how to update old content

How to Create Massive Content ROI: Your 4-Step Guide on How to Update Old Content

You’ve done it! You have a great site, and you’ve had a ton of traffic.

… But lately, your viewership has begun to slip. 😬

The anxiety starts to sink in as you rack your brain for that funky-fresh new content. And you wonder, “What do I do now?”

No need to panic! It turns out, you’re in luck.

If you need time to get those creative juices flowing before you start on that awesome new piece, there is a solution you probably should be doing already.

(No, it’s not another clickbait-y technique.)

It’s something far better. Your own, already-published content.

That’s right! There’s a gold mine right beneath your feet — you could be sitting on content that is just waiting for you to help it shine like new again.

You might ask, “But how do I update old blog posts?” Fear not. It’s easier than it sounds.

In today’s blog I’ll show you, step by step, the best ways to republish your old content to create massive ROI. Ready? Let’s get into it.

Your 4-Step Guide on How to Update Old Content

How to Create Massive ROI: Your Guide on How to Update Old Content

1. Why Should I Update My Old Content?

2. Digging for Gold: How to Audit Your Content

3. So You’ve Found Your Gold, How Do You Make It Shiny Again? 4 Steps to Updating Old Content

1. Check for Broken Links & Outdated Research

2. Craft a New Headline

3. Update Images and Copy in Your Post

4. Finesse Meta Content & CTA

4. Republishing: How to Show Off Your New Bling

Extra Ways to Make Your Post Sparkle

It pays to focus on planning how to create irresistible new content. 😍 But never forget -- your old content deserves some extra loving too! @JuliaEMcCoy lays out her 4 steps to a flawless old content makeover - 10x better than ever. 💅✨ Click To Tweet

1. Why Should I Update My Old Content?

You might be thinking here — “But, my content is already perfect and I’ve had a ton of views. Why should I change it?”

The truth is, if you’re not updating your old blogs, you are missing out on potential new readers, heightened traffic, and reducing the chance that your old ones will return.

Returning to those killer posts you’ve already spent time and money on is an essential part of improving the ROI and the quality of your site.

According to Hubspot, blogs are now the 5th most trusted source for online information. By staying up to date on the latest information and revamping your old content, readers know they can count on you to keep them in the loop.

And, by keeping your readers up to date and engaged, it lets Google’s crawlers know that you’re still super hip and worthy of a high ranking. Win-Win!

But what about your old readers? Trust me, they will thank you for being a reliable resource for the latest and greatest content.

Besides, you’ve already invested the time and effort to create them, why not make them all that they can be?

Source: Andrea La-Rosa

Think of it this way…

You know that super sweet hairstyle you’ve rocked for years, the incredible bangs or maybe those stylish bleach blonde tips? They were super fly once.

But today? They may not be quite on trend anymore.

Blog posts are a similar situation. You can still love them, but times have changed and so has the information online.

It’s likely that, no matter the topic, there exists new and potentially better information about that subject you so diligently researched.

So, stay on trend! Schedule in the time for researching and updating, and see what else has surfaced since you posted.

Blogs are now the 5th most trusted source, according to @HubSpot. 🙇 One way to keep your old posts alive and kicking 🔥 today and in the future is to simply clean and update them. 🧹 Here's how you can do this. Click To Tweet

2. Digging for Gold: How to Audit Your Content

Okay, I’ve convinced you. You’ve decided to refresh your old blog posts.

But should you start now and if not, when?

Everyone asks me this question! The answer is if you have 2 or more years of content, and you haven’t updated them, you are missing out on valuable leads that could become conversions.

Make it a priority to schedule time to update your blogs every quarter. I recommend updating at least 5-10 of them for optimal results.

This can result in some serious ROI if you make the commitment to updating the content you’ve published.

Alright, you’ve decided the time is now. Have you got your editing pickaxe in hand? ⛏️ Let’s take a look at your previous masterpieces.

A great place to begin is Google Analytics.

There you can find metrics like bounce rate, social shares, and time-on-page. These will help you determine which previous posts are the best performing.

Think of Google Analytics as a stick of dynamite instead of a pickaxe. 🧨

To start, open your Google Analytics account. On the left-hand side, go to Behavior.

Then, click the Overview button. Next, navigate to the bottom right of the page and click view full report in the bottom right-hand corner.

On the next screen, there will only be 10 posts by default. You can change this by going to the bottom of the page and editing the Show rows option to any number you like: 100, or even 5,000.

Then, return to the top of the page and click Export.

Boom! You now have a perfectly organized list of your posts.

From here, look closely to determine which posts have the highest conversion rates, the largest amount of traffic, and the lowest bounce rate.

These are your golden nuggets that keep visitors engaged.

But what if you don’t use Google Analytics or what if your posts have similar stats?  Not a problem, there are other ways to determine which posts you should focus on.

One way is deciding which content is evergreen.

Evergreen content is content that will provide unique value for your visitors, generate traffic, and result in conversions for the foreseeable future.

If you’re unsure what falls into that category, think about the pieces that took you some time to craft. Examples include how-to guides, frequently asked question posts, and resource lists. While you may love that super in-depth post about Blu-ray collecting, it may not be the best choice.

Learn more in our guide on creating evergreen posts that build your business here.

Ready to go deeper? Let’s keep digging.

How do you know which old content needs some makeover? 🖌️ Here's a quick and easy tip to get right into it with the help of Google Analytics. 👨‍💻 Click To Tweet

3. So You’ve Found Your Gold, Now What?

After the sifting and searching, you now have a handful of great posts ready to be updated.

And, wow! What a treasure trove you’ve discovered.

Although the hard work may seem like it’s over, don’t stop there. It’s time to refine your posts into something even better.

To begin, choose the first blog to update and read it carefully.

Do you still love it? Are any of the facts outdated?

Did you cringe at any of your wording?

Are there any typos?

If so, start the process by fixing those small imperfections. These minor changes can mean the difference between conversions and a high bounce rate.

Also, keep in mind that your writing style may have changed over time. Try to edit the piece so that it reflects your current style.

And as you read, don’t forget to take formatting into consideration.

If your blog was a bit clunky or if there were a few too many large blocks of text that don’t exactly scream “Read me!”, think about breaking those sections up.

By creating easier-to-digest sections, it will pull your reader through your piece and encourage them to keep reading.

If you’re unsure about how to do that, head on over to our 6 simple tips for writing clear sentences article for more ways to get the most out of your blog’s structure.

Once you’ve accomplished the basics, it’s time to dig even deeper.

What else should you check in your old blog post before hitting update? 🤓 Make sure to look for typos, format errors, outdated stats, broken links, and see to it that the piece reflects your current writing style. ✔✔✔ Click To Tweet

The 4-Step Checklist for Updating Older Content (Correctly)

4 step checklist on how to update old content

1. Check for Broken Links & Outdated Research

A few issues that can happen with older blog posts: You might be linking to content that no longer exists, or the topic and discussion may not be as relevant as when you originally posted. This can increase your bounce rate and citing outdated research can significantly hurt your position as an “expert” in the field.

To see if this is the case for your piece, try checking for broken links by using tools like this free broken link checker.

If you find any links that lead you to a 404 page or to outdated posts, update them with the relevant content or simply remove them.

This lets Google know you’re on top of it and makes it more likely that your content will rank higher.

If your links are still as bright and shiny as when you first posted, consider adding new external ones.

  • Can you find new research that wasn’t available before? If so, linking to those articles can boost your credibility and increase your viewership.
  • Better than adding external links is adding internal links to your content. You likely wrote another article that relates and can help provide additional resources. Add that link in! It just might be the information your readers were looking for.

I know when I’m reading a piece that has already grabbed my attention I almost always click on their links to check out what other gems they have waiting for me. By adding internal links, you not only encourage your readers to remain on your site but it also increases the likelihood that they will share your work.

First thing to check on that old blog post? All those links! 🔗🔗🔗 You'll want your post to be clear of links leading to 404s and outdated pages. 🌟 Read more tips here on how you can update old content. 👌 Click To Tweet

2. Craft a New Headline

According to a recent study by Microsoft, the average attention span has fallen to a mere 8 seconds. 8 seconds is all you have to captivate your audience and convince them to stay.

For this reason, it’s imperative to examine your title to ensure it’s the best it can be — it’s your first and sometimes only opportunity to engage your reader.

If your post was titled, “6 Ways to Wow Your Audience,” why not add a seventh or even an eighth? Once you think you’ve got something eye-catching, don’t simply trust your gut, give it a test run.

To do so, try the AMI Institute’s Headline Analyzer. It’s a useful tool for any writer that ranks your headline according to how well it resonates with your audience based on three key types of appeal: intellectual, emotional or spiritual.

It also gives you a percentile score which indicates how powerful your title is. Most professional copywriters’ headlines will fall between 30%-40% range, while the most talented will have a 50%-75% score. Test yours to see where you land. If it’s not quite right, keep trying.

Here’s an example of a Write Blog headline hitting a 40% score:

headline analyzer

If you’re stuck and need more help, check out my video on writing killer headlines for more tips.

How you write today can be wayyy different than how it was years ago. To make sure that all your copies reflect your latest awesome writing style, power up those headlines. 🔋 🆙 There's even a tool to help you craft the best one! 🔧 Click To Tweet

3. Update Images & Copy in Your Post

If your blog is mostly text and there are little to no images, you may want to consider adding a few more. Images help the reader stay actively engaged by breaking up content.

In fact, they’re so important that one study found that when asked after three days, participants could only recall 10-20% of written information provided to them during the test but were able to recall a whopping 65% of the visual information.

This is why images are a huge component of any successful blog’s goal to maintain viewership.

Infographic from Ethos3

And, what’s better than an image? An infographic.

Infographics can help you show off incredible statistics, like the one above, in a simple format that will impress your readers and make them more likely to share your content.

If your blog is fun and lighthearted, you might try adding GIFs. They make a perfect pair to content that makes readers laugh out loud.

Just keep in mind that page load time is also a factor. If your post already takes a moment to pop up, you may want to reconsider using them.

Very few readers will wait a full 10 seconds to begin reading.

Think about the copy itself, too. If you have typos, content and quality issues, now is the time to address all of those. Quality in writing goes a long way in convincing and converting a reader.

Enhance your old content's readability 👁️‍🗨️ by adding attractive yet informative images. 🦋 Besides keeping those long posts easier to read, they help readers recall information better. 🧠 Click To Tweet

4. Finesse Your Meta Content & CTA

There are two final components of any successful content update. These are your meta content and your call to action or CTA.

Make Sure to Add or Update the Meta Title and Description

Your meta content is a combination of two items — your meta title and meta description.

The meta title is the headline that appears on search pages when users search for you or any content related to your site.

Your meta description is the small blurb beneath your site’s title on Google’s search page which tells readers what they are about to click on.

The critical meta title and description are a ‘must’ for optimal SEO and can also be the deciding factor between a user clicking on your site or choosing one of the thousands of others available to them.

While there are many strategies regarding how to optimize, the main goal is to be specific.

In the example above, our meta title is Why Blog? 52 Incredible Blogging Statistics to Inspire YouThis is highly specific to our topic and interesting to the reader. Bonus: It has numbers! Numbers are great to draw readers’ eyes.

If your post is about options for gardening services in Southern California, the meta title should not be something generic. For example, “Gardeners for Your Home” is an extremely weak meta title. A better option is one that is not only location-specific, (e.g. Southern California) but one that also includes keywords. “How to Find the Best Gardener in Southern California: 5 Steps to a Great Partnership” is not only specific but contains all of the keywords associated with your content.

This lets both the reader and search engines know precisely what your site contains. By using targeted language, it increases the chance that you will rank higher and viewers will choose your site.

Your meta description should also be similarly crafted. It is an extension of your title and should contain a small snapshot of carefully selected keywords and phrases that relate to your page’s topic.

If this is all new to you and you want to learn how to write powerful meta descriptions, check out our guide on how to write meta content.

Never leave your snippets unedited 🖋️. Be sure to add or update that old meta title and description and feel free to rewrite them until you're sure that they have the right length that perfectly tells what your content is about. 💯 Click To Tweet

Add CTAs Too When Updating Old Content

The last and arguably one of the most important factors to creating conversions is your call to action or CTA.

These can be placed within a sentence, like the one above, a button on your site or a pop-up window within your blog that encourages the reader to take action in some way.

Businesses spend countless dollars each year researching how to effectively leverage the color, position, and wording of their CTAs so they can get their customers to the next section of their funnel.

Here’s an example:

Each of these two buttons is a CTA, but they both have one goal: Transform a visitor into a consumer. The only difference is the wording. One focuses on stoking enthusiasm and curiosity, “Everyone loves us.” The other acts as a mirror encouraging you to try the thing everyone loves and to do it now.

While tactics like using scarcity to induce a feeling of FOMO like “Buy now before we run out,” are effective, what’s more effective is knowing your audience. While some companies would cringe at a CTA that says, “Get yo goods,” for another, it’s the perfect CTA for their clients.

Why? Because it fits their brand and their product. By knowing who your readers are and what they want, you can craft CTAs that are lightyears ahead of the average “Buy now,” button. Then, sit back and watch the conversions roll in.

By creating an enticing CTA within rather than just hoping a reader will take action, the chances increase exponentially that they will like, subscribe, or purchase that ebook you worked so hard on.

While we could spend pages talking about how to write a CTA — and we have — if you need some inspirational tips on how to write a CTA that’s guaranteed to generate conversions, head over to our piece about how to write a sensational CTA after you finish here.

See what we did there?

🏁Never miss adding call-to-action aka CTAs 🏁. CTAs invite readers to go to your next desired step such as subscribing to your newsletter 📰, purchasing an item 🛒, or just reading another post to keep them hooked on your site! 🪑 Click To Tweet

4. Republishing: How to Show Off Your New Bling

Congratulations, you’ve done it!

You braved the journey into your content gold mine and came out with some incredible pieces. After a bit of hard work, they are now gleaming.

Now comes the fun, reposting.

When you repost, I recommend including a small note at the top stating when the piece was updated. This lets readers know that it’s hot off your fingertips and worthy of reading. Here’s an example of how we’ve done that:

If you’re worried your audience won’t respond because they have already seen the post, it’s important to remember that it’s not the same content you had before. You’ve transformed it into something trendy and relevant.

It’s also good to keep in mind that the value of your blog is not in the immediate viewership achieved but in the potential thousands who will visit in the future.

By following our simple steps above to keep your blog updated, you’ll boost your visitor count and earn consistently higher traffic numbers to your content.

Before you hit that Update button, leave a small note at the top that tells when the post was originally written and when it was updated. 🧽✨This lets the readers know your old post is refreshed and has new details not to be missed. 🐣 Click To Tweet

Extra Ways to Make Your Post Sparkle

If you’re still looking for new ways to update your old content after doing all of the tips above, consider a few of the extra options below.

Do you have a podcast or will you be featured in one soon? Think about how you can integrate your piece into the recording.

Try rewriting it as a script or mentioning a small snippet to encourage listeners to give it a read.

If you have an active email campaign that keeps your readers engaged with your site, use it to show off work they may not have seen yet.

Take an excerpt from the posts you’re revamping and include it in your next email campaign. Then, create a CTA that encourages readers to “Check out the whole article” and provide a link.

If you’ve read all of this and think, “gee this is just too much,” that’s okay too! Our goal is to make creating content easy. If you need more inspiration, check out my Write Blog for kicka$$ ideas that can help you get the most from your content.

how to update old content CTA

36 replies
  1. Conrad
    Conrad says:

    Great article- we have quite a number of older blog posts on our website. This has given me the inspiration to rework them further.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Why thank you! We hope you come back for more great content! We publish something new each week! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      We are beyond thrilled to hear that, Bharat! We hope you keep coming back for more great content each week! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      No, thank YOU for joining us! We are so happy to hear that you got such value out of this piece! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      So glad you enjoyed reading this piece, Abhishek! Thanks for the wonderful feedback! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  2. sachin sharma
    sachin sharma says:

    Check for Broken Links & Outdated Research. …
    Craft a New Headline. …
    Update Images & Copy in Your Post. …
    Finesse Your Meta Content & CTA.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Check for Broken Links & Outdated Research. … ✔️
      Craft a New Headline. … ✔️
      Update Images & Copy in Your Post. … ✔️
      Finesse Your Meta Content & CTA. ✔️

      Yup! You got it, Sachin Sharma! 😀 Thanks for stopping by!! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      We love sharing opportunities to learn! We hope you come back for more great opportunities! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  3. Officejet pro
    Officejet pro says:

    Thanks for sharing some good blogging sites that I can comment. Can you help me in finding more links for seo backlinks for my website.

    Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      We love sharing valuable resources for others to learn from! Thanks for stopping by! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      We are so glad you got such value out of this post! We hope you join us for more as we head into 2020! ️🎉 ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply

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