Content marketing concentrates a lot on the new, shiny and up and coming. Often, if your news happened over 24 hours ago it’s old. However, there is a lot to be said for content that can last the test of time. Like the stories our grandparents told us containing timeless wisdom or anecdotes that illustrate a point, this kind of content can keep on giving regardless of when it was written. We call that evergreen content.
I like writing about cutting edge stuff. I like being at the sharp end of marketing, seeing what’s coming, raising awareness of new products, new companies and new ways of working. I also like writing web content that will be as useful in five years’ time as it is now.
How to you write evergreen content that stays relevant when the world is changing so fast?
Evergreen content is usually longer, more in-depth and more detailed than typical web content. Rather than writing for attention span, you are writing to deliver a comprehensive discourse on the subject at hand. Not an academic treatise, we want people to enjoy it. But it must be contain enough information, insights and interest to remain popular throughout the years.
All marketing content should be useful in one way or another but we all know it isn’t always the case. Evergreen content should be actionable where possible, contain references that you can share links with, detailed explanations, options for extra reading and the ability to bookmark and share.
Making your content useful builds on the previous point, of knowing the subject well. Only when you know something well can you write truly comfortably about it. We all know when someone is writing about something they are passionate about and know well. We can also tell when they are not!
The need for good organisation in longer content is paramount. None of us like staring at a wall of text. Following the usual readability rules is essential. Use short sentences, accessible language, short paragraphs, subheadings, white space, images and all the tricks you know to break up the text and make your evergreen content look good.
Subheadings are also essential in making sense of longer pieces. They allow a reader to quickly scan to the piece they are looking for or provide an order in which to read the page. They also look good too and provide a little SEO boost if optimised correctly.
One other significant benefit of evergreen content is that it can be repurposed regularly. Your core content may contain the principles that can resist change but the detail will inevitably move with the times. You now have an opportunity to continue appealing to those who know your piece and to those who have yet to discover it.
If you wrote evergreen content about managing desktop security, the principles of defence in depth might remain but the specific tools used to provide that defence will need updating as they evolve. All you need to do is update the parts that need updating and your content can live on.
Updating also gives you an extra opportunity to verify links and provide an ‘Updated on’ comment so your audience knows you still care about your work.
Once you have some good quality evergreen content, it’s time to promote it. First, make sure your own blog can highlight it effectively. Including a featured post section or related articles and pinning it to that is a good first step. As is sending the link out to your email list.
Social media marketing is also useful but requires a slightly different approach. I tend to avoid Facebook and Twitter marketing for evergreen content as readers are generally only interested in trending topics or what’s happening this very second. Using other networks such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, Google + (it doesn’t hurt) or network relevant to the content type is key.
While many internet users have an appetite for both scannable and more in-depth content, not everyone has the time to get into it there and then. Offering a PDF of the page as a download, a print friendly version or as a Slideshare can help widen the reach of the content massively.
Depending on the content, you could also include an infographic of the key points that can be printed or downloaded. This could help you cover both audiences. Those that have the time and inclination to read online can do so while those without the time or patience can skip to the key points with the infographic.
Writing evergreen content is a much more involved and arguably much more interesting project than typical web content. Done right it’s the content that keeps on giving year on year. If you’re looking to boost engagement with some top class evergreen content, contact me today!