To update? Or not to update? It’s a tricky one…
Depending on the subject matter and when you published it, the blog could be very out-of-date, which isn’t delivering value to your audience. However, that blog is still working very hard in terms of SEO, helping you to be found online.
I think it’s always a good idea to periodically review all your content, not just in terms of the subject covered but also in terms of its online performance – which you can quickly and easily ascertain through web monitoring tools, like Google Analytics.
Other copywriters may disagree with me, but rather than simply updating what you have with new facts, figures and thinking, I’d advocate re-spinning the blog to create a new piece of content.
Compare and contrast
It could be interesting to write a comparison piece that says, “This is what we thought X years ago because of Y. But times have changed and the world moved on. Now, because of A, B is happening…”.
Writing a comparison piece you’re acknowledging your thinking was valid at the time, but either something in the market has changed, or your business has learned something new, and so now you have a different opinion – and that’s a really great thing because it establishes your credibility in being dedicated to your industry and continuous learning.
A different opinion
Another idea is to acknowledge the first piece, but perhaps consider the issue from a different viewpoint and see if you would still reach the same conclusion.
For example, if your original blog looked at cloud migration from the perspective of a CEO wanting to gain efficiency savings, your new piece could consider it from an end user perspective and how they may be fearing the change and having to learn something new.
Taking this approach, you get to demonstrate you understanding for the whole market and all the periphery considerations, rather than your core offering and audience.
It may be that your first piece was a statement of fact that simply summed up a particular issue or market trend – essentially the ‘what’. In this new follow up piece, you can take the next step to elaborate on ‘how’ the audience might tackle it.
For example, if your original piece talked about the GDPR legislation and what it meant for organisations, this new piece could look at how organisations have coped since the deadline passed and what they need to be thinking about now in order to ensure their ongoing compliance.
In doing this, you could even share mini-case examples – ideally using your own clients – to demonstrate that you can actually do what you say you can do.
Given that some time has passed since you published your first blog, you could use it as an opportunity to evaluate the lessons learned and how your audience can now benefit from what others have gone through.
For example, imagine your first piece was about cyber security and how x% of organisations had implemented device management to ensure their business remained protected with employees working remotely. With some quick and simple research you could find out what’s happened since then – what are the challenges these companies have encountered in rolling out that programme and getting staff to adhere to the policy.
Then your new follow up piece would be something like “X mistakes every Y needs to avoid”, or “Which one of these mistakes did you make?” with advice on how they can overcome those challenges.
Every piece of content can be re-spun in different ways
There’s a real joy in taking an existing piece of copy and using your imagination to come up with new and interesting ways to continue the story. You could simply update what you have, but why would you when it’s so much fun to find a new angle and establish that dialogue with your audience?