Imagine that the ROI of your content is $1 a week.
However, not every asset is created equal.
Some content is seasonal. Its appeal to users is fleeting, and it and only returns your investment for 13 weeks after publication. That’s $13 for your effort.
Other content is evergreen. This content is always valuable to users and returns your investment for the full 52 weeks per year—and beyond.
Clearly, the content that earns $52 per year is the superior investment.
Evergreen content—named for the coniferous trees that never lose their color or their foliage—is a gift that keeps on giving.
So, what exactly is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is high-quality, durable content that remains relevant long after publication.
Like a classic novel, its value to readers persists despite time passing. This is because evergreen content addresses the recurring and timeless questions people have.
Brands benefit from evergreen content because its steady user-value translates into dependable traffic over time.
Here’s a graph from a case study by Buffer showing the visits received by a seasonal blog post:
The performance of seasonal content peaks then diminishes rapidly and permanently.
By contrast, evergreen content continues to be read, shared, and to drive site visits over time:
Beyond consistent web traffic, this content also helps drive engagement and generate conversions. Since you’ll be consistently earning backlinks, your SEO strategy will also get a boost.
What’s more, full-funnel content has no expiration date. Some of the most valuable blog posts are five years old by now, yet they outperform the newcomers.
So, how can you consistently create evergreen content that will deliver compounding results for your content operation?
There are four simple steps:
- Choose the right topics
- Research in-demand keywords
- Create comprehensive, focused, and accessible content
- Update your evergreen content regularly
1. Choose Topics That Provide Timeless Value
Evergreen content is valuable because it thoroughly answers our most persistent questions. According to content consultant Aaron Orendorff:
“Solving real customer problems is a major key to mastering evergreen content marketing.”
Odds are, you’ve already created some evergreen content. Look at your blog analytics to discover which posts are still generating leads. This will give you an idea of the topics your audience values.
What questions do prospects ask regularly? What common industry concepts do readers find confusing?
Typically, people turn to evergreen content for basic knowledge rather than advanced learning. As a result, creating top-of-funnel content will provide the greatest opportunity for lasting engagement, shares, and conversions.
It’s best to avoid topics that rely upon news, trending concepts, or fresh data. Instead, focus on educating users about the core concepts surrounding your product or service.
When deciding upon evergreen topics, ask yourself:
Will people still think your content is interesting a year from now?
Here are three examples of effective evergreen content formats:
- The Total Guide to Lead Generation: The nature of lead generation is largely static, so an encyclopedic approach will hold its value. Both informational and narrow in scope, this post will be rewarding for anyone implementing a lead generation strategy.
- How to Create a Facebook Ad: Tutorials are a great way to drive predictable traffic. Educational and practical, “what is” and “how-to” posts are a preferred way for readers to consume content.
- 33 Tips for Writing Irresistible Blog Headlines: Lists are a consumer favorite because the headline reveals exactly how much information to expect. When creating list posts, be sure to include only fixed principles, or you’ll risk sounding misinformed if something changes.
2. Research In-Demand Keywords
To be effective, evergreen content should be created to answer an existing question.
Conducting keyword research allows you to ensure there’s a demand for your chosen topic. Without an interested audience, even the most informative evergreen content won’t succeed.
Start your keyword research by checking Google Trends. For example, interest in “evergreen content” has risen steadily over the past five years.
Tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and Moz Keywords can help you explore content trends. Use them to identify keywords with solid traction. Recently, Buzzsumo added an “Evergreen Score” that shows you examples of top-performing evergreen content by keyword and industry.
When performing keyword research, you may find that many popular industry topics have already been covered. If this is the case, you can do two things:
- Search for long-tail keywords that don’t attract as much competition. Creating content for these keywords will help distinguish your brand in a niche area.
- Approach a popular topic from a different angle. For example, you can retool a popular “How-to” post into an “X Ways to” post with more captivating language to gain attention.
Both these tactics will enhance the visibility and relevance of your full-funnel content. Just be sure the data supports your content direction.
3. Create Relevant Evergreen Content
When creating full-funnel content, aim to be the best answer to your customer’s questions. If you’re the one-stop resource for your audience, you can expect engagement, shares, and repeat readers.
Here are three tips for writing the best evergreen content:
The more thorough your evergreen content, the more useful, engaging, and shareable it will be.
According to Hubspot, blog posts between 2,250-2,500 words generate the greatest site traffic. Similarly, blog posts that exceed 2,500 words generate the highest number of shares.
High-performance content tends to be longer because it allows you to:
- Elaborate on a subject (to deliver a useful article worth sharing)
- Inject more keywords (to boost your SEO rankings)
- Reference expert sources (to reinforce your credibility and generate backlinks for SEO)
- Position yourself as the definitive resource (to enhance your thought leadership)
Answering each of your prospect’s questions in succession creates a powerful and memorable touchpoint. When part of a full-funnel content journey, in-depth interactions like these are critical to cementing trust and habituating engagement with users.
You’ll want to avoid creating overlong content for the sake of length. After all, who wants to read 6,000 words when 3,000 would suffice? It’s important to differentiate between exhaustive content and exhausting content.
Write for Beginners
The audience for evergreen content is primarily top- to mid-funnel prospects searching for basic information. As experts aren’t likely to search for evergreen topics, share your expertise without using technical language.
Writing with accessible language and an approachable tone will help you establish a quick connection with readers and encourage future engagement.
Narrow Your Topic
Evergreen content is only as rewarding as it is consumable.
Narrowing your topic focus will help keep your content concise and interesting to readers. Rather than diluting your content and your reader’s attention with excess information, try separating one topic into a series.
For example, “How to Create a Lead Generation Strategy” could be pulled apart to make “What Is Lead Generation?,” “How to Implement a Lead Generation Strategy,” and “10 Essential Metrics for Measuring Lead Gen Success.” This allows you to write more comprehensively while multiplying the evergreen assets to your content library.
4. Update Your Content for Best Performance
Though it remains largely unchanged, optimized evergreen content is updated regularly. Adding new developments, statistics, and hyperlinks will enhance the quality of your content. It will also provide you with an opportunity to re-promote and drive fresh engagement.
For example, a former “How to” post about Facebook Ads would benefit from updating the sections that discuss the algorithm, targeting options, and best practices.
To refresh the post, simply rework the introduction and substitute the new information. You’ll be left with a new piece of content that’s ready to be shared again.
Here’s a list of ways to update your best evergreen content:
- Change the publishing date
- Rewrite your introduction for updated messaging
- Rework any out-of-date paragraphs
- Repost the content to the first page of your blog
- Refresh your CTAs to align with your current conversion offers
- Place SEO keywords in accordance with contemporary ranking factors
- Update the title, headlines, metadata, etc. to include newly relevant keywords
Readers will appreciate the recency, both in the body content and the timestamp. As the following example from Backlinko shows, site experience is enhanced when readers are assured that information is current.
Google’s algorithm, which prioritizes content freshness as an SEO ranking factor, will also reward your content with a higher position. Large marketing companies that trade on information, such as Hubspot and Backlinko, consider this a best practice.
However, a case study by ShoutMeLoud found that their blog traffic dropped 40% after adding dates back to the search engine results pages (SERPs) for their blog posts. It’s best to check your own blog analytics before and after updating the timestamp.
Refreshing your full-funnel content gives you a chance to replace any broken or outdated links. Since 404 page-load errors reduce site speed, this is a great way to ensure you maintain a superb content experience.
Starting Your Evergreen Content Strategy
Evergreen content is a key piece of any successful content operation. Recurring returns in exchange for minimal effort? It’s a boon for your budget and your bottom line.
Unlike seasonal content, evergreen content holds relevancy through the years and provides unparalleled ROI. Though less timely, more expensive, and potentially more competitive, ts long-term value makes it a must for any marketing mix.
And because content is an investment in your brand image, evergreen content is an effective way to develop your brand value while driving engagement and conversions.
To succeed with evergreen content, it’s important to establish a process for creating, promoting, and updating your full-funnel content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.