Have you ever visited a website and gotten the distinct impression that it hasn’t been cared for well? You know the feeling. Maybe the prices or merch are outdated, or the layout screams “I was designed in 2009”.
What about the content?
Does the same video auto-play each time you load the page? Are the stories missing the mark because they seem dated?
What about your own website? Do you update it frequently and give it a fresh, more usable layout on a regular basis?
Whether we’re dealing with digital storefronts or looking for information, timeliness and relevance are everything.
The Benefits of Updating Your Content
No matter the platform or strategy, content is at the heart of it. For years, we’ve been instructed to create stories that are evergreen, video that appears fresh and relevant, and to use the latest techniques and platforms to showcase it all and bring it to our audience in a timely manner.
Sounds exhausting, but these things are necessary, as you want to remain competitive in the digital age. It’s a time when trends move quickly and the majority of your content can begin to loose its freshness within the first day or two after posting.
If you want to keep up, you have to remain in constant motion. Even after more than a decade of content creation, I can look back at some of my old posts and think “I wish I’d worded that differently,” or “Oooh. That didn’t age well.”
Updating content may seem like slapping on a fresh coat of paint, but the benefits run deeper than that. It brings new life – and possibly, a new audience – to your posts. You’re able to add new video or images and update information that’s changed since the original release.
Then, there’s what an update can do for your metrics.
Are your click-through rates suffering? Has your traffic dwindled down to a trickle of only the most loyal followers? Do your links still work? What about your hard-won place in the SERPs? Is it slipping?
All of these ills can be cured by the simple act of updating your content.
Not so simple, you say? Here are 5 tips that will make the whole process almost effortless.
1. Write a New Headline
Have you ever read a news story online and then noticed when browsing later that the headline has changed? This is because the original poster wasn’t getting enough engagement with the first headline.
Sometimes, just the act of adding an attention-getting (but not click-baity) headline will increase relevance and improve traffic.
How it’s done: Headlines are not created equally, nor do they address the same needs from reader to reader. Consider the content and goals when you created it, and then construct a catchy headline that will help you reach your intended audience.
* Urgent headlines foment FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Use your headline to create a sense that your readers are missing something if they don’t read on.
* What are people looking for when they browse the internet? They’re looking for information. Useful headlines grab attention by saying “Here are the answers you want.” Think in questioning terms like “How to” or “Why”.
Don’t be afraid to be unique, quirky, or ultra-specific when constructing a new headline, and test a few for response before settling on one. The headline should be concise, clearly summarize the content, and make sense when taken out of context.
2. Put the Emphasis on Quality Over Quantity
There are literally millions of how to articles that are meant to help us improve our marketing strategies and build our brands. This helpful content is filled with information about KPIs and formulas, but they don’t really focus much on the quality of the content.
While SEO is important to keep in mind, reaching a certain length or keyword count isn’t nearly as important for engagement as giving your audience something useful or entertaining.
How it’s done: Rather than constructing a long, drawn out tome that’s really generic, do a deep dive into a specific pain point or trend. If you’re going for length, try to make a comprehensive article about a trending topic that’s relevant to your audience or industry. Rather than going for keyword density, aim for optimal placement of a few well-researched, updated key phrases. See what other creators are doing and do it better or cover a facet of the topic that’s been neglected.
3. Know Your Audience
This is the top suggestion for anything related to marketing, but it’s especially important when creating or updating content. You’ll never reach or relate to everyone. You can, however, engage a core of loyal audience members and let their enthusiasm do the work for you.
How it’s done: Build buyer personas. Imagine who your ideal audience member is, what they look like, their lifestyle, and what they want out of life. Get solid feedback from metrics, but also from real people through surveys, social media engagement, and customer service interactions. Create content that highlights how your brand will improve their life in some way.
4. Get Rid of the R.O.T
It’s important to revisit existing content to root out the rot and revitalize it for a new audience. In this context, ROT stands for content that’s redundant, outdated, and/or trivial.
How it’s done: Although it’s important to be timely with information, avoid writing about topics that are just passing fads in an effort to appear relevant in the moment (unless, of course, that’s what you do). When creating content, focus on providing answers that current and future audiences will want. For example, anyone with plumbing will always need to know how to unclog a sink. That info will probably never go out of date.
You should also target content to people who are beginners and need jargon-free information. Brainstorm ideas from a wide pool of possible topics, and then narrow the ideas down to a few that are really specific yet timeless.
5. Update Your Platforms
Sometimes, just adding a new platform will have the side-effect of updating your content. Consumer habits change, new outlets appear, and you should investigate opportunities to grow your brand. For example, TikTok seemed like a passing trend, but it’s now overtaking YouTube for video content.
How it’s done: First of all, make sure that the new platform is a good place to reach your core audience. You’ll need to retool the content to fit a new platform to a certain extent, such as using updated formatting, layouts, or technologies to make it work. You’ll also be placing your brand in front of new eyes. Take the advantage of this transition to refresh your content as well.
As Chris Rock once said, if it’s not new, it’s through. Updated content boosts your relevance and authority, and it makes you look more professional.
Show your visitors how much you care about their experience by providing them with updated content on a regular basis. Our tips will make the process more efficient and less painful.