The Case for Fresh Content: Retire the Old, Promote the New
I was recently passing time on Twitter while waiting for a flight when a peculiar Tweet caught my eye. The Tweet read “At 14 months, content marketing begins to lose effectiveness. At 18 months, it actually turns more into a negative than a positive”. This quote was sourced to a respectable researcher speaking at Marketing Sherpa’s Optimization Summit recently held in Denver. This Tweet piqued my curiosity, but also my concern since this was a Marketing Sherpa researcher with a large social following; did they really mean to say content has a negative impact? Was someone broadcasting a claim that content marketing might be a bad thing for a company or a brand?
I immediately reached out to Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute for his thoughts and to ask whether he was aware of the actual data being presented at the summit. Joe did not know but helped to get me the information I sought. It turns out that the context of the Tweet was not necessarily incorrect, but incomplete. This all stemmed from a presentation being made by Bob Johnson of IDG Connect which can be found here.
The presentation relates to tech industry content which is used as part of a company’s sales process, specifically whitepapers, research, etc. What IDG found out through a survey of 400 technology buyers is that old, dated content is deemed as irrelevant and it actually hurts the sales process rather than helping to move the sales process along. Now, that makes sense! Their additional findings revealed a content-driven marketing asset begins to lose its effectiveness at 14 months and turns negative around 18 months. If you think about this information in terms of what you procure personally and professionally on a daily basis, it’s absolutely true. No matter the content, I am typically going to place a higher value on information produced this year, versus last year.
While this research does not provide insight as to exactly how frequently content should be updated, it makes a very strong case for not only refreshing and promoting new content on an ongoing basis, but also retiring content on an ongoing basis. That leads me to ask, how old is the content you rely on to support the sales process? Is that content helping to move the sales process along? Or is that content slowing down, or possibly stalling, the sales process altogether? If your answer it the latter, it might be time for a refresh.
AVP of Content Marketing Josh Healan has been consulting on content marketing strategies before they were even called such. Josh brings a background in IT and Computer Science along with a love for marketing to bear on the challenges of brands throughout the marketing ecosystem.