Creating great content takes a lot of time, so getting the most out of every single piece is important.
On average, we spend between 12 and 20 hours creating, publishing and promoting each of our weekly blog posts. Other content like infographics, podcasts, and videos, can take even longer. So how can you maximize your ROI on each of your content pieces?
Evergreen content might just be the answer.
What is evergreen content?
Like its namesake, the evergreen tree that stays green year-round, evergreen content is relevant year-round and for years at a time. It requires only minor changes to stay up to date and, ideally, will have sustained or growing interest for a long time to come.
That year-long relevance makes it great for SEO and helps to drive consistent traffic to your website with minimal time investment throughout the year.
Evergreen topics vs. content
Here’s where it can get a bit more complex. While a topic might be evergreen, the actual content might not be. Content that’s based more on marketing principles and overarching themes is generally more evergreen than something specific, like LinkedIn best practices in 2020. That’s because best practices and platforms like LinkedIn are constantly changing.
What reduces your content’s evergreen-ness?
Even if your topic is evergreen, your content might not be. To make your content timeless, consider avoiding the use of:
- Pop culture references
- References to recent or future events (“I can’t wait to watch the Winter Olympics next month”)
- Language surrounding dates, times, years*, seasons, or seasonal events
- Imagery that gets outdated, eg. software screenshots
*With some content — especially marketing content — years are important because information changes fast. We suggest putting the year in the title (but not the URL) and then removing it the following year. We only update the year if we’ve made enough changes to the article to warrant it.
Don’t get me wrong, we do these things all the time. We love pop culture tie-ins. For example, here we took a relatively evergreen topic and reduced its longevity by tying into a pop culture analogy. But, once the Tiger King hype has completely died out, we could easily rework this blog to remove the references. Notice how it’s not mentioned in the URL.
Keep it fresh
Now, just because your content is evergreen doesn’t mean it won’t need a little watering every once in a while. If you notice traffic has been dipping, it might be time for a little refresh.
Regularly check for broken links
Pro-tip: You can use a broken link checker to quickly find broken links. This may also shine a light on content that needs a little spruce-ing up (sorrynotsorry for the tree pun).
Make it more comprehensive
Comprehensive content ranks better. With evergreen content, it’s easy and very worthwhile to continue adding to it to make it more comprehensive. It’s also much quicker than creating an entirely new piece. We recently did this with one of our evergreen blog posts that hadn’t been touched in over four years. The results were nearly instant:
If you’re struggling to come up with additional material, a quick (and free!) way to find content to add to existing posts is to check the ‘People also ask’ box on the Google search results for your keywords. These related questions will help beef up your content by answering the questions that your audience is asking.
Check out the competition
Whether that’s Googling your keywords to see what has leapfrogged you in the search results or doing a YouTube search to see what videos pop up, your competition is an important place to look when trying to understand how to improve your own content.
Don’t avoid making trendy, timely content
Not all content can be evergreen, nor should it. Creating content that captures a lot of traffic in the short term is a worthwhile investment, too. A content piece tied to a trending topic might blow up on social media while its perfectly search engine optimized counterpart might not.
Let’s go back to our Tiger King blog example. Our topic is relatively evergreen (authenticity in marketing) but our tie-in to the Tiger King documentary reduces the timelessness of the content. That’s okay though. When Tiger King is trending, we can promote the piece on social. When Tiger King blows over, we can publish an edited version of the same article without the Tiger King tie-in. It’s a win-win situation that maximizes traffic by catching the wave of pop culture while also being timeless.
Not everything is about SEO
Not every piece has to be an SEO play. Content can serve multiple purposes. At Stryve, we often create content that we can send to our clients for further reading, or as a way to demonstrate our expertise to potential leads. Other times, it’s just a great excuse for a team member to learn something they haven’t had time for. While these pieces may never crack the top 10 on Google, they are still a valuable part of a content marketing strategy.
For the best results, you should create a mixture of evergreen and non-evergreen content. Not only will you capture the short term traffic from trends, but you’ll pull in consistent traffic from your evergreen pieces.