Evergreen content is content that remains relevant and fresh, long after it was first published. While content mills have been churning out articles designed to maximize SEO for years, news publishers are late to the game, and many publishers are just now beginning to understand the importance of having an evergreen content strategy.
Just as the evergreen tree is a symbol for perpetual life, evergreen content is a key pillar in the digital publisher’s sustainable business strategy. So how do you go about creating an evergreen content strategy that actually drives continued traffic from search engines? Keep reading to find out.
Evergreen Content Strategies
The type of content that most digital publishers are putting out on a daily basis is decidedly not-evergreen. Breaking news stories, seasonal pieces, articles that are heavy in statistics and numbers, and content geared towards the latest pop culture trends do not fall under the evergreen umbrella.
In order to count as evergreen, content needs to be created in a way so that it doesn’t have an expiration date. Some of the most common evergreen formats include:
• Product reviews
We know that topics like breaking news and trend pieces don’t stay relevant for very long. So what pieces do stay fresh, and what should you focus on writing more about when you’re creating an evergreen content strategy? Try writing about these topics:
• Personal finance
• Health and fitness
Of course, the type of evergreen content that you publish is going to depend on your publication’s market or niche. For example, it makes no sense for a fashion publication to start writing about parenting topics. Straying too far from your core themes may turn away longtime readers. Unless you’re planning to change your publication’s focus altogether, keep evergreen content relevant to the themes that you already cover.
Building an Evergreen Content Strategy — 4 Steps
1. Write content with an evergreen angle.
As we have already covered, certain topics make for better evergreen content than others. However, it is possible to come up with relevant topics in any niche. Even publishers that cover breaking news and local politics, for example, can come up with strategies for producing more evergreen content.
Start by coming up with an editorial calendar that includes a certain number of evergreen topics each week. Tucked alongside regular news and trend pieces should be how-to pieces, listicles, and reviews.
If you’re still struggling to come up with evergreen story ideas, try using a tool like Parse.ly to identify older articles that readers would love an update on and topics that are performing well long after they first went online. Parse.ly’s Evergreen Overview report is a great way to identify sections, writers, and tags that have a high number of evergreen articles.
2. Open up your archives.
Established digital publishers have a major advantage when it comes to developing an evergreen content strategy, because they already have hundreds, or even thousands, of articles ready for people to discover via Google or Bing.
It’s entirely possible that you have plenty of evergreen content, but that people can’t access it because it’s behind a paywall or because it has not been optimized for search. Take the time to go back through your archives and optimize previously-published content for search engines using modern best practices for SEO.
(Check out this review of the Yoast WordPress plugin to learn how to quickly optimize articles using the latest techniques.)
If, like many publishers, you have a paywall setup that restricts non-paying readers from accessing older content, consider taking that paywall down. Most people subscribe to digital publications because they want access to new content, not older articles. Opening up your archives not only means bringing in more search traffic, but it might also be a way to lure in new subscribers, if those visitors who discover your website’s archives decide they like what they see.
3. Promote evergreen content across social channels.
Who says you can only tweet about an article on the day it goes live? Because evergreen content is relevant for days, weeks, or months after the original publication date, you can double up on posts and promote the same articles multiple times to get new eyes on your most relevant pieces. This strategy is also useful when you’ve had an influx of new followers across social channels, since it gives those new followers a chance to check out your highest performing content.
4. Take advantage of email newsletters.
Email newsletters are another great place to promote evergreen content. Once again, there is a good chance that newer subscribers may have missed older articles that were published before they subscribed. Just make sure not to go overboard with your evergreen content strategy. Reserve no more than one or two spots in each newsletter for evergreen content, and keep all the other links timely, to avoid redundancy for longtime readers.
What is your secret to creating a great evergreen content strategy? We’d love to hear what has worked for your publication and what obstacles you’re still looking to overcome.