Do you have dynamite old content wasting away in the archives of your blog?
Sure you do. We all do.
That old content the world has forgotten, is just as valuable today as it was the day you hit publish. The problem isn’t that the world forgot about your old content… the problem is YOU forgot about it.
We get consumed with chasing traffic, creating new blog posts every day trying to increase our counting numbers when we could be spending our time promoting our old content to gain new subscribers and reengage our current audience.
No More Dated Cotent
One of the reasons our old content doesn’t get the love it should is because it’s dated. Unless you’re a news publication where dated content is a necessity, there is no reason to date your content. Visitors assume that dated content is less relevant then current content even though the majority of the time this is not the case.
So I encourage you to remove the date from the URL of your blog. There is an excellent resource by Yoast on How to Change Permalink Structure that shows you exactly how I did this. I would also encourage you to remove the date from your post byline (If you have the Genesis Framework this guide will show you how).
Once you’ve removed the date from your URLs visitors will view every piece of content as if it was created today and resurrecting old content on Google Plus makes more sense. Your audience today is not the same as it was a year ago, or even six months ago, so don’t hesitate to resurrect old content for fear your audience has already seen it. Only a few have and if the content is good enough they’ll enjoy viewing it again.
Resurrect Old Content on Google Plus
A little over a month ago I started pulling old content out of my archive and sharing it on Google Plus.
Regular users of Google Plus are a very engaged bunch. Quality content that stirs thought and/or emotion received fantastic engagement in form of comments and shares. So began reaching back into my archives to find old content that was received well by my audience and sharing them in Google Plus as if they were brand-new blog posts.
Remember, old content is brand new to anyone who hasn’t seen it.
However I will warn you against simply copy and pasting the link from an old blog post into Google Plus. Google plus is not Twitter. The people who are actively engaged in the Google Plus community are looking for more than just a shared link. It’s important to explain why someone should click through the whole article.
Tell a story, add an additional thought, highlight an additional resource… Add value.
Here a screenshot of my traffic stats from Google Plus:
1) Google Plus visitors who click through to your website are interested in reading more evidenced by over two pages per visit.
2) Google Plus visitors are invested in the content spending over four minutes per visit.
3) There is a community forming around the content I’m creating as you can see only 33% new visitors. Even though I’m still attracting new visitors there are a lot of people returning to learn more.
4) A 50% bounce rate is incredibly good for any medium and means visitors are sticking around.
Sum this all up and you get the perfect platform to resurrect old content and build an audience deeply invested in your content.
So what does a good Google Plus post look like?
Anatomy of a Google Plus Post
I have no delusions that what I’m about to share with you is the perfect format for posting to Google Plus (I encourage your suggestions below in the comments). That being said, this is a very productive guide for creating posts within Google Plus that will generate traffic.
The theory is simple… give people a reason to click your link.
Each Google Plus post is a promotion for your article, a trailer, a teaser, a piece of the story that entices anyone who reads it to click through to the full article.
1) Bold Headline Grabs Readers Attention
In Google Plus you can format the text within a post. To bold box text with the “*” symbol. Just like with the headline of your blog post the first line needs to draw readers in to the rest of the post.
The first line in a Google Plus post is also what will be used as the headline in Google Search results. In most cases you do not want this first line to be the same as the title of the old content but it can contain similar keywords.
2) Use Italics to Draw Readers Eyes Through Post
Similar to bold formatting use the “_” symbol to italicize text. Italics help to attract the attention of the reader and to move their eyes down the page to your click-through link.
3) Sandwich Link Between Post Content
To maximize exposure and opportunity sandwich your link between content in the Google Plus post. You want to force anyone who reads the Google Plus post to have to look through the link in order to get to get the entire article. What has worked well so far is placing the link directly after I make a short point followed by a question.
4) Include a Call-for-Engagement
Asking questions at the end of your Google plus post will encourage people to comment and share which ultimately puts more eyes on your content. Not to mention the community building aspect of engagement.
5) Use Hashtags to Target Audience
Google Plus uses hashtags as a way to sort out content. For all my posts I hashtag #contentwarfare which allows me to easily go back and find certain veins of content. It also allows me to brand my content. Additionally, I will include relevant hashtags based on whatever the main concept of the post is. Many people within the Google Plus platform search via hashtag, so using hashtags gives you more opportunity to get your post in front of eyeballs inside of Google Plus.
6) Use Images to Attract Attention
Maximize the amount of attention every post gets by attaching an image. A great place to find shareable photos is PhotoPin.com. The only caveat to using PhotoPin is that you need to include an attribution link for each image (which I don’t think is a big deal in exchange for quality images).
The nature of Google Plus and its users is to be engaged. I caution you in simply sharing an article with a link with no story, teaser or trailer. additional value. Adding a little extra value to each post will help you generate significant traffic back to your site. This includes using formatting options like bold and italics, as well as this adding relevant images.
Don’t forget about the rich media capabilities of Google Plus. Long-form content marketing strategies such as YouTube videos, podcasts and infographics work very well in Google Plus as well.
I’m not advocating you should replace your blog with Google Plus. We don’t own Google Plus profile or the posts that we create. At any time Google could change the rules or simply stop supporting the platform and we lose our post content forever.
But by adding a small story, a few extra thoughts and a little bit of context inside of Google Plus posts along with a link to your old content and a nice image we can resurrect old content and generate new traffic.
Thank you and good luck,
I am Ryan Hanley