Anthony P. responded to my recent invite to send topics/questions with a question about keeping old blog content alive:
I’m always interested in curating content as well as the notion of reprising older content, if that is even something worth doing. I understand the notion of evergreen content, but think about movies, records, pieces of art we enjoy again and again … does anyone have a “movie collection” of SEO posts they peruse often? Is there a difference in didactic/entertaining content? It’s very stressful, as a creator, to face the fact a piece you work on has little life after initial publish.
I think Michael Gray was the first blogger that I heard say this:
The most valuable part of a blog is the archives.
That’s true. On almost every blog that I can think of, content that’s older than a month or two gets way more traffic than newer content. (News sites/blogs might be an exception.)
So it’s super smart and super necessary to promote that old content. Here’s how I try to do it on this blog:
1.) My Best Posts category
“[I] realized just how important it is to showcase your top posts. For me personally, it is the difference between me subscribing to your feed in bloglines, or clicking away and having it sink into oblivion where I’ll never read it again.
I have all my best posts in a specific WordPress category that I try to update every month or two. And the link to that category is the first thing in my main navigation menu. I want people to read what I think is the best stuff I’ve written.
2.) Turn old material into new articles
The most recent addition to MY BEST POSTS is this article:
If you read that, it’s essentially a collection of links to old articles I’ve written that, together, represent a coherent approach to the topic (starting a business blog). If you have deep enough archives, you can do the same by collecting 5-10 of your best articles on a specific topic and turning them into a new blog post.
3.) Recap articles for new readers/subscribers
I actually stopped doing this late late this year and don’t know why. But I used to do a monthly post where I listed the best posts that I’d published the same month, but a year earlier. So, in October 2012, I’d list my best posts from October 2011 — like this:
I think that’s a smart way to keep old content alive for new readers.
4.) Feature content on the sidebar
Those are both several years old and would probably get almost zero traffic on their own. But they show up in the sidebar on every page and post I’ve published, and they continue to get regular traffic that way.
5.) Link to old stuff often
Lastly, the most obvious way to promote old blog posts and keep them alive: link to them regularly. Kinda like I’ve done in this article. And in How Often Should I Blog? And in Yelp: 1.1 Million Claimed Local Business Profiles. And in My Definition of “Social Media Expert” is Different from Social Media Experts….
You get the picture.
6.) Tweet old blog articles … maybe
I’ve only tested this a bit and don’t currently do it very often, but some bloggers regularly share links to their old articles on Twitter, Facebook and whatever social channels they use. I imagine they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t drive traffic, but I can’t speak from experience on the hows, whens, etc.
So, yeah — I’m a big believer that bloggers need to make a sincere effort to keep old content alive and continually promote old blog content. Thanks for the great question, Anthony. I hope this answers the question.
If you have a question or topic I might be able to help with by writing a blog post, please let me know.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)