Evergreen Content: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
It happens all the time. You read a blog with the latest information about a topic, and then another blog comes along with even newer information about the topic. The next day, something else comes online.
Your clients are not alone if they're overwhelmed by the constant churn in online content. But it shouldn't stop them from using content to market their websites. In fact, their strategies will be more solid - and more effective - if they incorporate evergreen content into their marketing plans.
What is Evergreen Content?
The term might be new, but the concept isn't. Evergreen content is content that never goes out of style. Its advice and insights are relevant long after they're written, and the quality is so good that the content becomes canonical. Think of evergreen content as the Mona Lisa or Hamlet of the web: timeless and of superior quality.
You might think that new and ever-changing content is essential to web success, but evergreen content gets your clients closer to their goals for the following reasons:
High Traffic: Evergreen content never goes away, which means it has plenty of time to bring in web traffic. As the content's reputation for quality grows, more and more people look for it as a reliable source of knowledge. Plus, as subsequent content comes online and links to the content, those readers click the link, driving traffic even higher.
Higher Search Engine Rankings: Because evergreen content has a longer shelf life and is more frequently cited and clicked, it ranks higher in search engines than more temporary content, which may be clicked often for a week and then forgotten. This is especially true if the content is optimized with relevant keywords in the text and tags.
Brand Reputation: Evergreen content can have a chicken-and-egg effect on a website's reputation and credibility. People click the content because it looks like a premium source of insight and information. Meanwhile, the increased web traffic helps solidify its reputation as a premier source. It's a vicious - but, in this case, welcome - cycle.
Create Your Own Evergreen Content
Conventional wisdom says that your content strategy depends on your blog and website being updated regularly with fresh new content. That's only partially true. New content is great for bringing regular visitors back to your website, but true staying power comes from content that lasts. Here are some tips for creating content that stands the test of time.
Stick to the Basics
Many websites are trying to cash in on the next new trend (Instagram, anyone?) and are building their content strategies around them. But many trends have a short shelf life; the basics, on the other hand, live forever.
If you run a marketing agency, for instance, you could talk at length about the hottest new online or mobile marketing trends and what you can do to help clients leverage them. But your evergreen content should go back to the marketing basics and talk about the goals, steps and principles of a successful marketing strategy, both now and always.
Avoid Cultural "Tells"
Nothing disrupts the flow of content quite like the tells that date it. A book about youth culture with words like "groovy" and photos of tie-dyed T-shirts will likely make kids raised on "Gossip Girl" roll their eyes. avoid this and make sure your content is tell-free.
If you write an e-book about sports, you can talk about current superstars, but avoid current slang or cultural references, other than those that have lasted decades. If you produce a video, keep the actors' clothing and hairstyles neutral and classic, or viewers will be too distracted by them to pay attention to what you're saying.
Update Key Details
The bulk of your clients' content should be evergreen, but even evergreen content can have different goals and objectives over time. Some things change, so keep the content up-to-date by editing the details that may change over time.
Did a client move or change their business name since they wrote that e-book? Edit the PDF to reflect that. If evergreen content is meant to bring people to key landing pages, make sure the call to action changes as the key landing pages do. Evergreen content may be set in stone, but it shouldn't also be frozen in time.
Nothing lasts forever, but high-quality, evergreen content comes pretty close. If you want your clients' websites to last longer and be stronger, help them create content that does the same.