The impact of your old content will start to wane over time.
Your content is still good, but it’s not great.
It’s gotten stale.
For some companies, that’s attributable to a lack of new, unique ideas.
For others, it’s the product of content exhaustion.
No matter the root cause, if you want your content to start exciting people again AND to rank better in search, you’ll need to:
- Completely re-write existing content that receives little or no traffic OR
- Update your writing to make your content truly evergreen OR
- Reuse and repurpose old content into new mediums OR
- Refresh, update and streamline existing content
As the famous Einstein quote reveals,
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them
You can’t necessarily fix your stale content problem by applying the same content solutions from your first iteration.
Instead, try one of these alternative content strategies to inject new life into your work.
Table of Contents
Change Your URL Slug, Intros, Titles, Metas & H1/H2/H3
This post was originally published in 2014, but has been refreshed and updated numerous times over the years.
Almost nothing remains the same from the original piece:
- The URL slug is different (but there are 301 redirects implemented). We typically make them shorter, targeting higher-volume search terms.
- The title and meta description are both different.
- The intro paragraph and section are completely altered.
- All the H1 and H2 sections are named differently.
- Large portions of the text body have been edited, updated.
- Multiple new internal links have been added.
The bulk of the content is mostly the same, but iterations have significantly altered this post over the years.
We try to perform content refreshing to about 30-40% of our site’s content on an annual basis. That means that everyday, something changes on one or more of the existing posts on our site.
Google loves these types of updates as it shows active engagement and attempts by your team to improve your on-site content.
When you have finished
Outsource Your Content
Second, you might be worried about the extra budget of paying a new writer to join your team.
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to pay a writer to cultivate great content, and a divergence from your brand voice—as long as it’s tied to a separate individual brand—could actually be a good thing.
Here’s how to handle it. Make an announcement that your company is looking for guest bloggers in the space, and if you already know some prominent guest bloggers, feel free to reach out to them directly. Give them a handful of general guidelines, but for the most part, let them create whatever they feel would be good for your blog—the final edit is yours. Give them author credit and some extra shares on social media, and you’ll end up with brand-new, alternative content for free.
Repurpose Your Post Into a Video or Podcast
If you’re used to writing all your posts, try experimenting with a new mediums: podcasts and video.
High-quality video production takes expensive equipment and technical skills, but putting together a basic monologue-based video is painfully simple.
Instead of writing directly about a giving subject, try speaking the information as if giving a lecture. Post the video on your YouTube channel for some extra social media authority, and embed the video into your blog.
Then, type out a transcript of the video or podcast and post it as an accompaniment to the feature. That way, you’ll get all the SEO benefits of text, but you’ll have a new medium and a slightly different voice to carry your message.
In a sense, it’s an instant refresher course that can liven up your traditional subject matter and diversify your blog.
Use Interactive Posts
Interactive posts are shorter pieces of content than your traditional how-to articles and news posts. They may require a bit of extra coding, but if you can make them evergreen and valuable for your customers, they’ll last forever and will send you surging up in rankings.
There are many types of interactive posts, but two of the most common are calculators and quizzes.
Calculators will require user input for a number of different fields, then automatically calculate an answer to a customer question—for example, there are compound interest calculators that will project retirement savings based on a handful of assumptions based on user input.
Quizzes, on the other hand, ask a user a series of questions and formulate a response based on their answers—on Facebook, the most shareable quizzes tend to be personality based, such as “which Game of Thrones character are you?” but they have a practical business application as well. For example, you could have a quiz for “which light bulb is best for my kitchen?” or “what type of car should I buy?” to guide users to specific products.
Radically Alter Your Content Length
This is a fairly simple strategy, but you will be amazed at how much of a difference it makes, especially if you’ve gotten used to adhering to a certain word count.
For example, if you’re used to writing standard 800-word posts, eventually you’ll find a rhythm, and for a time that rhythm will be a good thing—you’ll get better at fitting your content into that length.
But eventually, it can lead to stale, repetitive, formulaic content.
Alternating the length of your content can keep you on your toes and give you more opportunities to change up your process.
For example, try writing two posts of 500 words, and then a 2,500 word post before returning to 800 words.
Write a Book (or eBook)
You don’t necessarily have to publish a book; all you have to do is write in the style of one. Pick a complex, multifaceted subject that you can adequately explore in a book spanning a hundred pages or more. Then, plan the course of your book; break everything down into separate sections, and each section into separate chapters.
Then, start writing! Whenever you finish a chapter, you can clean it up and post it as a blog entry—just don’t make reference to the fact that it comes from your book (unless that’s part of your strategy). Instead, link related pieces of content together by declaring them part of a series.
Writing content in a broader context like this is extremely beneficial for getting a fresh perspective.
Explore a New, Tangential Subject
This entry might seem obvious, but each person’s definition of “new subject” is different.
For example, let’s say you’re a dental clinic writing about gum disease. A subject change to you might be writing about crowns and bridges in retirees, but that similarity could yield similar, stale content results.
Instead, think bigger, and go after a tangential subject. Instead of going from dog illnesses to cat illnesses, take a leap and write about puppy obedience. It has nothing to do with health or illness, but it will still be appealing to the same audience. Think outside your company’s core competencies, and instead think about what your audience might like to read.
Write About Your Company
It’s true that using your blog for company-related updates is a bad idea, but throwing in an occasional post about milestones in your company’s history or landmark achievements from your staff can only help liven up your blogging strategy.
The stipulation here is to avoid posting these too often—they should only serve as posts to break up your usual stream of content, not the basis of your strategy.
These alternative strategies may not work for every business, but they should help bring a new perspective or at least a handful of new ideas into your campaign. Diversity is the key to keeping things fresh on the content front, so do everything you can to read, learn, and be aware of your digital surroundings.
The fresh ideas you get will go far to fuel a content and link building strategy for both you and your clients’ websites, typically via white label SEO.
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