‘Best before’ – content expiry date

As an international PR and content marketing agency, based in Manchester, we are always looking for ways to improve our content creation. Great content is one of the top three reasons people will follow a brand. Most companies realise this and while content may technically be out there forever, its lifespan – and the time it is useful for – is much, much shorter.

Original content can only remain relevant and interesting for so long. What was new, interesting and relevant a year ago, even six months ago can be quickly out of date, stale and tired.

That’s where a developed content marketing strategy and editorial calendar comes into its own, but it needs to be built around the average lifespan of various content types, filling gaps that appear over time.

Here are three insights to help you analyse the value and lifespan of your content:

Well written long form content lives longer
Google’s switch to favour more long form content promoted many brands to adopt content creation as a way to engage audiences online, but still many struggle to produce enough fresh content to maintain audiences’ attention. Often brands try to produce a piece of content for each day of the month, often unable to sustain this level, whereas if brands analysed which content engages their audiences the most and for how long, their content strategy would significantly alter. Nate Weiner, CEO of content app Pocket, gives an example of a 2000 word blog having a shelf life of up to 37 days. This long-form post may have been one of the few pieces of content produced over the course of a month, but its 16,000 likes and 2,000+ Tweets proves that engagement is heavily weighted towards longer form and higher quality content.

Every second counts – so when to post?
Given the speed and amount of content readily available, for brands attempting to reach new and existing customers across sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, timing counts.

A high percentage of engagement on social channels takes place within hours of the first publication.

  • Twitter content has half-life of 2.8 hours (from Bitly)
  • Facebook posts receive 75 percent of total engagement within five hours (from Wisemetrics)
  • Pinterest Pins acquire 40 percent of total clicks within the first day of publication and 70 by the end of day two (via Piqora)

Information can grow old and tired on social media so its important that brands use customers’ average attention spans as a catalyst for advancing their social media content strategies. Knowing how long your posts have to engage with your audience is extremely useful for shaping social strategies and creating individual posts.

Post each piece of content – several times
Brands are often hesitant to post the same things more than once. However if less than 10 percent of your audiences see any given post, the odds of them seeing it more than once is highly unlikely. At Hattrick, content marketing agency, Manchester we usually share a long form piece of content around 10-15 times on Twitter and around 5-10 on other networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. If a post performs well we may even post periodically for at least 6 months.

So don’t spend too much time crafting one particular post, instead spend the energy and thought on your overall strategy and how and when each piece of content should be broadcast. It’s better to get something out there at the right time, measure its impact and gradually optimise until you have located the perfect message. That way, the response you get during those first three hours will come from the type of fans your brand is looking to attract.


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