Time and again I see people doing the same things when automatically sharing their old content: automatically sharing everything, sharing posts in the same way they did the first time, sharing posts in the same places. It’s really easy to be more selective and change your approach slightly so that you get more interest in your automatic re-sharing with very little extra effort. Here’s how.
01. Selectively autoshare old posts on social media
Plugins that autoshare old content to Twitter and other social networks are extremely popular, and for good reason. Re-sharing old content is a great way to keep people coming back to your website for something they missed the first time around, and the power of social networks means that each time you share you have the potential to reach someone new. You’re giving your content a second chance and using it to attract new visitors without doing any more work. It’s a win-win.
So you install Revive Old Post or a similar plugin, activate it, and add your social media usernames. Job done, right?
To share your old content effectively, you need to pick out the best posts. The posts you’re proud of, the ones that have been popular, the ones that will still be relevant in five years’ time. I frequently see bloggers who’ve set up an auto-sharing plugin that just shares everything they’ve ever posted on their blog to social media. Including that three word post they wrote to wish their brother happy birthday five years ago. And that two thousand word rant about Comcast. And that giveaway that closed circa 2011.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix to only automatically share evergreen content that’s still interesting to your audience. There are a few different ways to do this with Revive Old Post. Firstly, you can choose to only include certain categories. So for example, I’d probably include my ‘Blogging‘ category because all the posts in it will stay pretty relevant for a while. Alternatively, you can choose to exclude specific categories, so if your blog is mostly relevant content (lucky you), you could exclude only the personal/time-sensitive post categories. For example I’d probably exclude my ‘Jenni‘ category because they’re largely day-to-day posts that are less interesting to random people who might see my tweets on Twitter.
I say ‘probably’ in my my examples above because I go for a third option which gives me even finer control. And that’s choosing to include specific tags. Interestingly, the Revive Old Post settings don’t specifically say you can use tags, but you can: just enter them in the same field you would a category:
This won’t work for everyone, and you might want to choose a unique tag that makes sense even if someone sees it from search results or on your website (some themes display tags by default, some don’t). The tag I use is ‘social’, but you could choose something more specific or more relevant to your audience, like ‘favourite’, ‘best-of’ or similar. If I want a blog post to go into the pool of automatically shared content, I tag it ‘social’ when I’m writing and scheduling it, and that ensures I keep a very tight rein on what’s automatically shared.
You may also want to play with some of the other settings, for example prefixing the message with a word or phrase to show it’s an old one (‘From the archives’, ‘From the vault’, ‘Throwback’, ‘Remember this?’, ‘Random post’ or similar), and adjust the posting frequency. My posting frequency is set pretty low because I only have a small pool of posts to draw from and I don’t want to re-share the same post more than a couple of times a year, but it depends how much you post, your audience, and how much of your content is good for re-shares.
Throwback: Clawing back time: a guide for busy people https://t.co/hBuQyNM67k
— Jenni Brown ???? (@madebyjenni) March 6, 2017
02. Use a social board or display social media posts in your sidebar
Draw people’s attention to your old content while they’re already on your site (and lower your bounce rate at the same time!) by displaying your most popular posts in your sidebar and by including a tiled social feed of all your recent social media updates on all your networks.
There are lots of plugins to display your most popular posts, or you can even do it manually with a textbox widget if you prefer. Social boards are a little harder to find – most solutions are paid – but Flow-Flow Social Stream is a good basic one (there’s also a premium version with more features, networks, and easier Instagram set up).
03. Use a scheduling tool
There are lots of great choices out there. Some networks, like Facebook, have scheduling built in. My personal favourite is Buffer because I share on Twitter and Pinterest the most (you can follow me here and here), and you can schedule to most of the big social networks in one place rather than needing lots of individual tools. If you’re planning to share a lot, I’d definitely recommend the premium version of Buffer because the free account only lets you schedule 10 posts.
If you’re using a scheduling tool in conjunction with an old post sharing tool like Revive Old Post, you’ll want to check the publishing times to make sure you aren’t posting too frequently, which is both annoying for your audience and gives each post less time in the spotlight.
04. Change up your images
If you re-share to visual networks like Instagram or Pinterest, do it using a different image. For example, when you’re writing a post, include various image options for people to share for Pinterest, and where you’re re-sharing, pick a different one every time and see which performs the best. Alternatively, add a new image each time you update a blog post and use that. Experiment with different styles of photos, illustrations, different fonts, and alternative titles.
For Instagram, there were several different ways you can make things fresh. E.g. share a travel photo you haven’t shared before and add the URL to the relevant travel blog post for people to copy and paste. Or if you’ve just baked cupcakes fresh, use a new photo but share the link to the old recipe you have for them.
You can be super organised by storing images in a specific folder on your phone, in Dropbox, or even in your blog’s media library, so if an opportunity comes up to talk about existing content on your blog, you’re ready for it!
05. Take advantage of hashtags
Notice a popular hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook? Have a look at what content makes sense for it and take advantage of new audience potential. To automate this for less work, have a look at regular Twitter chats and their hashtags, and ‘share a blog post’ type topics tied to a specific day of the week.
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How do you share old content? Drop me a comment below!