If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ve probably got quite a bit of content on your site. Yet, how much of that content goes unread? Are those posts you worked so hard to write continuing to be read and shared or are they languishing in your archives? Make those posts keep working for you. Take time to refresh old blog content to maximize each post and reach more people who need to hear your words.
9 Steps to Refresh Old Blog Content
1) Choose a post to refresh.
Not all your old posts are ideal candidates to refresh in order to drive new traffic to your blog. Assess the staying power of the content before investing too much time in reworking the post. Ask yourself these questions below to determine which posts to refresh.
- Is the content still relevant?
- Does this speak to a current problem your audience faces?
- Is this post in line with your current blog focus?
- Look at your analytics. Did the post generate much interest the first time around?
Consider using your analytics to prioritize your list of posts to refresh. Start with the ones that have generated the most traffic and interaction. Make sure your most-viewed posts are in tip-top shape and then continue down the list.
2) Edit the content and flow of the post.
Read through your post and check that it has the following core components.
- An attention-grabbing opening paragraph that draws in the reader. Edit anything that’s not necessary, for the most powerful opening you can craft.
- A clear main point. Make the sure the post has a purpose – to teach, inspire, humor, or inform.
- Clearly organized sub-sections or lists to support your main point. Create scannable content that is easy to read.
- A call to action for the reader. What do you want the reader to do with what they’ve just read?
Rewrite and edit your post as needed to tighten up and improve your writing. Remove extraneous words and sentences that aren’t needed. Take the time to ensure this post reflects your best writing.
3) Edit the post for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting.
- Go back through the post for basic editing. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Are there any words you can remove? Are any of your paragraphs too long or wordy? Where can you trim and tighten your content?
- Make sure the post has plenty of whitespace.
- Review the formatting of the post and make sure it matches your current blog post formatting standards.
For more editing tips, read through Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes from Problogger.com.
4) Add sub-headings.
- If you post didn’t already have sub-headings, add some. Sub-headings break up the content into scannable sections for easier reading. They help the reader navigate the post and add organization to your writing.
- Review each sub-heading to make sure the wording is clear and aids the flow of the post.
5) Update the post title / headline.
Your headline is the most crucial part of your post. Readers will give this a glance to decide whether to click into the post or not. So, spend your time here and make it good.
- Does your post need a better headline? Consider updating it to one that is more attention-getting to draw in readers.
- Write out several versions of the headline and then keep reworking it until you get the best headline possible.
- Many experts say this is where you should spend the majority of your time, since it’s the key deciding factor whether people will read any further.
For help and ideas on writing great headlines, these are some great resources:
- 6 Lessons for Writing Irresistibly Magnetic Blog Post Headlines at problogger.com.
- Copyblogger offers a free “How to Write Magnetic Headlines” e-book for signing up on their site.
- 10 Questions to Help You Write Better Headlines from poynter.org.
6) Update your graphics.
Freshen up your graphics. If you have graphics standards for your blog, make sure the graphics on this post follow those.
- Choose a great photo for the background, include your new blog headline on the image, and add your blog name/URL.
- I like to have at least one graphic formatted for Facebook and one for Pinterest. Create the graphics you need for your primary social media platforms.
- For Facebook, you’ll want a square or horizontal graphic. I use 1200×627 as the dimensions for Facebook images.
- For Pinterest, you’ll want a vertical image. I use 1000×1500 as the dimension for Pinterest images.
- If my old graphic has been widely shared on Pinterest already, I’ll leave it in the post, but will move it down to a less-prominent spot and make it smaller. That way, anyone coming over from the pin will still know they’re in the right place, but the new graphics are more prominent.
- If you have a list or key steps in your post, consider a more informational pin. You can make this one even taller, if you need more space. Pins with information (steps, scripture references, etc.) tend to be more widely shared
Want to learn more about how to maximize Pinterest for your blog? I took this free 5 day Pinterest Power course from Summer Tannhauser of Lady Boss League. This free course is filled with a TON of great tips.
7) Improve the SEO of your post.
- Check that you have a good keyword set for the post. Make sure the keyword is found in the heading and in the copy. I use a plugin called Yoast SEO to provide guidance and direction on this. Once you have the keyword in enough key places and meet some basic SEO guidelines, the plugin will give you a green light. It also provides some feedback on the readability of your post to help with editing.
- Make sure each of your graphics have the ‘alt text’ set with a brief intro to your post. This is the description they’ll see on social media when you share that image, so make it engaging to entice them to click.
- Can you link to any other posts on your site or to any external sites to add further credibility to your post?
8) Share, share, share.
Now that you have this post refreshed, it’s time to share it. Remember that not all of your readers will have read it (or even have seen it) the first time around. If it’s an older post, they likely won’t even remember reading it if they did read it the first time. So, don’t be shy about re-sharing this post.
- Include this post in your next email newsletter. Sending an updated post is a great way to maintain consistency with your email newsletter, even on weeks you haven’t written a new post (if you’re sick, on vacation, or just behind on writing). Or, include it as an additional resource for your readers.
- Pin the images to your Pinterest boards and then schedule that pin out to your group boards. Whether you’re using a pin scheduling tool, such as BoardBooster or Tailwind (these are affiliate links), or keeping track manually, add your new pin(s) to the schedule.
- Schedule this post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever you’re most active. Put this into rotation to continue sharing on those platforms, so it continues to be shared over time.
9) Create a new post from the content.
How else can you leverage this content?
- Now that you’ve been deep into this older post, are there any other angles you can write about from this content? Are there related resources or references you can pull into a list or roundup post? Were there any questions or controversy in the comments you can address in a new post? Has anything changed since you wrote this post that you can address in a new post?
- Spend some time brainstorming content ideas from this post and add those to your content calendar.
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Should I republish the post so it’s at the top of my blog feed or just update the old post?
I like to update the old post, but it’s a matter of preference. I’ve been working through my archives, refreshing old posts, but I don’t necessarily want them flooding my homepage. Most of my blog traffic comes from social media or my email list, so I’m not concerned if the updated post isn’t top on my homepage. Scheduling it to social media is the most critical step for me in driving traffic from this older post.
If your newsletter is primarily an RSS feed of new blog posts, you can still send a refreshed post to your email list. Instead of using your RSS feed template one week, try a different template. Write an email and include a link to the post you’ve refreshed. Or, edit your regular email template and add the refreshed post below the RSS feed section. This might be a great way to test the waters on writing specific email newsletters to your subscribers instead of just sending your newest post.
Should I remove the old pins on Pinterest?
I’ve read a number of posts on both sides of this question. The majority of experts I’ve read, though, say to leave your old pins. They may still drive some traffic to your site, so why delete them. But, you don’t have to promote them, share them, or even have them visible on your boards. I have a hidden board for old pins and will sometimes move some of my earlier ones to that board, once I’ve created newer, better pins.