Has your content passed its expiration date?
Marketing Content Strategy

Can Marketing Content Have an Expiration Date?

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A few months ago, it seemed every time I logged onto Netflix or Hulu, I found another announcement that a TV show—often dating back at least ten years—was set to come back. The trend wasn’t specific to any genre, and I often found myself tracking each and every bit of news regarding the upcoming releases. But even among all the excitement, I still found myself wondering, “How are the story lines going to play out, especially since viewers haven’t visited these characters in decades? Do we even need to revisit these fictional settings again?”

While I ruminated on how well Dale Cooper or Rory Gilmore would age, it got me thinking about the dynamics of aging marketing content. As marketing professionals, we sometimes spend so much time working on copy and content planning that when something publishes, we simply mark it as “done” and move onto the next article.

But as content creation evolves, it’s important to constantly evaluate what content does and doesn’t work, so you don’t end up with a marketing portfolio that’s akin to a TV show that viewers feel is past its prime. Depending on how your content strategy is organized, this evaluation process may vary, but here are some starting points to address what content can be revisited or included as part of your more permanent content strategy.

Turn to Search

While it’s not quite the same as show fans petitioning for new episodes, sometimes older articles pop up when pulling search analytics; this indicates what people within your market are searching for, regardless of how much time has passed since publication.

Book with a magnifying glass

Image attribution: João Silas

While you might not need to update specific articles, content areas that resurface over time should certainly be included in your overall strategy. Additionally, pay attention to how much these content areas show up within your search metrics—are specific content areas showing up more than others? By referencing what types of content your audience is reading, you can shift how much focus and content you should allocate to certain subject matter.

Does the Subject Matter Evolve?

When I think of shows like Supernatural and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, it becomes clear that plot lines are reused and rehashed over the course of the show. Not only does this lessen the impact of these stories but it also makes for stagnant content.

Old Books

Image attribution: Chris Lawton

If you’re constantly struggling to come up with new ideas or angles in a certain space, consider how important it is to your overall content production. If the topic is still quite relevant within your industry, evaluate if there are gaps in the coverage or any areas for potential content, presenting a fresh look at increasingly dated content.

If you’re still struggling to come up with new angles for certain subjects within your content strategy, maybe it’s worth occasionally covering topics again to keep readers within the subject matter engaged.

What Does the Competition Look Like?

From new shows to canceled-too-soon shows and even long-time shows, the landscape of TV quickly changes regardless of genre.

When revisiting your marketing content strategy, take a look at the competition. Are there new companies covering the same subject matter? How similar is it to what your firm is producing? If the market is inundated with content on a particular subject, consider how your company fits into the industry overall. If you’re well known and content is well received, you may not need to worry about similar content from new competition.

Consider How Content Ages

When revisiting old TV shows—through revivals or simply rewatching—it can quickly become painfully obvious that certain story lines are dated. As social norms, technology, and language evolve, so should your content, even if you cover the same topics within your portfolio.

When looking at storytelling and marketing content strategy, TV shows can be a perfect example of the constant “quality versus quantity” debate. Sometimes it’s apparent that writers are struggling to keep shows alive, dealing with seasons being canceled all too soon, or even trying to revisit old plot lines for potential nostalgia. But by keeping an eye on your overall portfolio, you’ll be able to ensure that your content stays dynamic and ultimately avoids becoming stale.

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Featured image attribution: Eric Rothermel

Jess Lulka is a writer and editor currently in the B2B technology space. In previous lives, she's covered everything from children's education to engineering theory. Her non-editing interests include travel, crime TV shows and feuling her lifelong quest to eventually becoming a Jeopardy! contestant through pub trivia.

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