Evergreen Content: A Guide to Creating Content That Keeps Giving

“Evergreen content is that which is still interesting and relevant weeks, months or even years after its initial publish date. It doesn’t date like news, and the value is that it can deliver traffic, leads, social shares and can occupy valuable search positions for a prolonged period of time.” – Econsultancy – See more at: http://www.peasoupdigital.co.uk/blog/post/2015/10/19/evergreen-content-a-guide-to-creating-content-that-keeps-giving#sthash.L64TdVJS.dpuf

This is an evergreen post about evergreen content.

This means it isn’t time sensitive. You could be reading this long after it was first published and still find the information relevant and useful.

Blogs benefit greatly from evergreen content, because it’s content that keeps giving, month after month, year after year.

Think of TV. How likely is it that you’ll be watching a repeat of today’s local news in a year’s time?

Not very.

Unless, of course, you’ve managed to get your mug on there, in which case you’ll be still rerunning that clip to your grandchildren in 30 years.

But how likely is it that you’ll be watching old episodes of, say, Only Fools and Horses or Friends and still chuckling at the same jokes? Quite likely indeed. That stuff never gets old – it’s evergreen.

I’m not saying you should drop the news related posts and articles altogether – there are definite benefits to covering hot topics and company updates. What you need to do is find the perfect blend of new and never-gets-old. Posts for now and posts forever.

Perhaps the best example of the benefits of evergreen content is this post from Lifehacker looking back at the site’s top 10 posts of all time. Articles on this list date back as far as 2006 and are still racking up the views.

This is what you need to aim for.

SO WHAT DOES EVERGREEN CONTENT OFFER IN TERMS OF BENEFITS?

LONG TERM TRAFFIC AND HIGH SEARCH RANKINGS

A great piece of SEO-optimised evergreen content always keeps the people coming back. Because of its timeless nature, search engine rankings improve over time around the specific keywords targeted. And the more visible an article is in search engines, the more clicks it will generate.

Here’s a search I did for ‘how to market a blog’:

Only one result in the top ten was published in 2015. One was from 2006.

Blogging is the number one method for increasing traffic. If you can write in a way that’s relevant to a mass audience, you’ll enjoy a steady, continuous stream of new readers a long time after the article was first published.

INBOUND LINKS

Despite the various changes in SEO in recent years, one thing remains the same: links are still the single most important ranking factor. Links to your blog are verifications of popularity, quality and trust. The more high-quality links you attract, the more authoritative your content will become, which will in turn lead to improved search presence. And, of course, as the content you’re putting out is of the evergreen variety, those links will continue to flow in year after year as new people find use in your knowledge.

CONTINUOUS LEADS

A natural benefit of traffic and links is leads – providing that’s your goal. Evergreen content will generate leads for as long as it generates traffic, but only if it’s optimised correctly. This means including relevant call to action requests and buttons throughout content.

RECYCLABLE MATERIAL

News related content typically has a lifespan of about a week at most. After that it probably isn’t worth sharing and will naturally become buried in your blog. Content of the evergreen variety, however, can be shared months, even years after it went live. It can also be re-purposed and repackaged as a slideshow presentation, infographic or video to capture a new audience.

Leading content marketer Jeff Bullas is someone that has evergreen content down to a tee. Here’s a tweet that he shared on 16 October, 2015:

Now check out the date the article was originally published…19 March, 2012!

The date is irrelevant because the content – how to make an infographic of your twitter profile in 30 seconds – is still useful to many people. In fact, it’s probably more useful than ever, given much bigger both infographics and Twitter have become since 2012.

TYPES OF EVERGREEN CONTENT

Creating an evergreen blog post isn’t very hard at all, providing you stick to the old adage of writing about what you know.

For content to remain relevant it has to be useful.

Here is a good range of evergreen content types that will serve you well:

‘HOW TO’ POSTS

Five articles in Lifehacker’s top 10 posts of all time are ‘How to’ posts. These are perhaps the best example of evergreen content there is. WikiHow has created an online empire by creating this type of post alone.

The ‘How to’ is brilliant because it tells people how to solve a problem. The title will often mirror the reader’s exact search query and the article will proceed to guide them through a process. There is a chance of some of the tools changing over time, but the shelf life is solid as a tub of baking soda.

Here are the results of a Buzzsumo search for ‘How to’. Check out the shares:

Put your knowledge to good use to help others.

LISTS

Three articles in the Lifehacker list, including the main post title, are lists. Buzzfeed is perhaps the best known publisher of evergreen list content. Check out the site’s most shared posts…all lists.

As the above screenshot shows, a list doesn’t have to be the standard ‘top 5′ or ’10 Best…’. It can be any number you want, as long as you have enough content to meet the quota.

INFORMATIVE POSTS

If you’re particularly savvy in a specific topic, an informative post is a chance to put your smarts to good use. A lengthy, detailed ‘Complete Guide to…’ or ‘Everything You Need to Know About…’ article is great way to establish yourself as an authority on a subject. And, as long as people are interested in, and keen to, learn about your niche, you’ll always have readers.

CASE STUDIES

The case study shows other people what you’ve done for a particular client, demonstrating your proficiency in a particular area. This type of content can sit on your website for years and still be of benefit to anyone new that visits. The real world aspect of a case study also makes it a great lead generation tool – helping to seal the deal with potential clients.

TESTIMONIALS

A testimonial is a brilliant piece of evergreen content that you don’t even have to lift a finger to create. All you have to do is ask a customer for feedback, or offer a product or service so good that they feel compelled to tell the world how good you are.

RESOURCES

Not all content has you laying down your knowledge. You can easily become a curator and help the people of the internet out by providing a resource. We’ve done this a few times in the past, bringing together a collection of tools and resources in list and ‘How to’ posts:

10 Free SEO Tools to Use When You’re Skint

12 Free Apps to Enhance Your Content Marketing

How and Where to Get Free Images for Your Content

FAQS

Answering questions that people commonly ask, or will likely ask, is genuinely helpful to people. Google processes billions of questions every day. You can be the oracle that people seek. If the answers you provide are specific enough, you might find your content featured as part of the Google Knowledge Vault and the benefits that offers.

CHECKLISTS

Are you seeing the theme here? Every type of evergreen content is designed to empower the reader.

Everyone can benefit from a checklist. They stop us forgetting things and they suggest things we didn’t even think of. Some examples:

Things Needed for Planning a Wedding: A Complete Checklist

FINALLY! A Checklist for Social Media Marketing that Actually Helps

The 10-Step Content Marketing Checklist

REVIEWS

61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Have you read a niche-related book or begun using some new tools? Review them. Reviews are great for customers and excellent for SEO. And they don’t just have to be good reviews. Statistics from Reevoo show that bad reviews improve conversions by 67%.

INTERVIEWS

A good interview is largely determined by the subject. If you’ve got your mate Terry in for a chat about the price of fuel and the weekend’s football, people might not be that interested. You need to aim high. Go after an influencer in your niche, someone known in the industry. And if they aren’t known, make sure their expertise and experience is such that people have something tangible to take away.

CREATING EVERGREEN CONTENT

Right, so we’ve covered a few different content ideas that should keep you well fuelled for, well, forever really. But before you leave here to start crafting an evergreen masterpiece there are a few little rules that you need to bear in mind.

DON’T BE A SHOW-OFF

While it’s always good to showcase your expertise, you’ve got to remember who’s most likely to be reading your content. Your typical reader is probably going to be a beginner. Jargon will be lost on them, so avoid it. You don’t need to totally dumb things down, just steer clear of industry terminology.  Content should be written in a way that’s readable and digestible for 13-14 year-old. If you can do that, it will appeal to everyone.

STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW

Create content based around what you know. Doing this makes it easier for you to write and easier for readers to grasp. If you start branching off into other areas that you’re not so clued up on, you’ll getting overly bogged down in research and the flow of your content will become fragmented.

Focus on narrowing down topics to suit your skill set. For example, producing ‘A Guide to Twitter Marketing’ is going to throw you in against some pretty big players. But if this guide is broken down into a range of sub topics you’ll start appealing more directly to readers:

  • How to Create a Twitter Page for your Business
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up  a Twitter Card
  • How to a Twitter Ad to Increase Followers

MAKE CONTENT ACCESSIBLE

An evergreen blog post is different to your standard news-related content. You can’t let this type of content get buried within the deep dark depths of your blog. Make posts easily accessible to readers at all times, either by giving them their own resource-like section or by creating a new category sidebar, similar to how Quicksprout does things:

Content Marketing Institute has a similar approach:

Evergreen content gives you consistent traffic, improved search presence and a nice little stash of social media sharing material. There really isn’t anything not to like. Go forth and create.

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