When you write something online, you want it to attract attention – get as much viewers as possible and most importantly keep bringing in new viewers in the future. While content that deals with industry news, the latest trends, current events and contemporary pop culture certainly has its place, it tends to get old really quickly.
It is best to mix things up with several types of content, and one in particular can help you stay relevant for years – evergreen content. The problem is that this is the sort of thing that takes a lot of time and effort to do right, but the potential reward is truly amazing.
The key is to create something of truly high quality that deals with core concepts and ideas that can still apply in 5-10 years, even though the technological landscape and the context might change drastically. While there is no one right way to create evergreen content, and there certainly are no simple templates to fill, there are a few good rules that can help you a lot.
1. Make sure that the topic deals with the fundamentals
You are not going to write evergreen content about a pop singer’s outfit or the popular industry trends of 2015, simply because such topics become stale fast. What you need to do is focus on the newbies, people who are just getting into the niche and want to learn everything they can on certain topics. Let’s take DIY projects for instance. Although a part of your audience might be experienced DIY enthusiasts, each year a lot of new people start getting into this hobby, and each year new people start asking the same old questions that people in the niche have been asking for years.
A good topic in this case would be something like “How to Create a Woodworking Shop for under $2000” or “The only 12 DIY Tools You will Ever Need”. Content that deals with finding motivation, coping with an issue, saving time and money and similar topics can be applied to a wide range tasks than span multiple niches – e.g. everyone from students and office workers to painters and musicians can use a few tips on concentration, creativity, productivity and dealing with stress. Make sure you cover the basics, and people will keep coming for the information.
2. Your content needs to be detailed and well-researched
While you might find a few 500-700 word articles that have manage to become evergreen, it is usually the 1500+ behemoths that keep people coming back for years. The principle behind this is quite simple – online viewers prefer to get all the information they need from one place, if they can. No one likes to spend 30 minutes searching for several bits of content that will allow them to piece together the big picture. It is much more convenient to go through one big comprehensive article that covers the entire topic in some detail.
However, sometimes a topic can be very broad and have closely related topics that need to be explored to get a better understanding of the content. In such cases an entire ebook might not be able to cover everything, and this is where all that extra research comes in. As mentioned in the previous paragraph your aim is explain the core concepts that serve as a foundation of knowledge, so you can just link to useful resources for further study every time you feel like further elaboration would cause you to go off your main topic.
This way, you’ll have a substantial piece of content that deals with all the major issues, and gives an excellent overview, while at the same time serving as sort of bibliography of all the best content related to the topic.
4. You have to keep coming back to it
An important point about evergreen content that many people tend to forget about is that it needs to be pruned from time to time, i.e. you need to go back to it and update it based on the latest facts. You can think of this as a bit of regular maintenance that keeps your content looking good. Don’t think that this only holds true for content related to technology – even if you write something about an event that transpired 600 years ago, you might have to update it based on new historical findings that shed a different light on the whole event.
Of course, you might also learn new things about the topic through personal experience, find more efficient techniques or even realize that you’ve made some mistakes. Going back to your evergreen content about once a year and checking for anything that can be improved upon is an essential part of keeping it relevant and useful.
Make sure to put your content in the limelight
Even the best content in the world won’t do you any good if it sits in a shadowy corner of the internet. Social networks are your friend, and you should be using them to promote your content initially, and then to ensure that it stays relevant and keeps garnering attention later on. You can keep linking to it in later articles and blog posts at every mention of the topic it covers, you can use parts of it to create infographics or turn it into a whiteboard animation video and breathe some new life into it.
Short catchy quotes and statistics can be posted on Twitter, and you can even share entire snippets on Facebook. The comment section can also become a great hub for further discussion, where you can engage your audience, and get people to keep sharing. Offering some form of incentive also helps motivate people to share, so you can offer things like downloads.
Just like anything worth doing, evergreen content requires a spark of inspiration, plenty of hard work and continual efforts to keep it relevant and promote it. However, once you produce a truly evergreen piece of content, it will become an ultimate resource that keeps bringing in new visitors and helping you solidify yourself as an expert on the topic.