In the quest to continually engage and build loyalty among consumers, brands are creating and serving up volumes of branded content across the web, social channels and email. In fact, seventy percent of content marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago. At the same time, brand marketers are wise to examine how effective branded content is, questioning its lifespan, when that content is still relevant and whether or not it should be retired. Marketers may be surprised to learn that older content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the content strikes a chord, it doesn’t matter how old it is. Here are three counter-intuitive content marketing strategies to keep in mind:

Mining the Archives

It’s all about what’s trending right? Wrong. As we know, often times trends will find their way back around and to the top of consumers’ minds. While food trends tend to come and go, some people may continue to express interest long after the trend has run its course. In the case of classic recipes, however, this content continues to have high value. For example, the beloved American icon, Julia Child’s chocolate soufflé. Classic, sought-after recipes such as this are examples of evergreen content that can and will always remain relevant to a specific set of consumers. They are also easy to re-target, once a consumer has expressed continued interest.

Nostalgia marketing also draws on the power of positive cultural associations from the past. Coca-Cola, KFC, Microsoft and Lego are all tapping into the emotional connection people have with each of these respective brands. In recent years, focusing on nostalgia marketing has become an effective strategy for marketers in categories including entertainment, fashion and food. Quality content truly has no expiration date if it’s aligned with consumer interests. Whether it is a recipe or a how-to piece, the content never dies. With the advent of machine learning, brand marketers can serve highly personalized, relevant content at scale and archived content can become new at any time a consumer expresses intent.

Your Content Can Be About Your Product

Branded content can focus on product as long as it’s not salesy. For example, Ziploc, the household storage container, continually highlights creative uses of product with how-to’s, tips, ideas and inspiration for organization and party planning on its site. Just in time for some of the hottest months of summer, Ziploc’s site featured a recipe for Fruit-Infused Ice Cubes using its small cube storage containers to serve as molds for the individual ice cubes. As with this how-to example, product-driven content can work and resonate if consumers find it to be interesting, useful, spark creative ideas and reaffirm positive associations.

Product-centric content works well in a number of categories including CPG products and recipes like Jell-O. For National S’mores Day, the household name snack’s brand site featured a recipe for Double Chocolate S’mores Brownies. The common thread for product-centric content is that the information consumers are choosing to spend their time with is ultimately more enjoyable and or useful than promotional.

You Can Reach Big Markets with Niche Content

Use content not just to shout from the mountaintops, but to address very specific interests.

By matching a rich portfolio of granular topics with the right personalization and data strategy, you’ll be able to make your content more individually relevant to each person’s unique interests at every touchpoint. People expect every digital experience to be individually relevant. In an age when consumers have infinite choice and complete control, they simply will not spend time or attention with content that’s not valuable or interesting to them. Customizing content based on individual preferences drives repeat engagement. Gartner forecasts companies mandating content personalization are expected to see revenue increase by 15 percent by 2018. According to eConsultancy, of those brands already committed to personalizing content, 94 percent report it is a key driver of their success.

Whether it is a classic recipe, a viral video tapping into the nostalgia of popular toys of the 1990s or a how-to article, the most successful branded content resonates because it serves the customer and is more enjoyable or useful than self-serving. Keeping in mind the advantages of these not-so-obvious strategies:

  1. Trending content is not always the most appropriate content for consumers who may at a moment in time instead favor more evergreen or nostalgia geared content
  2. Done right, content can explicitly revolve around a product
  3. Niche content can be far reaching with the right personalization and data strategy to deliver content based on past user behavior, marketers can build long lasting relationships with customers – giving individuals more of what they care about and less of what they don’t