Publishing is Not Enough: Become a Blog Post Curator!

Sometimes you have to look deep into your content...

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

Your blog is a dynamic and living representation of you, your goals, your mission, your ideas, and more. You would never call yourself or your life “static,” right?

As such you should treat your blog with a little bit more care and become more than just a publisher of content – become a curator of your content!

What does this mean? Well the definition of “curate” and “curation” is as follows:

Curation is generally the selection of, care for and presentation of the objects entered into a collection, whether that collection is physical (such as items in a museum) or digital (such as entries in Wikipedia).

Makes sense, right? How does this apply to your blog? Here’s how:

Good Blog Curators Manage, Edit, and Update Old Posts

One of the most practical thing that a good curator does is spend time maintaining their entire library of blog posts.

Don’t feel ashamed – 999 out of 1,000 bloggers never go back to their old blog posts and update the content with relevant information!

But, if you become the 1 out of 1,000 (or probably more) that actually spend the time going back into your old blog posts and editing and updating the content you’ll be in a far better place than your peers (and your competition).

Here are some practical tips on how to do this well:

  1. Block out a specific time every week to edit old posts with updated information. You might already be spending time on your “Evergreen Content” but you’ll want to make sure to touch all the other blog posts as well. The point here is to be intentional with your time and actually spend the time walking through those old blog posts and making the content updated.
  2. Add links to new blog posts on older blog posts. This is so obvious to me but not enough bloggers do it! If you’ve got a few blog posts that are obvious follow-ups to older blog posts then take the time to add a link to an old blog post that simply says at the end: “Here’s a great follow-up post on ________ that you definitely want to check out!” Easy, right?
  3. Develop an awareness of your archived posts so that you can link them properly in the new blog posts that you create from now on. If you need some help with developing this linking strategy then you definitely need to check out this previous blog posts on being a Master Link Architect.
  4. Update old blog posts content that might be time-sensitive or time-relative. This is sometimes hard to remember or even think about but it will benefit you especially if your blog post is a seasonal one. For example, this post right here about some suggestions on Christmas Gifts for Bloggers is obviously a seasonal one that I’ll update and promote later this year. But, I’ll definitely be updating the gift choices and links to new items that people might want to purchase – I mean, just look at #18 on that blog post! That company went out of business! I’ll need to update that accordingly.
  5. Add new and relevant content to blog posts that warrant it. This applies to not just copy but also media. For example, there are more than a few blog posts that have pictures and images of software systems that might get a UI update in the future. I’m going to need to make sure that I’m not only aware of those updates but to remember to go back and re-capture those screenshots and update the post to be more relevant! This takes time but your users (and search engines) will appreciate it!
  6. Leverage the feedback and comments that people left on that old blog post and update accordingly. Perhaps one of your commenters gave some really insightful and helpful additions that you might expand on in the post. Go for it and remember to publicly thank them for it!
  7. Publicize your updates and let people know you updated an old post with new and fresh content. Do this through Facebook and Twitter or even mention it in a new blog post that’s contextually relevant.
  8. Be cautious with changing your blog post timestamp and publish date as some of your permalink structures might change thus breaking many internal and external links to that blog post. There are some that say that it’s ok to update your timestamp as to republish an old blog post and make it look like it’s “brand new” – I’m generally against this practice because it’s simply not new; it’s old but updated! Keep the original timestamp and be honest about the update!
  9. Make note in the post about the changes is sometimes a good option for some. For example, you might add a small bolded note about the update timestamp before the updated portion of the old blog post so people know when and what specifically has been changed. Some people do this and others do not. Your choice.
  10. Be careful about media elements and shortcodes that you might have used in the old blog post that might “break” if you edit the post. For example, you might have forgotten that you embedded a video into that blog post and when you update it the embed code might be messed up so as to not show any more. Whoops! Scan your content in your edit window before committing any change and make sure you’re not messing some existing code without knowing!

These ten things should get you started and should capture most of the things a well-oiled blog curator executes on. To be honest I’m curating and editing old blog posts almost daily and it’s part of my consistent routine and workflow.

The goal is to manage your blog like you do your life – your past influences your present and impacts your future, just like old posts influence your present blog posts and your future success. Don’t take this strategy lightly!

Love to know your thoughts! When was the last time you actually edited an old blog post? Be honest!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Image via untrainedeye.]