Few things are as rewarding for content marketers as an evergreen asset that continues to resonate with personas for months or even years after you hit the launch button.
Much of the content we produce can feel disposable. Remember all those “Game of Thrones” tie-ins from last year? They drove lots of clicks; nothing wrong with that. But now that they’ve stopped clicking, you’re left with yet another content hole to fill.
I’m not here to knock the timely topics. Your “Stranger Things” blog post probably generated some productive traffic and earned you some creative respect. And keeping your personas up to date on pandemic-related info was incredibly important in 2020. But if you rely too heavily on time-stamped content, you’ll find yourself in a never-ending content production cycle, burning through resources and burning out your content team.
Take some time to craft cornerstone assets with a longer shelf life than fleeting trends and holiday themes.
Here are a few ways to ensure the content you’re creating today will still feel fresh and relevant in the future.
Tap into Timeless Topics
The subjects that your target audience revisits frequently are a great starting point for long-lasting content. Scroll through your SEO keyword lists or chat with sales and customer reps for inspiration. Create an “Ultimate Guide to X” or a “Best Practices for Y” asset, whether as an E-book or a more ambitious interactive iPaper. FAQs, checklists and case studies are also promising choices for long-term readership. You can even make a blog post evergreen if it’s built on useful, timeless advice.
If you have detailed personas, read through them for guidance on top pain points, favorite watering holes and most popular content formats. You might even choose to survey your buyers to learn what they want.
Consider testing your ideas by plugging them into a tool like Google Trends to see how your favorite topics have generated traffic over time, as opposed to a single moment. For example, “back to school” is probably going gangbusters in September, but it will be hopelessly outdated by the time Halloween rolls around.
Watch Your Language
When you’re setting out to write a piece with real longevity, pay attention to your word choices. Avoid references to “this year” or “last month” that will require constant edits to stay current. Ditto for any pop culture references, regardless of how many seasons you hope “Mrs. Maisel” will last.
Keep Tabs on Performance
Even with evergreen assets, don’t “set it and forget it.” Keep an eye on key stats, references and outbound links. While some of these may age out or disappear, you can often swap in new data without much effort to keep everything relevant. (Keeping stats fresh is also a great way to keep your SEO in good shape.)
Take note of anything that you anticipate will or might change in the next three to six months and mark your calendar to revisit the piece to make adjustments.
No need to just rely on your crystal ball for those changes, either. Reread evergreen content on a regular schedule to check for broken links and to identify anything that’s starting to go stale. Track your page rankings for any dips in readership that could indicate that your content needs a little freshening up.
You might even experiment to keep that long life going. Think about swapping out the headline and subheads, or rotate in some new images for a quick face lift to keep it fresh.
And once you’ve established some evergreen content, you can have fun with that holiday content you’re dying to start. Or you can get started on another evergreen piece that will do even more heavy lifting!
Read more about foundational content marketing assets in Alicia Esposito’s recent post, Hero Content: Include These 5 Things to Make an Impact.