How (and Why) to Refresh Your Old Blog Posts

How (and why) to refresh your old BLOG POSTS

You write a blog post, edit and revise it until it sparkles, and hit publish. Then you promote it all over the internet and watch the traffic roll in.

Now you’re done, right?

Nope!

You could leave it alone and never look at that post again, but your blog is a living, breathing entity. Don’t let your old posts get crusty and stale, or just sit there without living up to their potential.

 

Why update your old blog posts?

readers like relevant content (and so do search engines)

The internet is getting older, search engines have changed, and readers are looking for current, relevant content.

There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT of content on the internet, and much of it is obsolete, poorly-written, or otherwise useless.

Readers now have to wade through a lot of old junk to get to the new, useful content they’re looking for. Search engines are changing to help them with that search, favoring newer content that has a lot of recent interaction (like social media shares).

This doesn’t mean your web content has to age badly, it just means you’ll need to change your strategy and regularly update your content.

 

Get more mileage from your old posts

This is a huge timesaver because it means (for most industries) you can post higher-quality content less often, which is good news if you’ve been killing yourself trying to post something every single day or even every week.

Readers and search engines want quality, not necessarily quantity. The internet has plenty of quantity.

 

Get ideas for new content

One of my favorite places to get ideas for new content, for my own business and for my clients, is old blog posts.

There might be an interesting point in there you can build on. Maybe you have more to say on that topic.

Or maybe that content has even more current information you can write about. This is especially true if you blog about things that change frequently like social media, technology, business strategy, etc.

 

It’ll show you what your audience wants so you can give it to them

When you review your old posts to see which are the most popular, that says a lot about what your audience is looking for. That way, you can create posts, products, and optins that meet their needs.

 

How to update old content

 

Clean out your blog every year

About once a year, go through your blog to do a blog audit. I like to do this in the spring as kind of a spring cleaning.

Update titles if necessary, but don’t mess with the URLs unless you do a 301 redirect. (A 301 redirect sends your readers to a new link if they click an old one that doesn’t work anymore. That way, they don’t get 404ed if they happen to land on the old URL. Here’s how to do this.)

Make sure all links work and that images are still there. Make sure you’ve done SEO on every post. Give everything a quick proofread and fact check.

Bonus tip: While you go, pick apart old posts to save the bits that are still useful and combine into new posts. Or you can use those as captions for social media posts! (Repurposing content is just as important as refreshing it!)

 

Update and republish old posts

Make sure your old posts are still relevant. If they aren’t, update them.

If they’re totally off base and just don’t fit with your brand anymore, or if they concern something that doesn’t exist anymore and aren’t bringing in traffic, I think it’s okay to delete them. It’s up to you whether you want to do this, but if you can do a 301 redirect to a more relevant post, deleting that old post can really help your readers out and build your credibility.

 

Add links to your newer content

Go through your old posts and add links to your newer content in the same vein. You can get a plugin to do this, or just add regular ol’ link to the bottom or even middle of your articles, or link in relevant places in the text.

 

Update your formatting

Make your posts scannable and easy to read! If your old posts are just big blocks of text, add headings, bullet points, numbered lists, etc. I’ve actually got a handy free checklist to help you do this, which you can grab here.

 

Add a call to action

If your old posts don’t have a call to action that tells the reader where to go next (or if the calls to action are outdated) add new ones! Add a signup form for your optin, a link to your products, or at least point them to other relevant blog posts so your readers can continue their journey with you.

 

Focus on your most popular posts

Every once in a while, take a peek at your analytics to see which blog posts are bringing in the most traffic. Those are the posts you really want to focus on updating.

Add to them, include links to products, optins, and other relevant posts, and really make them the most useful bits on content on your blog. Those popular articles are your front line, so keep them in shape!

I recommend checking on these guys at least twice a year to make sure they’re performing at their best.

 

Your blog isn’t a slow cooker. You don’t just set it and forget it. Revisit your old posts regularly to make sure everything is updated and still relevant. This will help you get found, serve your readers, AND help you get a lot more mileage from those posts you worked so hard on!

 

Get your free checklist so you’ll have a list of things every blog posts need to turn readers into customers.

 

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“But I’m not a writer!” How to Blog When Writing Isn’t Your Thing

“But I’m not a writer!” How to blog regularly when writing isn’t your thing

 

One of the biggest obstacles I hear from entrepreneurs who want to blog to sell their products and services is “I just don’t like writing, and I’m not good at it.”

Have you ever said this?

Trust me, you aren’t alone.

I want you to know that there’s a big difference between “I’m not good at writing” and “I don’t THINK I’m good at writing.”

I’ve met lots of business owners who are actually good writers. They know how to clearly communicate through writing and their voice comes through in their words.

The problem is when they hate writing, or when it takes them two solid work days to write a 500 word blog post. (NOT a good use of their time!)

Then there are other entrepreneurs who really do struggle with communicating in writing, and that’s okay too. We aren’t all writers, and we don’t all have to be.

The good news is, there are plenty of workarounds.

 

Do I even need to blog?

The short answer is yes. I think regularly publishing content is crucial for building a relationship with your audience and growing a customer base.

You need to communicate with your audience if you want to sell your products and services.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you HAVE to write articles. You could post video content on Youtube or do Facebook lives, and that’s great! But not everyone watches videos. Honestly, I rarely do.

Some members of your audience are like me. They’re readers who prefer to get information through text, and we find it more convenient to silently read a blog post than to dig out headphones or find a quiet spot to watch a video.

Also, your blog lives on your site, so you own it. You don’t own Youtube or social media, so if those sites go down or change their rules, bye-bye content.

You don’t have to blog, but it’s always a good idea to cover your bases, cater to different kinds of learners, and have control over where your content is published.

 

How to blog when you’re not a writer

 

Tip #1: Get your videos transcribed

 

If you’re posting videos, you can reuse that content for blog posts and social media updates. All you have to do is get the video transcribed and clean it up so it reads well as text.

 

Tip #2: Compile social media content into blog posts

 

Of course, this only works if you share on social media regularly. I’ve seen entrepreneurs publish “snapshots” or “recaps” of their week by just republishing videos, photos, and captions they shared on social media that week, with a little extra content thrown in.

I don’t think these take the place of well-written articles, especially for reader-types like me, but they’re a hell of a lot better than nothing, and they can be a lot of fun for your audience.

These posts also put that content on a platform you own, so you have more control AND you can get a lot more mileage out of your social media content!

 

Tip # 3: Outsource it

 

If you don’t want to write OR do video content, you can outsource all aspects of blogging, including the actual researching and writing posts.

You don’t have to be any more involved than you want to.

In fact, you can even be almost completely hands off and focus only on your products and services.

I have clients who pretty much set me loose to research topics their audience is looking for, write the posts, and they just do a quick review of the content before giving me the thumbs up to publish on their site.

I have other clients who send me “brain dumps” of their thoughts that I can organize, flesh out, and smooth into high-quality content.

I’ve also worked with clients who send me voice messages, or verbal brain dumps, that I take notes on and then turn into blog posts.

It’s all about finding a writer who can work with your process.

Blogging doesn’t have to be a major obstacle, and it doesn’t have to eat up a ton of time you’d rather spend on something else.

Figure out how you like to communicate with your audience and use that to your advantage!

If you want to make sure your posts are easy to read, easy to share, and turn casual readers into customers, grab your free blog post checklist!

 

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Do you feel like a fraud in life and business?

Do you feel like a fraud in life and business?  - The Cafe Wordsmith

Do you ever feel like you’re “faking it” in business and that at any moment, you’ll be found out and revealed as a fraud? Are you afraid that you’re playing in a pool where you don’t belong and it’s just a matter of time before someone notices and calls you out on it?

There’s been a theme to my online conversations this week. The same issue has popped up over and over again, and it’s one I know well. I’ve struggled with it too.

Imposter syndrome

Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I’ve dealt with this a lot in my own life and business, and if my recent interactions are any indication, I’m not alone.

Does this sound familiar?

I remember walking into my very first upper division literature course in college as a 19-year-old sophomore, completely convinced that everyone in the room was smarter than me and I was going to suck at that class, that all my papers would get laughed at, and that I wouldn’t understand the material. (By the way, I got an A in that class and when I graduated, that professor told me to let him know if I ever needed a letter of recommendation for grad school or something.)

Or this?

When I was just getting started as a general VA, I didn’t even think to focus on writing services. Writing was easy for me, so I figured it was easy for everyone and therefore, not a valuable skill. Then one day a client said “Hey, you’re a writer. Could you write me a blog post?” She gave me a topic and I sent her a draft less than an hour later. I thought this was completely normal until she said “Holy crap, that was fast! That would have taken me all day, and it wouldn’t have been as good!”

That’s when I realized imposter syndrome was holding me hostage again. I wasn’t a fraud. I actually was a good, fast writer. I realized that not everyone can crank out content as easily and painlessly as I can, and that people would probably be happy to pay me for that service. (Spoiler alert: They totally do, and now I’ve built a business around that skill.)

Is this ringing any bells for you? Do you ever think that what you do is easy and simple, and therefore couldn’t possibly be valuable?

Guess what? If something is easy for you, that means you’re good at it. It’s a skill. Not everyone can do it.

Math is easy for my brother, but not for me.

A friend and client of mine is an organizational wizard, but that’s still a skill that takes a lot of concentration for me.

I promise that you’re amazing at something too, even if you feel like you aren’t.

So how do you get over Imposter syndrome?

Notice what you’re good at and own it.

What’s easy for you? What are you good at? If you’re drawing a blank, ask other people who know you well. What are you good at? What is obviously easy for you that isn’t for them? These things are usually so commonplace for us that we miss them. They’re blind spots.

Know that you’re not alone.

The more I talk to people online and in the real world, I realize that imposter syndrome is everywhere. If you feel like a fraud, look around you. Chances are good that the people you admire, the ones who look like they have it together, they probably deal with this too, or have in the past.

Fake it.

It takes time and practice. Faking it ‘till you make it is a good technique here, but only if you remember that everyone else is struggling to feel legit too. You’re not alone. It also helps to talk to other people who can see your blind spots for you.

Gather evidence.

Start collecting evidence that you actually know what you’re doing. When I feel like a fraud, I talk to friends and my amazing clients. My clients are awesome about expressing their appreciation for my work and pointing out what they like about me, which has done WONDERS for my confidence as a content writer and VA.

Also, ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS. Most of us just brush off compliments, but don’t. Say thank you, and note what people compliment you for. If you blow off a compliment, chances are that’s one of your blind spots.

Confirmation from others is evidence that you aren’t actually a fraud and that you are good at what you do. Put this stuff in a computer file and look at it when imposter syndrome sneaks up on you.

Have you struggled with imposter syndrome in your life or business? How do you handle it? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

 

Know Your Goal Setting Style for Better Results

I’m super nerdy about certain things. Harry Potter, for example. Personal development. Writing. Goals.

Seriously, I love goals. Dreaming them up, defining them, writing them out, the whole process. I love the adventure of making a dream reality and the personal growth that comes along with it.

On my quest for the perfect goal-setting system, I’ve come across two basic schools of thought around setting goals that are actually motivating. I’ve tried both, and I realized that different methods work for different people. Knowing what motivates you is CRUCIAL to your success. After all, setting the RIGHT goal that you’re actually excited to reach plays huge role in whether you’ll actually reach that goal.

Let’s look at these two different goal-setting methods.

Method #1: Shoot for the Moon

The method involves big, huge, amazing goals that are scary and exciting. This gets a lot of people jazzed up because they’re the “shoot for the moon and land on a star” type, who are motivated by out-of-this world goals.

One reason this can work is because when your focus is far ahead of you, it’s actually really easy to accomplish a smaller goal that might have felt daunting on its own. For example, an author and speaker I follow tells a story of a cross country coach who told her they were going to run twelve miles one day, and they only ended up running six. She was so geared up for the twelve mile run that the first six miles passed quickly and easily.

Another business coach I really admire recommends this method, setting goals that are absolutely massive and then going for it. She feels that this pushes her farther than realistic,  less challenging goals would, because she’s the type of person who loves the thrill and feels amazing about her progress, even if she doesn’t quite reach her huge goal. It’s worked wonders for her and her business!

Method #2: Be realistic

The other common method I’ve seen is about setting realistic goals, even smallish ones. The idea here is that knocking out the lower hanging fruit and lots of small wins will motivate you to keep going.

By setting very achievable goals that are broken up into little milestones, you build momentum and ultimately, achieve more.

So do you prefer to take it slow or shoot for the moon? What’s your goal-setting style? Look at your history with goals. Have you had better success with big, outlandish goals, or do you accomplish more when you set smaller ones?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to what motivates you. Do you like to check off boxes, or land on a star?

I definitely fall into the second camp. I like smallish, only slightly-scary goals that still feel doable.

Massive goals just overwhelm me. I get caught up in the bigness of it and feel paralyzed instead of inspired. I might have big long-term goals, but I like to set more realistic goals and focus on the short-term. This keeps my eye on my next steps.

How to Dream Big AND Be Realistic

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” -Bill Gates

Both methods are valid. Both can work. But how can you harness the power of each to bring your most incredible goals to life?

Given enough time, you can accomplish just about anything, so the crazy-awesome goals can be great for long term (potentially very long term) goals. Time is the only difference between a realistic goal and a totally bonkers goal.

Set those goals. What do you REALLY want. What would be absolutely amazing if it were your real life?

Use that as your long term goal and break that into more realistic short-term ones, and then break those into doable steps that don’t paralyze you. Remember, nerves are fine and great for growth. Paralysis is not!

Do you need help reaching your business goals? I’d love to help! Check out my writing and virtual assistant services here. Let me take some tasks off your plate so you can focus on your goals!