Way back in 2004, Chris Anderson wrote an article for Wired Magazine. He later expanded the idea into a book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (I have a copy on my bookshelf). The picture below is the basis for the idea:
Lets say you have a blog, and you have been writing fresh content for it for a while. If you have Google Analytics installed (or some other visitor tracking software) you will begin to see a pattern emerge over time among your visitors.
Your most recent 20% of your content is visited by 80% of your visitors. That’s the green part. It’s the popular posts on your website, and it is what attracts the most visitors. These are your fans, your community, and your closest circles and networks.
The yellow part of the graph is your other older 80% of posts, but it is just as important as the more current ones. These are the posts and articles that attract new visitors to you. This is the part that grows your business over time. How? Let me explain.
Marketing drives us to always have the newest, most up to date, and current stuff. But detailed sales analysis shows that older items sell equally as well. Maybe not hot and heavy like the popular trendy items, but they do sell, and quite well according to retailers like Amazon and Netflix. You are always promoting your latest post (I always do), but frequently forget to mention the older ones.
Here’s a great real world example: This week the top movie is “The Devil Inside” bringing in an incredible $48 Million dollars in just a week and a half. But I’ll bet your favorite movie is something else, possibly it wasn’t even a box office smash. Mine is “Blade Runner“, a 1982 Ridley Scott film that grossed only six million dollars it’s opening weekend. However, in the subsequent 30 years, Blade Runner has brought in an additional $26 Million dollars bringing the lifetime total to over $32 M. I doubt The Devil Inside will garner those kind of numbers over 30 years, as it lives in the green zone. Blade Runner, a much better film, lives in the Yellow Area, and still is rented and viewed today, and will continue to make money for decades.
The same principles apply to your blog. Most people will visit your site, and see the most recent 2-3 posts. But Google indexes everything, and your older posts appear in the search results when the terms match. You have no idea which posts will be searched for, so why not just do your thing, and let the results speak for themselves. That’s what I do, and it works fantastic! Just blog, on a regular basis, and you will get results. It’s a proven fact.