The Time Value of Content: Why New Isn’t Always Better
There’s a lot of talk about content these days, as people begin to fully grasp its primacy in the marketing conversation. However, there’s still one popular misconception that could destroy all your hard work.
Digital content is often thought to be valuable only when it’s fresh. This can be true in some contexts, of course, such as social media. But for a lot of digital content, the value is in its staying power.
Completely overhauling your website content regularly may seem like a good plan, but it can destroy an investment of time and money that might otherwise have paid dividends for years. You should always look for the downside to changes, even though that can be hard to do when you’re full of creative zeal.
The website Copyblogger has a great metaphor to explain it — I’m paraphrasing slightly from the original for brevity: “Getting a brand off the ground is like trying to put something into space. A massive amount of fuel is burned to resist the pull of gravity. In commerce, there is a different kind of gravity, equally strong. Consumers choose brands with very little deviation, which is why it takes, on average, over five years for two percent market penetration. Established brands are entrenched. So if you release a brilliant new message every year, a competitor can pass you with a less brilliant, but consistent, message .”
As they sum it up: “It’s not about sales, but ego.”
That’s a hard thing to hear.
That doesn’t apply to me, I can hear you thinking. My situation is different! I know exactly what’s been done wrong before. I have better ideas! This is my chance to prove myself, so I have to ditch that old content and really show what I can do.
I get it — I do. But often, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you wipe the slate clean.
The time value of content is a simple concept, but it isn’t usually given a great deal of attention. After all, many agencies want clients to want new and different things. It’s in everyone’s best interest, financially, isn’t it?
Except for the brand itself.
If you like to cook, think of content creation less like a quick sear and more like a low simmer — or like a steak, cheese or wine given time to properly age. If you’re a sports fan, think about giving a player enough time on the field to show what they can do. The investment of time allows your content return on the investment of time and money taken to create it. Every additional month allows it the opportunity to increase in popularity, move up in search rankings get links from other sites, and overall prove its value.