How to Produce Timeless Content That Helps You Today, Tomorrow and Forever

social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Paul Colligan, expert in content creation and podcasting, who can be found at PaulColligan.com.

Paul explains why you need to avoid creating content that is “here today, gone tomorrow and a week later makes you look bad.” He also shares why it’s good to invest in creating content with a long shelf life and how to create timeless content.

Be sure to check out the takeaways below after you watch the video.



Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • How to produce content that is good 10 years from now
  • How to avoid giving cues dating the content you create
  • Why the shelf life of your content matters
  • How to match your content with when and where your audience consumes it
  • Discover which content is “never-green”
  • Why you should consider taking the dates off of your articles
  • What you need to know before you start podcasting
  • Why podcasting’s power is in the channel and not the media format

Connect with Paul on Twitter @colligan and check out Paul’s website.

Is your content timeless? What’s your favorite content creation tip?  Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • Gus Ferguson

    I really love this blog… always hugely interesting content. Thanks!! :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Gus, thanks so much! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborahgallardo Deborah Camp Gallardo

    I edited out the dates on my blog posts more than a year ago, but Paul’s ability to zero in on the larger issue of timelessness really opened my eyes. This is actionable information. Great video interview.

    Way to go, Paul! And thank you, Michael.Deb Gallardo

  • paulcolligan

    Deborah. Nothing I like more than actionable content. Thanks for noticing.

  • http://benjaminbeck.com/ Benjamin Beck

    Great Tip! Don’t let dating your content ruin the fact that your producing great content!

    blog.benjaminbeck.com

  • Jim

    once again..great information from Paul…Thanks

  • http://LouiseM.com/ Louise Myers

    I have one site with undated posts for timeless info, and one with dates that’s more “of the moment” – my latest work. Love the tip about visual cues. Thanks for the pointers!

  • http://FeldyMentor.com/ Allison Rapp

    Thanks so much for giving me things to do right now, and stuff to chew on! 

    I have a question about taking the dates off blog posts — does it have any effect on how the search engines consider new material? I know the object is to keep your content new — are they looking at dates?

    Thanks in advance!
    Allison

  • http://twitter.com/kimgusta Kim Gusta

    Love Paul’s tips on creating timeless content - very good idea since we’re all interested in economies of scale when it comes to content creation.  The longer our content can stay fresh, without the need to update it, the better.
     
    Also liked the commentary on viewing podcasts as a channel. I had never thought of them as anything other than an audio medium - that was eye-opening.

  • Monica Hall

    Paul gave SO much value in such a short time! Regarding his point about not dating your articles, I have an additional motivation for taking that advice: I’ve found myself not promoting some content by 3rd parties because it was more than a day or two old, even though the info was still valid. The reason being that I’m known professionally for being on top of NEW developments. Of course, there are exceptions to everything :-) , but generally, I want my audience to receive the freshest news.

    Sincerely appreciate both you, Michael, and Paul in sharing ideas that serve to help all of us!

  • http://twitter.com/lahomar Laura Homar

    I would encourage everyone to think about the fact that in everyting we do online, we are creating our personal history and branding. I advocate for dating everything we create for future generations to study. In doing so, we will be leaving them with a big part of the sociological investigation organized. It also will give social anthropologists a clear and precise idea of what “x” or “y” person was thinking an creating at any given moment in time. 
    Does this make sense? 

  • http://www.aparcher.com Apryl Parcher

    Thanks, Paul, for the insights on what you actually have showing in your videos, and how to be careful what you say. We often forget the “backstory” that can date us after the fact.

  • http://productlaunchthatworks.com Brian Kwong

    Paul got great things to say, but I can’t stop looking at his double chin shaking, its quite cute =)

  • http://www.pratico-pratiques.com/cuisine/ Julie Boudreau

    A couple of years ago, when the direction of Pratico-Pratiques decided to really invest in their Website, blogs were the big thing. This video make me feel good about suggesting the company to rather go with a content ressource than the blog. Yes, we have Halloween recipes and Christmas decorations, but in general, our topics stand pretty well the test of time! Thank a bunch! We rarely hear about content. More please!

  • http://blog.socialmediahq.com/ Nick Robinson

    When you mentioned that podcasting is a channel, it got me thinking about what the definition of podcasting really is: I think it needs to be updated in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast. I had no idea that you could feed PDF’s to iPads, pretty cool. To relate, do podcasts act more like rss feeds for digital files?

  • Gordon Currie

    This is a great interview Michael, really enjoyed Paul’s approach. As an aside, tried to comment on this story in IE 8.0 and it would not let me. Went back to Chrome and it works. Tech bug I guess.
    Looking forward to more info from Paul on your blog. Maybe an idea on his New Media Content Generation 2.0 topic. Cheers, Gordon

  • http://www.smallbusinessitshow.com/ Dexter Eugenio

    thanks for sharing Michael, Paul makes some great tips and I’m going to see how this “removing of the date” thing works on my blog. 

    a bit apprehensive, but I’m sure it will be the better for it.

    also, i just listened to your podcast interview with blogcast fm (im a month out!).  some EXCELLENT advice in there and  if any of the people reading my comment hasn’t listened to it, Michael shares some top shelf information, so go out and get it!

    so thanks for that too!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Gordon – Sometimes DISQUS acts up.  Try again in IE in the future 

  • http://www.optivance360.com Alan Kaplan

    Interesting and valid points emerged from the video which I really enjoyed.

    A publication that was built on ‘timeless content’ is Reader’s Digest and in my view much credit should be given to them for this approach even in the new media environment which has emerged since their inception.

    Whilst avoiding time specific references is important, in my view of even greater importance is the nature of the subject matter itself and the manner it is handled.

    Regards

    Alan Kaplan

  • paulcolligan

    Exactly!

  • paulcolligan

    Thanks Jim.

  • paulcolligan

    Welcome.

  • paulcolligan

    Best I know / understand, they’re looking at the date it was published – not the date you “said” it was published.

  • paulcolligan

    Great. Hope you have a Podcast you can put this to use on.

  • paulcolligan

    Obviously if you are in a situation where your market is the most recent stuff, than dating your content makes a heck of a lot of sense.

    I for one would prefer content with a long shelf-life. One day Mike will tell you how old this video is ;-)

  • paulcolligan

    Yes, makes sense – if the date is important to what you’re leaving, leave the date. However, if it isn’t …

  • paulcolligan

    Wanna guess how old this video is?

  • paulcolligan

    Uh … thanks?

  • paulcolligan

    Awesome. And, as a bonus, if you’re creating something for the next 20 Christmases, you can give it more time than if you’re creating it for just next Tuesday.

  • paulcolligan

    Yes.

  • paulcolligan

    What do you say Mike, should we do something on the New Media Content Creation Model?

  • paulcolligan

    I bet you’ll be much better off for it.

  • paulcolligan

    I don’t know if RD invented the concept but they’re certainly someone we can learn from.

  • http://www.aparcher.com Apryl Parcher

    Uh… last year?? Really, I have no clue (although that SM Examiner background looks familiar!). Ok, I give up…

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Email me and let’s talk…

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I’m not telling :)

  • Charmaine

    Important tips!  Thank you for sharing so much content in a few minutes.  One question, will mentioning iPad date this interview?

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    These tips are extremely beneficial. These are things that anyone can easily content for a blog.

    Recently posted: http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/blog/part-7-here-is-a-top-ebay-marketing-tool-%e2%80%9cdeal-finder%e2%80%9d-by-ebay-virtual-assistants-at-obva/

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ Timo Kiander

    Paul,

    Thank you for changing my mind on this topic :)

    I have been a “date guy” as long as I remember. I have always been annoyed (for some reason), when I couldn’t figure out when a post on another blog was written.

    However, I start to see why it is beneficial to remove the dates off your posts. Evergreen stuff is always in demand – and there is no specific date for it.

    I’m relaunching my blog later this fall and the dates on the post – they are gone :)

    Cheers,
    Timo

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  • http://traffikd.com social traffic

    Thanks Paul. This is a great topic and something that I feel is really important and that I try to do but maybe not something that I ever really thought about consciously. Thanks for condensing it into a form that I can understand and actively use.

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Yep, I’ve been like Timo – sort of addicted to checking the dates of the articles I read online. And frequently it makes sense.

    I love the timeless concept for the content, however. I’ve seen it executed brilliantly by no other than John Locke – although he does date his posts.

  • http://www.batads.com Ryan

    Whenever I wrote in my blogs, I always try to write about topics that will be just as relevant in 10 years as they’re today. It is really easy to do.

    Lets imagine our blog is about aggressive pets and how to control them.

     Instead of writing about a brand new dog whistle that can help you control your dog on a walk, which will eventually become outdated.

    Write about training your dog to show less aggression towards other dogs by taking them to dog parks when they’re pups.

  • http://expatdoctormom.com/ Expat Doctor Mom

    Wow so happy I found this site! Not certain who referred me… 
    Right now am blanking on who referred me… At any rate: my content is split between evergreen and things that could change more readily but are relevant to my market.  For example talking about how to work from home with children at home is evergreen.  The tips will not change over time.  But in a sunscreen article where I review and steer readers away from dangerous sunscreens, while this is useful, this will date.  Hopefully it will date as the FDA enforces stricter guidelines and there is no longer a need to review unsafe sunscreens.

    I see the importance of losing the dates on your posts… but I personally feel disoriented on a site when I can’t find a date.  

    There are posts that are very valuable to many a reader that will date in addition to my example above: how to best use google + when it first came out etc etc.

    My favorite content creation tip is to add value to your readers life.

    Cheers,
    Rajka

  • http://www.shalltell.com Shalltell

    I love the date/content techniques described in this video (screen shots, ect). However, I’m not a fan of removing dates from articles. 

    When I read an article that relates to the times (such as SEO), if it doesn’t have a date, I go find another article that DOES have a date.

    On the other hand, if it is an article on something that doesn’t change often (like the continents), I would care less of when it was written. 

    I believe if you don’t want your readers to see the date it was written before the article, have the date at the end of the article.

  • paulcolligan

    i remember asking myself that question when i said it. however, i knew the ipad was going to be aroudn for a long time. a long time …

  • paulcolligan

    that was/is the idea

  • paulcolligan

    awesome

  • paulcolligan

    thrilled to help

  • paulcolligan

    that addiction is causing more bloggers to do burn out quicker than anything else

  • paulcolligan

    Yes

  • http://www.gregoryciotti.com Delaware SEO

    Evergreen content is the best kind of content to write, only the huge news sites can get away with “in the moment” types of content.

  • paulcolligan

    agreed.

  • paulcolligan

    the only people who “look for” dates on blogs are other bloggers. others are looking to the internet for information.

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    True, that. 

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Well, Shalltell point holds, it’s common sense. The post date is the first thing I look at when reading about electronics, for example. The comments are usually dated, anyway. In other news, grass is mostly green… 

    The a-ha from this article is massive for me, though. I write about the Aztecs – since their civilization’s gone, I’d do well editing my dates out. Will kill 50% of my blog-related stress. 

  • http://www.shalltell.com Shalltell

    It wouldn’t matter if you dated your articles or not @AustinBriggs:disqus since your topic is pretty much timeless at this point. I just don’t like the fact that everyone is responding from the bloggers’ point of view, not the readers’. 

    As a reader, there are some topics that just needs to be dated :)

  • http://www.shalltell.com Shalltell

    I’d like to respectfully disagree. I’m not a blogger, and I look at dates when looking for information. Sometimes dates _can_ be just as relevant as what I’m reading.

    I’d also like to suggest that bloggers can serve the roles of readers as well. At least, not EVERY blogger uses information surfing for research only.I guess it all depends on the topic? Wouldn’t you agree?

  • http://www.shalltell.com Shalltell

    For sure! I’m glad I found this too. I was referred by a linkedin digest, and I have to say this site just scored a new reader ;)

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Agreed! :)  

  • http://www.ctrlspc.ca Rezanaghibi

    awesome post. how do you remove post dates on fb?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    You can’t remove them on Facebook

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tara-Chhabra/100001004749596 Tara Chhabra

    I might be missing something very fundamental here, but who are any of us to know or declare exactly what is “timeless” content in this age of constant, fast-paced change? I share the minority opinion expressed here that dates can give readers a better sense of orientation and context within time and the spectrum of this never-ending change. Like age, a date ain’t nothin’ but a number…so why fear/hide it?

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  • http://twitter.com/ManagementPawn Management Pawn

    If your content is good, it should stand the test of time on its own. The fact that the Sherlock Holmes stories were written over a century ago doesn’t prevent them from remaining among the most-read books every year.

    In many spheres, content has a natural shelf life and it can be unhelpful to the end-user / reader / consumer not to know that. WordPress tips and hacks are often dependent on which version of WP you’re using, for example. Out-of-date health advice can be dangerous if newer research has proven it well-intentioned but fundamentally flawed.

    Dates help you judge how applicable content is to the situation you are in today.

    Surely a better idea is to refresh content by reposting it – and thereby creating a fresher date – but putting an additional comment at the top along the lines of ‘This is something I originally posted x years ago, but it’s still just as applicable today’ or ‘Since I originally posted this, x has changed’.

  • paulcolligan

    Neither am I ;-)

  • paulcolligan

    So, this social media thing works, eh?

  • paulcolligan

    There we go.  Stress kill.  Do it.  

  • paulcolligan

    And some (most) that don’t ;-)

  • paulcolligan

    Absolutely agree.  Big thing is a huge chunk of folk think they must post something every day with dates or they’re not a true blogger.  I just want to encourage people to strategically get their lives back.

  • paulcolligan

    When it does more damage than good, it isn’t fear, it’s strategy.  

  • paulcolligan

    I’ve got blog posts 4 years old getting more traffic today than anything I might write today.  They “work” in every sense of the imagination and spending extra time/effort to feed some machine that isn’t real, not how I want to spend my time.

    If I can post it as evergreen – I will.

    If I can’t, I question if it is worth my effort.

    Next Tuesday Apple will be making some huge announcements about the iPhone 5.  My post will have a shelf life of 48 hours at best – but I will make one.  

    I just want to encourage people to think these things through.  

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