While the tools and rules of online marketing constantly evolve, one truth remains: content is core to an effective website marketing effort. For a site to attract potential customers on search engines or social media in particular, high-quality, engaging, fresh, relevant, and regularly updated content are key. That’s a lot of pressure on you when it comes to web copy, and also the reason that “content marketing” has emerged as its own field within the industry.
For many businesses, starting a content marketing effort is overwhelming. Writing is hard, knowing what to write is harder, and getting people to read and act the most difficult of all. Here’s the good news: focusing your efforts on evergreen content makes all this easier and provides better bang for your buck in long-term value.
Here’s a look at what evergreen content is, the long-term value it offers, and a few tips on how to do it well.
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content simply refers to content that is always relevant to your audience, that is sustainable and lasting. Like evergreen trees, these articles remain vibrant and useful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for many years to come. Write them once, and watch them grow and expand slowly and steadily, giving life to your business long past their publication dates.
Evergreen content is not news or topics tied to events, trends, contests, cultural fads, seasons, holidays, or people.
Evergreen content is typically educational articles, how to’s, lists, product reviews, or tips, for example. While these still have to be positioned correctly to be evergreen, these types of topics best lend themselves towards long-term relevancy.
Patience is a Virtue, or the Long-Term Value of Evergreen Content
Writing about topics that are trendy or newsy or pop culture can be good for getting lots of shares and likes on your Facebook Page or Twitter account, and even clicks to your website. But their short-term affirmation doesn’t usually equate to long-term value.
Evergreen content is needs-based and timeless. It’s the reasons why you are in business, and what will continually bring you new customers. As a result, evergreen content:
- delivers for years to come from search, not just a few days on social.
- typically addresses real and immediate needs that potential customers have, thus hitting them further along in the buying cycle.
- naturally positions your product or service as the remedy for the need.
- can become a reference for other writers on the same topic, increasing your credibility along with backlinks and visitors clicking through from other sites.
One of our long-time clients is a small business that sells a digestive health supplement for horses. They have done extensive research and pioneered studies on GI ulcers in horses, with a special focus on ulcers in the equine colon which were previously unheard of. We wrote an educational blog series in late 2010 for horse owners that detailed the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ulcers in horses as well as taught about the well-known stomach ulcers and less-known colonic ulcers.
The results? This series of five evergreen articles received a handful of visits per month when they were originally released. Four years later, they own the search results for terms related to ulcers in horses and those five articles together bring over 1,000 new visits to the website every month. Additionally, we posted the colonic ulcer article as a “Throwback Thursday” on Facebook recently, and it generated another 800 visits that day (plus 40 shares, 67 likes, and 30 comments). Scores of websites, commenters, and forum posters have shared the link to this article over the years, as well.
This is a great example of how the effort put into a great piece of evergreen content continues to deliver years later. Immediate impact is always nice when you’ve worked hard on a piece of content, but don’t get discouraged as you wait to see the long-term effects.
Tips for Doing Evergreen Content Well
Be encouraged. Contrary to what some say, writing great content isn’t always that difficult. In particular, evergreen content isn’t hard if you know your audience, their common concerns, and your business’s unique position on the topic.
Simply start by thinking about your customers (the actual people who buy from you). What were the needs and concerns they had that led them to your company? How did your product or service meet that need in a unique way that caused them to choose you? What things do you know or bring to your market that no competitor does? There are your topics. You know them well. And they are directly tied to your business’s growth.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start writing:
- Keep it simple. If someone is searching for a “how to,” they are a beginner and require an entry level explanation. If they were an expert on a topic, they wouldn’t be searching for it.
- Keep your topics narrow and specific. Don’t try to cover the entire topic in one article, rather write separate articles on the “causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention” related to the need.
- Link frequently to other pages or articles on your website when mentioning a topic you’ve already covered.
- Know your positions and messages that make you stand out. Write about common topics, but make those your core message of the articles.
- Don’t make it a sales pitch. Let the context of your surrounding website make the pitch for you. If the article is truly helpful, the reader will be interested to see what else you have to offer and start clicking around.
- Stay ahead of the curve and project where your industry and audience concerns are going, don’t just rehash time-worn topics.
How Sanctuary Can Help With Developing Evergreen Content for Your Business
Writing for the web still requires a particular finesse and understanding of online technology and best practices for your content to attract visitors that convert into customers. If you are looking for help with planning and implementing a content marketing strategy, contact Sanctuary.