How much do you think about the longevity of the content you produce?
When you create content about a trending topic, its popularity is likely to wane eventually. Naturally, this content won’t provide much value in the long term.
However, when you create content around a topic with a bit more staying power, its likely to prove useful to readers time and time again. Because the topic is unlikely to wane in popularity or relevance, the content in question is likely to continually bring in the visits over time.
This kind of content is called “evergreen content” and it provides a sustainable, long-acting benefit to your content strategy.
But what kinds of topics are good ideas for evergreen content? And what role should evergreen content play within your wider content strategy? Let’s take a deeper look.
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is content whose relevance (and therefore, value) doesn’t depreciate over time. The topics discussed are likely to be useful and searched for next week, next month, next year, and beyond. The information conveyed isn’t tied to a trending event, news story, or holiday. Therefore it stays “evergreen.”
Here are some examples of evergreen content from Obsidian’s own archives:
- What is Content Marketing?
- What’s the Deal with Conversational Copy?
- What’s The Difference Between Copy and Content?
These pieces all discuss topics that are likely to be useful for some time to come.
However, here are some examples of content that’s not so evergreen:
- 5 SEO Trends to Watch in 2019 – This isn’t evergreen as SEO trends can move very quickly, and the blog is also tied to the year 2019.
- Christmas marketing campaigns: How to spice-up sales with festive spirit – This is a great article, but it’s only going to be relevant in the run up to Christmas.
- How Content Marketing Influenced the UK General Election Results – Again, an interesting read with some long-term value, but the topic is unlikely to stand the test of time.
Evergreen content is important because it has the longest “shelf-life” of any content you can produce.
What sorts of topics are evergreen?
“How-to’s” and guides about a related aspect of your industry or product are a common – and valuable – example. However, when writing about a technology or science-based topic, be aware of obsolescence and new developments, and be prepared to update the article later down the line if things change. When this happens, always update your content! A thorough update will also give you an excuse to promote it anew on social media and elsewhere – but more on that shortly.
The history of a given topic or interesting related facts/anecdotes also count as evergreen. Until we invent time travel, history and facts won’t change, making this a safe bet for evergreen content. Be careful around statistics though – as time goes on, the picture painted by statistics can change wildly so keep your ear to the ground as new research and statistics come to light.
Why is evergreen so important?
Evergreen content is an essential part of any content marketing strategy. Content that’s valuable and “findable” for a long time acts as a long-term lead generation resource, attracting social shares and backlinks well into the future.
It’s a long-term, sustainable way to stay visible in search for relevant keywords over time – in turn attracting a continuous stream of visits and positive attention to you.
How to Craft In-Demand Evergreen Content
If you want your content to be as evergreen as possible, follow these rules:
- Your content strategy should always dictate the kinds of topics you cover and the kinds of content you create. If you’re struggling for content ideas, check out these 8 methods to never run out of content ideas ever again.
- Once you’ve got a topic in mind, eradicate any reference to the current time of year or topical events if you want your content to stay evergreen. Focus on the lessons you can impart that are likely to be useful for months, even years into the future. The duration of this “sell by date” may vary depending on your industry and the topic at hand, but be mindful of it regardless.
- Similarly, unless your blog/channel is strongly dependent on news and opinion pieces, avoid references to current affairs or news stories. As soon as those news stories are off the front page, your content’s relevance will be too.
- Just because your content is likely to hold its value to your audience for months to come, that doesn’t mean that you should leave it be once it’s gone live. Keep an eye on it and do a quick fact-check now and again to make sure you’re still providing the maximum possible value. If you become aware of new information or you simply think of a more efficient way to out things, always update it. Remember, as your knowledge and insight grows over time, you can only add value to the piece.
Sharing and Sharing and Sharing is Caring
It’s easy to say “once your content is complete, share it on social media.” However, truly evergreen content provides maximum value for the maximum amount of time. So for maximum impact, you need to keep sharing it on social media over time.
How frequently you share the same piece depends on you, your audience, and the social platform in question, but there are a few factors that you may want to bear in mind. How frequently are others in your industry resharing the same pieces of content? What platforms are they using to share their content?
Social scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer are incredibly useful to schedule one-off social media posts in advance. You should also be aware of content recycling tools like RecurPost or MeetEdgar. These tools let you maintain a library of content that it feeds out to your social accounts over time.
It’s also worth paying attention to the times of day that you post – Sprout Social shared a useful guide to the best times to post to numerous social media channels.
If regurgitating content over and over makes you feel a bit spammy and icky, remember that social media is incredibly fast paced. Social algorithms are constantly in flux and can be rather fickle, so even your most avid followers might not have seen every single thing you post. Your follower counts are consistently growing, so you owe it to your new followers to share your older content with them too.
But don’t just rely on your own sharing power – don’t forget your audience has sharing potential too! Make it easy for visitors to share your content by including some kind of social media sharing functionality in every piece of content that you produce.
Should all of my content be evergreen?
Unfortunately I can’t give you a straight answer about the ideal ratio of evergreen content to time-bound content. It’s really down to you, your industry and your ways of working. Time-bound content can be useful when an industry is reacting to a sudden change or announcement, and shows people that you keep your finger on the pulse of relevant industry matters.
Truly impactful topics for evergreen content need to be carefully thought through – you need to select topics that hold the best value for you and your readers over time. It’s not just a case of asking “will this information be useful for my audience?” but asking “will this information be useful for my audience in months/years to come?” and “is this topic likely to change any time soon?”. The answers to these questions will naturally depend on who you are and what you do.
If you require in-depth advice on your content strategy, then by all means, check out my suite of content marketing services! I can help you identify desirable content topics, create engaging written content on your behalf, and help you get that content seen by the right eyeballs. Interested? Drop me a line!
Note: This post was first published in December 2015 and has since been edited.