Do you recycle?
Keeping older content alive can provide additional fuel your agency’s inbound lead generation program through social media. It also greatly enhances the return on your writing time investment.
Some of the most helpful tips on blog writing I have found online from resources as old as 1996. In a day when blog content that was published only a few months, it is often discounted as being old. If it is content that has been generated over six months it is considered ancient. But some of the most helpful resources that I have found for writing for Web is as old as 1996.
I often cite older sources without disclosing the date, if I’m confident the resource is of worth to my readers. Readers would often discount these resources if I included the date when I cite the source.
Just one example is information that I gleaned from Jacob Nielsen when writing this post, “How do users read on the web? They don’t … they scan”. His online writings have completely changed my view of “older content”. The New York Times calls Nielsen,”the guru of Web page usability”.
The date of the material shouldn’t matter. What should matter is relevancy. Is the content still of value to your audience?
Here’s an example of some of Nielsen’s rich nuggets of information for writing for the Web:
In research on how people read websites we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word. (Update: a newer study found that users read email newsletters even more abruptly than they read websites.
As a result, Web pages have to employ scannable text, using
- highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
- meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
Web users generally prefer writing that is concise, easy to scan, and objective (rather than promotional) in style.
Jacob Nielsen’s insights were ahead of the times. It would be a shame to discount them just because a lot of his great content was published online over fourteen years ago. It is still relevant.
I continue to recycle and repurpose blog posts to over 90,000 + Twitter followers (@michaelgass and @fuellines) and too subscribers to the Fuel Lines eNewsletter. I have also pulled older content together for eBooklets, white-papers, SlideShare presentations. You can even recycle your blogs content into a book. Recycled posts continue to generate lots of blog traffic and fresh comments from readers who have just discovered them for the first time. By reviewing my analytics I can tell what posts to keep in this recycling rotation and what I need to pull out. Ultimately my readers decide what is appealing and what isn’t.
If you’ve written it, don’t assume that the majority of your readers have read it. Don’t be afraid to repurpose/recycle content.
Also, as you write your posts, learn to write “ever-green” to give the content a long shelf life. By doing this, a post that took me an hour to write, will provide a 100% return on my time investment.
I recently wrote a post, 50 of the Best Insights from Ad Age’s First Ever Small Agency Conference, the first ever small agency conference sponsored by Ad Age. Even though this was a one-day conference, I purposefully wrote the post in a way that would allow the content to be used for a much longer period of time.
I would also suggest revisiting older posts that may not have generated very much traffic. With the proper edits and revisions you can breath new life into them as well.
Here are some additional resources for creating content for an agency blog for new business:
- 50 Blog Post Ideas to Fuel Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- How to Write Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- 6 Writing Tips to Make Your Ad Agency’s Blog Effective for New Business
- How do users read on the web? They don’t … they scan
- Ad Agencies: 97 Articles on How To Write Effectively for the Social Web
- 40 Ways to Take Your Ad Agency’s Blog to the Next Level
- Let Hemingway improve your writing for ad agency new business