What do you write when your brain is on holiday?

How To Get Great Content When Your Brain’s On Holiday

“Oh, no! It’s time to feed the beast again! What will I WRITE?”  That’s right, it’s time for another blog post. -And whether you think of yourself as a publisher, content developer or “just another blogger”, this time of the week can fill you with dread. Let me tell you a secret; it doesn’t get any better when you’re a long time writer.

To be completely honest, when you’ve been writing about the same topic for ten years as I have, content development can be a bit harder. You sit down to right the next pulitzer prize winning article, turn to your brain… and the place where it normally resides is empty. No bags, no Dear John letter. You’re stuck trying to be the responsible one while your brain decided to go play hooky in Acapulco. Right at this moment it’s straight sippin’ Mai Tais on the beach

What are you going to do? You readers expect good stuff every week. Helpful stuff. Stuff that matters!

Don’t panic. Tell your brain to read between the lines, then follow us down the rabbit hole to your old content archives.

That’s right. Because, if you’ve been writing steady for more than a year or two, your old content archives are a great place to find your next pulitzer prize winning article. Let the (almost) brain-free content development begin.

-Oh, and by the way, this is also a great way to beef up the quality of content on your site if you’ve been pinged by Panda…

Keep The Internet Green: Recycle Your Content

Let’s face it. Some of your early articles, well… they aren’t as good as they could be. To be frank, some of them probably should’ve been put down by now. -But you haven’t, and that’s okay. Right now it’s actually a good thing, because it gives us recycling material.

Finding your weak content.

The first step to recycling is figuring out which posts fall under the title of “Less Than Worthy.” No, no, your brain still doesn’t have to come back from vacation. This is just a matter of looking at numbers and finding out which ones are bigger or smaller.

Social Shares

One of the ways to find weak content is to see how people responded on social networks. Was it share-worthy? You can find that out with BuzzSumo. This is recent acquisitions for Level343, but one that has numerous uses. For the post, the purpose is finding out which posts received the lowest shares.

Put in your domain name (for example, ours is level343.com)

Your posts will show up. Click on the social network that you want to rank them by (for example, click on Twitter sharers for the posts to be ranking from least to greatest number of shares on Twitter, etc.)

Those with the fewest share are the likeliest candidates for recycling.

Buzzsumo, Social Shares Analyzer


The second way is through your analytics. Set your time frame to when you first started tracking with those analytics and move it out one or two years. We started tracking in 2009, so that’s when we start our time span.

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Analytic image

Google filter image

Go to Acquisition > Site Content > All Pages. Search for the section on the page that says “advanced,” then click it. Choose “Pageviews,” then “Less than,” and “50” Then push “Apply.”

This sets your results to any pages with less than 50 page views.

Now that you know which ones need work, you have your list of “recycling possibilities.” That wasn’t too hard, was it?

Organic image

Going Green for the Environment: Cleaning Up That Old Content

One of the quickest ways to clean up old, poor quality content and have a good blog post to share with your followers is to pull several of the same topic together. For example, if you have a landscaping blog and you have several posts with tips on how to get a garden started right, merging those posts into a single, longer one can be an easy win.

Now, let’s be clear. When we say “merge,” that doesn’t mean just copy and paste. There is some writing/editing here. Compared to writing a full-blown, useful post, however, this is nothing.

  1. As you decide which posts to merge, put their URLs in a list. This is a necessary step to avoid duplicate content or broken links, because you’re going to want to redirect the URLs to the newest post. Remember, you’re also cleaning up thin or poor content. You have to take the old posts down.
  2. Decide the order of the posts. How should you put them together so they flow well?
  3. Merge them in one and a time. Read the first post, making edits, adding and changing.
  4. Add in the second post, doing the same (and the third,etc). After all, you’re a writing rockstar now. Perhaps your skills aren’t God level yet, but you’re getting closer.
  5. Finish up with some new images, correctly optimized.
  6. Read over the entire (longer) post to make sure everything flows smoothly.
  7. Work on your title. Is it possible to make this an actual guide? Is the updated content in depth enough? If so, don’t be shy. Make that title amazing to match your fantastic content.
  8. Publish – but make sure those redirects are in place right before you do!
  9. Share, share and share again.

In this way, you get rid of the thin content that plagues you during the day and haunts your dreams at night. You make sure that your site is the best it can be, and you keep your readers happy, knowing that you can be trusted to give them the best you have.

Final Thoughts

Now, we understand that you might be grateful for this post and want to thank us in some way. You can always contact us via convenient online web form. Or, you can reach out to us on Twitter for a cheerful mahalo and some tips on how we can improve what you read. We love to hear from our readers.

But in the long run, we’re just serious about content development and better interwebs. We believe that friends don’t let friends write bad copy.

So, now that your next great post is out, pat yourself on the back and go join your brain in Acapulco . It’s missed you, and it needs your hands to make some awesome sand turtles.

Sand turtles

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