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6 ways to give your old content new life

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

Remember that blog post you wrote back in September 2008? Remember how earth-shattering you thought it was? How it would take on a life of its own, make its way around Twitter and Facebook, and change lives forever? You weren’t on Twitter yet — LinkedIn didn’t offer status updates and your friends on Facebook were too busy with Scrabulous to care. Sadly, no one but you read it. And now, hundreds of posts and a redesign later, no one ever will.

But what if some of those old thoughts are just as relevant today? What can you do to reinvigorate these old posts? Here are some tactics to give your old ideas new life.

1.Update the post. Just like a new edition of a printed book, you can add a new “forward” to your post, explaining how it’s either more or less relevant given what has transpired since it was written. Repackage it and republish. If it’s put into the context of today, it’s as fresh as can be.

2.Reference the post. A link back to that post from a new one is a great way to give it new legs. It also increases the chances of someone stumbling upon it in the future.

3.Comment. Sometimes a new comment will spark new conversation. As I keep tabs on this blog, it amazes me how some posts get hot weeks after publishing. At the very least, if you have a “recent comments” widget, the post will gain some additional visibility.

4.Check the tags. Perhaps your content tagging strategy has changed over the months and years. Make sure your post has up-to-date tags and is categorized correctly. You can even look to your search logs and see if there are terms that you didn’t think of that could be a good fit.

5.Add plug-ins. There are a variety of WordPress and TypePad plug-ins that will help link your content. Related posts will give much of your old content new visibility and embedded tags can also help in this department.

6.Start over. Maybe you were too early. Maybe you were a bit off-target. Either way, you’re probably a better blogger now and more knowledgeable on the subject. Build on what made the post great and nix everything that kept it average.

I’m as guilty as the next guy of being a “time-stamp snob.” Often, if I see a tweet that interests me and then find it was posted more that a week ago, I simply move on to the next. But if that time stamp is updated, or the discussion is as fresh and valuable as ever, I’m on board. You wrote and published that old post months, if not years ago — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a fair shot. After all, “A Confederacy of Dunces” was published 11 years after John Kennedy Toole’s death and it was still hailed as an instant classic upon its arrival.

Image credit, jgroup, via iStock