News articles vs educational articles: why one expires

News articles vs educational articlesOne of the questions we hear all the time is, “Should the articles we publish on our website eventually be taken down?” In other words, should these articles be put in the trash and replaced with something fresh and new? What this question implies is that there are two specific ways to write content for your website, and they can be roughly classified as either “news” or “educational.” Keeping these two categories in mind, this article will help answer the question, “news articles vs educational articles: why one expires.”

News articles vs educational articles

There are two very distinct classifications for articles on your website – they will either be written to inform the reader about a current event, or they will be geared toward teaching. Until a company embraces using their website to teach their customers, articles published on their site will almost always be news-related. More often than not, this is news about the company itself. Company milestones, new employees, and promotional pieces are usually included here. Since these articles are tied to a certain point in time, and since they’re about a specific event taking place, these articles will inevitably diminish in value. Eventually, these articles will reach the end of their shelf life, and “expire.”

Educational articles, on the other hand, offer you the opportunity to turn your website into a teaching tool.  What questions are you hearing from customers and prospective customers consistently, month after month, year after year? If you start answering their questions on your website, these articles will remain relevant. Why? Instead of news about your company, these articles solve the problems of your customers.

When to write news articles on your websiteWhen to write news articles on your website

We won’t disparage news articles completely. News articles are fantastic for some industries, especially those affected by annual updates to laws enacted by Congress. Every year, accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, and many others have new important information to disseminate to their clients. In addition to the emails,  letters, or newsletters sent to these clients, an article published on the company website will be the best way to get discovered by new clients online. If a potential client is searching for the new 401(k) deferral limit for 2015, that person will start with a Google search, right? If that information is not available on the website as an article, Google will pass it right by.

A final thought when it comes to news articles – if your company hasn’t already started using your website as a teaching tool, please consider writing articles that answer your customers’ questions first. As interesting as news articles can be, the best way for your company to get found online is by creating timeless content. As an example, the 2015 401(k) deferral limit article will be relevant this year, but not in 2016. An article such as “When does a 401(k) make sense for my company?” will continue to yield search traffic to your website every year, because it helps answer the question of the reader. Instead of just providing information, it provides education. Since we all have finite time available to write articles, you’ll see the best Return on Investment from writing educational articles first.

Spencer X Smith

Spencer helps you save time through teaching digital marketing and social media strategies in plain English, after proving they actually work for himself first. He also is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and a columnist for InBusiness.

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