4 Ways to Create Evergreen Content and Make Sure It Stays Fresh
Your website is like a book. There’s the cover, or all the pretty design elements that a user sees the moment they land on your site, and then there’s the substance within it, the content. And just like books, your website can (and will) be initially judged by its cover, but it’s the content inside that determines its true value.
A well-rounded content marketing strategy is one that pays heed to the importance of good-quality, relevant, and varied content. Even for non-media brands, you simply can’t skimp on producing text, images, and videos that people want to read, hear, and see. After all, whether or not you’re putting out great content that keeps people coming back you can rest assured that another brand in your industry is. Staying competitive means devising a content marketing strategy with widespread appeal to your target audience and an eye to keeping your content relevant long past its post date. One of the best ways to do this? Evergreen content.
Let’s start with the basics: What is evergreen content? It’s content that transcends the moment it was written, providing information and expertise that remains useful and pertinent. It’s based on substance, not buzz, and as such, it acts as a continual hub for bringing users to your site. Here are four of the best strategies for creating content that stays fresh and sticks around.
1. Write how-to guides
The best evergreen content teaches readers something. Most web queries are done in the search of knowledge, whether on a particular topic, task, or broad idea. No matter the niche your brand falls into, you’ve doubtless got some expertise that other people would like to learn about.
Like all content, how-to guides can fall into the trap of being tied more to buzz than long-term relevancy, particularly when the topics are related to technology. A guide to setting up your brand new iPhone 4, for example, probably isn’t going to be getting much traction when we’re nearly four iterations past that model. On the other hand, a guide to tips and tricks for getting the most out of the Photos app on your iPhone can remain relevant, especially if you take the time to update it as new updates and features become available.
Hone in on the interests and behaviors of your target audience and then create guides that respond directly to things they might search for. If you sell makeup, write a how-to guide for achieving the perfect smoky eye. If you sell pet supplies, write a how-to guide for adopting the perfect dog or cat. Think broadly when it comes to how-to guides, and try to produce content that will hold its appeal.
2. Avoid hot takes
Unless you’re Buzzfeed or some other sort of media-churning machine, there’s really no reason you need to be producing content on fad topics. Fads come and go, and whatever think pieces you write about them are likely to be highly readable one day and utterly irrelevant the next. Remember when nobody could decide whether that dress was white and gold or blue and black? Probably. But do you still care? Does anyone? A well-timed take on the dress “controversy” probably drew quite a few readers to various sites during the couple of weeks the topic was on the social radar, but fast forward a month or a year and nobody’s interested in it.
Focus your efforts and your resources on content that is more likely to withstand the test of time (and the trending hashtags on Twitter). Think timeless, not timely.
3. Tell your story
Every brand – and every person behind that brand – started somewhere. Consider the origins of your business, specifically the particular nuances that make it interesting and unique, and then tell that story in a blog post or on a dedicated page on your site. When people want to learn more about you, that content offers them an easy place to find it, and it’s content that's not going to change too much over time. In addition to functioning as evergreen content, origin stories help you form deeper connections with visitors. People are driven by emotions, and they want to give their business to brands they trust and like. Content that conveys the human side of your brand only serves to further this business/customer connection, and it’s not going to get stale.
4. Create a glossary
Circling back to the first tip in this series, content that stays fresh is often content that answers questions people have (and are subsequently searching for answers to on the web). Glossaries are essentially just lists of concepts, and they are extremely useful for anyone doing research on your niche. While the context around a particular term might change, the meaning of it doesn’t. Better yet, a glossary of key terms and ideas is inherently well-stocked with target keywords, making it more likely that someone will wind up on your site.
Glossaries can be added to and amended over time, so don’t feel like you need to spend a long time perfecting one right off the bat. Collect a list of relevant terms that you could be considered an expert on, and define them in your own words and perhaps with some original images or videos too. As time goes on, make tweaks and additions that refine the glossary and keep it continually relevant.
Threaded throughout these four tips is the idea that the best way to develop timeless content is to do so with your target audience in mind. The more you know about your ideal customer profile, the better you can create content that will appeal to them now and in the future. The best evergreen content is that which shares the type of knowledge you’re an authority in. Whether topics are broad or narrow, they’re ones that you know a lot about and someone else doesn’t (but might want to). When designing and executing your content marketing strategy, center in on the topics that speak directly to the core of what defines your target audience – not just who they are now, but who they will be moving forward.