Perhaps there are too many exobytes of data now for search engines to categorize. Maybe demonic SEO gurus have finally crowded out reasonable online queries. Or maybe it’s because it’s the end of the world is this Saturday. All I know is I spent several fruitless hours recently researching a simple social-media etiquette question, so I’m turning to a more credible source — you.
What is the etiquette surrounding promotion of old blog posts?
Milk has an expiration date. Blog posts often don’t. So logic dictates that if there is value to be gained from a new post, value can also be found in a “classic” post. So I should just tweet and Facebook the heck out of posts both old and new, right?
Here’s what I learned from my Googling: 1) You’ll increase traffic to your sites by promoting older posts. 2) There are tools that will automate that promotion.
Here’s what I didn’t learn: Do people want to see links to old posts?
I have a mixed reaction to such promotion myself. Because my Twitter and Facebook feeds are really more about promoting links to other resources on creativity than my own site — and one out of every three posts on this blog is a compilation of the best links I promoted that week — I click on a lot of Twitter and Facebook links. A fairly high percentage of the posts are not current. My take on this?
Often there is real wisdom to be found in the older post. I may even retweet it, as I did this week with a great 2008 post I found that highlights commonly misused words. But at the same time I sometimes feel a bit tricked, particularly if the date of the post can’t be found or is buried somewhere out of clear view. After all, if I’m promoting the Creativity Tweets of the Week, can I really promote a post from three years ago?
Part of my struggle here may be because I come from a breaking-news journalism background. I didn’t worry about someone reading my past reporting because it was, by definition, old news. However, an insight on tapping one’s creativity doesn’t grow stale.
I have yet to send a single tweet or Facebook post promoting an older post from this site. There’s material there for me to promote — I’ve put up almost 90 non-time-sensitive posts since launching last October. But how will those old links be received by someone who follows the link? Will they be delighted to find something of use? Or will they wonder why I sent them off into the past? Will that make them more or less likely to return?
If you’re a blogger, how do you handle promotion of archival posts? If you enjoy good links on Facebook or Twitter, what’s your reaction when sent to an archived post as opposed to a new link?