Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Six Techniques that Will Revitalize Your Old Content

by Jessica Anderson on September 27, 2012

in Book Events, Giveaways

Bloggiesta

UPDATE: Giveaway closed. And the winner is . . . Ash of Smash Attack! Congratulations to her and to everyone for participating in Bloggiesta and making your awesome blogs even better.

Welcome Bloggiesta-ers! I hope you are having a productive Bloggiesta. Thank you to Suey and Danielle for hosting this lovely event.
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As you post more and more on your blog, you have more and more old content that rarely sees the light of day.  Blogs are designed to feature the most current content by showing everything in reverse chronological order.  So, yes, you may have a few posts that get decent search engine traffic, but most of your old content languishes without being seen.  And, let’s face it, there is some genius stuff in there!

Don’t let your hard work go to waste!  Highlighting old content will likely increase your traffic and will most certainly bring to light some excellent stuff.  I encourage you to review this list and carefully consider implementing a few of them.  Even if your blog is shiny new, these techniques are good habits for you to acquire as you amass your content.

1. Cross-link older posts.

This is a simple way to make sure readers are seeing older but related content. Have you reviewed several books in a series?  Make sure links to the other reviews are included on each review. Do you have a feature unique to your blog?  Make it easy to access older posts in the feature. Do you have several discussion or other posts that relate to or build on each other?  Inter-link them!

Here’s an example of cross-linking on my blog from a Steve Kluger week I put together back in early 2010.

2. Promote popular posts in a sidebar or a footer.

Like cross-linking, promoting popular posts is a simple way to highlight older content. There are any number of ways to go about selecting the posts to be featured.  There are plenty of plugins and widgets that will automatically select posts for you based on certain criteria. Or, you can handpick the posts based on trends in your traffic and your favorite work.  This is probably the best way to ensure that the selected posts are the ones you want to feature.

I recently started experimenting with this concept here at The Bluestocking Society.  You’ll see my “popular reading” section of handpicked posts at the top of my sidebar.

3. Link to related content at the end of your blog posts.

Including links to related content will help readers find the additional content that will most likely appeal to them. Again, there are plenty of plugins and widgets and theme features that will do this for you. But it can be particularly effective if you hand-pick the related posts.  You’ll likely know your audience better than a computer algorithm, and hand-selecting content for key posts will better ensure that the reader finds her way to your best applicable content.

I use both methods.  I use a WordPress plugin called YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin) to automatically generate related content for every post I publish.  And then for certain posts, I’ll do a personalized “further reading” section.  Here is an example of a further reading section I put together on my site’s most popular post, my review of Midnight Sun.

4. Create “best of” posts.

These types of posts are fun to do and fun to read and can be done in a variety of ways.  Here are some ideas:

  • Best of (My Blog)
  • Best of 2011
  • Best of the first half of 2012
  • Best of the week
  • Best of last August
  • Best of (paranormal romance) reviews
  • Best of (My Blog’s Feature)
  • Best of (A Blogosphere Event)
  • Best of comments during September

The possibilities on this are endless. And these posts could very well be the best way to showcase the best of your oldest content.

I am putting together a “best of book club” post with my favorite book club reads to bring together old content in a new way. I also do the traditional “best of the year” posts each December. Here is my 2010 Top 10 List.

5. Update an older post.

Take an older post and update it in some way.  Once you update a post, make sure to publicize the update or repost it.  (And then make sure that you note in some way that the post is updated and cross-link to the older post!) Here are some ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Update a review upon a reread
  • Update literary news
  • Update your views on a discussion post
  • Follow up on a post comment
  • Update a book list or meme

Again, the possibilities are endless.

I recently updated my 2008 post of Entertainment Weekly’s “New Classics” list with the books on the list I’ve read since then.

6. Post links to older content on Twitter and Facebook.

This technique is easy and fast to implement. And it can be particularly effective if you have an older post that relates to a current topic of interest.

Though you can easily perform this task by hand, there is a cool plugin for WordPress called, aptly enough, Tweet Old Posts.  This plugin will mine your older content (based on criteria you select) and post links to your Twitter account automatically.

I recently promoted an old 2010 post from a feature of mine called Readers Uncovered on Twitter:

A final word of caution.

As you go about promoting your older content, make sure you give those posts a once-over and a face lift, if necessary. Correct any errors. Make sure links and graphics are working. If you’re taking the trouble to highlight it, make sure it’s worth highlighting. Now, go forth and revitalize!

GIVEAWAY

I’m giving away an ebook of 31 Days To Finding Your Blogging Mojo, by Brian Allain to one lucky Bloggiesta participant. To enter, simply apply one of the above techniques on your blog. Then come back here and post a link to the technique (or, in the case of future posts, describe your application of the technique) in the comments. I’ll announce a winner on Sunday evening.

Oh, and feel free to contact me or comment here with any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to help!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Mene September 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I have a few items in my review template where I can link to older posts, notably:

Reviews for other books in this series (up till now):
Reviews for other books by this author (up till now):
Related links:

In ‘related links’ I can post links to reviews about books on the same topic.
In my latest post, I’ve used the ‘other books by this author’: http://moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/97261.html Most of the time I do use the ‘other books in this series’, however.
In my latest course book review, I’ve used the ‘related links’ a LOT: http://moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/91630.html Course book reviews are very good for cross-linking :P

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Jenny September 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Sigh, this is all great advice. It overwhelms me to thing about doing it all but it’s sad that I don’t get much traffic on my older posts. I need to link more!

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Bibliotropic September 28, 2012 at 5:50 am

It’s good to know that I’m at least doing some things right when it comes to maintaining my blog and keeping content circulating. I do try to backlink, especially when I’m reviewing books in a series or by the same author. I cross-post to Twitter and Facebook (actually, and app does that for Facebook automatically, so that I have no excuses and don’t forget). But I admit that I don’t promote posts much on my blog, or create many lists, and I know that both of those would help a lot. Thanks for the reminders!

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Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) September 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

This is great! One of my goals for Bloggiesta this time around is to cross-link posts. I have quite a few books that are part of a series OR authors who have a few different books I’ve read. I’m hoping to link them all up!

Thanks for sharing!

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Amanda @ Letters Inside Out September 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I use YARPP automatically, I love it! I also started using Tweet Old Post in the past few months.

Changes I just made and will be making:
*Changed the tweet frequency for Tweet Old Post. I had been only doing about every day, because I wasn’t tweeting much due to time restraints. I just upped that to be more frequent now that I’m back.

*Adding in series links! I usually try to do this, but sometimes I forget. So I added it into my template! Won’t forget anymore. :)

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Carina (Reading Through Life) September 29, 2012 at 4:43 am

I use LinkWithin to link to related posts on my blog. I tried to use YARPP originally, but I found that it didn’t work for me as well.

I’m really hoping to do some “best of” lists or something near the end of this year. I definitely don’t publicize my older posts like I possibly could.

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Smash Attack September 29, 2012 at 5:52 am

Yay! I installed YARPP and I think it works beautifully! Thank you for the great idea. :) http://www.smashattackreads.com/2012/09/bloggiesta-bitches-2/

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Rikki September 29, 2012 at 6:55 am

Great challenge. I installed “Tweet old posts” and tweeted an old post right away: https://twitter.com/Ailuah/status/252027933554769921 Totally love it.

For related posts I use nRelate which does a good job considering it is automated. I agree hand picked posts are better but very time consuming. I used to use a great plugin for that called Microkids Related Posts. It let you pick the posts you want to add as related posts and appends them to your blog post. Very convenient, but I always forgot to do it, :).

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Beth @ Too Fond September 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

There are some great ideas here–I’ve bookmarked it to come back and look at again later. For now, I included a ‘top posts’ widget on my sidebar. Looks good! :)

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Liza September 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

Great mini-challenge! I’ve been doing #1, #3 and #6 for quite awhile (sample post for #3: http://blog.socketsandlightbulbs.com/2012/07/31/how-not-to-implement-agile/).

I’ve seen “Popular Posts” in the sidebar of other blogs and have clicked those links. Your mini-challenge is giving me a much-needed push do the same on my blog. I’ll add it to the end of my list and hopefully I’ll get to it this weekend. I hadn’t thought of doing “The Best Of…” Thanks for the suggestion!

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Nova Reylin September 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I love this!! I just recently put a few of these into place and will be working on all of them… slowly but surely!

Thanks so much!

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Lisa September 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm

What great ideas! I do always link back to my previous reviews if I’m referencing a book I’ve read and reviewed or reviewing another book by the same author. But I never thought to do these other things. I’m definitely going to be using #4 – I’ve got drafts set up for two ideas: Best Book Club Discussion books (where I’ll list the books my book club has read during the past 3 1/2 years and enjoyed) and Best Non-Fiction Books. Definitely will have to think about other ways I can review past content – thanks for the reminder to fluff it, though, because I definitely write differently than I did 3 years ago!

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Chrisbookarama September 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I can’t believe I never thought of this before! I added Linkwithin to the bottom of my posts (I use Blogger). I also started a list of “Best of” lists that I’ll be working on.

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melissa @ 1lbr September 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Love this. I think I’m going to come back to this post lots of times and do more. I added LinkWithin (which, I love in other people’s blogs). I do have a list of links to favorite posts already, but I want to do the popular posts one and also the tweet old posts. And I need to update my old posts too :)

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Jennifer September 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

I do a decent job on some of these but I love the idea of sharing older posts on FB and Twitter. “Best of” posts are a GREAT idea and I’m going to add my popular posts to my sidebar right now!

Thanks for this challenge :)

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Judith September 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

I have linked reviews from books by the same author to each other. So, for instance, this Tess Gerritsen review links to all other books I read by her, and they link to each other too: https://twitter.com/Leeswammes/status/252438875237150720

I also made a Pinterest board (for a different mini-challenge) with some of my favorite books from this year (and links to my reviews of them). I was thinking to put a link to that in my sidebar!

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Shar M. September 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Great tips! I just installed the “Wordpress Popular Posts” plug-in and added it to my sidebar. I already have related content added to the footer of my posts, but rather than a plug-in, I’ve been using LinkWithin, which shows related posts with thumbnails: http://www.linkwithin.com

Love the idea of “Best of…” Posts, so I think I’m going to do that with some of my travel posts and also at the end of the year. :) Thank you!

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Jenni Elyse September 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I already do a lot of cross-linking. It’s something I’ve done for a while and I do get some hits off of that. I installed the plugin you use to post related content. We’ll see how that works. ;) And, I’m going to do a few best of 2012 posts in December. That’ll be fun. I’m sure I’ll implement over techniques you’ve talked about, but these are the ones I can think of right now, lol. Thanks for the advice.

Also, I was wondering about the book I won in your Utah Book challenge you did. Do you just want me to give you my address?

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Alexia561 September 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Love your idea of linking reviews for all books in a series! I never thought of that, but it’s a great idea! Thanks!

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Deb Nance September 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm

This was my favorite mini-challenge of Bloggiesta. Thank you for these great ideas.

I’m off to repost an old post on Twitter. :-)

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Amber Stults September 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Nice mini-challenge, Jessica! Columbus is home to the Thurber House which holds author events throughout the year. I’ve gone to a few past events and will be going to some next month. You’ve given me the idea to include links to their past events with the current events. Thanks!

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Laurie C September 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I noticed your Popular Posts list not too long ago, and just saw that I could install a plug-in for related posts. I just migrated my blog today and it took most of the day! I knew that I couldn’t even attempt any mini-challenges, but your post has given me some good ideas to come back to.

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Samantha (@uiteendoosje) September 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I’ve added Yarpp to both my blogs (http://cy-v.nl/uiteendoosje/2012/09/24/bloggiesta-again-again/, http://cy-v.nl/metdepaplepel/2012/09/24/bloggiesta-september-2012/), brought up an old recipe on twitter (without knowing about the challenge!) and will post a highlight the most popular posts. They will also be featured on my new and improved 404 pages!
I’ll give all my posts on both blogs a ones over in time when I will post them to pinterest! Lovely challenge, and even though I already planned it partially, I didn’t think of something like YARPP! Thank you!

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Jessica September 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

UPDATE: Giveaway Closed! Winner announced at the top of the post.

But please feel free to continue commenting about your Bloggiesta progress, if you so desire. :)

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Jennifer Lane November 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

Great ideas–thank you! And congrats to Smash.

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