Most bloggers focus entirely on forging ahead, pouring several hours into new content each week. They do a major marketing blast for each article when it comes out, then promptly forget it exists. They certainly don’t think about how to revive old blog content with new marketing campaigns.
Does this sound familiar? If so, it’s time to stop. Get away from the rat race of constant content creation and start paying attention to one of your most valuable assets: your article backlog.
Why you should revive old blog content
There are several reasons to comb through your archives and revive old blog content. The most obvious is that information changes and links die. You don’t want to display out of date information. But even completely evergreen articles can benefit from an update. There’s always a way to expand the conversation, and Google rewards content freshness.
Another major factor is quality. If you’ve been blogging for multiple years, your writing has grown a lot. You’ve developed a writing voice, learned how to write for the web, and gained a better understanding of SEO. The blog posts you’re writing now are probably miles ahead of your earliest articles. Revising those articles ensures that your visitors will only find quality content. It will also prevent Google’s constantly updating quality algorithms from killing your rankings.
And those aren’t the only reasons either. Revising, expanding or repurposing old content is always easier than creating a new article from scratch. It also offers built in opportunities for internal links, encouraging readers to spend more time on your site.
Long story short, your blog archive is a golden marketing opportunity just waiting for you to notice it.
How to revive old blog content
Diving into your blog archives can be scary, so it’s important to approach them with a strategy in mind. We’re going to walk you through this in three steps: choosing content to revitalize, adding new information and links to old articles, and marketing your revived content.
1. Choose the best articles to revive for maximum results
Revising every little article you ever wrote is rarely an efficient use of your time. You need to revive old blog content with the power to draw in large amounts of new traffic.
How do you find those articles? Simple: figure out what articles are already bringing in a lots of traffic. Since you already have at least one year of data (you DID set up Google Analytics, right?) this should be easy to figure out.
Head on over to your analytics dashboard and take a look at the ten most popular posts. Make sure you’re looking at the most popular content “of all time”, rather than the last week or month.
Go through each article and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there any broken links in this article?
- Is any of the information outdated?
- Is the writing quality up to your current standard?
- Can you write a follow up post that links to this article?
- What benefit will readers get from the new and improved version?
Create a second list as you go. This one should only include topics from your top ten that can easily be rewritten or expanded. If you already have an idea of how to revive a specific article, note that as you go.
2. Revise / update those articles
Technically these are two different ways to revive old blog content, but most articles need both, so we’ll discuss them together.
Revisions focus on writing quality and SEO, bringing your old articles up to your current standards. These might be small revisions, or you might decide to rewrite the entire post. Either way, there are a few common things to watch out for:
- Excessively long sentences
- Concise expression
- Spelling issues
- Poor grammar
- Poor SEO
Updates focus on adding new information rather than revising what’s already there. This might be in the form of new research, additional links, or even a personal update on a related project. For example, the most popular article on my personal blog is the ultimate list of 42 worldbuilding resources, so I recently went through it to fix all the broken links.
Pro Tip: If you’re making a massive revision or update, consider creating an entirely new post and linking it to the old one. Even a simple post that says “check out my newly updated guide” can help direct organic traffic from your home page to your archives.
3. Expand on old ideas with follow-up posts
Another highly effective way to revive old blog content is to write follow up posts. Follow up articles are often the best way to revive your old articles, because they can be advertised as new content. They can also help you build a network of internal links that will keep readers on your site longer. Some ideas can even be expanded on with a series of articles.
Take a look at the list of topics you’ve chosen to expand on or rewrite and circle the articles that are better for expansion than rewrites. Often the best articles for these are list posts, as each point can be turned into an article of its own.
Carefully read each of your top ten articles and note any ideas that can be used for follow up articles. You may want to actually move the article into a new file so you can mark these ideas for later reference.
Move the ideas you want to work with into yet another file and expand on each one with 2-3 bullet points. These can then be turned into outlines for a series of articles. Once you’ve created the ideas, you can decide if you want to post them together as a series, or stagger them over a large period of time to maximize traffic between posts.
I’ve done this with the success articles mentioned above, creating a series that I plan to release once a month:
You may also want to revise the original article at the same time, especially if your writing style has grown a lot since the original article went live.
How to market your revived blog posts
Most of your marketing for revived blog posts will be exactly the same as your marketing for new blog posts, but there are some marketing strategies specifically for old content. They can even work for content that hasn’t been updated, as long as it’s quality.
The first thing you should do is create a round-up post. This works best if you’ve already done one or more direct follow-up posts, so all the content is also linked together. You can choose anywhere from five to 50 of your best articles on a specific topic. Make a special note for any articles that have been recently updated.
Once you’ve done that, you need to make sure the content continues being promoted after launch. You can do this manually using a scheduling app like Buffer or CoSchedule, or automate it using the Revive Old Post plugin.
Reviving your old blog content is one of the easiest — and most effective — ways to improve your website and draw in new people. Start with your top ten posts, then consider expanding to your top 20 or 30. Revise and update articles where needed, create follow up articles when possible, and build new marketing campaigns around the revised content.
How do you go about reviving your old blog content and bringing it back to life? Are you doing enough?