Does your online content have an expiration date?
Is it only good for 30 days? A year? Two years?
Thanks to search engines – whether you like it or not – your content is evergreen.
But while your content’s always discoverable technically, you need to think strategically about how it can be valuable all year round for searchers and Google’s algorithm.
These content types can work well for evergreen content that does well with your audience and in search engines.
Reference ‘books’ for tools
If your audience uses online tools, organize them into one or more articles that can serve as a go-to reference. As you learn about new or better tools, update the article so it remains fresh.
Don’t be deceived by the 2018 reference in Brian Dean’s SEO Tools: The Complete List (2018 Update). He started it years ago and continues to use the same URL as he faithfully expands this incredible resource.Evergreen #content tip: @backlinko updates its #SEO tool guide annually so it remains fresh. @mikeonlinecoach Click To Tweet
It’s exceptionally well organized, allowing user input to customize the results.
TIP: Follow Brian’s lead (https://backlinko.com/seo-tools) and use non-dated URLs. If you include a date in the link, searchers will perceive your content as dated.
What’s your take on popular industry terms and acronyms? Demonstrate expertise by supplying definitions, which in most cases rarely change.
Sales Hacker did a great job with this glossary. I would have listed the alphabet over a few columns, but the vertical list makes it easy to click any letter to see a list of the industry words and their definitions for that letter.
TIP: Like Sales Hacker’s list, keep the word and its definition on the same page to eliminate a click and increase the use of that page – a positive in the eyes of search engines and users.
Blog posts and other website content
Some website content can’t be evergreen. Product announcements and events, for example, come and go. But much of your blog posts and other website content can offer sufficient depth on topics searchers are always interested in.
Focus on questions and share wisdom your team has gleaned over time. Write for experience – what worked well from your perspective or how you overcame a mistake. Help your visitors solve problems by making sure your content explains the how, why, and what. Deloitte does it well in its article, An Alternative Approach to Strategy in a World that Defies Prediction.Help website visitors solve problems by making sure content explains the how, why, & what. @mikeonlinecoach Click To Tweet
TIP: Deloitte gives readers the option of choosing the sections they want to visit. A table of contents is essential for more in-depth pieces that touch on multiple related topics.
Some infographics simply explain a process or system, which makes them ideal candidates for evergreen content. But infographics loaded with stats can be invaluable for years.Infographics explaining a process or system are ideal candidates for #evergreencontent, says @mikeonlinecoach. Click To Tweet
Column Five compiled a comprehensive collection of infographics that reflect a wide range of styles, including this one from USC Marshall. While the infographic later contains dated stats, it sets up a premise that won’t change, illustrating the historical foundation and general impact.
TIP: To design infographics for an evergreen impact, ensure that you demonstrate the timeless theme at the top.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Create an elaborate Q&A with one of your in-house experts or interview someone else in your industry. Plenty of their suggestions and approaches can live a long time. Even if the expert changes jobs, his or her thoughts will have value.
In this Chief Marketer example, the page looks a little busy, but the Q&A stands out and is surrounded by multiple ways for someone to engage with the website:
TIP: Plan to incorporate video into the Q&A to expand your content options and include a transcript for viewers to scan and search engines to index.
Secureworks executes a quality eight-minute video interview in The Future of Cybersecurity: Securing the Digital Transformation.
I understand that it takes a ton of effort to pull off a study. Though research likely contains dated content, you can use it to create evergreen content.
Lisa Murton Beets, CMI’s research director, provides an overview of B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. While she includes year-over-year comparison, she also draws conclusions from the research that are universal (and not time sensitive).
TIP: When designing your research, include questions where the answers are unlikely to change in the short term.
One massive guide will serve you well. But the length could bother visitors if it’s not packaged well. You need visual cues to make it easy to consume the content, including images, quotes, and calls to action to other website content.
Some marketers include a table of contents so users can decide what parts to explore. Or divide the guide into multiple sections with an intro that showcases each sub-topic.
Single Grain has a number of useful guides, including How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Agency.
TIP: Not all how-to guides have to contain the words “how to” for your audience to understand it’s a prescriptive guide. Neil Patel is the master of long-form content and usually doesn’t use the word “guide” or “how to.” I think he had fun naming this one: A Quick Look at Content Marketing in the B2C Niche – Why it’s Easier Than You Think.
Some of your evergreen content may be familiar to readers. You don’t have to break new ground with each image or paragraph you create. Sometimes you can provide value simply by rounding up ideas and reminders into a handy checklist.Don’t break new ground. Create checklists from published ideas & reminders. @mikeonlinecoach Click To Tweet
Here are examples that show how checklists can provide ample content or be part of articles that also feature templates and time-saving tools as Jodi Harris did in this post: 2018 Content Marketing Toolkit: Tips, Templates, and Checklists.
TIP: This post is an example of how it can appear fresh on publication day (using date of 2018), but its contents are evergreen. Revise the new-year lede and the content will work just as well in late 2018 and beyond.
A short case study with a few bullet points may not seem like the type of evergreen content that takes off. But good case studies can support brands and provide some insights for years. SOASTA’s case studies are easy to digest, including this one about Lowe’s.
TIP: I especially like it when marketers include a link to an optional PDF for more details. While the case study is evergreen content, you could change the link (and update the PDF) for more topical, date-specific content.
Incorporating evergreen content
What kind of evergreen content works for your business? How have you framed your knowledge? Maybe you’ve created something to bust a few myths; created a fun, elaborative FAQ; or curated facts, stats, and wisdom into a useful package.
The key is to create content that people – and search engines – will find when they have a question about or an interest in your topic. Since you don’t know when that time will come, evergreen content in a variety of formats will enable your site to be the answer for them today, tomorrow, and in the years ahead.
Get evergreen AND on-trend content marketing tips and much more at Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7. Register today using code BLOG100 to save $100.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute