I was thinking about this concept recently when I was sharing old posts.
Sharing old posts throughout the week is one of the things I really enjoy doing. I love seeing a post that was written one, two or even eight years ago come to life with new visits. Even if it’s just a handful of new visits it’s neat to know that a piece of content can live on and remain impactful.
Then I came across some old holiday-themed posts I had written. Things that talked about how to market during the holidays. Things I’d done myself to market ecommerce businesses during the holidays. That kind of thing.
This was the holidays so those posts were relevant.
But it got me thinking that it wouldn’t make much sense to share those posts in the coming months. Not many people are looking for holiday themed posts in March.
Is there value in this type of timely content?
I suppose, but it got me thinking that in most instances it might be a better use of energy to focus on timeless content.
Breaking The News Obsession
I see this all the time with NFL reporters on Twitter. And I’m sure it happens in other areas. Other sports. The business world. Local news world.
On Twitter, you’ll see a big piece of news come across. XYZ player is injured. XYZ player signs a new contract. And the reporters will be seemingly fighting to break the news first. They want the scoop.
And if they say it first and someone else says it two seconds later they’ll throw a fit over not getting credited with breaking the news.
Here’s the reality…readers don’t care who breaks the news. Only the reporters care about that kind of credit.
People will follow reporters that seemingly have breaking news all the time. But really you could follow just about any reporter and within the hour you’ll have any breaking news you want. That’s the reality of the world we live in. It’s good for the public. Not as fun for reporters, but it’s reality.
Readers definitely want to know the latest news, but the source really doesn’t matter. The news is what matters. And even then people seem to quickly move into the mindset:
What does this mean?
That’s where things get interesting. Once you know the news you don’t need to know it anymore. You start thinking about how it might change your life. You’re wondering if there is anything you need to do.
That’s kind of where I see timeless content coming in. That’s where the how-to content comes in. It’s where the actionable content comes in. The longform content. The content that will live on many years into the future.
Here are a few reasons it might be best to avoid timely content in favor of putting energy into timeless content.
Is Quickly Forgotten
Do you remember the big news that happened last week?
Do you remember the person that broke the news?
Chances are that you’ve moved on from the news. There is something new breaking this week. There are other things to think about. Maybe you’re just getting back to living your life and doing your work.
News content grabs initial attention whether it’s video, audio or text. People definitely read it. There might be tons of views and engagement right away, but odds of getting any engagement after the first day are pretty much nil.
Is Rarely Found
Here’s another challenge with posting news-type content. It’s really difficult to get it found by readers. Unless you work hard for years to build your brand as a news-breaker then you’ll struggle to get people to view your breaking news content.
You might get one viral piece here and there. That will get you some new followers and those followers might stay, but you’ll have to keep feeding their appetite for breaking news.
There is so much competition to break the news that it’s just next to impossible to be the one that is found. Even if you go on Google News you’ll see tons of sources breaking the same story. Only one or two are listed.
Is A Rat Race
This one is probably obvious by now. I see reporters of all kinds just running themselves nearly to death to break news. And I get it. People do want news content. There is value in it.
But is it really worth being the one to break the news when minutes later everyone else in the field is reporting the same thing? And shortly after that people forget the who and focus on the news. Then after that they’re wondering what to do about it.
And the next day they’re on to the next thing.
It’s just a never ending spinning wheel. It takes a lot of energy. And the rewards are fleeting. Perhaps energy could be better spent elsewhere.
The news is the news. It’s mostly just headlines. It’s “What” and “Who”. And that’s certainly important, but it only goes so deep.
People like and need that type of content, but we almost always want to know the “Why” and the “How”. We want the details. We want the depth. That helps us to understand what’s going on in the world.
I like when news breaks and a few people take the time to investigate further. They figure out all the details. Longform articles come out later. Books come out later. All kinds of content that really has depth and that will bring people’s attention in for a long while.
And this is the one I mentioned first in the post.
When you write news-type content you can promote it for a day, maybe a week. Then it dies. It just sits there in your archive. You can’t really share it anymore on social media or in an email newsletter or anything like that.
But a timeless piece. A how-to piece or an in-depth examination of a person or a situation is something you can promote and breathe new life into for a really long time. Forever in some cases.
I’m not saying that there isn’t value in breaking the news. There is value in timely news. Industry news. Company news. Things like that. People do want it. There is attention there.
But we only have so much energy to give. I’m saying that perhaps your energy, when it comes to creating content, is better spent focusing on timeless content. It might not hit right away, but over time it has the potential to continue bringing you rewards.