To say that the world moves fast these days really is something of an understatement on the best of days. One minute, we’re all collectively obsessed with a particular political or other current event topic. The next minute, we just don’t care – whatever captured our attention is now “old news” and we’ve moved onto bigger and better things.
When you’re trying to create content for a marketing campaign that can tie into any and all current events that people are interested in, it can absolutely seem like an uphill battle all day, every day. Sometimes by the time you identify and write that content, we’ve already moved on – leaving you with a piece that will underperform and that probably wasn’t worth the effort in the first place.
This, in a nutshell, is why evergreen content is so important in terms of content marketing.
The Art of Evergreen Content: Breaking It Down
Evergreen content is, simply put, content that will always be relevant to a particular industry or audience – regardless of what the date on the calendar says or what happens to be going on in the world at the time.
Essentially, it refers to a particular piece of marketing collaterals total shelf-life. Is this a blog post, an Infographic or a presentation that has a white hot level of relevance today but that is also about a topic that nobody will care about next week, or is it the type of thing that people are still going to be searching for and actively looking into next week, next month or even five years from now?
You should always try to create as much content that falls into the latter category as possible, as this is how you slowly but surely build the type of online presence you need when you need it the most.
Any piece of truly evergreen content will also have a number of key qualities associated with it. These include but are not limited to ones like:
- Quality. Your content should be legitimately useful, interesting and (ultimately) valuable to your specific readers.
- It needs to address a particular need. It needs to not only help someone solve a problem or answer a question that they have today, but also that future readers are likely to continue to have moving forward.
- It needs to pass what is referred to as the “long click” test. If your piece of evergreen content is a 1,000 word blog post, for example, someone should be able to immediately see something useful within it as soon as they click on the link.
- It needs to be created with SEO in mind. As evergreen content can have a positive ripple effect across the performance of your entire campaign, it stands to reason that search engine optimization is a pretty important factor to consider from the jump.
For this effort, you’ll receive a wide range of different benefits almost immediately. Evergreen content is perfect for lead generation, for example, as you’re going directly after the individual pain points that people in your audience are having. Along the same lines, it’s also perfect for establishing thought leadership and a general authority in a topic area.
Evergreen content is also a great way to really empower social sharing, as there is no “news cycle attachment” that you have to worry about. A piece of true evergreen content that is relevant today will always be relevant, meaning that people don’t have any particular reason to stop sharing it when they discover it. This can lead to social sharing that lasts for months or even years in certain situations.
Expanding Your Reach With Evergreen Content
Another one of the most important things to understand about evergreen content is the fact that one particular format doesn’t necessarily make something more or less relevant. It’s about what you’re saying, not how you’re saying it.
So when you sit down to create a stunning Infographic with a tool like Visme.co (which in transparency I founded), the format itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re artificially limiting that content’s shelf life. All that matters is the message you’re delivering at the time.
Infographics in particular are actually a perfect format for creating evergreen content because you’re referencing thoughts, ideas and concepts that are always be true – or at least, you should be. The presentation format is also perfect for similar types of evergreen content like beginner’s guides, annual “state of the union” style posts or even collections of relevant interviews.
Even making an effort to create evergreen videos is a great idea, because it gives you a host of unique opportunities as far as monetization in the future. You can publish a long evergreen video to YouTube today and you can break it up into smaller, bite-sized chunks in the future for distribution on a service like Uscreen.
It’s a Balancing Act
But at the same time, nobody is saying that this is a question of hyper relevant content OR evergreen content. You shouldn’t start to ignore timely topics just because you’re acknowledging that evergreen content is essential. Far from it, in fact.
In truth, the best campaigns are all about finding the delicate balance between these two ideas. Every time you create a piece of content that latches onto a current hot-button issue, try to create another piece of content that is truly evergreen.
Maybe you’ll need to experiment with your ratio until you find success – some audiences might like evergreen content more than hyper relevant content, which means that you’d likely want to create two of the former for every one of the latter (and so on, and so forth).
But make no mistake about it: evergreen content is essential in terms of content marketing because these materials are essentially the perfect types of employees. They not only broadcast a message that will be as relevant five years from now as it is today, but they also do so 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.