What to do with your company website’s old content

What to do with your company website’s old content

When you work in the marketing department of a company, you’re often faced with the same problem. The website is filled with content generated over years and it’s lacking…well…purpose, focus and a voice.

From news and announcements to blogs and contributions from staff, it’s just a pile of unread stuff.

But there’s a lot. It’s overwhelming. Especially when you’ve got a million other things to do.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate new business, gain more organic traffic and spread the word about your company. But that means creating even more content.

What if you could re-use what you’ve already got?

Giving existing content a new lease of life

If you’ve never had much of a content strategy before, or if your content is written by many different staff members in varying styles (and quality), it’ll be painfully haphazard.

There might be numerous posts without compelling titles, zero SEO keywords and maybe even a handful of articles that add nothing to your website. Perhaps some are so bad that they might actually turn off a reader.

It’s time to pull all the clothes out of the wardrobe and work out which to keep, which to get tailored and which to chuck.

Wait…we’re talking about content not clothes, right?

When you look at existing content, you might think, ‘hey, it’s not doing any harm even if it’s not good. Surely any content is better than none?’

Well, no. Not really.

Not only do search engines know when content is useless and poor quality, but any readers scrolling through will wonder why your company has poor content.

Poor content probably means poor service and products too, no?

If there’s any content on your website that you wouldn’t be proud to show a customer, it needs to go. Whether that means reworking it to make it great or ditching it entirely, don’t leave mediocre content hanging around. You never know who’s reading.

Blog posts in particular can be reworked and repurposed easily. By running through the checklist below and sprucing posts up, they can be republished and finally earn their server space.

If you’ve got a lot of posts that are about different parts of the same service, why not edit them for flow and clarity and put them together in an eBook?

Now you’ve got a new, free product with little time and effort that readers can download. Plus, eBooks boost your authority and making them available for free download shows that you provide more than competitors.

The 10-point ‘good content’ checklist

Each article or blog post needs to meet the following criteria. If it doesn’t and can’t be reworked, you know what to do (hint: hit the delete key):

1. Does the headline make the reader want to click on it? 
Be honest here. If you’ve got a post called, ‘Changes to Planning Law in the UK’,nobody is going to read it. Why? Because it tells you absolutely nothing about what the article really contains. If it was called, ‘How Changes to Planning Law Will Seriously Affect Developers in 2019’ — suddenly you might get some interest.

The headline needs to spur action, it needs to make the reader feel like they’ll miss something important to them if they don’t click on it.

2. Is the headline optimised?
Does it include the keyword that you want to rank for? If someone searches the article’s subject on Google, will it have a hope in hell of popping up?

3. Is it really old? 
If you show the date on your posts, is it three years old? If it is, but it’s very much relevant today, it’s time to edit the article, make it shine and republish it, deleting the old.

4. Does it entertain, educate or inspire?
If the article does none of these things, why would anyone read it? Content for content’s sake is a bad move. Every single post or article needs to serve one of these three purposes. If it doesn’t, rewrite it so it does or hit delete.

5. Is it focused on a clear message?
This article is specifically about what to do with your business website’s old content. If I started writing about social media content, writing new content or anything else, my message would get diluted. Fast. Bye bye readers.

When you read a piece of old content, can you see straight away what it’s about and understand its message at the end?

6. Is it written in your audience’s language?
Readers are busy people, if they can’t work out what the article is trying to show, they won’t stick around to get to the end.

If your content is dry, filled with jargon and written without the target audience in mind, nobody will read it. Speaking of…

7. Does it have a target audience? 
If you’re a legal practice, your blog posts will be written for different audiences. Someone needing a conveyancer probably won’t be reading an article on Britain’s No Fault Divorce law.

You know what kind of customers you have, they call up and walk through the door every day. Work out who each article is for and ensure it’s aimed at them.

8. Is it easy to read? 
It doesn’t matter if you run a kid’s entertainment business or the most expensive wealth management firm in the country, no one will read big blocks of text on a screen. It’s too difficult on the eyes.

Your article needs to be highly readable and scannable . Yup, no one’s reading every single word either. Sorry. Use headings, bold, bullet points and graphics.

9. Does it adhere to your business’ voice? 
Companies without copywriters often have many contributors to the blog or news articles. And these contributors might be expert members of staff, but they’re probably not writers. They might not have any clue what voice the company has.

Wildly different writing styles, formats and tones confuse the reader and don’t do much for brand consistency. No matter who writes a piece, someone who understands the brand voice, post format and…well…this checklist, needs to edit it before publication.

10. Is it inspiring the reader to take action? 
If your reader feels unmoved by your article, it’s a bad article. Great content is one of the best ways to inspire the reader to do something further that you’ve directed them to.

Maybe it’s to call your office and book an appointment. Maybe it’s to click on another article that adds to the one they’ve just read. Maybe it’s to sign up to your newsletter or buy your product. Whatever it is, tell them. They’re not mind readers.

Get ready to jazz up your old content

Outdated, mediocre (or bad) content does absolutely nothing for you. In fact, it might be harming your company.

Generating new content that’s written well, serves a purpose and helps the reader is essential, but you can revive and improve old content.

By revamping what you’ve already got, you can republish it, share it across your social channels and even turn it into eBooks with little effort.

Don’t forget that adding visuals, infographics, internal links and pimping your headline can do huge amounts for content that’s lacking just a little.

Now, go forth and rework.

What is UX writing?

What is UX writing?

To write is to rewrite

To write is to rewrite