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how to build evergreen content

How to Build Evergreen Content That Actually Builds Your Brand: 5+ Tips, Tricks and Methods to Get Started Today

Evergreen content is magical. ✨

Why? It never loses its green.

While lots of other types of content eventually turn brown, lose their readers, and die off, evergreen content remains fresh, interesting, and relevant.

It’s always green, and it keeps bringing in the green – whether that means traffic, engagement, conversions, or even sales.

CTA-EW-02

So, the question at hand is not whether you need it.

Let’s face it:  you do.

If you haven’t yet…

The question now is how to build evergreen content that is actually forever green. 

Today on the blog, I’m answering that question. Let’s dive in.

how to build evergreen content

First: What’s the Opposite of Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content has a polar opposite, and it’s important to define that as we get started.

Content that is fleeting or quickly dated because it’s based on current stats, trends, news, or data is not evergreen.

Some examples:

  • Announcements and event summaries
  • Blogs discussing trends in your industry
  • News stories
  • Holiday or season-centered posts (with exceptions)

The information in these types of content has an expiration date. They will cease being useful after a certain point in time.

Meanwhile, evergreen content is always useful, relevant, and valuable, even if a reader stumbles on your content months, or even years, after you publish it.

A good mix of both is a healthy way to publish content on your website.

Take a look at how Content Marketing Institute mixes up the two on their blog:

cmi-evergreen-content-vs-dated

5 Evergreen Content Examples and Topics with Everlasting Life

Before we get into how to build evergreen content, let’s look at some examples in action.

These evergreen content topics are tried-and-true, as you’ll see from the blogs below.

1. How-To Blogs and Articles

A good, evergreen how-to post teaches your readers a concept, idea, or skill that has lasting value. It’s something they can refer to over and over, now and in the future.

Copyblogger – “How to Get More Value Out of the Content You Consume”

Copyblogger has lots of examples of great how-to posts. One that has lasting value is their blog on how to judiciously consume content.

copyblogger-how-to

2. Curated Content Lists

Curated content lists have a lasting value up to a point – they may include tools or tips that can lose relevancy. But, as long as you update them to reflect changing technology, you’ll have a solid evergreen post that will last and last with little effort.

Social Media Examiner – “18 Apps and Tools for Social Media Marketers”

This post from Social Media Examiner is a perfect example of a curated list. If any of the tools become obsolete or outdated, they can update the post on an as-needed basis.

socialmediaexaminer-list

3. Stories/Interviews

Stories and interviews have lasting value as content because they tap into the wisdom of thought leaders, innovators, or pioneers in the industry.

Or, think of it this way: Storytelling never goes out of style. People love hearing about people, so including real human stories in your content has evergreen value.

Content Marketing Institute – “’Stay Scrappy’ and More Wisdom on Creativity from a Pixar Animator”

Pixar is a successful animation studio known for its innovation, creativity, and storytelling chops. This interview with a Pixar animator by Marcia Riefer Johnson for CMI showcases how you can successfully glean inspiration and wisdom from creators across industries. This information will stay relevant for a long time.

cmi-story-interview

4. Original Research/Case Studies

Despite the fact that the data they present will eventually become dated, case studies and original research are definitely evergreen content for two reasons:

  1. 1. You can pull universal truths from them – strategies, techniques, or steps that others can learn from.
  2. 2. They tell a story.

These two factors are universally valuable, no matter the date of the study/research.

EW – “Blogging ROI Case Study: How 18,000 Keywords in Google Bring Us Six-Figure Income Months”

For our own case study here at EW, I get transparent and share how we have grown our success using blogging, SEO, and content strategy.

(This particular piece of content pulls double evergreen duty – it includes an interview with one of our top clients, too.)

ew-case-study

5. FAQs + Answers to Common Industry Questions

Odds are, people/customers new to your industry or brand ask a LOT of the same questions.

This lets you assume there is a base of knowledge you can share that has lasting value for ALL newbies who come through your door.

Hence, the FAQ post. In this content type, you list the most frequently asked questions you receive from said newbies, then offer definitive answers.

Search Engine Watch – “Duplicate Content FAQ: What Is It and How Should You Deal with It?”

SEOers get regular questions about the mysteries of Google search regularly. This post smartly addresses a general topic area (duplicate content and the effect it has on SEO) and answers FAQs that many confused marketers ask over and over.

searchenginewatch-faqs

How to Build Evergreen Content

It’s time to get down to creating evergreen content. Our best tips to get started are right here:

1. Write for Beginners When Building Your Topic

For any type of content creation, you need to have an audience firmly in mind before you begin.

However, when building evergreen content, you should hone in on beginners to your topic vs. any other group.

Why?

Because these are the people most likely to be searching for help. And, above all, evergreen content is helpful and useful for the long-term.

2. Narrow Your Focus

If you attempt to explain a topic that’s too broad in your evergreen content… Well, you could be writing for weeks.

Take, for example, a topic like World War II.

This is a huge, sprawling topic that has innumerable sub-topics. For example, which year or span of years during WWII are getting your attention? Will you approach the topic from the viewpoint of the Nazis, the Allies, the Axis, or the Americans? What countries will you cover? Which battles/attacks? Which leaders?

Screenshot via Wikipedia

Behemoth topics like this one are also harder for readers to immediately latch onto. There are too many rabbit holes, wormholes, and tangents you can fall down, here.

Instead, dive deep and create content around a narrower facet of a topic.

For instance, instead of attempting to write a start-to-finish guide to content marketing (this requires a book-length amount of work – I should know), choose a sub-topic to explore thoroughly, like finding your audience or blog post promotion.

3. Ask Yourself: “Will This Be Useful in a Year? 2 Years? 5?”

This one is simple. If your evergreen content idea won’t be useful or valuable at least a year from now, it’s not actually evergreen.

Think long and hard about the utility of the information you want to offer. Will it expire before the year is up? Or will it carry on proudly into 2 years… or even 5 years??

If you can justify it staying valuable and relevant that long, you have a golden evergreen opportunity.

4. Air It Out: Share (and Re-Share) Evergreen Content on Social Media

Good news: Social media is the perfect place to give your evergreen content a good airing.

Since this content is consistently relevant and valuable, you can share and re-share on your social networks and let it reach new audiences. It will help boost your brand authority, too, since these are big kahuna posts you spent lots of time perfecting.

So, go ahead: Create evergreen content, then, as time goes by, dig back into your archives and share them with your followers again

And again.

Sharing evergreen content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks is ALWAYS a good idea. We regularly do so on @ExpWriters Twitter account:

5. Update Old Posts to Keep Them Evergreen

Big tip:

You don’t just need to know how to write evergreen content…

You also need to know how to keep it evergreen.

It turns out, to stay evergreen, some content pieces need a little trimming, pruning, and reshaping now and then.

Think:

  • Content that cites old information or facts that science/research have disproven
  • Content that prominently mentions old trends or fads
  • Content that uses slang that’s no longer in use
  • Content that cites studies that have newer versions available

This is why content audits are so helpful.

Going over your older pieces, reviewing them for accuracy, and updating as needed is a great way to keep them fresh for new and old readers.

Plus, Google loves it. (Content freshness is a big ranking factor that connotes your page’s relevancy, according to Moz.)

moz-ranking-factors

The takeaway: Create evergreen content, then invest in keeping it fresh and updated for a one-two punch.

If you already have some pieces with evergreen potential, update them or rewrite parts of them to maximize their potential!

Learn How to Build Evergreen Content for Profitable Results

Content that’s evergreen is everlasting.

Its value never decreases. It never stops being relevant, useful, and interesting to your readers.

Plus, over time, new audiences will discover it. Its utility will be recycled, which will strengthen your brand.

It’s powerful stuff, no doubt.

Both evergreen content vs. content with a short shelf-life serve their purposes, but you need both to gain the benefits.

Invest in evergreen content, sprinkle it into your marketing garden, and watch your profits grow.

 

how to write cornerstone content

How To Write Cornerstone Content

I’m here with another installment of our ongoing #howtowrite series, sharing a guide to cornerstone content.

When you started your first blog, did you know about cornerstone content?

I didn’t. As a more informed SEO blogger, I’m now transitioning my digital property to include cornerstone content strategy.

When I started my blog in 2013, I grew it naturally: I wrote about the niche I liked, interacted and promoted in my niche, and enlisted other writers to grow the site. In 2015, I started to clean up and improve my SEO; I also began using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. This plugin told me all about cornerstone content and how to more effectively structure my site.

guide on how to write cornerstone content

What is Cornerstone Content?

Cornerstone content is strong, informative content on a keyword or key phrase relating to your site’s niche.

This is the page you want to carefully, naturally, and deliberately rank in SERPs (search engine results pages), and most other content points to it (via links) and relies on it for sustainability.

According to Marieke van de Rakt, Partner & CSO at Yoast:

“Cornerstone content should be the content that is closest to the mission of your website. I think you should take some time to think about what it is you are doing and which posts or pages on your website are the most important. If you are to point three or four texts on your website, which texts would that be? I think you should extend and improve upon those pages and posts and really make the most out of these pages.

Your text and the ideas in your text should be totally unique. Of course, keyword research is essential. You just have to make sure you are using the words that your audience are using.”

cornerstone content quote

I couldn’t run an effective WordPress blog without the Yoast SEO plugin. When I blog and schedule posts on my site, Yoast frequently suggests choosing a different focus keyword because the one I have selected is already being used as a focus keyword, often for a post that ranks well. Yoast advises me to check out their piece on cornerstone content for more information.

This has caused me to rethink my content strategy – but it’s raised more questions than answers. If I’m going for a comparatively low-competition keyword like “LARP,” should I really diversify my focus keyword selection?

I’ve since started paying more attention, and although I haven’t mapped out a detailed strategy, I’m going for long tail keywords like “LARP tips,” “LARP interviews,” and “LARP costumes” as they apply.

I created my website about women in geek culture before I got serious about my SEO game. I wrote SEO copy well – and naturally – but was using a free WordPress theme with lots of bugs and limited tools. Every week, I spend time writing and revising titles and meta descriptions that the Yoast SEO plugin identifies as nonexistent, weak, or duplicate. Little by little, I improve my SEO.

However, there’s another SEO problem: I didn’t build my site from the ground up with cornerstone content in mind. Yoast SEO encourages me to think about this whenever I use an existing strong keyword on my site. Van de Rakt offers some advice about this situation, since many looking to improve their sites are in a similar situation:

“Cornerstone content is the content you would like to rank the highest with. The content you’re the most proud of. But in order to make sure that it’ll rank the highest you should make sure that the internal linking structure of your site is awesome. We are working really hard to get more features in Yoast SEO which will help people to improve their site structure. In our Yoast SEO 4.0 update, we’ll start with adding such features and we’re planning to do much more. I hope these features will really help people to get their most precious content to rank highest!”

Example of Cornerstone Content and Related Topics

1. Resource Libraries

Keep your keyword strategy in mind as you build out resource libraries. Your on-site resource libraries are excellent inbound marketing strategies, so your on and off-site blog posts on related topics should direct readers to them.

2. Article Series

If you’re like me, you may think that building out a huge content strategy is a little intimidating when you don’t have many resources. However, even a solo act can focus on cornerstone content via an article series.

This #HowtoWrite content series, for example, is written and created by a small team. In the future, we’ll point back to this useful content, hopefully helping the #HowToWrite series pages rank as cornerstone content.

3. Evergreen content

While it’s always best practice to update your content as things change, evergreen cornerstone content is a solid strategy. If you’re going to invest time in pointing search engines towards specific content, you want it to hold value in the long run.

Should You Compete With Your Own Content for a Keyword?

What if your niche is pretty specific? What if you already dominate it? I rank pretty well for specific niche keywords, and the Yoast SEO plugin always tells me to rethink my focus keyword because one of my existing pages already has that focus keyword. I kind of want to be greedy. Why settle for the top search result if I could get more than one on that first SERP? I asked Van de Rakt if it’s better to rank multiple pages in a long tail niche keyword, or expand into ranking a more competitive keyword using cornerstone content.

“I think you should do both. If you are dominating, you could aim to rank for more ‘head terms.’ Long tail niche keywords remain important though,” advises Van de Rakt.

Long Tail or Short Tail for Cornerstone Content?

This depends on your business goal, your content spend, and the amount of competition in your niche. A careful analysis can help, but ultimately, you know your business and field better than anyone.

I aim for 75% analysis, 25% heart – that means most of my strategy is based on hard data about what works, but I leave myself ample room to explore the content and communities I’m passionate about. This is where experimentation and innovation happen – and it’s a great way to bolster less risky cornerstone content with relevant links.

cornerstone graphic

Do You Need Help With Cornerstone Content?

Express Writers can help at any stage of cornerstone content creation and execution.

Get in touch for a free content strategy consultation and learn more about our keyword research and content strategy services. Now through Christmas, use coupon holidayshop5 to get 5% off your total order.

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