If you’re trying to build a business off of it then be prepared for the never-ending content treadmill.
This post is for those of us who have limited time and resources to create content. It’s not the core competency of your business but you know it’ll help and want to get the most bang for your buck.
If that’s you then keep reading.
Evergreen content allows you tap into long-term gains. It allows you to unlock the type of hockey stick growth many people talk about but few achieve.
In this article, we’re going to cover what evergreen content is, different types of evergreen content, and how to make it successfully.
A lot of things in marketing can be confusing. Facebooks Power Editor is confusing. SEO is confusing. Conversion rate optimization is confusing. Evergreen content isn’t.
It’s simply content that has a much longer shelf life. It got its name because, like evergreen trees, they retain their life force year round. People will are interested in evergreen content whether it was created five years ago or yesterday.
I mean, the Mona Lisa was made hundreds of years ago and it’s still viewed by millions every year. That’s staying power.
While what you create likely won’t last five hundred years, it’s possible it’ll last a decade or more. All you have to do is choose your topic and format wisely. After that, you put in the effort to make sure it’s a good – no great – piece of content.
Before we get into different types of evergreen content, let’s look at what it’s not.
There are more instances where content wouldn’t be considered evergreen. You’ll have to use your discretion. Ask yourself a few simple questions when you’re thinking of evergreen content ideas.
Now that you know what evergreen content is and isn’t, let’s look at the different types.
I want to outline ten types of evergreen content that’ll serve you well. There are more. You’ll realize some formats work best for your niche and don’t work at all on other niches.
The list below should work for you. It’s a starting point.
Two parts of the brain work together to make decisions. We have the intuitive side of the brain which is responsible for cognitive biases. We have the rational side of the brain that analyzes facts and objective information.
It’s often been said that stories sell and facts tell. Put another way, we make decisions based on emotion and use the supporting information to rationalize that decision.
Statistic posts are the perfect way to provide supporting information. Though they qualify as evergreen content, they still need to be updated every few years. New studies come out and there are changes in behavior.
Together, these factors create new perspectives on older data.
Many large companies have made it their job to develop statistics posts. It’s not by accident. Statista.com was built to disseminate huge datasets into digestible chunks.
Take a look at this graph on digital media revenue.
Akami creates a report every quarter about the state of internet penetration and average internet speeds.
Hubspot does a State of Inbound Report every year. They hit me up to participate in their survey a few months ago.
Forrester is known for carrying out research projects. Oftentimes the information is publicly available.
You may think you have to spend money to hire researchers and create your own proprietary project. You don’t. There’s value in curation. Take the best research projects in your niche and create a statistics post.
People love them and they tend to attract a lot of links and referral traffic. That’s what I did when I created this post about visual marketing statistics
Case studies are one of those rare pieces of content that never lose their potency. Why? Because they’re about situations that can never be repeated.
You can only get results for a client like that once. You can only lose 200 pounds once. You can only make your first million dollars once.
You see where I’m going with this.
A book I’ve read about four times is called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s full of case studies about successful men. Unfortunately, women weren’t doing much in business those days.
He talks about Henry Ford, J.P Morgan, and many others. The people who shaped our world. They’re the ones who made a lasting mark on civilization. They can never be boring.
Each new generation is reintroduced to what they accomplished. Likewise, you can tap into the power of case studies. Walk your audience through how you’ve gotten results for someone like them in the past.
It doesn’t even have to be your client. Walk them through how you got results for yourself. Take this post on weight loss for example.
This weight loss case study has thousands of shares and almost two hundred comments. He didn’t do anything special. He just followed a diet and worked out regularly. The reason it was so popular is because they’re his real-life results.
They weren’t theoretical.
They weren’t the results of his students.
That article has been immortalized and will serve as a traffic source and inspiration for years to come. No need to update. It’s perfect in its first iteration.
Check out this one about how I use Facebook to get dirt cheap video views.
Everything from the fashion industry to the pet care industry has a set of problems unique to them. They’re the problems someone just starting out will experience.
For example, new parents will face the terrible twos. There’s no escaping it. New dog owners will need to teach their pet’s basic obedience.
Strategies for common problems tend to take a higher level view and focus on the fundamentals. They serve as pillar posts which you can use to link off to more in depth content.
Profitwell created a pillar page that addressed a common problem in SaaS – getting the marketing website right. They gave a general overview then linked off to pages that dealt with specific aspects of the website.
They address a common problem and they’ve arguably done it better than anyone else.
Contrary to popular belief, people are interested in history. The problem is that the telling of that history teachers seem to suck at storytelling. Think back to high school 2 though I didn’t have this problem. The History Channel was my favorite network a little over a decade ago .
Tell the history of your industry or interesting areas in your industry. This is one of the few areas you can create evergreen content around trending topics.
For example, with the explosion of Bitcoin, more and more people are interested in how it all came about.
The same thing is true about artificial intelligence.
Without history, we’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Educate your audience while scoring an evergreen content win.
At our core, we’re creatures that love to learn and experience new things. We’re also risk averse. Most people don’t want to put it all on the line without a blueprint. The how-to guides you create are the blueprint.
The problem you’ll experience is that almost all of them have been done before. You have to make yours bigger, more detailed, or better looking than the rest. Otherwise, it’ll get lost in a sea of #metoo content.
Nobody likes me too content.
The post below is a perfect example of how to create useful how-to posts that build your business and reputation over the long term. The process is, of course, overly simplified. There are more nuances to building an app then can be explained in a few thousand words.3 in other, unrelated news, I found this guy on Fiverr who’ll build you an app for a little as $10. Yes, that link is no follow. No, I didn’t use the service. .
Who doesn’t like checklists? That’s right nobody. On a more serious note, checklists are amazing because they make life easier. They’re the natural progression to how to guides.
In the how-to guide, you tell them what to do.
With the checklist, you codify the steps they need to take. It’s one thing to say set up a hosting account. It’s another thing to say.
As you can see, the checklist breaks down the high-level initiatives into manageable chunks. It’s especially useful for large projects.
When you’re leading your audience through a confusing or difficult process, use checklists.
Blogging Wizard has a detailed checklist post. It walks you through everything you need to know about promoting your blog posts.
You can always give general – useful – tips that help players in your industry thrive. I’m not talking about those posts that list out 100 ways to do x and each point is ten words.
That’s a waste of the pixels it’s created with. Give your tips meat. You’ll get a higher return when you share a few great tips with strategies and examples. At the same time, you open the door for multiple posts.
For example, instead of 50 tips to be a better blogger, you can do 15 tips and totally crush it. Afterwards, you can revisit the topic with fifteen more tips and so on and so forth 4 You can make it into a series or you can use the content to focus on different keywords.
This is a hallmark of the popular SEO blog Backlinko. In Brian’s SEO technique post, he could have tried to go for the hundreds of available techniques. He decided to focus on just 21 and go in depth.
This technique has been called going an inch wide and a mile deep.
Another way to take advantage of this is the expert roundup. It’s literally like built-in traffic to your content. You find experts, ask them a simple question, round up the answers, and promote it like crazy.
It’s not that people love to bask in your failures. On the contrary, they love rooting for the underdog. We just want to know we’re not the only ones who’ve failed.
Failure isn’t sexy. It sucks. It can also be one of the most informative experiences in your life. You figure out exactly what not to do.
When you’re honest and transparent about your failures, it humanizes you. Your audience is able to connect with you and your brand on a deeper level. There’s nothing like alienating yourself from your audience by portraying perfection.
You’re human. Shit happens. Own up to it.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have success. The reason content that focuses on success is evergreen is because it inspires people no matter which point they’re at.
If you’ve started from the bottom and made it to the top – whether that’s in academics, business, or socially – then you’re allowed to share. Just do it from a place of humility. Show people the lessons you’ve learned.
Never just tell them – look at me, I made a bunch of money. Though it can be effective in the short term, it won’t give you evergreen content status.
For success stories to be effective, the reader has to take away valuable lessons. Give them insights they can apply to their lives.
If you can do that then it’ll resonate with your readers and have them coming back for more.
So, instead of “I just made a million dollars,” it becomes “10 Lessons I learned while building a million dollar company.”
Have you ever wondered why podcasts are so popular?
Interviews have been a staple of evergreen content for a long time. One of the most popular radio shows in the US is called The Breakfast Club. They interview people all day every day.
It never gets old.
The true power with these interviews lies in the perspective of your guest. There are many paths to success. It can be hard work, determination, consistency, smart tactics, or whatever.
It’s not so much what they did but how they did it and the insights they bring. Find the influencers in your niche and give them a reason to agree to an interview with you.
We’ve covered a lot of ground and we’re pulling into the final stretch. It’s time to roll your sleeves up and make the content. It can take any form from videos to articles. They just need to fill the following criteria.
This isn’t a must, but it’s usually applicable. Content with a long shelf life usually appeals to beginners. That’s because advanced level content tends to be tactical. Tactics change pretty quickly. Strategy, on the other hand, doesn’t.
For example. A post on how to upload videos to Facebook from your phone for content syndication is tactical. Both your phones OS and Facebook itself will change overmtime.
A post about how to improve your writing, on the other hand, won’t go out of style anytime soon. That’s because the fundamentals of writing won’t change for the next fifty years.
I can bet you that:
Those are fundamentals and won’t change.
Content doesn’t qualify as evergreen unless you’re able to get people to keep reading it. They won’t read it unless they feel like you know what you’re talking about. They won’t feel like you know what you’re talking about unless you showcase your authority.
Does that mean you have to get featured in Huffington Post? No, of course not.
It just means you should be able to communicate your breadth of knowledge on the subject, be able to back up your conclusions, and teach simply.
In the end, they become great references. They’re the kind of content people link to. Another hallmark of authoritative content is length. You don’t have to aim for a particular word count. Aim for answering the question completely.
Take this post as an example. We’ve gone through what evergreen content is, the different types, and how to create it. Right now, this post is over 2500 words long and I’ve still got a few more points to cover.
I’ve also used images, studies, and other sources of information to drive my point home. This post has been built to give you all the information you need to create evergreen content. That’s authority.
Design is becoming more and more important. There’s a glut of products and information on the web. There’s no reason for someone to stick around your poorly designed and optimized content. They can hit the back button and find 10,000 more results.
No, you’ve got to put in the time and effort to make your content easy to read and a joy to look at. Here are a few tips:
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Just because it’s called evergreen content doesn’t mean you’ll never need to revisit it. You should always revisit your content. What evergreen content allows you to do is create resources with a longer shelf life.
An article about how to tie your shoes isn’t going to need updating every six months. It’s a good idea to add images, go back and edit it, or add new techniques.
The whole point of evergreen content is to create content that’ll allow you to reap the benefits over the long term. Part of that is a low touch strategy. That, by no means, translates to publish and forget about it.
Evergreen content is a lot of things. It’s not a magic bullet. You still need to follow best practices when creating and promoting it so you reap the benefits.
What I mean is you can’t publish and pray. This isn’t 2006. You’re not the only person creating it. Focus on the proven types of evergreen content, make it better than the competition, design it well, and update it regularly.
If you keep this process up you’ll receive the benefits and recognition this strategy provides. Let me know how you’ve used evergreen content in the past.