On Friday, I had to chew out my client.

Don’t misunderstand me; this chew-out was an exercise in tough love.  I felt a little like a stern parent.  As I watched my friends, the marketing managers, hang their heads, I knew my message was sinking in.

What I told them was simple.

Don’t ever, ever, let your content get this old again!

I was standing in front of them, shaking my finger, because they hired me to go through all their content and assess how useful it was.  I turned out a sixty-page report that basically said three things:

  1. 90% of your content is out-of-date and misleads customers.
  2. The other 10% needs to be re-written to be useful.
  3. You have massive content gaps which need to be filled.

I see some of this in almost every large technology company. Many companies budget for content creation, but don’t set aside budget or personnel to manage a content lifecycle. It’s an easy mistake because prospect requirements change, sales requests change, and marketers would much rather create new, shiny content to serve those requests then rehash old, wrinkled content.

But most content becomes old and has to be retired.  My client hadn’t done that for years, and it showed.

But, as I explained to them, there are three reasons why you MUST revamp old content.

  1. Old content, if it’s no longer accurate, misinforms your customers.  Incremental enhancements, new features, capacity or performance gains aren’t unusual in B2B technology products. If your old content hasn’t been updated when improvements come out, then your old content misleads prospects. Prospects won’t make fully informed decisions.
  2. Old content means your product doesn’t matter. Imagine comparing three televisions. Two of the televisions have up-to-date content on the website, nice videos, data sheets, and blog posts. The third television has old content that hasn’t been updated in three years. Would you conclude that the company doesn’t care about the third television, might be ready to discontinue it, or isn’t investing in it?
  3. Old content makes your company look incompetent. Imagine shopping Company A, and Company B. Company A is clearly putting effort into creating content, updating content, and responding to prospects with up-to-date content. Company B isn’t doing that work. Which company looks more competent?

In the next post, I’ll dig into how you can assess whether your content is too old, what the fixes are, and how to quickly make improvements. But drop me a note and let me know your thoughts about this post!