update-4223736_1280

How to update an old blog post

One of my suggestions for helping you to maintain a constant turnover of regular blogs is to look at updating an old blog. When you have been blogging for a couple of years or so, you can forget about all of the wonderful content you have just sat on your website waiting to be repurposed. You may cringe at some of your early posts, but equally, you are likely to find some gems hidden inside.

We are often busy and under pressure and blog writing can become an arduous task, so updating an old blog can be a small ‘quick win’ at your busiest times. Don’t rely on it as a strategy, however, followers will soon realise you are just recycling old content and the same old messages, again and again. But…depending on how long you have been blogging there are likely to be great posts that can really shine with a bit of an update and a polish.

Selecting a blog post to update

Making the selection can be the hardest part as you scroll through past posts wondering what to offer that can be regarded as relevant. I suggest considering four things:

  1. What do your readers love reading about? Select an old blog post on a popular topic
  2. What is out of date? Select an old blog post which may include out of date stats or references
  3. What caused most engagement? Select an old blog which caused a reaction or lots of comment that you can now reflect upon in an update
  4. What have areas have earnt most about or, possibly, changed your mind about? Select an old blog that covered content before you did a training or updated your understanding through some research
  5. What is particular relevant due to a global/national situation? Select an old blog that happens to relate to a topic which is current (e.g. loads of people are recycling their ‘home working’ and ‘crisis management’ blogs now because of the Coronavirus – and rightly so!)

Once you have found a blog post to update – there are then three further steps you take to refresh it.

Check for out of date, inaccurate or irrelevant references

Go through your original blog post and check for items which are no longer true. ‘Facts’ actually do change, as does best practice guidance and good advice. When I started blogging, it was all about the golden number of 500 words, now when discussing length, there is all kinds of evidence that longer form content is more powerful for both engagement and SEO – see: https://neilpatel.com/blog/long-blog-articles/ for example. So, I would need to update my advice on length and explain it.

You should also check any links to make sure they are not broken and again remain relevant. If your blog post is 2 or more years old then it is likely that the page you were linking too may also be that old or significantly more, so consider its relevance and if there is an alternative, or if this link should simply be scrapped.

Add to the information offered

As recommended above, the length of blog posts can be much longer than once suggested so consider how you can add to what you offered originally. Don’t just put a chunk at the bottom – look at each section or paragraph and look at ways to weave in new content.

You can even discuss points identified as out of date, i.e. “Back in 2018 it was suggested that 500 words was the ultimate blog length but now statistics show that longer length content gets more engagement and shares and here’s why…”

If you don’t know about the current situation on a topic you have discussed, then do some research – look for recent articles and make comparisons. Check whether what you suggested is still accurate.

Discuss points of advice that haven’t changed – saying that they remain consistent and why this is.

If you had interesting comments or questions on the original post then consider ways to include these in the updated posts – answer the questions or discuss the points raised.

Consider also adding imagery, quotes and calls to action. A lot of websites now have a lot more functionality and better editors so you can make the ‘look’ of a blog post seem a lot more engaging. Don’t forget to update the featured image too.

Give your whole post a through edit

Once you have made your additions and taken away any irrelevant or inaccurate content, now is the time to give your whole blog a thorough edit and refresh. Don’t just proofread. You are updating! So, think about your choice of words and formation of sentences. Check your headings and subheadings – can you update these? Make them clearer? Include better keywords? …perhaps your original post didn’t even have headings! Remember to try to ‘catch the readers’ interest.

Consider also your opening and closing paragraphs. These are what readers will focus on and ‘take in’ the most, so these need to be really engaging and don’t forget a good ‘call to action’ – what you want readers to do?

Remember to also check tags and any descriptions you may have added.

Finally, it is also perfectly acceptable to state that this is an updated post and discuss why you wanted to update it and even link back to the original. This can be subtle at the bottom or made plain and obvious at the start depending on what you feel is appropriate.

Get updating…

Updating blogs is completely legitimate practice, and as I said at the beginning a really great time saving method. Your original content deserves a second chance, especially if you have a much larger following now.

If you want to some support with blog writing or further tips for ‘quick wins’ take a look at other posts in my Blogging Category , and comment below with any questions.

Leave a Comment