The term “evergreen” sounds familiar even to the non-marketing ear because evergreen trees (usually the pine or fir variety) are often used to decorate homes at Christmas. The evergreen tree is a symbol of perpetual life because they retain their leaves throughout the seasons, rather than shedding. Like the trees, evergreen content is considered sustainable and lasting.
Maybe you are thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. All content online is sustainable; the articles and blog posts don’t ever disappear.” When we talk about a piece of content being “evergreen,” we mean that evergreen content is content that continues to be relevant long past its publication.
To better clarify what kind of writing is considered “evergreen,” we can examine what types of pieces are specifically not evergreen.
What Evergreen Content is Not:
Evergreen web content has (virtually) no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term. Anything written about this year’s presidential election, for example, is not evergreen content because it will become obsolete six months from now and many keywords associated with that topic will end up in the Google graveyard, never to be searched again.
Below are some common evergreen formats you might consider in generating lasting content.
Writing in these formats does not automatically make your piece evergreen, but these structures tend to work well with evergreen writing. Videos are especially effective when you need to illustrate how to do something, like how to frost a cupcake or how to grout a tub. If videos aren’t possible, consider using a series of images (photos or illustrations, diagrams, etc.) to your advantage.
Of course, it’s important that you address evergreen topics that are relevant to your business. If you sell office supplies, relevant evergreen topics might include “how to keep your desk organized” or “different pen types and when to use them.” If you’re looking to generate leads for your landscaping business, a post on what types of plants work best in your climate would work as an evergreen article.
The problem with generating good evergreen ideas is that often it feels as if the best topics have already been covered, maybe even in excess. In this case, the key will be to add a unique viewpoint to a popular topic, or go into more depth and provide additional details. Look for long-tail keywords that have volume but not super-high competition. If you have a specific niche market, you may find that there is less content on the web about your topic, making your evergreens even more valuable.
Don’t Write for the Experts – Sometimes you may feel the urge to write a piece showing off your expertise of a certain subject, but this can be a big mistake. Experts are less likely to be searching for help—your audience is primarily beginners, and you want to generate content aimed at them.
Avoid Overly Technical Language – Because most of your content is for beginners, complicated, technical language could scare them off, so stick with more simple rhetoric.
Narrow Your Topic – If you write about too broad a topic, your piece will be much longer, and more likely to lose the interest of beginner readers. Broad topics tend to be shorter keywords, or head terms, with more competition. Writing a broader piece also is more difficult for the writer. Simple, specific topics like “How to Throw a Roundhouse Kick” vs. “Guide to Powerful Kick Techniques” are more grabbing.
Link Posts Together – If you’re doing a complete guide on a topic such as “Guide to Bike Care,” divide that broad topic into narrow, specific pieces such as “How to Oil Your Bike Brakes” and “How to Replace a Bike Tire,” and then link those articles together. This is great for SEO, and lets readers solve a specific need while also guiding them to additional relevant articles.
Repurpose Your Best Content – When you create a great piece of evergreen content, look for ways to “spin” or repurpose it into other formats.
Evergreen web content is very valuable, but that isn’t to say that all your content needs to be evergreen – timely, topical pieces have their value as well.
Earlier I discussed how any pieces discussing the 2016 presidential election do not qualify as evergreen writing because they will soon be obsolete; the advantage of writing about the 2016 presidential, despite not being evergreen, is that currently it is being searched and discussed a lot. A piece about something timely like the 2016 presidential election could drive a lot of traffic to your site for the next few months, but afterwards will be virtually worthless. The same applies to an article that uses recent statistics and is heavily researched. Pieces like this are still very valuable and important, but they won’t be around forever.
An evergreen’s value is that it has the potential to continue to bring traffic to your site for many months, or even years into the future if it is true evergreen web content. The best content marketing strategy relies on a mix of both topical articles and long-lasting evergreen posts.