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The benefits of evergreen content over news content

The benefits of evergreen content over news content

Sometimes, news stories are too good to ignore and a creative content writer can find heaps of ways to weave trending topics into their work.

But should they?

While it may be tempting to create content around Donald Trump’s latest Twitter fiasco or the most recent twist in “Games of Thrones”, the practice isn’t very sustainable. That’s because when it comes to getting long-term ROI,  topical content pales in comparison to evergreen pieces.

Here’s why.

What should I produce more of – news or evergreen content?

Aptly named, news content revolves around something that’s new at the time of publication. It’s the kind of stuff you see shared like crazy on social media – from seasonal pieces to celebrity news and political blog posts.

Many marketers love topical content because it’s ultra-relevant and readable in the moment. When done right, topical pieces can go viral and lead to huge surges in traffic and engagement.

Take a look at this list of the most shared content on Facebook in 2017. Headlines are dotted with buzz words from some of the year’s biggest stories from Hurricane Harvey to – again – President Trump.

While this content was once interesting, how many titles would you click on today? This illustrates the main limitation of news content: it has an expiration date.

By their very nature, trends pass. If they didn’t, we’d still be writing about fidget spinners and bitcoin (OK, we’re still writing about bitcoin, but you see what we mean). When you create content around trends, you only have a small window to publish and amplify. Once interest dies down, there’s little you can do with news content beyond reposting it as a #ThrowBackThursday.

fidget spinner

After June 2017, you probably didn’t see much ROI on that fidget spinner eBook you created …

 

Evergreen content: the clear winner

Evergreen content, on the other hand, isn’t subject to the whims of public interest. These pieces continue to be relevant and readable days, weeks, months and years after publication because they’re truly valuable, helpful information.

Tutorials, eBooks, whitepapers and blog articles around general topics – these all fall into the category of evergreen content. While there’s absolutely room for topical pieces in your content marketing strategy, the meat should consist of, well, the meatier, evergreen material.

The benefits of evergreen content

Still not sold? We understand, we too love a bit of juicy, trending content now and again, but it’s the evergreen stuff that should remain your bread and butter.

The reasons for this are many. Let’s get to it.

1. Evergreen content is less work

Unless your organisation has the marketing budget of Coca Cola, you’re probably always thinking about how to get the most bang for your buck (read: ROI) with the content you produce.

News content is a lot of work. Just take a look at Buzzfeed – with every twist and turn in pop culture, these poor writers are chasing their tail to come up with relevant content. The result is some engaging, interesting pieces, but what about tomorrow when that character from the Bachelor is eliminated and their readers need a new character quiz?

In contrast, evergreen content stays interesting over time. Rather than typing your life away, you can simply find strategic ways to push the piece into new audiences.

2. Evergreen content generates more traffic – even on social media

“Wait a minute,” you might say, “my accounting firm’s blog post on ‘What Brexit means for Australian small businesses’ went viral last year! Way more engagement than any of our evergreen stuff.”

While this may be true and topical pieces can perform extremely well, this traffic is all occuring at once – a traffic jam, if you will.

Evergreen content, on the other hand, drives steady traffic –  increasing if you amplify it correctly. Even on social media, evergreen content tends to be shared more. Again, this is for the same reason that people are sharing over and over again and during an extended period of time. Very few social media users would share that Brexit blog post today.

Google likes evergreen too

OK we don’t ever know for sure what Google is up to but we do know evergreen content tends to have several things the Google algorithm definitely does look out for, including:

  • Long-form-content.
  • Primary sourcing.
  • Depth.
  • Overall quality and value.

Plus, evergreen content leads to fresher backlinks. When Google clocks that your content is getting new backlinks long after it was initially published, your website will get a big ranking boost.

3. Evergreen content has long-term value for your business

Over 2 million blog posts are published each day on WordPress alone, and as the web becomes completely saturated with content, you may have noticed that a lot of it is pretty average.

That’s why evergreen content is such a good investment of your time and resources. It’s your chance to create something that stands out and is highly valuable to your organisation.

News content is based around the topic – not you. Whether it’s about the weather, the political climate or the Kardashians, the focus of topical content is always a topic. Once that topic has run its course, so too has your content – gone and forgotten with all the other stuff written about the same thing at the same time.

But evergreen is different. With evergreen content, you can create something that’s truly unique to your organisation – recipe books, tutorials, eBooks and manuals. Evergreen content has longevity, especially when you address a need or question your target audience will have for an extended period of time.

4. Repurposing evergreen content is easy

Whereas news content is one and done, evergreen content can be repurposed. High performing blog posts can be turned into an eBook, a step-by-step guide can have new life as an infographic, strong copy can be sectioned into snippets and shared on social media. The options are really endless because evergreen content remains relevant.

Conclusion

Does this mean you should never touch a news topic again, no matter how interesting? Absolutely not. News content may be low hanging fruit, but it’s still fruit. In some industries, current content is imperative.

Make sure you choose trends worth writing about. Tools like Google Trends and BuzzSumo can help you identify which stories will have the most traction. As a general rule, avoid topics that are too controversial as well. While these may have the most potential for engagement, they also could be risky for your business to touch.

Ready to get started? Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating evergreen content.

  • Share it often – Don’t rely on your content to do all the work. While evergreen pieces will remain interesting, they won’t necessarily get seen unless you boost them on social platforms regularly.
  • Make it high-value – Remember, you can only get those SEO benefits if you produce something that’s top quality.
  • Keep it up-to-date – While the content will remain relevant, make sure facts and statistics are up-to-date. If something newer and better comes out, be sure to go in and refresh this as well. Why reference the 2017 report, for example, when 2018 has been released?
  • 10x it now and again – Similarly, revisit the content and see where you can enhance it by taking steps like adding rich media, writing a bit more, or trying a different headline.
  • Research endlessly – While you should always have your facts straight, it’s particularly important with evergreen content, which is meant to remain valuable over time.
  • Stick with what works – You can rarely go wrong with how-to articles, tutorials, problem-solving guides and lists.

 

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Natalie Fortier About the author