Timeless writing benefits the blogger. The event that started my thinking on this subject was reading an excellent post a few days ago, it had a lot of the information that I needed, was very exciting, the type of post that adds a lot of value to your life. It started:
“Good Morning Everybody… Hope you guys all had a great weekend.”
I was reading this on a Thursday. The article would have been as relevant to read any day of the week or at any time of the year. I suspect the writer wanted to ease the reader into the work and show how friendly they were, it is a tactic used in conversation, but one that doesn’t readily translate to writing (unless you are writing a column in a daily newspaper). It is always good for writers to present a friendly face to their readers and adopting a chatty, conversational style can certainly make the writer seem more approachable.
As an on-line writer you must be conscious of the fact that we all live on a spherical world, a world where at this moment someone is waking up from their sleep and another is going to bed, a world where weekends are not always held on Saturday and Sunday, a world where it is as hot as the hottest desert and as cold as the polar regions, all at the same time.
Few pieces crafted for blogs are really time sensitive. If the writer were writing a review of the latest greatest smart phone it is true that it may have a limited lifetime (e.g. for the duration that the product is for sale) but this may be anywhere between 3 months and 3 years, depending where in the world the reader is.
Publishing a food recipe is normally timeless, even for something as date specific as a Christmas cake. When you first publish this recipe you probably need to be cognizant of timing, for example, you would be unwise to publish it on the 20th of December as many home bakers are likely to have their cakes already finished by this time and ready for the table. For first time publication you should select the period when people normally bake their Christmas cakes, possibly between mid-October and mid-November. Your recipe is timeless though because next year (or indeed ten years later) when people are looking for cake recipes your page could be the one they read.
Time Limited Pages
If you are writing about the views of a candidate in an election (such as a US Presidential election) then that may be time sensitive, you can expect readers upto the point at which the candidate is unsuccessful, pulls out of the race, or the election is no longer an issue for the electorate. Writing about the results of a Grand Prix motor race may be even more limited in nature, perhaps providing a few days readership in the aftermath of the event. There may be a little interest in the run-up to the following year’s event but overall you could not expect readers to continue reading these pages after the first few weeks.
Making your Blog Timeless
According to Blog Tyrant “a successful blog post is one that brings you traffic and subscribers for a decade” there is no reason why this goal cannot be achieved. You must be able to craft timeless blog posts that not only have the immediate impact of being read but then go on to benefit your site for years to come. Some tips to making your blog timeless are:
- Have imaginative or moving titles that grab and hold a reader’s attention.
- Has a great excerpt that people can relate to, it should be your Google Advert.
- Solve or identify problems.
- Include imaginative or personal stories or anecdotes to ensure your work is engaging and builds loyal readers.
- Make sure your post is stylish, has a mix of text and images and the text is emboldened, italicised, and highlighted through bullet points or other methods.
- Link to pages that aided your research (whether they are your own or those produced by someone else).
- Pose questions and make people think.
- Expand on material you have previously published.
One thing you should NEVER, EVER, do is republish an article you have previously published. If your blog has several hundred posts previously published there is a temptation to republish an earlier work because the topic is now trending on social media and bring it into focus once again. Personally I keep a watch for topics that are trending, which may cause me to pen a new post, but if time is an issue I am likely to simply publicise the old post while the topic is trending (perhaps after taking a look at it and editing it to ensure it remains up-to-date and includes latest thoughts on the subject).
Leveraging Older Articles
You can write a new article that covers the same subject and in doing so liberally reference your old post (and perhaps how 4 years ago you highlighted the need for this change to be discussed further in the industry) you can take that opportunity to add a discussion about the new thinking and its prospective impact. According to Marko Saric older content is “an essential tool in your content toolbox is timeless content that you can reuse and re-purpose“.
A blog may cover a similar topic many times during its lifetime and each provides an opportunity to gain readers by showcasing either contemporary or older articles. Truth is many ideas need time, patience, attention and nurture in order to come to fruition, the writer needs to revisit and refresh the idea, even if they are simply doing so to cause the idea to be discussed in advance of it being accepted as the standard. People rarely take a fresh idea seriously, it has to be recycled and regurgitated in order to gain traction. As a writer there isn’t any reason you can’t be a part of that process for your own new idea.
The important thing to remember about timeless content is that it is as relevant in 3, 6, 12, 18, 36, or 72 months as it is today and may perhaps last a great deal longer. Timelessness of your writing is aided by the words you use, those quips like “hope you enjoyed the weekend” are unnecessary.