Note from Kevin: This post is written by Be A Better Blogger reader and friend Luke Jordan of Intergeek. Luke writes about SEO, but with a twist. He aims to present information to readers in a style and format in which they’re unaccustomed. When you’re finished, be sure to leave him a comment!
I am so tired.
Do you ever have those days where nothing seems to go your way?
Today was the mother of all ‘nothing-is-going-my-way’ days.
I was late for work after waiting round for a repair man to come and take a look at my bath.
Well, I use the word ‘bath’ lightly.
What I seem to have, and have had since I moved in a few months ago, is a large tub with taps on it. The funny thing about these taps is that they’re apparently just for show.
They’re a constant reminder that mocks me every time I look at them.
Every now and again I would like to relax in a hot and steamy soak – perhaps with a few bubbles here or there (yeah I’m that guy) – but my bath just isn’t going to play ball.
In fact, even if I wanted a freezing cold soak, it’s still not possible.
It turns out my bath is just for show. A decorative ornament that takes up over half of my bathroom.
It also turns out that the repair guy actually didn’t come round to fix it, he simply arrived (late) to tell me it didn’t work.
I was so grateful for this, because I hadn’t realised the twenty-or-so times I’d previously gotten into it and just pretended to have a wash.
So, off I went to work for a busy day. A busy, long day.
Staying two hours or so late to make up for the time spent having my groundbreaking bath diagnosis, I got home and thought I’d treat myself to a delicious fudge brownie hot chocolate.
I’m still too hurt to say what happened next, but this picture accurately describes everything you need to know:
Enough About My Day
I’m not really here to discuss everything that happened to me throughout today, even if it did help a bit to vent my frustration.
So, why did I write that nonsense at the start?
Well, it turns out that you could really benefit from it.
More specifically, you could really benefit from spotting what the most glaring problem with it is.
Have you spotted it yet?
It’s not all that interesting…but that’s not the answer I’m looking for.
It’s also pretty much all about me, which is mistake numero uno on Successful Blogging’s 7 blogging mistakes to avoid.
However, neither of these things are the true downfall of this post. Blogs can still be a success even if they are somewhat boring or ego-driven.
The main downfall of that short introductory section is that it’s not evergreen. More on that in a moment or two.
Are you looking to get more visitors, more views, more shares, more exposure?
If you’re a blogger or content marketer – and I’m guessing there’s a good chance that you are at least one of these if you’re reading this – all of the above should be targets of yours.
After all, why would you be content with only sharing your wise words or hilarious and interesting stories with just a small circle of people?
We’re all chasing that all-important internet fame, myself included.
Myself? How foolish of me, I’ve not even introduced who ‘myself’ is.
I’m Luke, by the way. I run Intergeek.
It’s such a pleasure to get the chance to speak to you on Be A Better Blogger, a website that I’ve followed and admired almost since its inception.
When I read the recent post on here about blogging through personal tragedy, which was delicately touched upon but also really insightful, it gave me an idea for a new post of my own.
There were some great takeaways, including creating ‘rainy day’ content.
Rainy day content is where you create a small backlog of posts that you can save to go live at a time where you’re not particularly interested in blogging; such as whilst you’re on holiday or suffering for any reason, whatever that may be.
Another area that particularly interested me in that post was evergreen content, and I wanted to enter a deeper discussion about this.
It plays such a pivotal role in the growth and sustainability of a blog.
What is Evergreen Content?
An evergreen tree is something that stays green all year round.
Evergreen content, by and large, is exactly the same. These blog posts, articles or infographics stay interesting and insightful all year round, no matter what the season, weather, holiday, whatever.
What I wrote at the start of this post is the exact opposite of evergreen content.
Even if I somehow had thousands of people interested in the daily challenges that I’d faced – unsurprisingly I don’t – they’d only be interested for that day.
I could only promote it for that one day, too.
It might even do well (unlikely), but traffic would dwindle away after 2 to 3 days at most.
After this, or until I next post at the very latest, it becomes old news.
How often would I get natural search traffic to a post about my terrible day? Never.
With evergreen content, you’ll gradually start to build up a base of organic (natural) traffic that lands on your post every single day of the year; picking up engagement and linkbacks slowly along the way too.
You can also return to older posts and re-promote them whenever you wish as they’ll still be relevant; perfect for if you’re stuck in a content glut.
How to Put an Evergreen Spin on Your Content
Before you even start to write a piece of content, it’s vital you learn to adapt it to become evergreen. This will help so much in the long run.
Hopefully, with the help of a few examples, you can start to picture evergreen content ideas at all times.
It really is a case of once you get it, you really get it.
Let’s consider the intro to this blog post again about my crappy day. In order for it to become evergreen (and ultimately more successful) what could we do?
Well, it could be broken down into several different, useful posts.
Some evergreen article opportunities in that text were:
- How to Fix a Broken Bath
- Top 11 Excuses When Being Late for Work
- How to Make the Perfect Hot Chocolate
- Top 10 Things to Hate About Cleaning
It’s worth noting that I didn’t have any evergreen article ideas in mind when I started to write about my day, I was just writing the first things that came into my head.
It’s important to plan beforehand when creating a post that is going to succeed for weeks, months and years to come.
Let’s consider some of the times you may be tempted to produce something that isn’t evergreen:
- Valentine’s Day
I’m sure you’d see a big spike in traffic each year by writing a post about “Top 55 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas” – but what’s your end goal?
Would you rather see 2,000 visitors a day for a week to your post, or 250 visitors a day for a year?*
If you need the math on that, there’s a whopping 77,250 visitor difference between the two over a 365 day period.
Whilst your Valentine’s Day post could be updated and recycled each year, why not spend your time more wisely and create something evergeen?
You could change this to “Top 55 Unique Presents to Buy For a [New] [Girlfriend].” Substitute as appropriate: girlfriend, wife, long-term girlfriend, etc.
There are some excellent ways that you can reach a more niche audience all-year round with evergreen posts like this.
Some other ideas to go with all three of the aforementioned seasonal topics:
- Best Chocolate Gifts to Buy for My Girlfriend
- Top 21 Non-Chocolate Gifts to Buy for My Wife
By adapting posts to prevent them from being seasonally related, you can promote them (and reap the rewards) all-year round.
*Figures were plucked at random from the top of my head. I can not guarantee you would ever receive a single visitor from writing about Valentine’s Day, or any subject at all for that matter.
Other Evergreen Tips
It’s not just all about the content that you’re writing.
When it comes to blogging and content marketing, the most successful things aren’t always written down.
Often, it’s images, infographics or interactives that go viral.
It’s vital, therefore, to create visually appealing media that can be shared time and time again.
It’s typically considered most profitable for a blogger or business to produce content that doesn’t revolve around specific incidents, events or holidays. This way, you’re spending time creating pieces that are going to be loved every day for years to come.
I’m thankful to Andrea over at The Branded Solopreneur for a recent tip she shared on Google+, which is to make things pinnable.
In other words, with every post you create, make sure they’re optimised to be shared on Pinterest, or other social media sites too, with incredible, unique images.
(Cue incredible, unique image)
As you can probably tell, design isn’t really my strong point.
However, I created this in just a few minutes using Canva – and it was free!
Having images like this is a great way to ensure your evergreen content gets shared as often and as naturally as possible.
Is There Ever a Time for Non-Evergreen Content?
If you have an opportunity to reach a large amount of people in a small timescale, by all means create something that will have a shorter lifespan; if you think the results will be worth it.
An example of this would be Kevin’s recent post about the Super Bowl. He used the game as inspiration for some great blogging tips, but as he noted in the post it’s not going to be relevant five years from now. It’s not going to be evergreen.
Another example would be if a brand new Google penalty came out. Let’s call it Google Dolphin.
No one knows why this penalty has come out, until you see a message in your Webmaster Tools that tells you exactly why you’ve been penalized.
You take it upon yourself to create the single greatest guide ever made on Google Dolphin – who cares if it’s the first one? – explaining how you diagnose the penalty on any website and make a step-by-step guide on getting the penalty removed.
This post would have a longer life cycle than a day or a week and you’d be likely to see some great benefits, huge exposure, and an influx of newsletter subscribers and backlinks.
However, in all probability, your guide isn’t going to be relevant in a year’s time with the amount of updates Google carries out.
Not forgetting the fact that bigger sites will jump on the bandwagon and overtake you in the search results.
How dare they have a better website than us. Life is so unfair.
As time goes on you could try editing your post to become more relevant, but chances are you’re unlikely to pick up serious volumes of visitors on it ever again.
Some blogs can even thrive by producing nevergreen content, but chances are tyours isn’t one of them.
Make the Most of What You’ve Got
If you’re going to be creating posts or infographics with a short shelf-life, you’re probably going to need to have an established audience already.
If you’re looking to build an established audience – that’s what most of us are doing – look to make the best possible use of your time: write content that will appeal for years to come.
Wouldn’t you love to be making money in five years from something that you wrote today?
With evergreen content, this is more than just a possibility.
Flickr Creative Commons Images via Kim Seng.