Looking back at your blog articles from years past is like flipping through old photo albums. You can’t believe that hairstyle looked good or thought staying friends with your ex was a smart idea. However, these are steps you had to take to bring you where you are today. Here are 12 embarrassing articles you find in the archives that you know better now than to post.
1. The Basics
Goal: Build a Foundation of Blog Content
No matter who your target audience is – novices, middle management, experts – every blog in the world has basic bread and butter posts like “What is Google Analytics” or “Introduction to Knitting.”
These articles aren’t bad, especially when they’re recently published. Looking back at CopyPressed over the past few years we uncovered a Facebook Sponsored Stories introduction from 2011. At the time, it the idea was new and exciting.
Finding gems like “What is Pinterest?” are great for walking down memory lane, but you’ll want to dig deeper to advance your audience.
2. The Two Paragraph Posts
Goal: Adapt to a Publishing Schedule
We’re not talking about perfectly concise articles that solve the meaning of life in two parts, we’re talking about last minute posts that have been thrown together to keep up with the editorial calendar.
When blogs are just starting out and editors are still building there team, maintaining a regular posting schedule is one of the biggest challenges. You may promise yourself that every Wednesday at 9 am there will be a new live article, but you get swamped with meetings and end up frantically typing it out at 2 am.
I promise, once you’re used to the schedule and have a reliable team, it gets better.
3. The Random Guest Posts
Goal: Expand Your Reach
You know when wannabe guest posters send you an email promising “high-quality, well-researched content” that they’re probably link builders who will give you boring, basic paragraphs.
But you really need content this week.
Or you really need to increase your exposure and want to have guest posters promote the content on their social channels. You start reaching out to everyone and anyone in your LinkedIn network to guest post.
As you start to get your footing in your niche, your blog can evolve to phase out the desperate guest post attempts. You’ll start to form relationships with authorities and thought leaders and they will genuinely add value to your site. You’ll have regular contributors and leave guest posters in the dust.
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4. The Product Pitches
Goal: Drive Traffic to Your Products
You’re ready to start driving sales and enter the next stage of blog evolution. Each one of your articles is product-related and suddenly has a call to action at the end inviting readers to learn more about the products you offer.
Every article – tweet, status, comment – doesn’t need to be about you or your products. Give someone a hat-tip for their awesome work, curate articles into a complete guide or interview an expert. The possibilities are endless.
5. The Listicles
Goal: Get Social Followers to Click to Your Blog
People have been doing countdowns and top ten lists since the ball first dropped on New Year’s Eve. Not only is there a top ten list for everything, there’s also multiple books and websites with lists of top ten lists.
Do your research when creating a listicle. Do you offer more ideas than the other lists out there? Do you offer better ideas than your competition? A mega-list isn’t helpful if the ideas are low quality or if there are too many to keep the audience.
6. The SEO Articles
Goal: Increase Organic Search
Creating content purely for SEO purposes rarely works. Real human beings don’t share link stuffed and keyword stuffed articles and Google’s algorithm keeps getting better at finding the bad content and punishing it.
Your SEO content evolves when you do your keyword research and start thinking about the people behind the clicks. Yes, you rank for a certain keyword, but why? What question are users trying to answer by clicking on your content? When you can answer those questions you can decide if you can create better content to further answer their questions or if they’re seeking answers not relevant to your expertise.
7. The Shock-Factor Headlines
Goal: Drive Traffic to Your Blog
Once readers click to your blog you just know that they won’t be able to leave. A perfect mixture of internal linking, suggested articles, and quality design will keep them reading and coming back. They just have to get here first.
We’re all guilty of doing this from time-to-time, “Why Google Analytics can make you a better skydiver”, “Your community manager is a parasite”, etc. but you cross the line when the content fails to deliver.
An article titled “Interview with President Obama” might get people to your blog, but they won’t stay or click around unless the promised content is there.
8. The Cheesy Stock Photos
Goal: Increase Sharing on Visual Social Networks
You finally broke down and bought a Shutterstock or iStockphoto account for your B2B blog. Look at all of these awesome photos of smiling business people in meetings. Congratulations, your blog has just entered the stock-era.
Suddenly your articles will be flooded with tacky photos of people shaking hands, looking confident and making presentations. In a few months it will evolve into words written dramatically and in a vaguely tech-related design.
We have all seen these photos before, and only once you break out of the stock-funnel can your blog evolve and start rapidly spreading through visual portals like StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
9. The Series
Goal: Guarantee Consistent Content
Fact: No one thinks your baby is as cute as you do.
Fact: No one is following your series as close as you are.
While there are many pros to starting a series in your content, sometimes you just need to spit it out. Do you really have enough to say in six different parts, or will each part contain two parts fluff and one part ideas?
Furthermore, very few readers are hanging on bated breath for the next step of your series to be released. They may skim through the other parts as you link to them, but they probably won’t check back every Tuesday to find out what’s next.
10. The Company Updates
Goal: Publicly Communicate Changes
If there are major changes happening at a company or if it has hit an important milestone, it makes sense for it to post an article explaining what used to be and what will happen moving forward.
However, like the series, most readers don’t care about your minor company updates as much as you do.
Blog posts that talk about company breakfasts or new internal policies don’t necessarily need to be posted on the blog. However, there is a way to do this successfully. Articles that offer suggestions to improve leadership strategy and company culture – with your company leading by example – provides value to the reader and gives them actionable steps to take to make their office better.
11. The Holiday Articles
Goal: Post Topical Content
There are simultaneously so many different ways you can go with holiday articles, and they’ve all been done before. Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Flag Day, Groundhog Day, etc., we’ve all seen a ton of these articles around the holiday. Make your social plan like trick or treating. Do your analytics predict six more weeks of winter? This low-hanging fruit has all been done and is a quick way to fill up the editorial calendar – especially in Q4.
12. The Magic Crystal Ball Posts
Goal: Showcasing Expertise
The purpose of these articles is to show that you and your company is doing more than keeping up with trends, you’re anticipating them. That’s a trait many clients look for. The problem is that every company with a blog is making the exact same posts with their predictions.
Despite the short time in the spotlight, these posts are fun to look at a year or two later to see which ones were right and which were wrong.