Evergreen content is designed from the outset to have the longest possible minimum shelf life. It brings new visitors to your website for months or even years, without you having to constantly update the content. In this article, I'll explain how to find and implement such topics.
Why is evergreen content a good idea?
If you create content for your website, you've probably already experienced that publishing is usually not the end of the job. Among other things, you have to make sure that posts remain up-to-date and relevant. If they aren't, you have to decide whether to delete, improve or ignore it.
One way to keep this follow-up effort in check is "evergreen content" - content that remains fresh and up-to-date for a long time. At the same time, it continuously brings new visitors to your site. This, in turn, has a positive effect on your content ROI (return on investment) - the return from the content increases constantly, while the effort is high, especially at the beginning, but is low thereafter.
Content marketing: the basics
You want to know in general how you can give your content a boost? To generate more sales in the long term? Then read Jan's content marketing e-book.
Evergreen content also has the potential to increase your brand's visibility on the social web if it gets recommended again and again. In most cases, it can also garner more external links on a regular basis, which in turn helps the SEO of your entire website.
Last but not least, evergreen content is particularly in demand in content marketing. After all, they often answer basic questions. This means you appeal to people at the beginning of their customer journey. Hopefully, you'll be able to prove to them that you're as knowledgeable as you are trustworthy, with more helpful posts down the line.
In short - evergreen content pays off in the long run. This raises two questions. How do you find the right topics? And what's the best way to implement them?
Evergreen Content: Finding Topic Ideas
In a separate article, I already described how you can test and refine content ideas in advance. Many advice and hints from that article can also be applied in this case, e.g. making sure that your topic ideas fit the company's goals. They don't have to lead directly to that goal. That's usually unrealistic, as the decision-making paths for many products and offerings take too long. But they should make a visible and ideally measurable contribution.
The next step is keyword research and competitor analysis. Do you have a chance to prevail with your content against already existing posts? And if that seems doubtful, can you change your idea, its implementation or even the content format to improve your prospects?
There is another question regarding evergreen content - can I implement the topic in such a way that it remains current and relevant for as long as possible? As a basic rule, the more general you keep your contribution, the better. Nevertheless, it should be informative enough at the same time, otherwise no one will want to read it.
Let's take the topic "WordPress", for example. Something always happens here. New features are added, others are dropped or revised. How do we deal with this?
- You could write an article, "All the new features in WordPress 6.1". That's as up to date as it is relevant around the release date of that version. However, your post will be outdated as soon as WordPress 6.2 is announced and released.
- A bit more general would be an article like "10 WordPress features you don't know yet". You'll have to keep this content up to date as well, so that your descriptions and screenshots still fit. Also, you'll be adding or removing a feature every now and then. But the lifespan of this post is quite a bit longer.
- Even more general would be "5 areas of use for WordPress" as a post. Again, it's still basically about functionality. But the topic is generalized so far that you only need to update occasionally.
Of course, you should measure the success of the content and have your target audience in mind. Because someone who is already familiar with WordPress will hardly be interested in the last point, for example.
Another option for evergreen content are the basic issues already briefly mentioned above. Explained using the topic of WordPress, a how-to article providing solutions for the "White Screen of Death", for example, will remain relevant for quite a while
Its worth to take a look at the content archive
In all of this, it's not necessarily about implementing new content. You can also find one or two diamonds in the rough in your existing content. In fact, I'd advise you to try that first. This content has usually collected initial backlinks and social interactions. So you don't start from scratch, compared to a completely new post.
Search engines also like it when you revise, update and improve existing content. You avoid duplicating effort, as well as not having to create a second post on a topic that you've already covered. Last but not least, similar content can even get in each other's way in terms of SEO if they target the same keyword.
Implement evergreen content correctly
Speaking of search engine optimization, evergreen content will receive many visitors via Google & Co. Accordingly, it is important to have SEO in mind during planning and implementation. This includes the keyword research already mentioned above. But also, for example, a WDF*IDF analysis to understand which other terms, questions and topics should appear in your content so that it achieves a high level of relevance.
Even more important is the question about the kind of information your target group demands. The answer to this is just as relevant for evaluating potential competition. Does it address the same group of people you have in mind? It makes a difference, for example, whether you are active in the B2B sector or in the B2C sector. Or whether you are targeting professionals or laypeople.
Another question - Which content format via which channel is best suited? On the one hand, it depends on where you see the best chance of asserting yourself with your content against other posts. On the other hand, it also depends on what your target group prefers and what makes sense for the intended purpose.
Especially on the social web, content is usually very short-lived. Exceptions are platforms like YouTube or Pinterest, which also serve as visual search engines. Others, such as TikTok or Instagram, on the other hand, are intended more for the moment and are therefore usually not particularly suitable for evergreen content.
Success factors for evergreen content
According to Backlinko, the portal has analyzed 3.6 billion pieces of content to find out more about success factors for evergreen content. How-to's and lists seem to work particularly well. And that's not a surprise, because they are usually as practical as they are helpful. As the author of the content, you relieve your readers of the effort of research and prepare the knowledge in the most digestible way possible.
Overviews of an industry and generally self-researched facts and figures are also promising. With such content, you ideally create virtual contact points for information seekers. And in the case of self-implemented studies and surveys, you even offer new insights and findings that only you have and no one else. This is a big competitive advantage in the content business.
At the same time, evergreen content doesn't have to be particularly detailed to work well. It can be enough to answer frequently asked questions briefly and concisely. The disadvantage, however, of such short posts is that users often leave as soon as their question is answered. With more in-depth content, it's more likely to get them interested in reading more articles, downloading a white paper, or subscribing to your newsletter.
Successfully approaching content distribution
Once you've found your topic and implemented it perfectly, it's time to spread the content. Here you should also spend some energy, so that your efforts pay off. As a recommendation to read, you can find my detailed guide to content distribution here in the magazine.
A special feature of evergreen content is that the distribution of this content is also long-term. So you don't just promote posts once or twice. Ideally, you will always find new ideas and possibilities. For evergreen content, I recommend that you pay particular attention to the following points:
- Be sure you have thought of the essential SEO handles. If you publish the content on your own site, remember to display it prominently and link to it as often as possible from other relevant posts.
- Pay attention to the shareability of your content. It should naturally inspire, i.e. meet the target group's need for information and satisfy it particularly well. And it should fit perfectly with the platform for which it was created. So always pay attention to what goes down well here and at the same time still fits your goals.
- Make influencers and relevant websites aware of your content. I advise you to do this specifically and manually, rather than using an automated tool. This will work especially well if your content is excellently implemented or contains exclusive information. At the same time, promotional articles are rarely recommended and shared.
- In the spirit of classic content marketing, you should therefore focus on enriching the Internet with relevant and useful content.
- And last but not least, you will also think about paid distribution methods. Depending on the topic and target group, this may include ads via Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The rule of thumb from my article on content distribution- With Google Ads, you appeal to people with a specific question. With Facebook Ads, on the other hand, you can target people who have specific interests or who match demographic data.
And even though I mentioned content distribution at the very end, you should think about it from the beginning. Thereby you already know what other elements you need.
In the case of an advice article for the B2B sector, this could mean putting together a slideshow with the most important tips and statements for LinkedIn. Or a how-to becomes an Instagram story. If you've planned for this from the start, it can be created alongside your content.
Evergreen content can be a lot of work in the beginning. But this investment pays off over many years, as explained at the beginning, while the follow-up effort remains low. At the same time, this doesn't mean you should leave this content completely unsupervised.
On the contrary - especially if a post already works well, you should determine the intervals in which you want to revise, expand and update it. Otherwise, it can happen that it is forgotten or displaced by the competition.