It is a fact that anything that can sustain over a longer period of time is far superior to the same thing over a shorter period of time. A Sachin Tendulkar is more recognized than a Vinod Kambli. Content is no exception, and here too content that produces results over a considerable length of time scores over content that produces results in a much shorter time-frame.
The staggering statistics of today’s Internet-connected world make it very difficult for content to be noticed easily. It is estimated that there are 200 million active Instagram users, 285 million active Twitter users, 500 million active WhatsApp users, and an unbelievable 1800 million active Facebook users. In such a scenario a concerted effort to increase the shelf-life of content is warranted.
Having said that, it is much easier said than done. Can content once post extend its life in this ultra-fast paced the world, which sees more than 9000 tweets posted every second and more than 13000 logins to Facebook every single second?
In order to answer this question, it is necessary to look at a tweet’s life span, meaning the period of time the tweet is on someone’s radar. One study indicates the life span of a tweet to be 18 minutes. Another study uses the nuclear measure of ‘half-life,’ and by this measure, the half-life of a tweet is estimated at 24 minutes. Half-life is the time required for a tweet to reach half the number of the highest number of views or clicks that it received at its peak.
In this scenario, users of social media such as Twitter and Facebook are looking to increase their post’s lifespan. Among the many techniques that can be employed to ensure the longevity of posts on social media, three that stand out are:
- The technique of repeating a post
- The technique of augmenting original content
- The technique of forecasting through content audit
The technique of repeating a post has the capability to increase life span by two times, which is by normal standards extremely positive. Similarly, augmenting original content can deliver twice the effect, which again is remarkable.
However, forecasting through the content audit can give a post a very long shelf life if not immortality, which is humongous by any standards.
#1. The technique of repeating a post
Often, a tweet or post is made with a certain objective in mind such as commenting on a raging topic, sharing a like or dislike or giving out information. It is possible that a tweet or a post gets noticed with just one post but it is the natural order that amidst such large posts or tweets a high proportion of these do not get noticed at all.
This is because the target audience the post is seeking is not always looking at something to peruse. It is believed, quite often, that posting once is enough, without realizing that the post may have missed the opportunity of being viewed simply because the audience was not looking at the post when it appears.
This can be partially overcome by taking recourse to repeating. Thus, the technique of repeating a post helps to ensure an opportunity is given for the post to be viewed when it is repeated. Studies have indicated that repeated sharing over a considerable length of time increases the overall traffic generated by the content.
Repeating content sometimes is construed as spamming. Concentrating on trending content often leads to ignoring past content. By not repeating the content the post that is posted only once misses the opportunity of reaching out to a completely new audience, which is the audience that missed the post due to a variety of reasons. It is desirable that inhibitions are done away with if the objective is to maximize viewing.
There is a structured way of repeating content and it involves organizing shares on social media. It is prudent to generate a few messages and tweak them to have different titles, quotes from influencers (those who help build relationships) and highlights of relevant data, and repeat them with acceptable frequency.
Since it is difficult to keep track of when to repeat posts it is advisable to employ software that does so mechanically at pre-set periods. The technique of sharing is particularly suited to share content in newsletters. It makes a lot of sense to send the same newsletter with minor modifications to those who have not opened the first email, thus giving a second opportunity to view them.
There are immense benefits to be realized by adopting the technique of repeating a post.
#2. The technique of augmenting original content
The technique of augmenting original content involves building on the benefits derived from the technique of repeating a post. While it is necessary to create new content it would be imprudent not to bestow attention on the earlier content especially if that content has relevance over long periods of time.
This technique entails the focus of attention to be on the regular channels in which the post appears. It is proven that when content that has been noticed in the promotional stage is augmented subsequently the content commands up to three times more effect in attracting traffic and generating leads over a sustained three-month period. The higher impact is attributed to referral traffic, more distribution and more search.
The efficient way to employ the technique of augmenting original content is to critically evaluate the contents posted. A critical examination of posts will reveal the ones that have performed well during the promotional stage. These qualify for augmentation and they should be persisted with and promoted continuously with care taken to avoid overexposure. These posts could also qualify to be featured in newsletters that are yet to be published. Newsletters are an excellent medium for posting earlier content augmented suitably.
More new subscribers mean more opportunity to use old content changed suitably. The modified content while attracting new subscribers would appeal to old subscribers who might have missed the earlier post, and mean something more for old subscribers who had seen the earlier post. It is imperative that all posts’ promotion and augmentation is carefully catalogued and monitored closely to help pick the best content for special treatment so that they have a high probability of bringing more leads and traffic.
The impact of an original post can be doubled by using the technique of augmenting original content suitably and sharing the post to attract new subscribers and be more meaningful to subscribers who had seen the initial post.
#3. The technique of content audit
After employing the techniques of repeating a post and augmenting content to increase traffic and seeing some positive effects it is likely that a sense of complacency could set in. After all, how many techniques can be employed? However, there is more that can be done and the pointer is the critical evaluation that has been done to identify the post that has done well for further augmentation. The technique of content audit is an extremely useful tool that helps to unearth content that can attain a long shelf life if not immortality. It makes immense sense to milk any past content that has produced great results by using it repeatedly for a very long period of time
In order to identify content that can be used repeatedly, it is productive and rewarding to systematically audit the content posted in the past. The audit should be able to track all posts and measure the performance of posts over a well-defined metric landscape. It should be able to measure performance on a recurring basis, which would help to pick up those posts in the past that have done well and could do well in the present time albeit with some modifications. The audit should also build in models that are capable of predicting the success or failure of posts made in the past in relation to building traffic, generating leads and capable of repeated sharing.
The content audit should be able to breakdown posts into various elements that affect not only traffic but also subsequent leads and conversions. Similarly, the audit should be able to provide solutions to improve the effect of content and how that content can be dealt with in future posts.
Other vital elements that content audit should look into are the choices available to maximize the potential of highly effective posts in terms of which messages to post on which channels during which times. Study of past posts can reveal posts with higher conversion rate. These posts can be put through the test of relevancy and if found relevant can be revived by sharing once again to increase the shelf-life of the post. More importantly, such revived posts can bring in entirely new subscribers.
There are times during spring cleaning when something that was thrown in the attic is found that is relevant even today and worth a relook. In the same way, content from the past can be relevant today and with a bit of sprucing up can be rejuvenated and posted. It is possible that such content would find new subscribers thus increasing the life span of the once forgotten content.
The three techniques have the potential to enhance the shelf life of a post manifold and create impact that is very powerful. To draw an analogy from cricket, it is something like a V V S Laxman making a powerful and impactful comeback after he was dropped from the Indian teams following a poor first stint.