Evergreen content is quality content that remains relevant long after it is first published. It is an invaluable tool for marketers to master as it can deliver ongoing traffic, leads, and social shares and its return on investment has the potential to increase over time.
This article will answer three big questions relating to having an evergreen content strategy:
- What makes content evergreen?
- How do you create evergreen content?
- Why is it important?
What makes content evergreen?
Evergreen content is a particular type of content that is designed to last for a long time. It can maintain social media shares and valuable search positions delivering traffic well after it was first posted. This type of content isn’t restricted to written word; it can be created via many mediums including video, podcasts, blog posts and/or whitepapers. It is content that resists datedness and is written so that it can continually be revised if necessary - for example; to allow for a new feature to be added/removed or an additional step to be addressed within a ‘how to’ piece.
A piece of content can be described as evergreen if it can be useful to the reader for quite some time after initial publication. For this reason, it can continually generate leads and drive traffic to a website or landing page.
Evergreen content is content that passes the ‘long click test’ which is described by Search Engine Watch as the outcome of searchers clicking, finding useful content and spending time on a page. This activity 'sends a positive signal to Google. It indicates that the content has satisfied the searcher’s needs and deserves its position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Good evergreen content needs to do this over time’.
How do you create evergreen content?
Evergreen content is, by its definition, not newsworthy. While it still has the potential to be shared on the back of a news occurrence, the piece isn’t solely about a breaking story or latest trend.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by way of an example. If tasked with creating content that speaks to an audience of HR assistants, for instance, samples of evergreen content topics could include “tips for onboarding a new employee,” “how to issue a formal warning,” or “alternatives to cash incentives.”
These pieces of content address ideas that scarcely change with time and, thus, are always relevant. It is therefore fair to assume that evergreen content is typically appropriate to beginners and not experts within a field.
Al Gomez, writing for the Content Marketing Institute, likens evergreen content to the foundations of a house. He says ‘you may put up new wallpaper, patch up the roof, or even change the tiles on the floor – but rarely do you need to change the foundation of the house’.
With regards to content, yes, new laws might be passed, technology developed and/or trends adopted as a norm, but the foundations of the posts in the above examples, if well researched and strongly presented upon initial publication, will require minor tweaks and revisions instead of entire re-writes over weeks, months and maybe even years.
It is likely that you’re already in possession of a healthy stock pile of evergreen content, even if you hadn’t already attached that label to it.
Some common yet often well performing examples of evergreen content include:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- “How to” Guides
- Lessons & tutorials
- Client testimonials
- Glossaries of Terms and Phrases
Why is evergreen content important?
In order to demonstrate how evergreen content works and why it’s important, we’ll take a look at a study undertaken by Graham Charlton, who posted a blog post on June 2nd 2013, to Econsultancy.com.
In one day, the blog had 5,000 page views. However, after these initial spikes, the traffic on the page did not drop off, but instead stayed at a steady pace, with between 5,000 and 10,000 page views per week over the course of 12 months. Why does Charlton think this is? He says that the article is ‘relevant’ to his audience, as well as being a useful ‘time-saving resource’ – so here he has demonstrated how the utility and longevity of the article has rewarded him with a steady flow of traffic to his blog. His effort was rewarded over time.