What is evergreen content (and can it drive relevant traffic to my blog?)


Always fresh
; seldom stale are the two marks we like to keep in mind when we think of evergreen content.

A piece of content referred to as as ‘evergreen’ means that it is perpetually relevant: it has a much longer shelf life than other types of content, like newsworthy content, or content based around a specific event (more on that later!)

Evergreen content also tells Google that you’re an authoritative source and can provide quality information to your readers.

It’s a valuable resource to have on your blog!

First, let’s take a look at some types of posts that can develop into evergreen content on your website.

What is an evergreen blog post (and are there already some on your blog?) 

 

Does your blog already have some evergreen posts?

Great news: if you’ve been blogging for a considerable period of time, chances are you already have some evergreen posts built up!

Take a look through some of your best performing posts. These could be ones that amass a great amount of traffic, ones that are continually shared, or ones that you really enjoyed writing. Keep a special eye out for guides and ‘How tos’.

Read through them, and think very carefully: could someone still find value in this post, regardless of whether they read it the day it was published, or six months down the road?

If you think the answer is yes, then you’ve likely got your hands on a piece of evergreen content – and you haven’t even had to write a word…

…Yet!

 

Creating new evergreen blog posts

Buffer gives two instructions that I think are golden, and applicable to almost any blog idea that you want to develop into an evergreen piece of content.

They are to:

1) Write for beginners

2) Narrow your topic

If you want to create new evergreen blog posts that will last you for months, consider the following blog ideas:

 

How-tos and guides

People love a list (they’re easy to read!), and these instructions last for a long time. Tweaks or edits might be needed from time to time, but the bulk of the content will stand.

Examples of specific topics tailored to beginners include:

  • How to create a delicious summer salad in three minutes
  • How to properly warm down after boxing class
  • How to use Pinterest for business
  • How to get the best smartphone photos while on holiday

These types of posts become shared resources that are visited again and again.

 

‘The history of…’ and other storytelling posts

You know the kind: ‘The history of Rome’ or ‘How the internet started’. These are lively posts that tell a story and recount history... and you can’t change history!

Many of these stories, like ‘Fashion through the 80s’ have defined timeframes with set endings, but something like ‘The history of the iPhone’ may exist without end.

While the premise of the latter can still become an evergreen post (as the post could become a resource for people looking for information on the date or specifications of the first iPhone released back in 2007), it would need to be intermittently updated when Apple announces a new model.

Examples of history or storytelling evergreen blog posts include:

 

FAQ

As long as you have website visitors, readers, clients, customers, and subscribers, you’re going to have frequently asked questions.

That’s why this blog idea is a valuable resource that lasts!

Of course, you can also amend and add to a growing list of questions and answers.

Answering beginner questions (and even intermediate and advanced questions, though perhaps segmented into their own respective blog posts) can help grow that piece of content into a useful resource that is shared long after you’ve written it.

 

Definitions and glossaries

These summaries are great assets to offer website visitors and social media followers. They’re particularly valuable for beginners, and they can quickly turn into beneficial resources.

Thinking like a beginner or targeting your content to this group will help ensure your writing will be specific, coherent, and succinct; three key features of evergreen content.

These types of content will provide readers value for months and even years after you click ‘Publish’.

 

An example of evergreen content

An example of a piece that has naturally evolved into a piece of evergreen content is one of our own blog posts.

The Dos and Don’ts: how’s your LinkedIn Company Page? was published almost a year ago, in December 2014, but even today, 10 months later, it’s one of our most read blog posts.

The DOs and DON'Ts of LinkedIn for business.

What are the key elements that make this an evergreen piece?

  • It is easily digestible, and therefore perfect for beginners (it’s a simple list)
  • It is specific (to one social network, LinkedIn; rather than all social media platforms)
  • It will not, for the foreseeable future, become dated

That’s a winning formula for a piece of evergreen content!

 

What do I do with my evergreen blog posts?

Two things: promote and link!

 

Promote

That’s the glory of evergreen content: each piece allows for a multiply of promotion opportunities, so now you’ve identified your evergreen posts, let’s leverage them across social media.

You can promote the same piece of content for months on end. Change the wording, add an image, share a quote from the post, and ask a question. One post can be promoted multiple ways, especially on Twitter!

 

Link

Each new blog post you write should contain internal links to other (older) blog posts.

This is a great way to keep readers on your site for longer (with the intention that they read more by visiting multiple pages), and it can also direct them to that awesome evergreen content.

You can include links throughout your content (using anchor text), or you can link to a few past blog posts at the end of your post, directing visitors to keep reading (like we've done at the end of this post).

 

Should all my blog posts be evergreen?

Well, they can be, but if you’re doing content marketing right, they won’t be – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Having a schedule or a tight structure around your content marketing is a core part of your strategy, and is designed to keep you on track. And you have to admit, yeah, you’re pretty good at sticking to that schedule.

But sometimes, there is a certain day, event, announcement, or piece of news that knocks that schedule out of whack.

Capitalising on breaking news or significant industry discussion means you’re reacting promptly and swiftly to create content around a trending topic.

 

Non-evergreen posts could be based on:

  • News from your industry (say, a big change or rumours that worry your clients)

  • A recent launch or release of a product (not necessarily your own; you can share your opinion, summarise features, or test-drive it!)

  • Curated and summarised statistics (because for how long will stats from 2011 be relevant?)

  • Year-in-review posts (so this happened in 2013… but it’s now lost its touch. It’s nearly 2016!)

  • Event introductions or summaries (these would contain highly relevant information for before and immediately after an event, particularly for attendees or industry members, but mightn’t hold on for too much longer)

These are all ideas for blog posts that you mightn’t have prepared for, but each is a chance to latch onto topics in a timely manner.

 

What about ‘themed’ posts?

These can kind of depend.

See, one type of Christmas post could gain traction every November and December, if it doesn’t have the stigma of datedness attached to it.

A blog post about Christmas decorating ideas is more likely to be revisited season after season rather than a post about the specific events in Melbourne’s CBD during Christmas 2012.

Similarly, a blog post containing ideas for Easter activities with children might drive traffic every March and April, but one about a specific year’s Easter Show won’t hold the same amount of relevance 12 months later.

 

Evergreen content is a crucial part of every great marketing blog

A piece of evergreen content will continue to attract readers long after the date of publication.

What do you think about evergreen posts? Did you discover you already had some posts that you could consider evergreen? Will you now start trying to create evergreen posts? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter!

 

More iformat blog posts we think you'll like...  

☞ Content marketing is more than just SELL SELL SELL: What is a marketing plan?

☞ Why understanding the purchase cycle is key to a content marketing strategy 

☞ The content creation cheat sheet: writing for the web and social media 

☞ Are you a content marketer with writer's block? 

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