Content archives often contain a treasure trove of valuable information not easily findable as more up-to-date content. But this does not mean that older content isn't as good or appreciated by readers as much as breaking news stories.
In fact, the opposite may likely be true.
According to the data collected by Aaron Lammer, cofounder of Longform, (an app that allows you to access quality curated longform content) readers appreciate quality content whether or not it has been written yesterday.
He himself writes in an excellent article entitled The Archive Is a Campsite: "Magazine editors occasionally ask us about trends we see, and what gets clicked.
We find that articles on sex and crime overperform, while those on politics or the media seem to lag. Not shocking—people like sex, and any political leaning divides a crowd.
But a second peek into the analytics seems to surprise almost everyone: older stories are read at the same rate as new ones."
The article, is really full of truthful considerations, that should make any web publisher consider how valuable really is to keep chasing the "latest" stuff only.
A skilled curator (or what he calls here an "archivist") can indeed be a more than valid future alternative to search engines, as we know them now.
He writes: "The obvious entry point into these archives is search. Looking for a restaurant menu? A clip you remember seeing on Sesame Street as a child? Search has you covered. Looking for something to read on a flight? Not so much. If you don’t already know what you’re looking for, you simply aren’t going to find it.
Search is an interface for accessing the archive, just as the front page is an interface for accessing the news.
The archivist’s task is to build an interface that offers a better experience than search. Such an interface might constantly reassemble the contents of the archive into a manageable and coherent subset that both surprises and delights, a sort of serendipity machine."
Aaron really nails down the need to break away from this falsely praised culture of the "new", by writing: "Archives work best when they escape the content silos that drive the creation of new material.
When art and information from disparate sources are merged into a single archive, new pathways into the content emerge. "
He also doesn't miss the target when he reminds publishers that such issues are not in the realm of plugins or technical solutions.
"Archives aren’t a technical problem that can be solved with a plugin or recommendation engine. Their contents were built by people, and they require real human effort to shine."
Curating your own content archives is an act that requires lots of hard work, but it is an act that provides value both to you as a publisher as well as to your readers and to the Internet as a whole in general.
“When you invest in your archive… you do more than simply pad your pageview count.
You announce to the world that your work merits ongoing interest, and you confirm to your readers that the relationship you’re building with them is long term.
Focusing on the archive is, at its core, a strategy for creating outstanding new work.
Articles considered in the context of their influence over years and decades, instead of minutes and days, must inherently aim higher.
While such ambition asks more of both the creator and the consumer, it’s worth it, because it leaves something of value behind."
Rightful. Insightful. Inspiring. Must-read work. 9/10
Original article: http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/the-archive-is-a-campsite/
Thanks to PandoDaily and Hamish McKenzie who helped me discover this great article.
(Image credit: Businessman climbing a pile of documents)