Just like our homes, our businesses need some cleaning up, sprucing up, and reorganizing sometimes. And Marie Kondo is just the person we’ve been channeling to get our act together in terms of de-cluttering our content. I mean, she’s kinda the queen at sweetly, yet sternly, eliminating the noise and only keeping the stuff that matters — a MUST in online business.
If you’ve been in business for longer than a year, odds are there are some out-of-date pieces of content and resources on your website. It happens to every single business, and if you don’t intentionally go in and evaluate past content, it’ll just create a mess of mixed messages and outdated offers.
Routinely checking in on old content is such a smart idea as your business grows and develops. If you do this annually, it removes so much of the heavy lifting from waiting years and years to freshen things up. (Umm, you can just go ahead and trust us on this one… from experience.)
This quarter, we’ve been intentional about revisiting past content to make sure it’s conveying an evergreen message and updated calls to action, Marie Kondo-style. You know the deal: If it doesn’t bring us joy (and in this case, make sense for the brand), it’s nixed. Or just updated. And here’s how we’re doing it.
Analyzing and updating old blog content
When you share advice or education on the internet, certain things can stand to be modified after a couple years. Through analytics tracking, we can see that some of our older blog posts are still showing up on Google and Pinterest searches and getting read, even though we’re not even pushing them out to the masses much of the time.
We’ve been taking those popular posts and rejigging the content to fit into today’s context and, ideally, context for the future, too. In fact, it’s one of our newer brand standards to not write in a way that alludes to time. While we have some seasonal posts (like a holiday gift guide, for example), for the most part, we write content in a way that would fit with any time of year, no matter what year it is.
We also never want to say things like, “Last week we covered…” because we want each post to be a standalone piece of content that delivers a promise, and someone interacting with the brand for the very first time can feel invited to enjoy. (Not left out because they didn’t catch “last week’s” post.)
Working through old content has also allowed us to revisit top performing blog posts and come up with ways to re-share it on social media, as well as add new or related ideas to a new post if it makes sense. It’s such a helpful way to see what resonates with the audience, and what they’d probably like to see more of.
Making sure content is uniform and cohesive
We also have a document with brand standards for our content, new and old, to use as a tool in creating consistent content. This is something we refer to when drafting up new content and refreshing the old to make everything across the brand cohesive, and the most valuable for the audience.
Some of our blog standards include:
— The goal of the post: I want every single post to have a very clear and measurable goal, so that we can point to that post and say: we want people to xxx. Every post needs a super clear and defined goal so that it’s an easy measure to say: did this post deliver what we promised?
— The feel of the post: The feel should always be approachable, but not fluffy. We think of it like a smart friend of yours who can make things relatable, and who is brilliant at explaining and showing you something new.
— The audience of the post: We avoid using terms that refer to the masses. I want each blog to read like I’m speaking to ONE person, and speaking so clearly to them that they can’t ignore it.
— Title: The most important thing is the title entices readers to want to click it. Share the promise of the post and what people can expect to walk away with.
— Introduction: Does the introduction inspire someone to keep reading? Those first few lines can make or break the entire post. Is there a compelling question? A relatable sentiment?
— Paragraphs: The number one way to make a post more readable is to not have super blocky paragraphs. There have been visual studies that people will keep reading if paragraphs are all similar sized and not super long.
We also have standards about external links, affiliate links, footer formatting, SEO, pop-ups, source citing, grammar, and format to make sure everything is correct and clear. We want it to be super easy for the audience to read, digest, and get the most out of every single time they land on our content.
We’ve been going through all of our content to make sure it adheres to these standards so that readers can know to expect consistent, quality content whenever they open a post.
(Here’s a great post if you’re interested in elevating your blog posts and using some of our blog standards, too.)
Refresh calls to action and resources to share with audience
Going back through old posts and resources also shows where we can update new offers and calls to action. For example, I may not be running a program anymore that an old post pushes readers to, so it’s smart to add in a new program or some other helpful resource that the content relates to.
Refreshing these calls to action is a smart way to get more eyes on your newest offers, because if people are still consuming old content, then they’re likely clicking through to the links and offers you have in them. Make sure they’re the most up to date and things that you want people to be clicking through to.
We’ve also been taking our top performing blog posts of all time and re-sharing them on Facebook and Pinterest. Refreshing a graphic and writing a compelling caption to go with old content is a quick way to get more eyes on your site and offers, without having to create a whole bunch of new content all the time.
That’s also why it’s so important to leave out any time-sensitive language, because you want to be able to re-share and plug old content anytime without worrying about people wondering why you’re mentioning that it’s Thursday in the post when you share it on a Monday. It’s small touches like this that can go SUCH a long way!
Update imagery on your website and social media
On that note, while you’re refreshing things, uploading updated images to your blog posts is a quick way to revamp old content. We’ve been going through ours to do just that. Nothing dates content faster than a photo of you that’s clearly 8 years old. Or worse — a low-quality photo that was clearly taken in bad lighting on a phone 5 years ago, when you’ve since upgraded your photography and branding.
If you’re updating the written content, you might as well give the visual stuff a facelift, too. And while you’re at it, make sure your images have SEO keyword-strategic titles with dashes separating the words. For example, instead of your photo being named “Image_457,” name it something like “SEO-tips-creative-entrepreneurs” instead.
Those dashes are the correct formatting to give it the most SEO bang for its buck, and go ahead and leave out words like: and, the, or for. (Those guys don’t do anything to help with SEO.)
So, are you feeling all inspired and ready to tackle de-cluttering your own content a-la Marie Kondo? I will say, even though it’s a mighty project, it feels so good to go back through top performing content and give it a pretty little makeover.
And, you likely have new followers or customers who haven’t seen or interacted with your older content, so it’s a great way to repurpose it and share it with them for the first time! All in all, it helps your people get even more value, cleans up your content, and makes you feel so much better about kicking off a new year with a refreshed website.
Cleaned up your website? Now it’s time to grow your list.