send tons of traffic back to old content you’ve already written. If your team likes to guest post or do sponsored posts often, make sure you are taking full advantage of any backlinking opportunities you might have. Many sites will have a limit on backlinks, and you don’t want to seem like you are guest posting just for backlinks. You should get as many backlinks as the sites you post on will allow. Don’t leave prime linking opportunities on the table.
Link To Relevant Articles In Forums And Groups Where Your Ideal Clients Hang Out
Last, but not least, if your team participates actively in forums and groups, don’t be afraid to link to any relevant resources you might have. Forums like Reddit and Quora as well as Facebook groups can be a great source of traffic for your blog. No, you won’t get avalanches of traffic participating in reciprocation threads. Instead, you want to focus on being helpful, answering questions from people in your niche, and adding a link or two when relevant to the user’s issues.
No one wants to see content they’ve spent hours on dying too soon in the content graveyard. It can feel like you are always on the wheel of content creation with few results, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With some discipline and thought to your content marketing strategy, you can stretch your content and make it work for you longer.