Last week, we covered three ways to evaluate your posts to find your top content. Now that you’ve narrowed down your 2016 blogs to find the best, it’s time to breathe some life back into those posts. Our goal is to revive old posts from your top content in a scalable way with as much automation as possible. Thanks to HootSuite’s bulk composer, you can schedule a month’s worth of re-promotion in a few minutes.
Why You Should Revive Old Posts
Before we tackle the tech set up, let’s look at several reasons why it’s so valuable to revive and promote old posts.
Old posts have accrued SEO rankings: Assuming your content is interesting and well-written, posts published months – and even years ago – may have excellent rankings in the search engine results pages. Your site may already be benefitting from significant traffic from these older posts. Revising the posts to ensure they remain up-to-date and relevant takes a bit of time, but it’s faster than writing a new post, and it guarantees the content will be seen due to visitors from search.
Follower reach is never 100%: Your followers’ activity spans, on average, at least 16 hours of every 24. For global clients, 24 hours is the norm – your followers are active 24/7. Knowing this, it’s safe to assume that many of your followers may have missed your initial promotion of a blog post in the days or weeks that followed its publication.
Your social network followers have grown: With our clients, we see increases in follower numbers from 15-40% year over year. A significant chunk of your followers weren’t around for the posts you published six weeks – let alone six months – ago. It’s as good as new for them.Our goal is to revive old posts in a scalable way with automation, but without sacrificing quality. Click To Tweet
Your Preflight Checklist
Before you set out to revive old posts from your blog, make sure each one meets the following criteria:
- Factually accurate and up-to-date: Give each post a quick edit to ensure all elements are still correct. It’s also smart to remove time-bound references (“this week”) or out-of-season quips that will detract from the content.
- Valuable and relevant: Be selective in what you include to ensure you’re still delivering your best content. Posts that are still accurate but less actionable due to their age are best left out of your ongoing promotional mix.
- Top performers: Having completed your top content analysis, you know what resonated with readers over the last year. Focus on your best performing posts and omit those that didn’t spark traffic, engagement or leads.
Automating Ongoing Promotion
While several tools and plugins are available to push existing content automatically out to your social networks, our experience shows that a little more effort produces significant positive results. We’ll use HootSuite’s bulk composer function to take a hands-on approach to promoting our posts, while allowing us to automate the scheduling and posting monthly.
HootSuite has a great tutorial here, but we’ll touch on a few points below. Creating your content schedule CSV files is time consuming, but easy to edit monthly once they’re built.
Start by downloading HootSuite’s bulk composer CSV file (and only CSV, XLS won’t work) – you can get your sample sheet here. We use a different CSV file for each social network so that we can use coded UTM links specific to the network. We also write longer promo text for LinkedIn and Facebook than for Twitter.
Add each post you’d like to promote, using three columns in the sheet: date and time, promo text, link.Tools can push existing content out automatically, but we find a little more effort improves results. Click To Tweet
Using the format specified in the CSV, add a date and time for each post. Note: Posts must be at least 10 minutes in the future, and times should end with a 5 or a 0. For example, 09:15 or 09:20. There should only be one message for every time slot. HootSuite is a stickler for the time and date structure, so it’s often simpler to edit the files in Google Sheets and download the finished versions as needed.
For each post, write a promotional message in the second column. HootSuite doesn’t accept duplicate messages. Tweets are limited to 115 characters due to the links attached. You can tag other accounts in your promo text in the same way you would for a live post.
In the third column, add the link to your post. It’s smart to use UTM coded links to determine where your traffic is coming from. All links will be automatically shortened before posting, so feel free to add specific parameters.
Scheduling Your Posts
HootSuite scheduled a maximum of 350 posts at a time. Each network counts as a separate post. Assuming you’d like to promote 1-2 posts a day, you’ll be able to cover the major networks for a month at a time.
HootSuite displays the featured images for the scheduled posts for your review before scheduling. If a post doesn’t have a preview image (or if you’d like to add a different one), you can edit those images before scheduling all the posts.
After you’ve completed your CSV file, upload it to HootSuite via the bulk composer. Review all the posts and finalize their appearance. When you’ve got everything looking good, click to schedule all your posts. If you need to edit or move a scheduled post later, you can make changes in the Publisher.
Each month, revisit your CSV files to add new posts for promotion and remove outdated content. You can use a search and replace for the month you are scheduling. After making any edits, you’ll be able to schedule a month’s worth of existing content in a few minutes without having to lose the personal touch of custom promo text.