The original blog, Handmade Brooklyn, started when I first moved to NYC in 2009. It originally began as a way to catalog and celebrate the amazing people I began to meet at shows around the city. From there, it evolved a bit into a personal/business hybrid blog where I would talk about my wins and failures and what I had learned from them (plus, let’s be real here, a few pity parties).
From there, I decided to try to give it a go at making it a legitimate small business blog with a side of lifestyle, where I’d publish cool shit that publicists let me know about: entrepreneurs, DIY ideas, and the occasional post about my business, though I tried to focus more on what other people were doing. After that, I realized that I sort of hate dealing with publicists, mostly because of the overwhelming amount of irrelevant pitches I’d get.
About that time is when I came to the realization that I had burnt out in my business and needed a change, so I looked at my dusty old blog and decided to take it back to an old iteration, where I’d post about my experience…but less bitching and more helping/lessons I’ve learned.
Needlessly to say, I had a rats nest of content: cocktail recipes, press releases, DIY peplum tops, my original content, and random things. I realized that I needed to do some spring cleaning on my blog, and pronto. I deleted ~150 posts and then moved Handmade Brooklyn over to here.
I feel like you’re wondering “why would you delete 150 pieces of content?!” That left me with less than 100 posts total, so my blog looked (to me, at least) like I was an n00b to the scene.
Here’s the thing, though: I wasn’t an n00b, I had nearly a decade of experience in business, so that was irrelevant. What I had was a clusterfluff of content that would be relevant to, oh, 3% of my readers? And that may even be 1 or 2 blog posts here and there, but definitely not all of those posts, you know? Sure it looked like I had a lot of content, but what kind of content was it? Useless to my readers, that’s what kind. In the end, it came down to what was more important: looking impressive, or being helpful?
Duh. Time to start cutting the fat.
If you’re a blogger in any capacity (AKA the blog for your business, which you should totally have) I definitely advise revisiting the content you’ve put out in the world and make sure it’s still relevant to your readers…or that it’s even good content in the first place. Look, we’ve all been there, where we’re just like “I’ve got to put out something so I feel like I accomplished a task”, and I’ve got a trick for that stuff in the minute.
What kind of timeline should you be reviewing your content? That’s really dependent on how much content you’ve put out there, and how many people are contributing. If you’ve got a ginormous amount of posts, maybe quarterly. If you’re a once a week person or less, maybe every 6 months. Take some time to remember that every time a new customer comes to your site, this is the first time they’ve encountered you…how do you want them to see your body of work?
Oh, that brings up another point: If you do have mishmash content, remember that it may be attracting people you don’t even want in your space in the first place. Remember that successful businesses push the people they want in, and pull the others that aren’t in the tribe out.
Okay, so you’ve made peace with the idea of letting go of the irrelevant crap. What about the “pushed out in a hurry but still kinda works” content? Time for a fresh coat of paint! Update the content and republish it!
Think about it, the hard work is already done: You had the idea, you started the idea, now just like a book report in school: go back and flesh out what you’re trying to teach. You win because you have content that’s been made even more relevant, and your readers win because they get a fresh post that they might’ve never seen in your archives.
If you’re not a blogger, this totally applies to products, too. Looking at my old business, I used to do this after Christmas every year: I’d look at the past year sales, and start putting things on the chopping block. The line would get culled, and if there were products that were kinda sorta working or ones I was sentimental about that I didn’t want to get rid of just yet, I’d think of how to revamp them a little to increase sales. Was it that it needed a better package? Maybe I needed to update the product copy to make it more of an emotional purchase.
Sometimes, if I increased the price, it helped…rarely did lowering the price help, though. But there was never a “wait and see” when it came to these middle products. The best sellers stayed, the weakest were culled, and the ones I wanted to give one more shot got to rehab.
This week, make it a goal to take a tough look at what creative products you’re putting out in the world. It could save you time in the long run, money (hello, supplies!), and even dealing with the wrong people. Give it a go!
I really don’t recommend deleting content! Google doesn’t like 404 errors. Some great comments on my blog about this from people who deleted. Better to noindex.