Outdated Content is Friday’s Fish

It invariably happens. You are about to do something with software or a SaaS based service that you’ve never done before and you need help. You don’t need the IT department or the IT Person to help you, as you’re smart enough to know how to read instructions.

You surf over to the help section of the product, service or app and search for your problem using the keyword search box. Up pops almost every article related to your needed solution so you page through them until what you need to know is presented. Then it only gets worse.

It seems the content is related to an older version, or a different plan of what you’re using.

You then decide to search Google. There you find a bunch of solutions to your problem, or so you think. The articles that you think will solve your problem, though even more current than the support posts, are nothing more than content marketing created SEO fodder. Those simply echo the support post, but are written in a more elegant and conversational manner. As you read through you keep hoping the answer you need is there, but you have no joy, even though Google’s search actually has found the answer.

The answer is buried in a long string of comments that one “content” marketer posted, and one other frustrated, but take no for an answer reader contributed. The answer was simple.

Contact tech support and they’ll provide a fix by ___________. The blank can be adding a feature to your account. Telling you to remove some software that’s causing a conflict or simply advising you to upgrade, even though that minor detail was left off the site.

Why? The content is from a year ago. The product mix has changed. The UI has changed. The service has changed. Any number of reasons.

So here’s the net net. Stale content is like Friday’s fish on Monday. It’s stale. Outdated. It’s like beer that has lived past its’ shelf life. It’s spoiled meat. It’s the prescription that’s expired.

We live in a world where search and discovery is everything. But having outdated content on your web site, with solutions that no longer work, or writing new content that refers to old versions is a recipe for disaster. Content marketers, SEO experts and PR folks all need to be aligned, otherwise all you’re really doing is letting the stale and outdated shape the perception of your business.

Follow me on Twitter @andyabramson or read my occasional blog post at andyabramson.com

Follow me on Twitter @andyabramson or read my occasional blog post at andyabramson.com