How to Revamp Old Blog Content (work smarter, not harder)
Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.
Quality or quantity?
Which matters more when it comes to content creation?
The answer depends on your unique goals.
If building organic search traffic is your primary focus, the more content you produce the better (so long as it meets Google's standards for richness and relevancy).
If building an authoritative online presence through paid advertisements your primary focus, you'll want to spend your time creating fewer HIGH-QUALITY pieces that are more likely to get shared.
Unfortunately, the struggle to balance quality with quantity will always be there! However, no matter where you are in your marketing journey, optimizing the blog articles you already have is a smart use of your time...
Why You Should Revisit Old Blog Content
The goal of your blog content is to inspire visitors to take action!
You ultimately want prospects to visit your site, glance over the content and categorize it as helpful. That could mean bookmarking your page, sharing it with friends, or signing-up for your lead generation magnet.
But what happens if you notice minimal to no actions being taken?
Assuming enough quality traffic is visiting the site, and you're writing with the correct Buyer's Journey in mind, you probably just need to do some fine-tuning. Meaning, the best use of your time would be optimizing the articles you've already published.
According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (that's less than a goldfish). Translation: Your content needs to immediately draw attention AND hold interest.
Of course, there are many elements (some obvious and some not-so-obvious) that contribute to creating intriguing content. In this article, we'll review 8 ways to revamp old blog content:
How to Revamp Old Content
1. Enhance Your Headline
Think back to the last time you read a newspaper. Did you read ALL the articles?
You probably scanned the headlines to determine which ones were of most interest.
Assuming the editor did her job, you quickly found your most relevant articles.
You may say, "But I'm running a business; not a newspaper!"
The fact is, the companies that have the most success with content marketing treat their blogs exactly like newspapers. Not only do they maintain editorial calendars (knowing what they will write in advance), but they also take the time to craft exceptional headlines.
Characteristics of An Exceptional Headline:
- It invokes curiosity, promises a benefit, or states what's to come.
- It is compelling without feeling "salesy."
- It uses 70 characters or less.
Thankfully, there are no shortage of headline writing templates online. Check-out this article for more details on how to write amazing headlines.
2. Rewrite Your Introduction
Introductions should be:
a). Short (less than 8 words)
Your introductory sentence has one goal: To get the reader to the next line. That's it. Wanna guess what the goal of the next sentence is?
Yep, to get to the next line! When starting an article, ease the reader in with an interesting fact, opinion or statement. When in doubt, just start with the main point. Re-read your article to determine if "it really picks up" a couple paragraphs past the intro (many do), and cut out everything prior.
Often the weakest part of an article is the introduction. Sometimes an article will go from good to great just by chopping off the first 5 paragraphs and getting the reader to the point quickly.
Check out this article on how to write marketing email introductions for more ideas.
3. Check Your Formatting
Nothing turns an online reader off faster than clunky formatting. Long paragraphs, minimal headings and unclear organizational structures are rarely tolerated.
Understandably, many people write in long paragraphs out of habit. It's how they learned to present research papers in school. Since academic papers were traditionally in on paper (and are stereotypically long), it makes sense. But, when it comes to reading online, white space is your best friend!
Also, take advantage of:
- Numbered and Bulleted Lists
4. Fine-tune Your Goals
Every blog article should coincide with an action you want readers to take. Usually that action is to download some sort of lead-magnet (i.e. a white paper, an eBook or a coupon). But that action could also be to simply sign-up for your newsletter.
Regardless, your conversion goal should match the subject matter of your post. At Lean Labs we have several lead magnets that correspond with various blog topics. For example, in the article: 10 Ways to Write Better Blogs (without actually writing them), the reader is asked to download our free guide "How to Build The Ideal Marketing Team."
What could you promote that would motivate interested readers to take the next step in their relationship with you?
5. Enhance Your Imagery
There are very few blog articles that couldn't benefit from colorful imagery. Think back to when you were a kid: What kind of books most attracted your attention?
The ones with pictures! Unless an adult is intentionally sitting down with Anna Karenina, it's safe to assume the kid in them still prefers images to words. According to many scientific studies, we're actually wired with a preference for visuals.
Knowing this, aim to include several high-quality images within each article. Check out this article for 53+ free image sources online.
6. Check Your SEO
On-page search engine optimization is actually pretty easy. The hardest part is probably choosing the appropriate keyword. Once you've done that, include the word in the:
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Image alt attributes
- Body text (3-4 times)
7. Fix Broken Links
Have you ever clicked on a link only to get taken to a gnarly 404' message? In most instances, the website owner is unaware of the broken link. Broken links fall into two categories: Internal and external.
Broken internal links occur because of domain transfers and deleted pages on your site. Broken external links occur because of the same happenings on someone else's site. Either way, they're bad for business. Check all the links on your old blog article and update as needed.
8. Evaluate Brand Voice
It's not uncommon for blogs to evolve over time. The more familiar you become with your ideal customer, and the more comfortable you become with expressing yourself, the more distinct your brand voice will become.
Compare earlier posts with more recent posts. Notice any differences in style, tone, and word usage; edit those older posts for greater consistency. Though this may seem small, it's often the little things that count.
Remember: Work Smarter, Not Harder
As you can see, cranking out more content isn't always better.
The beauty of publishing online is that your efforts are cumulative overtime. Whether that article was published last year or last week, there are still prospects who have yet to see it.
1. Creating new content.
2. Fine-tuning old content.
3. Reaching fresh prospects.
For best results, rinse and repeat!