Making the Most of Your Legacy Content

As with houses and apartments, sometimes it’s better to remodel your content marketing library than to build new. Here’s how to attract more audience attention — and search engine credibility — with your existing content.

Sometimes it’s better to remodel than to move. That’s as true for content marketing as it is for houses and apartments. Even better, rarely is remodeling as hellacious for legacy content as it can be for housing.

You’re probably wondering what I mean by “remodeling” at this point. I’m not suggesting that you slap a new coat of paint on old content. Rather, I’m suggesting that strategic updates to your content can yield great results.

Kitchen after
Kitchen after hiring the remodeler.

Measure First

Start with analytics. Chances are you don’t have the resources to freshen up all the content in your library. That’s fine, since not all content is likely to produce the same results when updated. Your analytics can point to content that has performed well and that might perform better with a bit of a boost.

What you’re looking for is content whose performance has fallen off. (For older posts that are still performing well, there’s as much art as science involved. Some may be better left untouched. Others may respond well to updates described below. Testing is the only way you’ll know for sure.)

You also want to find content that still aligns with your marketing goals. In fact, if a review turns up a great deal of content that no longer is in alignment, you should consider pruning the legacy content or making updates that are more rehab than remodel.

Edit Substance, Edit Style

Once you’ve identified content items that are good candidates for updating, you’ll want to review the content for out of date references (replace those Madonna comparisons with Beyonce …), data that’s no longer relevant (Mobile device market share from 2011?), and recommendations that may now be so widely accepted that they’re no longer of great value to your target audience.

You’ll also want to update your published on date. This is, of course, an important marker for your audience, who will naturally value more recent information over dated content. It is also an important signal to the search engines that you maintain and update your content.

One last item to review and update if necessary is the calls to action on the pages you’re updating. Are the CTAs tied into your CRM system? Do the lead magnets they’re offering still contain relevant information for your prospects.

Measure Last

Finally, be sure to return to your analytics dashboard in the months following your updates to track whether your efforts have helped or hindered your site’s marketing performance. The goal is to create updates that help convince more of your audience to invest their attention in your content. The only way to know if that’s happening is to measure their engagement and, ultimately, how successfully you are converting them to clients.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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