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March 4, 2013 (Updated: February 2, 2023)
Evergreen content is everything. It’s the article your fifth grader reads before writing a report and it’s the hysterical bit you click on Facebook and end up sharing with family. When you think of evergreen content – SEO, analytics, work stress and busy mills of content writers – all should leave your psyche and what you should visualize is pure knowledge, simply packaged and well written.
Sadly, most people aim to merely make evergreen content (in that it doesn’t reference dated events), rather than striving to create valuable, rich content that will be as relevant to our grandkids as it is to our Twitter fans. That’s just not enough anymore. If you want to impress the spidering bots and haters, what you need to do is research, refine and re-invigorate sporadically. Here are a few tips for people who genuinely want to add to collective knowledge, rather than spinning old fluff and calling it content.
Review analytics and keyword choices to see what’s doing well long-term. While your client’s concerns are most important from a financial standpoint, the Internet dictates what will remain evergreen. Sometimes this means that clients will need to be coaxed out of comfort zones and convinced to use less trendy, long term performing keywords.
Use long tail phrases to make a general title more specific without becoming niche. It’s a delicate balance to achieve: titles and content must appeal to large enough sectors to merit targeting, without becoming so specific that only experts can appreciate the content. Here are a few good and bad examples:
Regardless of the analytics and keyword research, the client’s whims and your assistant’s input, the best content often springs from an intuitive hunch about a timeless topic. It’s not complicated to achieve. List a few timeless topics that would work for a specific client, and then let yourself marinate for a few minutes, considering angles, new scientific breakthroughs, funny laws, or anything else that inspires you. Here are a few examples:
Choose sources to link to based on their long term presence and stability. In order to create a truly evergreen post, you have to ensure that its resources are as virile as the content. Nothing makes a post seem tired and old faster than a few dead links.
When people research a topic they often open four to five tabs on the topic in order to weed-out the generic spin articles and zero-in on quality, unique posts. Be one of the tabs that stay open. This is achieved by leading with unique facts, interesting phrasing, or images that really click with the reader. Never write an article on a topic that you don’t have something new to contribute to for the audience.
Hopefully your campaign is more than three evergreen posts and a little push. In order to benefit from evergreen content, clients and their content team should endeavor to build a lush, evergreen forest of content that stands the test of time. Once this content is created, the job doesn’t stop.
Keep tabs on each post’s stats and performance. Use a spreadsheet or list as a resource for including inter-site links. Each evergreen post should link to at least one of your other relevant evergreen posts, creating a web that could keep the reader on site for hours. Also, when you consider linking wisely (above), what could be safer than linking to your own long-term content?
There are times to grow the forest and build a stronger web of evergreen content, and there are times to sit back and pay attention to struggling, published pieces. Help your older pieces to continue to do well by re-visiting and promoting them. By fertilizing these older articles, you make the entire artillery seem sturdier and more dependable for others who want to link to long term, virile content.
Review and update pieces sporadically. This involves more than just retweeting or asking a friend to share the older article, again. In order to give an evergreen piece a facelift, you might have to include new steps to a process paper, add more examples to a resource list, or upgrade a listicles by writing a new section.
Furthermore, these older evergreen pieces might have turned a little dry and autumnal over time: facts that once seemed concrete can easily become well-known misinformation. Reread old content on a biannual schedule in order to update information and facts for the readers.
With a little pre-work, assiduous research and writing, and some carefully timed follow-up, every evergreen piece can continue to perform indefinitely. Faithful clients will thank you when their arsenal of unique prose grows and creates organic followers and shares. Everyone involved in content should hope to reach the Platonic form of sharebait; it can be achieved only through hard work and due diligence.
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