Evergreen content. Put simply, it’s marketing speak for content that doesn’t go out of date quickly. It’s the kind of information that stays relevant and useful, regardless of the date it was produced.
A good Content Marketing Strategy should include two types of content. Evergreen and….well, Deciduous (to continue with the horticultural theme!). Evergreen content will provide a reliable and sustainable source of traffic for your business over time, while the deciduous stuff will blossom, create a flurry of interest and then fade away quickly. For example: A press release about the latest fad diet will create a flash in the pan, but an innovative series of healthy eating recipes will generate interest for much longer. #evergreen
Think of evergreen content as the roots of your content marketing strategy. It’s how you can demonstrate an understanding of the issues that are important to your customers, showcase your expertise, stamp your authority on a subject and position your business as the one to call.
What’s more – it’s effective! Evergreen content delivers the best return on investment because it continues to drive business long after it is published. It can be used over and over again, so it keeps delivering with minimal input.
See the wood amongst the trees
Identifying what would work as a piece of evergreen content is straightforward. It’s really anything that won’t date quickly and that will remain valuable even with regular re-use. For example:
- How-to guides
- Fact sheets or other reference material
- Educational content and tutorials
- Answers to How, Why and What style questions
- Case studies and interviews
- Top tips and lists
- Annualised events such as trends or surveys
- Industry or service specific definitions and jargon busters
- Backgrounds, histories, biographies and ‘about us’
- Reviews and testimonials
Grow your own
Get your gardening gloves on and cultivate some hardy evergreen content for your business with the following top tips:
Tip #1 Find your focus
Decide what you want your business to be known for and focus your content on that niche. Share your knowledge and your experience of the industry.
Tip #2 Identify the trends
Find the gaps and trends in your market and make yourself an authority on those subjects. Provide explanations or analysis on the top trends and write content around the top keywords and search terms for your business niche.
Tip #3 Appeal to your customers
Find out about your existing customers and why they chose your business. Demonstrate how you have solved problems or found solutions to the issues that your customers and people like them are talking about.
Tip #4 A sprinkle of seasonality
Look at the seasonality of your business or other annual events (e.g Valentines, Mothers Day, religious holidays) for content ideas that will prove popular and useful year after year.
Tip #5 Provide answers
Provide the answers to popular questions from your customers or within your industry. Concentrate on questions that are not time-specific, such as How, What and Why.
Tip #6 Write a list
Some critics would suggest that list-making is no longer an effective copywriting tool. Yet lists remain as popular as ever. After all, content works best when it is delivered in bite-sized chunks, meaning the list is still a copywriting staple. For example, 7 top tips for effective email marketing or 4 ways to generate good content. Beware though, a weak list will make for a poor article so make sure your points are clear, valid and useful.
Tip #7 Take a cutting from another tree
Ideally you should grow your own content, but you can also generate good evergreen content by pulling together information from other sources. If you can act as the eyes and ears for your customers and hand them a platter of useful links, lists or headlines from elsewhere in your industry, this can be just as effective as writing original content.
The key to generating effective evergreen content is making your information stand out from other similar content. Consider how your perspective could be different, or your information could be more helpful than the next guys. Maybe you can add a humorous slant onto a typically dry subject or you have some niche experience in a particular sector. Think about how your evergreen content can reflect your business, your expertise and your audience.
Be sure to make your evergreen content visible too. It grows well in strong light. Link to it from your home page. Create a ‘top posts’ section on your blog. Add a list of ‘related articles’ to the bottom of all your other content. You get the idea.
The content that keeps on growing
So why does evergreen content work? Simple. It’s so effective because it continues to work for you long after you first plant it. (Okay, I’ll stop the green fingered references soon I promise!).
Strong, useful content that is not time-bound gets circulated again and again because it continues to be relevant to people. Repeated circulation also helps to get the message across that you do, indeed, know about this topic. That is reassuring for any potential customer.
It also attracts good quality inbound links from other people who want to share your information (see Tip 7 above) and search engines love relevant, popular, well referenced content too – bonus!
You can also use other more topical events as a way of re-introducing existing evergreen content, ensuring it’s longevity and a steady stream of interest from your target audience. For example, a recruitment company might use a news piece on the latest unemployment stats (#deciduous) as a handy link back to their video tutorial on how to have a winning job interview (#evergreen).
Don’t forget to dead-head
A word of caution. Evergreen does not mean FOREVER green. Yes, this kind of content can be left unattended for a while, but it will need to be checked periodically. Business moves on, trends change, new laws or products or processes are announced, meaning all content gets outdated sooner or later.
Get your pruning shears out every now and again to update or dead-head your content as appropriate. This will keep it useful for longer and reassure your customers that you’re still an authority on the subjects that matter to them.
Don’t forget to add new evergreen content too. The more knowledgeable and helpful your business can be, the greater it’s success.
P.S Confused about content marketing? Check out my What is Content Marketing article for a re-cap
Need some help with developing your Content Marketing activity? Want to get hold of some cracking evergreen copy? Give me a shout.