This post was updated October 2019.
We know that marketers that focus on content creations are 13X more likely to see dramatic ROI.
That number paints a clear picture. Powerful, engaging content is key if you want to leverage organic traffic and grow your website.
The thing is, there are dozens of options when it comes to content, yet blogging is my first love ♥ and I’m far from alone.
55% of marketers focus most of their inbound efforts in blogging. That’s because the more content you produce, the more love you get from search engines. Google alone drives 70.6% of all traffic on the web, and you definitely want a slice of that action.
The problem is, over 4 million blog posts see the light every single day.
Most of those are what I call ‘firefly’ content. It may shine bright and catch a lot of attention, but it fizzles out rather quickly.
If you focus only on firefly content, you’ll always be a part of the rat race. Working night and day to put out enough content for the next cycle, while your competitors do the same.
Not all content fizzles out in a heartbeat, though.
Sometimes, content keeps compounding traffic as time goes by. Only of every ten blog posts falls under that compounding category, yet those posts bring over 38% of traffic for most blogs on average.
That’s what we call evergreen content, and if you know how to create it, you’ll have a massive advantage when it comes to rankings.
5 Rules on How to Craft Evergreen Content
1. Brainstorm (with your team) and pick a topic.
2. Dig-in and research your topic to the bone.
3. Outline your evergreen content.
4. Get your first draft ready, then start editing.
5. Update and audit your evergreen content periodically.
We’re going to walk you through the entire process of creating evergreen content but first, let’s get semantical.Marketers surely know the benefits of creating content and how it brings ROI. But with millions of posts out there, how can you make content that constantly brings in traffic? @JuliaEMcCoy shares the rules in crafting evergreen content 🌳 Click To Tweet
What Exactly is Evergreen Content?
At this point, you already have a rough idea of what evergreen content is, but we can do better.
Let’s go over some quick examples to narrow down the concept even further:
- In-depth analyses or facts: Cold-hard facts don’t change, that’s what’s cool about them. Let’s say, for example, you write an in-depth post about what content marketing is. The types of content you use might change, but the key concept won’t, and people will keep looking for answers for years to come. That’s a perfect example of evergreen content
- How-to guides, tips, and tricks: People are always going to look for tutorials and guides to help them optimize the way they do things. The more in-depth they are, the longer their shelf life will be. Plus, writing how-to posts is a great way to increase your blog’s credibility.
- Industry resources: It’s always interesting to read what industry experts have to say. Any insight you can give into an industry, such as guides on who to follow, case studies, and glossaries of key terms will always be in vogue.
Keep in mind – even evergreen content requires a bit of attention now and then. Think about it as the cacti of the content world. A little bit of water now and then (making sure all the content is up to date) will keep it green, happy, and thorny (maybe not the best analogy!).
What Evergreen Content Isn’t
One key factor when it comes to the longevity of content is its relevance. If we turn to Google to look at what people were looking for in 2018, it paints a clear picture:
Right there, you have a lot of great examples of what evergreen content is not. The World Cup, for example, drives a ton of traffic while it’s going on, but once it’s over, those searches peter out drastically.
Now imagine you spent a lot of time and effort writing match analyses, predictions, and discussing the results online.
That content may have brought in a ton of traffic during 2018, but right now, it’s collecting dust.
With that in mind, let’s go over some other examples of what evergreen content is not:
- Media reviews: If you’re writing about books, TV shows, and movies, you’ll likely see a peak in traffic shortly after they go live. Then, interest will go down over time and slow down to a trickle.
- Current events: The news cycle never stops nowadays. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the barrage of news from all over the world, so it stands to reason that content tied to current events doesn’t have a long shelf life.
- Recent studies or statistics: Readers love statistics. They help you paint a picture quickly and increase your authority. The problem is, statistics and studies aren’t static. Numbers that were right in 2015 might have changed now, so readers will naturally flock to more recent content.
- Anything that has to do with technology: The smartphone market is the perfect example of this. You can write a killer smartphone buying guide that brings in a ton of traffic and gets you conversions. However, as soon as the next generation of phones comes in, that content is dead in the water.
Case in point: Try any generic search for smartphone recommendations right now and you’re only going to find recent results.
No green in sight anywhere.
It’s important to understand, you don’t need to focus only on evergreen content. That’s not viable and it would ward you off from exploring a lot of cool topic ideas.
Remember that 1 in 10 blog post rule I mentioned at the start of this article? That’s a great rule of thumb. For every 10 blog posts you write, try and come up with an evergreen idea and your rankings should improve dramatically.Evergreen content is content that lasts. Think about in-depth analyses or facts, how-to guides, tips, and tricks, and industry resources. 🎋 It does NOT include media reviews, current events, and recent studies or stats. Click To Tweet
5 Rules on How to Craft and Publish Evergreen Content that Keeps on Giving
The first step to getting evergreen content right is choosing the right topic, so let’s start with that.
1. Brainstorm (with Your Team) and Pick a Topic
So far, we’ve gone over several examples of what is and what isn’t evergreen content. That means you’re ready to start coming up with some topic ideas of your own.
Your goal is to come up with content ideas that have the potential to keep on giving for a long time. Here are two simple questions I ask myself when brainstorming for evergreen content:
- Are people still going to be looking for this in a month, a year, and beyond?
- Does this topic have enough depth to transform it into long-form content?
That’s it, that’s basically what evergreen content boils down to – it’s in-depth, authoritative content that will remain relevant.
It’s easy enough to say, but coming up with the right ideas takes work.
I’m a bit old-school when it comes to brainstorming, so I like to keep a notebook handy for when ideas come to mind. At some point, I’ll write down those I think have potential on a shared Google Doc, so my team can weigh in.
I’m just one person, there are angles I might miss, but when you brainstorm with a team, ideas flow at a much faster pace.
2. Dig-In and Research Your Topic to the Bone
Research is one of my favorite parts of writing for the web. If you want your content to hit the mark, it needs authority, so you need to dig deep, that means:
- Finding relevant studies and statistics to back up your assertions (and stick to recent ones, as I mentioned before!)
- Looking for similar articles published before
- Coming up with ways you can improve on that previous content if it’s indeed out there
Research is perhaps the most important part of the process when it comes to creating evergreen content. The more in-depth you go, the more likely your content is to remain relevant for longer.
If you find there’s a ton of information out there, don’t be scared.
Google loves long-form content. So much so, the average length for the top 10 spots in most search is around 2,000 words.
That may not sound like a lot, but it is once you factor in online readers tend to have short attention spans (not you, though, you’re great! 😉).
The more data you find during the research process, the more it validates your pick, so kudos to you.
3. Outline Your Evergreen Content
Outlines are a divisive topic when it comes to writing. Some writers swear by them, others would rather fly by the seat of their pants.
I’m more of a swear-by-them kind of person. It’s not about being an organization freak either, but rather about being able to organize all my ideas and making sure the content I write hits the mark.
If you didn’t skip rule 2, then you’ve got a ton of data in your hands. Now, you have to take that and transform it into something people will want to read and share.
Outlines are your friend here.
What I like to do is start with the important sections. Take this article, for example, it has four major sections outside the introduction and wrap-up.
It took me a little while to outline everything, but once that was ready, the writing just flowed because I knew where everything had to go and all the points I wanted to make.
Outlines are almost a hack when it comes to content writing.
4. Get Your First Draft Ready, Then Start Editing
You’ve done your research, you have the data, and you have an outline. Now it’s time to write.
Everyone tackles writing differently, so I won’t tell you what to do. If you’re a sit-down-with-classical-music kind of gal, go for it.
If you like to write in your sweatpants while sipping tea, sure, why not?
Just do it.
I will, however, share three quick pieces of advice (I couldn’t resist!):
- Take your time, evergreen content is the gift that keeps on giving, so you can’t rush it.
- Leave the editing until you have a first draft.
- Pay special attention to the keywords you want to target and optimize your content for them.
That second piece of advice is debatable. Some people like to edit as they go along, but I find it sometimes takes me out of the zone, so I like to leave it until last.
As far as keywords go, the goal of evergreen content is to bring in traffic. With long-form evergreen content, you have a prime opportunity to dig in and take advantage of long-tail keywords.
You know, those keywords that your competitors aren’t paying attention to? That’s where you want to stake your flag at.
5. Update and Audit Your Evergreen Content Periodically
At this stage, you should be good to go. Your content is ready, it’s green, it’s pretty, it’s chock full of keywords, and it’s ready to rumble.
It’s not always going to look pretty, though.
I don’t want to scare you, but you must understand that even evergreen content needs some attention now and then. Here’s what that means:
- Making sure it doesn’t contain any outdated information.
- Updating statistics and assertions to make sure you’re citing relevant, recent data.
- Making sure that formatting is on point and all media files load correctly.
Think about it as spring cleaning. You’re making sure everything is nice and tidy for when visitors come in.
If you remember to do it, your evergreen content will stay relevant, and it’ll keep bringing in that traffic you love. That’s the beauty of a great maintenance routine.How do you make evergreen content? 5 rules: 🧠 brainstorm for an evergreen-worthy topic, 🔍 research, ✍ outline your content, 📜 get your draft ready and edit after, and 🗞be sure to update your content periodically. Click To Tweet
Hack Your Way to Great Rankings with Evergreen Content
Evergreen content offers you a great way to increase your site’s rankings and bring in a ton of organic traffic over the long term.
However, all that doesn’t come for free. Great evergreen content requires a lot of planning, research, and effort. That’s why a lot of websites stick with run-of-the-mill content.
If you want help from expert web writers to help you create evergreen content, check out some of the services we offer at Express Writers.