Update, repurpose or delete: how to get the most from your old website content
What is best, and when, for B2B brands.
When you launch a new product, service or solution, it’s likely you will create a lot of new content to support the launch. This is to be expected. But unless you have unlimited resources for content creation, chances are some unrelated assets you planned to publish around the same time have now been pushed to one side, put on hold or crossed off the editorial calendar entirely.
This is also to be expected, especially if you don’t have unlimited resources. Content is costly and often time-consuming to create. Even if you outsource a proportion of it, some degree of input from the in-house team will be necessary. But while you may need to create content from scratch for a new product, service or solution, not all of your content needs to be new – or time-consuming to create.
If you haven’t made it a part of your content marketing strategy thus far, consider repurposing content if you’re short on time, or updating content if you’re really short on time. We could go even further to say that if you have a backlog of old website content – market reports, case studies, three-year old blogs that are still managing to bring in a little traffic – you should be repurposing already.
Updating vs. repurposing content
There is a key difference between the two approaches.
If you update a piece of content, whether it be a whitepaper, blog or infographic, you keep it in the same format and its ‘purpose’ remains unchanged. For example, if you update an evergreen blog, you simply add new statistics or information, or perhaps new sections with graphic elements. But you don’t turn it into a podcast.
It occupies the same space and retains its shape on your website, but by updating it, it should work a little harder for you. Up-to-date content helps build trust in the eyes of Google, your audience and visitors. Don’t necessarily update your oldest blogs first. Instead, use an analytics tool to identify which blogs are bringing in the most traffic or gaining the most traction, and update those as a priority.
And when you update a piece of web content, never miss the opportunity to reoptimise it. To do this:
• add internal links to newer pieces of content
• optimise it for relevant, low search volume keywords you’re not ranking well for
• add and optimise fresh images and/or graphic elements
• make it more consumable by breaking up text, if required
• republish with that day’s date
• go fishing for more backlinks once the updated version is live to help boost search visibility
You should be able to update a content asset in minimal time, and the rewards for doing so can far outweigh the effort.
If you repurpose a piece of content, its format changes – for example, a series of blogs could be compiled into a downloadable eBook, a longer whitepaper could be divided into a series of shorter, more digestible blogs, or a successful webinar could become an evergreen video tutorial.
So the original content asset is reinvented, repackaged, and given a new purpose. It can then be remarketed to the same audience or marketed to a completely new one.
Repurposing content: the benefits for B2B marketers
Updating old content can be useful – and is certainly necessary if you have old blogs which now contain outdated references and broken links – but you can arguably reap greater rewards through repurposing.
Repurposing allows you to squeeze extra value from your content investments and can help reignite the creative spark when you’re falling short on ideas for new content. It’s not easy to produce new and engaging content consistently for a particular audience, even for a sizable, diversely-skilled content or marketing team.
Repurposed content needs to be planned in the same way that new content does, but with repurposed content, you’ve already got the bones of an asset, and all you need do is reinvent it for the same or a different audience. And you can reinvent it in anyway you choose, so long as it’s right for the target audience, and it adds value.
Aim to repurpose content as efficiently as possible, but not at the expense of engaging the target audience. Consider at which stage of the sales funnel this piece of content will be used, and create something that’s appropriate in tone, topic and format.
Content repurposing strategy: which assets should you repurpose?
As with choosing content to update, focus on repurposing content that has performed well in terms of traffic, conversions, social shares or engagement. Identifying which content assets have performed well and in which format will also reveal insights about your audience and the types of content and information they respond to.
Backlinks are also a good measure of how well a piece of content has performed – look across your reports, whitepapers and blogs to see what drives backlinks.
Once you’ve identified your top-performing content assets, consider:
You’ll then be in a better position to decide what format is best and how to engage this segment of your audience.
Having said all that, it’s worth noting that what worked six months ago may not be right for next week. A persona-type accounts for multiple people, and anyone inside that segment can change their preference for how they like to receive content. Repurposing content on a regular basis helps you account for this, as you’ll be creating content across a variety of formats and appealing to a broader range of people within each persona-type.
When to delete old website content
This could be an entire blog in itself, but we thought it important to touch on deleting old content assets within the wider context of updating and repurposing others.
For B2B brands, a rebranding, a shift in service or product offering, a site migration or an overhaul of your marketing or SEO strategy could all prompt a need to delete old content on your website.
Even if old content is still performing well for you in terms of traffic and conversions, there’s little point in keeping it if it’s no longer relevant to or misrepresents the products, solutions and services you provide now. In fact, keeping such content could be detrimental to your brand and confuse or alienate your audience.
Your website, and every content marketing asset currently in circulation, should be representative of where your brand is now and the solutions it provides today. If it is outdated in any way but still relevant, it should be updated, and if it’s outdated entirely, should be deleted from public view.