Yes, you read that right. I said 700-day blog post shelf life. In the social media realm that's ancient. Can you imagine tweeting about a blog post that was published in 2013? I want to cringe just thinking about it, but I can't. Why? Because the numbers tell me not to.
IZEA, a company that connects social media content creators with brands, partnered with strategic research agency Halverson Group to answer the question that has been on every content creator's mind: What is the actual life expectancy of a blog post?
Starting with more than 62,000 posts, and narrowing them down to 500, they evaluated the daily impression change of each post over a two-year period. What they found was that blog posts go through three phases:
- The Shout Phase: The first-week spike during which 50% of the blog post's total impressions are generated (because you're eagerly pushing out that new content)
- The Echo Phase: The 30 days following publication, during which 72% of the blog post's total impressions are generated (because you'll be darned if you don't get the most out of it)
- The Reverberate Phase: The seemingly endless stretch from 30-700 days, during which the remaining 28% of the blog's total impressions are generated (because you didn't know you could actually post something past 30 days without looking like a content marketing fool)
And so, the 700-day blog post shelf life was born.
It's hard to argue with stats, but one has to ask: Is it worth it? And, if so, How can I adjust my content marketing strategy to accommodate 700 days?
Let's start with the former question.
With more than 409 million people viewing more than 19.8 billion WordPress blog pages each month and more than 250 million blogs on Tumblr alone, blogging is one of the most critical forms of communication today. In fact, I often tell clients that a company blog is the rug that ties the room together—allowing me to slip a Big Lebowski reference into a client meeting.
Moreover, that reference comes with a recommendation: Revolve all social channels around a company blog, because it's the one channel where you can truly tell your own story in your own words. Unlike traditional media where the journalist tells your story or social networks where customers share their brand experiences with other customers on your behalf, you're the storyteller on your blog. Want to highlight your brand's history? Write a blog post. Need to validate a new product? Share a customer's experience with said product. Have something to say about a competitor's latest announcement? Put your point of view in a post. There are so many ways to use a blog when communicating with key audiences...
Although the benefits of having a company blog far outweigh the cost of running one (a corporate blog program could run approximately $2,500 a month on the low end), you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your investment.
So really, why not extend a blog post's shelf life to 700 days? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here's how you do it.
1. It all starts with a sourcing session
Planning to promote a blog post for 700 days begins with topic brainstorming. IZEA found that different content drives different patterns of impressions. Blog posts that speak to timely news, such as the upcoming Apple announcement, won't have a long shelf life. Impressions for posts about timely topics peak early and die off quickly. Impressions for posts about evergreen topics may have a smaller initial peak but a longer tail of impressions.
Accordingly, when planning out a blog editorial calendar, it's important to include a good mix of timely and evergreen topics. Topics can be culled from subject matter experts as well as forums and social networks where your customers ask questions you can respond to.
Once you have your calendar of topics, identify which ones will have the most longevity and set them aside for your slate, or social media messaging calendar. For those with less longevity, think of ways to update them in the future with a short paragraph or two that would make them relevant again. For instance, that blog post I mentioned earlier about the Apple announcement... Why not revisit it once or twice over the two-year period with an update when the next Apple announcement comes around? That will provide you with new fodder for social messages.
2. Create a slate
Every content marketing strategy needs a calendar of messages for all created and curated content. We like to slate in these messages during ideal days and times throughout the month, thus creating a slate of content. This new research shows that it's time to extend the length of a slate from one to three months to two years.
Don't panic, though. As the months go by, the messages will taper off more and more. For instance, Kissmetrics recommends slating messages to go out when a blog post goes live, a few hours after, the next day, then the next wee,k and even on into the next three months. Doing so creates a "peppered" approach to driving blog traffic.
The same approach should be applied to a 700-day slate. Though it all comes down to best days and even times of year to post, we recommend pushing out blog content for a specific post one to three times each month, through the 700-day mark. Think about it. That's, at most, 69 social messages and, at the least, 23. It might seem like a lot now, but it won't over the long haul. Two years from now, you may be more than happy that you developed 69 messages for one post when you see the traffic it drove to your site, the comments it spurred or the customers it converted.
To get even more out of your blog posts, check out Google's recommendations for promoting your blog in a variety of ways.
3. Make scheduling tools your new best friend
Now you have 69 social media messages that need to go out over 700 days. Who is responsible for making sure those go out? Though you may have someone in mind now, where will they be in two years? That's up in the air, but scheduling tools such as Hootsuite love you long time.
I've never scheduled messages that far in advance in Hootsuite, but they do offer the option to set it and forget it two years out. Spend time plugging your messages into a scheduling tool, and you won't have to worry about it... not for 700 days.
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IZEA may have found that blog content lives on for 700 days, which is certainly important to note if you're looking to make the most of your blog content, but just in case you don't have the time or resources to devote to that content for 700 days, there's a cheat. If the success of blog posts thus far has focused on metrics over a one-month period of time, multiply the post's monthly pageviews by 1.4 to calculate the lifetime value of the blog post. This will give you a metric to plug into reports, but the best way to increase the longevity of a blog post and make sure all that hard work pays off is to continue proactively pushing blog content out on your social channels. As HubSpot once put it, your online fans may have missed it or might gain a new perspective after reading it a second time.