Would you believe us if we told you we’ve been blogging less, but our traffic has been increasing? It sounds like a magic trick, but assure you it is not. If you’ve been growing your blog archive list up and feel a little burnt out on the idea of constantly churning out new content then this strategy is going to be right up your alley.
Back in March of 2015 when we first started blogging we were posting up 5 days a week (and it was just Abagail writing). We decided to cut back to 4 posts a week once we were a two woman team and it felt like our week had never been lighter. We were rejoicing with all this extra time we had and thought for sure that 4 brand new posts a week were going to be the usual. Well, we were wrong.
We got exhausted. Our brains were tired from coming up with spunky and fresh headlines and to be honest we kind of missed old posts that were getting buried deeper and deeper by the week. So we mixed things up a bit. We decided that if it fit, a brand new post would get written, but if an old post could be reworked and republished (because it’s still super valuable) then we would use it.
At first we were worried about our numbers. We had hit a groove and had actually doubled our blog traffic from January 2016 to February 2016. What would happen to our numbers if we weren’t pushing new content? How would we make sure the new/old post would get seen? There were definitely some parameters to set in place to insure our website didn’t fall off the map. Here are the 7 ways we ended up increasing our blog traffic by reusing old content.
Find Your Most Popular Post
This may seem like a no brainer, but don’t just rely on the posts that were your favorite. Open up the ol’ Google Analytics and crunch some numbers. See which posts got the most traffic and the ones where people were staying the longest. Make a list of your top 10-20 posts by popularity and start there. What seems like a successful post to you might not make the cut so pay attention to the actual numbers.
We took a look and found that there was a particular post that we wrote back in September of 2015 that was outperforming (by far) all other blog posts. People were spending almost 10 minutes on this post alone! It got bumped up to the top of the list to get reworked and republished.
Use a New Image
Especially if you are going to be republishing to social media channels (which you totes should) then a fresh image will make it seem like a brand new post. You’ve probably reworked how your blog images and graphics look by now anyways so it’s nice to give the old post the modern look. Since you know you’re using a post that’s already getting a lot of traffic make sure your image or graphic only aids into that and is branded to your business.
Pick a Catchy Headline
Alongside with a new image, a new headline will make an old post look like a shiny new object to your audience. Take elements of what worked before (don’t fix what ain’t broke) and reshape a headline that’s super catchy and fun.
Need help brainstorming? We’ve got 101 Headlines That Convert right over here for free just for you.
Update Stats, Examples and Links
Take some time to reread you old post and make sure that if you dated yourself then you update it. Consider not only changing any numbers or stats that you shared (about yourself or someone else) but to also update it to the time in which you are rewriting it. For instance, we might have an old post from last year about popular social media channels and it wouldn’t include Periscope since it came around later. We’d want to make sure to add in Periscope and adjust our copy accordingly.
You’ll want to also check and make sure all of the links (if any) aren’t dead (meaning they go to where they’re supposed to go). If you’ve give anyone a shout out or linked to an even older blog post of yours you’ll want to make sure those are still active.
Make Sure it Goes to the Right Place
This is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. First you should know a few things. If you republish an old blog post 100% as it is Google might not favor you very well. It’s Google’s job to know if there’s duplicate copy or content out there and if you don’t tweak your old post enough it might not recognize your new post as new.
Also if you decide to republish old content and post it as new (rather than just updating the date in your old post) you will need to setup URL forwarding. For Squarespace this is super simple. Mark the old post as a draft and follow these simple instructions to make your old URL link to your new post.
It’s no coincidence that when we started republishing old posts that we became more active on Pinterest as well. Pinterest is a large driver of our traffic (26%) and is an easy way for us to get in front of a lot of new people all the time. At first our Pinterest strategy was simply pinning our latest blog post once a day to our Blog Board and a few other group boards that we were on. Well, we took note of what other successful bloggers were doing and noticed they were pinning 15-20 times a day! What??
Enter Tailwind. The system that helps us be online and pinning while we’re doing other things in our business. It’s truly a set it and forget it system and we love it so much. Here’s the bottom line: if what you’re writing about is being searched for on Pinterest then you need to be posting there as much as possible. Sign up here to try Tailwind free for one month.
Reshare on Social Media Channels
The biggest success factor in making an old post shine like a new one is to treat it like it’s brand freaking new. We’re talking up all our republished old posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook like it’s brand new content. You’ll think that you’re audience will know or care, but trust us they don’t. If it’s truly a high performing blog post then your audience will thank you for bringing it back from the grave. You’re bound to have loads of new followers anyways so to them it will still seem like business as usual.
The Truth in Numbers
For full disclosure we’re including a breakdown of our stats for when we were posting 4 times a week with brand new content every day and 4 times a week with some of it being old content. We show you this to prove that it’s 100% okay to republish old content, but you still have to have a strategy about it.
January 10th - 16th - 4 new posts
March 20th - 26th - 2 new posts, 2 old
So if freeing up some head space and some time sounds ideal to you then it might be time to browse those ol’ archives. Follow these strategies to insure you don’t miss any steps and that you’re taking full advantage of your content!