The Why, When and How of Content Archiving

Can content live forever? The concept of timeless content often describes that which is evergreen, meaning it’s always relevant. But what about other content? Does it have a shelf life? In many cases, the answer is yes, so that brings up the process of governance and content archiving.

When to archive content depends on many factors. While the word “archive” suggests that you retire the content, it could also be an untapped asset for enterprise content teams for future ideation.

Outdated content doesn’t mean its life cycle is completely over. Here are tips on the why, when, and how of content archiving.

Why Archive Content?

Archiving can be a process that delivers benefits to your team and all your content marketing efforts. It’s an essential aspect of content management. When you can manage your archive, it can provide significant insights and repurposing opportunities for future content.

You can review the content analytics for those assets that declined in engagement over time. Why they declined is likely because they were timely, but when they were driving traffic to your website, why was this? Analyzing this “why” can help you tap into an audience’s preferences.

Look for metrics around:

  • Referral source: Did the content perform well because of a high organic ranking, social media posting virality, or other sources?
  • Time on page: How long did the average visitor spend on the page?
  • Conversions: Did the content prompt someone to convert via downloading gated content, requesting a consultation, or buying a product?

These metrics can help you add context to your buyer personas and determine if the structure, topic, or quality made it successful.

When to Archive Content

Developing a timetable for archiving content helps you keep the pulse on your content library. Another option is to archive content based on specific triggers. For example, you create content that’s specific to a year or time, say something like “The Biggest Trends for 2020.”

By the end of that year, the content is obsolete. That’s not always the case, as some trends can continue. However, the language and reference to the year would make audiences less likely to engage with it because they’ll think it’s outdated.

To discern when you should archive content or update it, start with a content audit.

Conducting a Content Audit

To understand what content you should archive, you’ll need to take stock of all your current assets. This content audit could be a substantial undertaking, depending on how often you publish content.

It’s a necessary step to make decisions on the future of the content. You’ll want to categorize content into three groups:

  • Content that is still relevant and evergreen.
  • Content that, with some updating, can be relevant.
  • Expired content that’s no longer useful to your audience.

How to Archive Content

Once you complete a content audit, it’s time to execute. For those topics that are in the expired bucket, don’t delete the URL. The reason you shouldn’t is that backlinks may still be directing to the page. So, you have two options:

  1. Use a 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirect, and delete the old page’s content. It will then redirect to a new page that has a similar tone or topic but is fresh. If you delete the content, you should still have an archived copy in your content library for reference.
  2. Rewrite the post completely: Only do this if the current page is still ranking or driving traffic. If it’s not, then you can delete it.

Editing Content That’s Semi-Relevant

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The second batch of content is still somewhat useful but needs attention. For example, it could be a blog containing many data points, which are now inaccurate. You don’t have to do a complete rewrite; just update the statistics with more current information.

A good example of this is writing about consumer behavior. While data points from 2019 aren’t “old,” they don’t necessarily correlate to today’s landscape. That’s because the pandemic caused massive shifts, so 2019 data isn’t an accurate portrayal of current-day scenarios.

Repurposing Content

Another way to reinvigorate content that’s going to the archive is to repurpose it. Are there areas within an obsolete asset that are still true and impactful? You could repurpose that into something that would attract attention from current customers.

For example, you have in your library an ebook that’s industry-specific, and the industry is in constant flux, like healthcare. Most parts of it won’t reflect current challenges. The ecosystem of healthcare and the challenges the sector faces are much different from years before. However, there may be parts that still ring true, such as case studies you used as examples or best practice lists.

You can repurpose that content into a new ebook for that audience or create an infographic.

Another example of repurposing from your archive is video content. Audiences love video content, and it can help your brand tell great stories. However, you might not have the budget to reshoot footage constantly. Archiving all the content you have that didn’t play in the original videos becomes your b-roll library.

Where Should You Archive Content?

Ideally, your archive should live in your content marketing software. If it’s one hub, then it’s accessible and searchable. When you need to go back to your archives to see what’s been done in the past, brainstorm ideas, or find graphics or videos to reuse, you want this to be easy.

If you don’t have a centralized archive, or your past content lives in many different places/systems, the likelihood of finding things and/or reusing things will be significantly hindered. The value of a centralized content archive is often not realized until you realize that you need one.

A content archive can also be a great onboarding tool for new team members. They can learn from it, and it could spark ideas for them, as well.

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Content Archiving: A Process That Supports Content Marketing

Your team can enjoy many benefits from content archiving. It helps keep content fresh, offers insights, inspires ideation, and provides a library for repurposing. If you don’t currently archive, it’s something to consider. You can do it with ease on the DivvyHQ platform. See how easy it is by starting a free trial.