A recent B2B copywriting project began with our client sending me an array of white papers, case studies, and brochures as background material. She called particular attention to one white paper as a great benefits overview. Indeed, the paper does provide a very clear explanation of the value of a complex product. As the copywriters, we were certainly proud of it when we wrote it five or six years ago. Our client didn’t even remember that we wrote it.
I was surprised that the white paper was still in circulation. But why? One might assume that the message in a white paper that old would be dated, but it’s not. As a high-level overview, the paper is still effective. Replacing it with something new just because it’s old would be a waste of time and resources.
But rereading it closely, a couple of things felt a little stale: the paper positions explosive growth as a pressing business challenge, and a footnote references an analyst report from 2005. Growth? Not a big challenge these last few years for the sector in question. And the stats from 2005 must come from research that took place even earlier. It’s time for an asset refresh.
When you carry out an asset refresh, you review your older (but well loved) marcom assets with a critical eye and look for opportunities to make them timelier. First, look for references to moments in time. “Today, companies need… .” Make sure “today” doesn’t seem to refer to yesterday. Replace footnoted metrics with numbers from newer studies. Or just delete references that are no longer relevant. Anything referred to as new (new features, functionality, partnerships, etc.) should be updated. As a finishing touch, align the layout with your current look and feel.
That’s a basic refresh. It won’t take long, and it will make assets seem as fresh as a spring morning. Of course, you can make an asset even more current by rewriting a few paragraphs to reflect the latest and greatest messaging, or by creating new graphics. As long as you keep the changes to less than 25 percent of the content, you’ll be able to get a fresh-feeling asset in a flash. When you want more extensive changes, consider creating a new asset that leverages the strengths of the old favorite.