Blog posts written months or even years ago may have lost their shine, but they can still be marketing gold if they're "evergreen" content—content that remains relevant and keeps getting hits forever.
In addition to drawing traffic to websites consistently, evergreen content helps businesses develop brand authority, maintain buzz on social media, receive spikes in traffic, and rank higher in search engine results.
As you plan your new content for 2013, take the time to review your most popular existing content. It can be just as valuable as the new stuff, especially when you optimize it to make it work even harder.
Here are nine ways to do it.
1. Update and advertise.
Create reminders to freshen evergreen content with updated information and statistics. The updates keep the content relevant and keep people coming to the site. Feel free to post a link to the updated content on a landing page with a sentence or two explaining the change.
2. Turn seasonal into evergreen.
When reviewing posts, look for opportunities to turn the most popular posts into evergreen posts. Even content with a seasonal slant can carry valuable information for any time of year. Update those posts by broadening them from a specific event.
3. Re-share your good stuff.
Just because a post hasn't been updated in a while doesn't mean that it doesn't still carry value. Re-share the post occasionally. Long-time followers may notice that it's content they have seen before, but the content will reach new followers and others who simply missed it.
4. Make the content appear fresh.
Taking the time to update or rewrite a post with new information doesn't guarantee that people will read the content. Often older content (even if valuable and updated) is passed over by searchers because of its publication date. Before publishing, reset the publication date.
Google's keyword tool can help you find search terms that you may have overlooked and optimize for them.
5. Let people see it.
Use a tool, such as Google Analytics, to find what keywords people use to find the evergreen content. Using those keywords, ensure that the content is optimized for them. Also take the time to add social sharing buttons. An influencer's tweeting a link could bring a spike in traffic.
6. Promote the goods.
Take advantage of industry trends and breaking news to promote relevant content. If the Food and Drug Administration touts the benefits of a superfood, share the post you wrote about that food.
Also, just because a piece of content that fits the evergreen mold hasn't taken off, don't give up on it. Promote that content as you would the established content. With any luck, it will take off.
7. Increase conversion rates.
Because evergreen content consistently draws traffic, take the opportunity to drive conversion rates. Insert strong calls to action within the post that direct customers to products and services related to the evergreen content.
8. Do site maintenance.
It's not enough to simply update a piece of content's facts and figures. Ensure that each link used still works. If it doesn't, try to find the information on a different part of the site or similar content posted elsewhere.
9. Use internal linking.
When people visit your site, you might as well keep them there. Insert internal links into evergreen content as much as possible. (The practice has the added benefit of boosting search engine optimization.) Related posts widgets, such as Shareaholic Recommendations, also help as they select similar content by using information from sharing buttons, keywords, and analytics.
Brian Conlin is a copywriter at Vocus. A version of this article first appeared on the Vocus blog.