I hate when my searches land me on pages that are clearly outdated or inaccurate. Too often in our pursuit of building content-rich sites, we skip over the need to review, update, and toss out content as needed. We also forget that the needs of our readers/visitors may have changed, too.
Despite being capable wielders of digital (and therefore flexible) technology, I’m surprised at how few writers and companies embrace revision. Solid content can remain so for an extended period of time, particularly if it’s maintained with care.
It reminds me a bit of our approach to personal health. We’ll live a lot longer and feel a lot better if we take care of ourselves along the way. But, just like our aversion to regular exercise and a healthy diet, we’re often resistant to giving the same, regular attention to our content.
A Content Makeover
A few times I’ve been approached to redo a website or a marketing piece with the plea to start from scratch. On rare occasions, this approach makes the most sense. But if it was solid work to begin with, I can usually take the basic structure and give it a new coat of paint, saving both time and money.
Here’s how you can give your content a makeover:
- Update references. Things change, and unless the idea or premise you’re promoting is wildly out of date, look for new sources to reference.
- Update images. Few things will date your work more than images of 80s bangs and shoulder pads. With so many royalty-free options available, new images are an easy way to give content a fresh appeal.
- Remove dated slang/terminology. Reading terms that reflect previous technology, for example, distracts from what may otherwise be solid principles. Look for better ways to describe your concepts that rely less on words likely to change over time.
Toss It Out
Making the recommendation to toss content out doesn’t happen very often. But you owe it to yourself and what you want to accomplish to assess regularly if content is helping or hurting you. Perhaps it’s too vague or related to something you used to do in the past. Maybe it promotes a service or technique that’s since been called into question. Ultimately you’re writing to not only help people learn, but to also establish your authority. Make sure the content that you sign your name to does both.