Second Life: Get More From Your Evergreen Content

Too often, we miss opportunities to leverage our history in modern contexts—despite the fact that we know most audiences freaking love nostalgia. Check out a few tips on making that old stuff buzz anew.

Too often, we miss opportunities to leverage our old content effectively—despite the fact that audiences freaking love nostalgia. Embrace your evergreen content: Check out a few tips on making that old stuff buzz anew.

If you click this link within the next month, you’ll find a random episode of The Daily Show from sometime within the past 16 years.

In honor of Jon Stewart’s long reign as the series’ host, Comedy Central is running a monthlong livestream of the nearly 2,000 episodes under his belt—leading up to Stewart’s final episode on August 6.

That’s a lot of Zen to be packed into one livestream. And it’s a genius way of creating constant excitement around a buzzy moment. People are going to be tweeting that link for weeks to come, during random moments of amusement, making fun of Stewart’s changing hairstyles, and finding random sketches that hold up better now than they did during the Clinton administration.

(It also offers a great opportunity for Comedy Central to point out that they’ve had some heavy comedic hitters on the show over the years—Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Ed Helms, and Samantha Bee, among numerous others.)

Many websites could only dream of offering something like this to their audiences, but the truth is, there are tons of opportunities to do something similar—and with what you already have. There’s no reason your association can’t take that old content filling up old copies of magazines or old videos, and bring it back to life in ways that still hold plenty of relevance for your readers today.

A few ideas to get you started:

Update old articles and share them anew on social media. This is a strategy that the team at Vox has been doing a pretty solid job at. If you look at the website, they’ve managed to take articles that are months old, but still have plenty of meat on their bones. They did this during last year’s holiday season, and found some pretty impressive results. “In a five-day period, we ran 88 of these stories, and collectively they brought in over 500,000 readers,” Executive Editor Matthew Yglesias wrote.

Round up old articles into freshly minted blog posts. So, fun fact about my wedding back in October 2013: Despite being off the clock, getting hitched, going on a honeymoon, and all that other fun stuff, I still had one of my most successful blog posts ever while I was out of the office. The article, “9 Disruptive Ideas for Associations to Watch,” was essentially a list of links of some of the more interesting disruptive ideas that I had written about over the past year. It took a little work to gather it up, but way less than a usual blog post. If you’ve ever seen a clip show from Family Matters, The Simpsons, Full House, or any other popular sitcom over the last 30 years, it’s the same concept. Familiarity breeds success!

Take stock at the end of the year. Last December, Associations Now ended 2014 by taking a good, hard look at the year’s analytics and letting the rest of the world know what our most popular posts were. It gave some attention to the moments where the content reached new highs, and let us give this content the extra attention it deserves.

Dig for historic value. Your “institutional memory” doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. There’s a good chance you have old magazines with significant value, just sitting on shelves somewhere in a makeshift “morgue.” Perhaps it might be worth doing a little digitization work every once in a while to ensure that this info, which may be decades old, isn’t getting lost? When old newsletters and magazines are this old, nearly everything is fair game. You could even consider republishing some of the old ads and photos—because if there’s something the internet loves more than anything else, it’s nostalgia.

Of course, there are some downsides to this strategy, especially depending on how you’re doing your content marketing. If you’re focused on hard news, for example, that old story of yours isn’t going to look so worthy of recollection. And depending on your industry, you may not be quite so comfortable with the idea of resurfacing old content.

But, then again, depending on your industry, you might be sitting on a gold mine.

Just because you don’t have Jon Stewart as your CEO doesn’t mean you don’t have a few gems hiding in your coffers.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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