The New York Times shut down some of their blogs.
The reason was that they “got very, very little traffic, and they required an enormous amount of resources, because a blog is an animal that is always famished.”
The visitors “expected us to be filling the artificial container of a blog” with new content frequently.
The NYT have got it wrong!
But the NYT are not the only one.
Just look at what a job of a typical viral content media editor looks like:
The goal is to catch as many people as possible. Quantity over quality. Content that gets shared and then spreads like a virus. Get as many clicks and eyes on the page as you possibly can. The subject matter is an afterthought, if a thought at all.
You throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what sticks. Some places call it “spray and pray”: post ten things a day, maybe one will go viral.
I try to keep morale up because I know it’s a grueling job. The writers do about six to seven posts a day. They churn out content.
It’s a Henry Ford–type setup. We are in an assembly line and content pops out at the end. There’s no attachment to the finished product. Nobody cares about the quality of their work.
Blogging is not about feeding the hungry beast and constantly churning out new content.
Strong content ideas need time, patience, attention and nurture to shine.
They cannot coexist with the emphasis on assembly line content schedule.
You need to think differently to do great blogging. Work smarter, not harder.
The Vox story: New visitor records by republishing content
In 2015, web publisher Vox started a “refreshing the evergreen stories” experiment by rewriting and updating older articles, republishing them and promoting them in social media just like they were new posts.
In 5 days 88 of these “new” articles brought in more than 500,000 visitors combined.
Some of the articles even got more views than when they were originally published.
Vox did not get any complaints from their audience either.
Nobody noticed that these were republished stories.
People actually found the renewed articles useful.
This was a huge win and a valuable lesson learned for Vox.
Vox is not the only one being successful with this strategy.
Brian Dean gets 260% more search traffic when he relaunches his posts.
Hubspot does two to three content updates per week and gets an increase of more than 100% on average in search traffic from each update.
Reduce your posting frequency by focusing on timeless content
An essential tool in your blog content strategy toolbox is timeless content.
Timeless (or evergreen) content is the durable content that has a long shelf left.
It can be reused, recycled and repurposed in many ways on the different platforms and in different formats over a long period of time.
It’s content that thrills, that’s as useful, as interesting and as true in a year as it’s on the day it’s published.
It keeps working for you as it sends you traffic from search engines and from social media shares months and even years after it has been published.
The nature of content online means that new articles rule, while the old material is quickly forgotten.
But it’s difficult to publish a lot of new posts continuously and keep the quality high at the same time.
Better way is to publish less content but make sure it’s the timeless kind.
Reuse existing timeless content to get more mileage out of your old ideas
Don’t let your best and timeless ideas disappear into your archives never to be heard about again.
Instead of giving up on that old and long forgotten content, squeeze out more mileage out of it by breathing new life into it.
Your how-to guides, tutorials and other long-form timeless content need to be revisited and refreshed once in a while to keep it completely relevant and up-to-date.
Do an audit of your existing content.
Identify posts that get a lot of traffic or used to get a lot of traffic.
Check full details on how to do a blog content audit here.
Do a detailed review of each of these posts and think how they can be updated and improved.
Sometimes new facts, information and ideas have become known that help you tell a better story. Update the article.
Sometimes the site you were giving instructions for makes a change in their design. Update your guide to feature the new design.
Sometimes you may need a better graphic.
Consider changing the headline if the old headline doesn’t work or doesn’t fit as well.
You can also recycle these old ideas into new formats that fit new and different platforms.
Some people like to read. Some prefer to learn by watching. Others learn best by listening.
You can accommodate them all and expand your audience at the same time without the need to come up with more new content ideas.
When you’re ready make sure to update the WordPress timestamp too so your refreshed blog posts get put back up on top of your blog.
Recycle your content in these 25 different formats
These are the simple but effective tactics you can use to reuse your old content by giving it a fresh look and a new format that you then can spread on new platforms:
Promote the refreshed content in social media in multiple rounds
All of the above has helped you to stop focusing on the creation of new content.
Now you also need to spend time and effort on getting your reused and recycled content in front of more people.
Most bloggers just push and promote their latest articles only.
It’s a fact that only a small percentage of your total audience actually sees what you publish in social media.
It’s a very big mistake and a loss of opportunity if you just promote your latest article for a day or two, and then focus on promoting a new article you have just published.
Don’t be scared to tweet and Facebook the article again even though it is only a refreshed “old” article.
Distribute your great and updated posts to those of your followers who may have missed it the first time around.
One tweet is not enough either.
Repost parts of your content regularly over a longer time after publishing your article.
Post them on several different platforms that you decide to include into your marketing routine.
Keep it fresh by pushing the article with different headlines, different quotes or by using different imagery.
Something valuable, something share worthy. Something that can live natively on a social media platform and do the marketing work for you.
Remember this is not you spamming. This is you reaching out with targeted messages that will help people.
See here my list of 40 places where you can share and promote your blog articles.
Shift the way you think about the blog monetization
The Daily Mail Online and other major sites spend a lot of their time on timely content.
Being first to break the news and reporting on current events and happenings that everyone is talking about.
These big sites sell banner ads on cost per thousand (CPM) impressions which forces them to chase page views.
This is why they publish a large volume of content daily and report on all the trending topics.
They keep chasing visits, keep trying to get the page view count high and sell as many ads as possible.
This strategy puts you as a blogger on a treadmill of constant content creation.
It is not realistic to keep at it for a longer time and it will burn you out.
The better way is to aim to get your 1,000 true fans instead:
If you monetize by selling your own product or doing affiliate marketing to your true fans, you can step away from the treadmill.
Then you can aim to produce more of the timeless type of content, content that is not perishable and much more valuable than content that is instantly out of date.
How can I create more timeless content?
Focus on topics that connect to people on a deeper level.
Whenever you are about to start creating a new piece of content, always make sure to ask yourself is this article timeless?
Could this content be viewed and still be relevant a month or a year from now?
Timely content is normally short and features facts and information on what exactly happened.
To differentiate yourself and make your content more timeless you need to add extra value.
Give away your secrets.
Focus on the meaning of what happened rather than the happening itself.
Provide fresh views and opinions to the story.
Provide context, connection and the larger picture.
Explain to your audience why they should care and how this affects them.
It’s this value that you provide that makes your story stand out, makes it timeless and people can get benefit from it for a long time.
If your new article is relevant today but not tomorrow, it’s not relevant at all.
Replace “published at” with “last updated” in your blog’s byline
Remove the “published at” date and add the “updated” date in the article byline.
This will contribute to your visitors taking your posts more seriously.
People care about information being relevant and accurate.
If you have an old date in a prominently placed byline of a timeless article visitors might think your article is outdated and incorrect, even though it may not be.
Post byline is one of the first things people notice and I believed that it would give a wrong impression to a new visitor.
The impression of an outdated and irrelevant post, or even worse an impression of an inactive site.
That is not the image you want to give your visitors.
Avoid time specific references
Avoid including specific dates, times and other time specific references in your content as much as you can.
Saying something has happened “today” or will happen “tomorrow” is only relevant for those few hours in those days.
Even if your article is still valuable, people may see it as inaccurate, irrelevant and outdated just because of the dates and times you mentioned.