Blogging is an essential marketing tool – we already know that. The question has become, how do we create content that will help our businesses grow exponentially?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to writing attention-grabbing articles. The first is to focus on viral topics; the second relies more on the evergreen mindset. Each tactic has several different benefits, but the main variation in patterns is traffic. Viral content may see a high yet short-lived spike, while evergreen posts grow more slowly yet continuously over time.
In the current marketing landscape, every expert’s opinion differs when determining which content type is best. Regardless of which camp you chose, being well-versed in both is paramount for long-term success.
If you are yet to master the intricacies of evergreen content, this guide is precisely what you need.
When to Use Evergreen Content
Evergreen articles provide several advantages for business. The following are all situations where this post type may be beneficial.
- Establishing Niche
The internet exists in a mass state of subsections. It is impossible to market to all of it, so establishing a niche is essential. Evergreen content marketing is a powerful tool to inform search engines and readers about your brand.
- Long-Term Growth
Unlike viral posts, evergreen articles continuously grow over time. By choosing topics that are always relevant, you can ensure a slow stream of continuous traffic. Cultivating numerous evergreen posts helps increase your website authority exponentially, which in turn results in more visibility to potential customers.
- Making Conversions
According to a case study by Moz, evergreen articles can increase engagement that leads to sales. These post-types saw a conversion rate of 1.35%, with minimum drop-off in interest over time. Traffic on the post increased by 41.74% in the period from three to six months. Plus, the comment ratio comparing the first day to the following six months highlighted the engagement potential, at 43:22.
Choosing Evergreen Topics
So just what do we mean by ‘evergreen topics?’ As the name suggests, they are subjects that never expire. No matter how long they are around, the information will remain relevant. Common types of evergreen posts include:
- how-to guides
- step-by-step instructions
- case studies
- statistical analysis
- anecdotal lessons and wisdom.
Determining the best topics to cover is largely dependent on your niche. Focus on the needs of your audience; what information are they looking for? What topics would they find most engaging? For example, a site for mobile phones may benefit from an article about transferring your number when you buy a new handset.
The second consideration is the long-term value of the article. Ask yourself: will this still be useful in 1+ years? Some topics that seem relevant now will age pretty quickly. Taking the example of the mobile phone site, you may consider writing an article on the best apps for your iPhone or Android. While it is valuable to your audience, new apps are released all the time, so it wouldn’t stay relevant for that long.
Formatting Evergreen Content
Evergreen content requires a delicate balance. Often articles are longer and detailed to increase their value. This element can also become a pitfall if you fail to format it well. Online readers are not prepared to delve through large chunks of text as you would when reading a book.
A 2008 study concluded that readers will only consume 20% of web articles. Similarly, a 2006 experiment uncovered the concept of the “F” shaped reading pattern. It was theorized that website audiences will read the first line, then skip a few before reading another. While these findings have been questioned and revisiting several times, the central concept remains the same – readers are more likely to skim articles that to read every word. Thus, formatting becomes your best friend.
Try following these simple tips to make long-form content more digestible:
- Use headings and subheadings to break up your article into sections
- Try using step-by-step instructions where possible
- Include infographics and screenshots to illustrate your points
- Include a table of contents for easy navigation
- Opt for bullet points and numbered lists over length explanations.
SEO for Evergreen Content
Over the last few years, Google updates have made SEO somewhat more complicated. Gone are the days when you could pick a long-tail keyword and be good to go. Today, Google looks for real value from content. However, it is still possible to boost the success of your evergreen articles by focusing on good SEO practices.
Keyword research is still an absolute must. Opt for medium-length and try and target those that have a few different variations, all with a solid level of traffic. It is also helpful to pick keywords with stable interest across the year. Many search terms are seasonal and will only bring traffic at specific points. To get the best out of your evergreen posts, look for topics with continuous interest.
Ranking well on Google largely depends on whether you can provide more worth than your competition. Before creating an evergreen post, look at the articles that appear first for your chosen keywords. Can you identify what makes them so popular? Are you able to produce a piece with more value for the reader? If so, you have a good chance of outranking them.
Maintenance & Research
Now you have crafted and posted your article, you are all set up for evergreen success. However, this is not the end of the journey. No post can be left unmonitored, so it is time to set up a schedule for maintenance. The goal is to ensure your article is always up-to-date and relevant. You can achieve this by following these steps:
- Be stringent about research. Do not use studies on articles that will age. Aim for evidence that stays relevant over time. If you do find that new research has been unveiled, update your post as quickly as possible.
- Check and update facts. You may think facts are unwavering, but that is not the nature of scientific study. Often, new factors arise, or new surveys are taken that debunk previous theories. Setting up a recurrent check will stop your post sliding into irrelevancy.
- Monitor Outbound Links. Linking to high-authority sources will increase legitimacy in the eyes of both your readers and Google bots. However, if those articles are taken down, then having broken links will harm your ranking negatively. Make sure you check regularly.
- Engage with the Comments. We have already established that evergreen posts get continuous engagement. To truly hone this benefit, you need to be replying to comments. Not only will this bring readers back to your page, it will also help them feel part of your community and – hopefully turn them into regular readers.
Understanding the Content Marketing Climate
Many content marketers think that a well-written article on a fascinating subject is enough to draw readers’ attention. Unfortunately, the world of blogging has evolved, and the web is awash with so many posts that this tactic is no longer viable.
Dissecting different types of articles and identifying what makes them “work” is more important than ever. Being a talented writer is only one step of the process. Understanding the landscape is what will take your work to the next level.
Evergreen content is only one type of article. However, its benefits are numerous, so it is a great place to start your content marketing journey.
Diane is a writer and blogger who is especially interested in digital marketing. She loves to share her knowledge and help readers have better experience with blogging.