Evergreen content is probably what you’re digging out of dusty boxes right now, if you’re celebrating Christmas. I spent last Sunday afternoon balanced on a stepladder reaching into our storage hole to drag out the regular Xmas decorations. For some strange reason, although the decoration are the same ones we’ve dusted off for the past 10 Xmases, they seem a delight to rediscover; almost fresh and new. It’s as if we’d forgotten what they looked like. Their time has come round again and they have new meaning.
For Christmas decorations read evergreen content; posts that can live forever, with a little dusting off and titivating – at minimal expense in terms of time and effort. When you’re on holiday and wishing to spend more time with family and friends – as at this time of year – these save-the-day, evergreen posts come into their own.
This post defines what evergreen content is, why it’s so helpful, how it lives within any blog topic and how you can plan ahead to write evergreen posts.
What is Evergreen Content?
The truly timeless post
If we take the evergreen tree analogy, you can see easily how to spot and define evergreen content. A fir tree won’t shed its needles in one big mass like deciduous trees. Instead, it will shed some here and there and even in autumn, it appears almost as fresh and green as it did in spring.
Evergreen content has similar longevity; post subject matters will be more or less timeless. They require only a little looking at every so often and some tidying up, a few additions and updates. But on the whole, the subject of the post will be lasting and fresh. Take these blog post titles for instance:
- A mum’s guide to surviving kids’ parties
- 12-day Christmas countdown for Xmas Day Cooks
- How to encourage your toddler to love books not screens
- Bad hair day cheats and tips
- and of course, the implied title of my post ‘How to lever the value of evergreen content’
As you can see, evergreen can fit any blog topic as…Evergreen blog posts answer perennial questions your blog audience needs answers to. Click To Tweet
What evergreen content usually is not: news-related; or time, season, person or event specific.
The flipside of timeless
That said, it is possible to have event, date and season-specific posts that are also evergreen. I learned this over the years on my destination blog maltainsideout. You see, the life of Malta runs in seasonal cycles. I found over a couple of years of blogging for example that the same summer festivals come around and the same issues surface and are sought out.
For example, each winter our post on ‘heating a house in winter in Malta’ (a huge problem and one newly arrived expats can’t imagine in the Mediterranean!) rises to the top of our popular posts. Similarly, ‘Does all Malta shut down in August’ does the same in the peak summer holiday month.
These posts need a minimal update and I can republish them with a new date and/or recycle them on social media. They are my faithful friends when I am pushed on other blogging activities or simply wish to do what everyone does at Xmas and in summer – go on holiday!
This kind of content is not so different from that of women’s or food magazines. You can set your clock by the content in those! Spring, ah, yes, get fit, slimming recipes, how to prime your pinkies for sandals. The same content repackaged each year.
I can hear your question now: but you need a good stock of posts to recycle content. True, it did occur to me only by around year three of maltainsideout that I could actually get away with dusting off posts! I was on a blogger burnout til then, crafting unique content each post, almost daily at one point. Then the light dawned. I could change a few dates, add the new info to an annual event, update tel nos, emails and write a fresh line topping and tailing a post, and it could reappear as good as new. Wow, what a relief when I needed to be elsewhere and not glued to the blog.
But, there is no need to wait that long to lever the benefits of evergreen. I had just stumbled across the cyclical evergreen content I already had. I should have purposely worked evergreen into my content strategy from day one.You don't need years of blog posts to benefit from evergreen content. Strategise it from day 1. Click To Tweet
Blog Smart Tips on Evergreen Content
The content ideas. If you’re stuck for ideas, ask your followers what their pet peeves, worries, issues etc are. Ask a leading question on a Facebook post or on Twitter to generate responses. Among those, you’ll have some surefire evergreen, perennial issues to cover. Type of post titles that work well also include:
How to / X nr of Tips on / Ways to do something / Guide to / Reviews of products (you can update these periodically).
Plan an evergreen post every month, depending on how often you’re blogging. That way, you’ll start building up a good repertoire of timeless pieces. Ensure you write with SEO in mind (try the Yoast plugin as that will guide you – see my review on plugins). You are aiming to create evergreen content that will give you lasting traffic, known as long-trail traffic. Evergreen posts don’t disappear off the radar once they’ve gone way down in your archives.
Social media post your evergreen content regularly. Don’t think you’ll be spammy doing this as we all know the fleeting shelf life of content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, even if searchable. You can repost evergreen content on different time zones within a few hours and keep an ongoing roster of posting up over a month or more. If you use a dashboard like MeetEdgar, you can put evergreen posts in your library which will schedule them up over a three-month period if you like.
Blog downtime is time to use your evergreen content. If you know you’ll be going on holiday or need to post less but smarter, then dust off some evergreen posts topping and tailing them if they need refreshing before reposting. Use WordPress’ convenient scheduling facilities to reset the date.
Repurpose content: evergreen can be spun a different way. For example, the ‘How to survive a kids’ party’ post could be repurposed as ’10 Tips to Planning a Perfect Party for Kids’. I don’t advocate repurposing too often but it is helpful when you’re pressed or have writer’s block on posts.
Keep evergreen content simple: if you’re writing ‘how to’ or ’10 tips to’ type of posts, then generally the kind of audience you’ll attract is going to be less expert and more the type trying to find answers to a practical issue they have Googled. Far better then to keep your evergreen content aimed at that site user.
Final word: Evergreen content works in two ways: 1) by driving traffic long after the evergreen post has been published (driving long-tail traffic); and 2) by being around to give you a break when you’re on blog burnout or pressed for time. It can be rekindled, pulled up the chronology, and reposted (not too often but when you need it most). Plan for it, and schedule it into your content and you’ll find your content will work smarter and harder in years to come.