When it comes to digital and online content, topical content has power to engage the audience in the moment, but evergreen content keeps them coming back long after the content was initially created.
While it’s important for any business to remain relevant and invest in creating advertising content that’s topical, it’s equally important to invest in evergreen content. In most cases, it’s easy to make some simple adjustments to the content you’ve already created to give it lasting, long-term value.
In this post, we’ll explore how to create content for your business’s website, social media, or other digital advertising platforms that will remain evergreen.
Topical vs. Evergreen Content
When you create content for digital advertising, it’s important to consider how long you’ll be able to use that piece of content. When we discuss the relevance of a piece of content, it can be sorted into one of two different classes: topical or evergreen. These descriptors can be applied to many different types of content: videos, blog articles, images, or social media posts, to name a few.
Just like the trees that give it it’s name, evergreen content is content that stays fresh and relevant for a long period of time. Topical content is centered on a specific (and often, timely or trendy) topic.
Topical content is relevant for a short period of time. It’s highly relevant, tends to be attention-grabbing, and is often tied to the news. This kind of content can be very popular and shareable, but tends to quickly expire and get stale. You wouldn’t revisit last month’s news, and topical content has a similarly short lifespan for the same reasons.
Examples of Topical Content:
The Best Halloween Costumes of 2014, According to Us
Starbucks Just Put the Secret “Pink Drink” on Its Official Menu
Evergreen content, on the other hand, remains engaging and appealing long after it’s been created. It’s content that someone would be happy to encounter several years after it’s been created because it remains useful, entertaining, or relevant
Examples of Evergreen Content:
Healthy Vegetarian Recipes on a Budget
How Can Parents Avoid the Dinnertime Battle With Their Children?
It’s important to create both kinds of content for your business’s website, social media, or other online marketing channels, but unless you have a lot of time and money to invest in creating content frequently, it can be useful to focus most of your effort on creating evergreen content. This is because evergreen content tends to generate a higher ROI than topical content, making it a better investment of your marketing budget.
Why Evergreen Content is Valuable
Investing in evergreen content has a number of benefits, the first and most obvious being that this type of content stays relevant for a longer period of time than topical content. This means you can reshare and promote evergreen content long after it’s been published on the web, sometimes years after it’s been created. Creating a piece of high-quality content that has this kind of lasting value might take more effort initially, but it can help you save time spent on creating new content in the future.
Evergreen content also has more SEO value than topical content. This is because search engine users will be searching for evergreen content for a sustained period of time, as opposed to topical content, which likely won’t be searched for in the long run. Users will be searching for ways to avoid the dinnertime battle with their kids much more frequently in the long run than the best Halloween costumes of 2014. Having this kind of content on your website can improve traffic and search engine rankings. Evergreen content is also much more likely to able to be linked to, which can also help improve SEO and traffic.
When you have evergreen content on your website or social media accounts, you can use that content to continually draw in new members of your target audience. You can send out a newsletter or create a tweet that links to that content many years after its publishing date, helping build awareness and authority for your brand. A successful digital marketing plan incorporates a balance of both topical and evergreen content to create successfully engaging content for users and optimize investment in digital marketing.
One business excelling at using a mix of topical and evergreen content marketing is The New York Times. The New York Times is a newspaper, so inherently, the majority of the content they provide (which is also their product) is timely and topical. It’s the news! However, The New York Times has also invested in creating many articles that have longer lifespans than their regular news articles. Here are several of the articles that they use in their advertisements on Facebook:
An Optimist’s Guide to Divorce
Visit a parmesan dairy in northern Italy, where Parmigianno-Reggiano originates and learn how the cheese is made.
The New York Times uses articles like these, which have lasting value and continue to draw interest in the long-term, in their advertisements to help draw in new readers. They can avoid having to create new ads on a weekly basis, and these articles continue to entertain and engage, encouraging readers to look for more.
Creating Evergreen Content
If you’re ready to create some evergreen content, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Pick the Right Topics
Certain topics are simply better-suited to retain value in the long run. These include topics like:
• Diet & Exercise
Try to avoid any trendy topics, current-events related information, statistics, news, or holidays. Holiday-themed content may have seasonal relevance if created in a way that’s otherwise evergreen. Fashion-related content tends to stale quickly, as well as technology-related pieces, particularly reviews. No matter what topic you choose, be sure that it’s relevant to your business.
Choose an Evergreen Style
Certain presentations or styles also tend to have more evergreen value. Here are a few easy ways create evergreen content:
• Answer a Question – Think about common questions that users have about your products, service, or industry. Try to create content that honestly answers those questions. Avoid being promotional if you’re aiming to create content that will truly engage. Promotional content has a place, but building expert authority and trust among viewers can be powerful and more compelling in the long run and tends to work better for evergreen purposes.
• Give Advice – Many people search for unbiased advice on the web. Users are always happy to find answers to common problems or tips to help make things a little simpler. This kind of content can be relevant long-term, depending on its focus.
• Teach a Lesson – People are naturally curious — that’s probably why The New York Times piece on how parmesan cheese is made has nearly half a million views one day after being posted on Facebook! Simple introductory content that helps explain basic industry concepts tends to be great for business websites. Quality, engaging educational content can be powerfully evergreen.
Finding Content Opportunities
One barrier to creating great evergreen content is that in some cases, the topic you plan to cover has already been covered — excessively, even. In these cases, take the opportunity to focus on conveying your brand voice and identity by showcasing the topic from the unique perspective of your brand. Content gap analysis can also be a helpful tool for discovering opportunities for content relevant to your niche.
Incorporating Evergreen Content
Once you’ve created a piece of evergreen content, it’s not enough to simply publish it and forget it. In order to make the most of your content, you’ve got to properly promote it.
Avoid the mistake of hiding your evergreen content deep within your blog or content feed. Once an evergreen piece is published, it can quickly get hidden behind new, topical posts. Find ways to make sure users can find and access your evergreen content after it’s been published.
In the case of The New York Times, they’ve created a special column for their relationship-themed articles, Modern Love, where readers know they can go to access similar (evergreen) relationship articles. They also regularly promote their evergreen articles on social media and in ads, whereas their topical content requires less promotion since users come to them for the news.
Remember to strike a balance between topical and evergreen content as you create your content plan. It’s easy to sway too far in either direction, so if your budget or time is limited, try a technique where your biggest time and money investments are focused on creating and promoting evergreen content, and you spend less on easier-to-create but frequently posted content.
A portfolio of evergreen content can be a valuable asset when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. Evergreen content can keep sustained traffic flowing to your website, build brand authority, and improve SEO. Creating evergreen content can be as simple as answering an FAQ, sharing some information about your industry or business, or giving some advice to your target market. Try making your next piece of content evergreen and see how it benefits your business in the long run!