Evergreen content is timeless. This post itself, is an example of evergreen content. Even though it’s originally being posted to the blog in 2017, the information within the post will be relevant and useful to my audience for years to come. And, if changes in the industry mean some of the information becomes outdated, I can easily make edits to the post to keep it up to date.
Evergreen content is well optimized for keywords related to your niche or industry. It isn’t related to current news or trends. These have their place in online content, of course, but anything with an “expiration date” cannot be evergreen.
The good news is, you have a variety of evergreen content formats to work into your content strategy.
1. Case Studies
If you’ve got a client or two that have been successful using your products or services, reach out to them and ask if you can share their story with your audience. Case studies allow you to show off your expertise, while building trust with your audience. I’m a fan of this case study from Neil Patel, that teaches you how to write a case study.
You can also flip the standard case study on its head, if you have a scenario where something went wrong. Even though things didn’t work out as planned, this type of case study still provides valuable content because you can use it to teach people want not to do. And, admitting mistakes humanizes your brand. Think about your biggest mistakes and turn them into something people can learn from. They’ll appreciate it.
2. Original Research
Investing time and money into original research can be hard, but because it’s exclusive and unique to you, it’s worth it. You don’t have to hire a major firm like Forrester to handle the data collection for you.
You can collect data on your own with a Google Form, as long as you have the audience to send it to. If you don’t, you can use Google Surveys or a similar service to distribute the survey and collect the data for you. Pricing with Google Surveys ranges from 10 cents to $3.00 per completion, and may cost more if screening questions are required.
After collecting the data, format it into a blog post. Create a PDF with the results, and link it to the blog post. Or, make the research available for download if people sign up for your email list.
This approach is a good way to get backlinks because if you have data to support a point they’re making in their content; they will generally link back to your research as the source.
3. Stat Collections
If you can’t create your own original research, the next best thing you can do is to collect as many statistics as you possibly can. It can be tempting to gather 10 or 15 and call it done, but instead, you should aim to get at least 100 if not more, data points from across your industry.
Expand upon it by adding your own commentary so your audience sees how they can use the stats. Or, design an infographic to go alongside the content and simplify it. To keep the content evergreen, you could update it every year – with something like “X stats for X industry in 20XX.” You could always link to previous editions on the current post.
4. How to Guides
Think about real problems your audience is facing, and how you can help solve hem. Create a guide that breaks down the main issue into simpler steps. This way, you’re teaching them something and providing real value because you’re solving a real problem.
There are two types of how-to guides you can focus on: Guides for beginners, and guides for advanced users.
True beginner guides are hard to find, simply because once we know something, it can be hard for us share the knowledge with others. I’ve written a few basic guides like this here on the blog, like How to Make User Generated Content Work for You. Because of the in-depth nature of the subject, I could easily create a series of guides on it in the future, and link them together to create an ultimate guide.
When it comes to a how to guide for advanced users, you’ll often find them easier to write. This is because you and the reader share expertise, and understand the common, technical language.
5. Resource Lists
Creating a list of resources to help people accomplish something is highly useful. Sometimes, our creative juices run a little dry, but we always have something like this to fall back on. You can start by thinking of the tools that are valuable to you in your daily life – and how those tools could help your audience. This post provides a list of more than 50 resources for free images. The more resources in your list, the better.
6. Free and Paid Tools for X Niche
Regardless of what niche you’re in, there are plenty of tools to help your audience. But, to provide real value, you’ll have to do more than just list them. You can do this by including screenshots, videos, tutorials, or your commentary with pros and cons. Keep notes in your editorial calendar so you can come back to these posts and update them from time to time to keep them current. I’ve written 26 Tools to Monitor Your Band (and the Competition!) as an example of this kind of content.
7. Books for X Niche or Goal
Much like the free and paid tools list, this should be a comprehensive list of books designed to help you learn more about a niche, or accomplish a goal. But, it can’t just be a list of books. Bonus points if you’ve read each of the books, or can get testimonials from people who have. Provide something of value – at the least, an overview of what you can expect to learn from the book, or why you felt it needed to be included on the list. If you choose to use affiliate links when linking to where to buy the book – make sure you properly disclose. Shopify has a great post on the 10 Must Read Books for Smart Online Marketers that you can use as an example. Beef it up with quotes from each book – and even add in some click to tweet boxes. Ask industry experts to throw in their suggestions and you’ll get a roundup post, too.
8. Mistakes in X Niche
For every right way there is do something – there’s a wrong way, or mistakes to be made along the way. No matter what your niche is, I’m sure there are plenty of mistakes you could write about to help your audience learn what not to do. For instance, I’ve written, 8 Business Blogging Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make and 7 Mistakes You’re Making on LinkedIn That Kill Your Brand Image.
9. Best/Worst Practices for X Goal
This can be two posts – one of the best practices to help you reach the goal, and one for the worst practices to help you reach the goal. These are similar to how to-guides because they aim to help solve problems, but you support with data and examples. Show why these practices are the best – by demonstrating who they’ve worked for. Show why these practices are the worst, by demonstrating how those who used them were negatively affected.
10. Tip Roundups
Ask a group of experts or influencers a single question, specific to your niche. Then, arrange the answers creatively. This post from Business Collective offers a good example.
11. Top Influencers in X Niche
There are tons of top influencer lists online, and the majority of them, even those found on big name sites are fairly superficial. They’re thrown together with the influencer’s name, photo, website, and something from their social media profiles. Sure, this works when you can’t get any of the influencers you want to feature to respond, but it’s not the best way to get the job done.
It’ll take more time and effort to do it this way, but you should reach out to the influencers yourself so you can get original contributions. Because influencers are busy people, recognize that you probably won’t get an answer from all them. And that means you’ll need to reach out to plenty more influencers than you actually want to highlight in your article. And, of course you’ll want something of value to add, so you end up with more than a list of quotes from a certain number of influencers.
Combine it with a kind of post I’ve already talked about – ask them to provide their favorite tool, resource, book, or a best practice. Ask them to admit to a mistake, or offer a tip. Then, you’ve got something that’s original, and of real value.
12. History of X Topic
History doesn’t have to be long or boring, as long as it’s visually engaging. If you’re looking to delve into infographics, this can be a great place to start. Research and get everything down, then think about the best way to visualize it. Often times, a timeline format works well. Need some inspiration? Take a look at these:
- History of the Internet – a bit old, but you get the point.
- History of Social Media
- History of Email
You can break these infographics down into smaller images for social media promotion, and include embed codes for easy distribution. When someone else posts it on their website, you’ll get a backlink. Plus, the images can help you out in Google Images, and Pinterest.
13. Glossary for X Topic or Niche
All right, I know dictionaries and glossaries are super boring to compile. But you know what they’re good for? Link building. When you’re dealing with a beginner audience, having a comprehensive resource of terms is helpful. And if you’ve created one, someone will link to your definitions if for no other reason than to avoid having to invest the time and resources in the creation of their own. But if you’re going to do it, do it right – crosslink everything. Include videos where appropriate. Make it available in a PDF format. The more comprehensive your resource, the greater the chance people will not only find real value, but link to it. Copyblogger’s Content Marketing Glossary knocks it out of the park… so make yours do the same.
14. Everything You Need to Know Guide
This type of content is the most time consuming, because it’s meant to be all encompassing. No matter the niche, there are plenty of things you can cover. And even though some of them may be worn out because they’ve been done so many times, there’s always a way you can make yours bigger and better. This guide on lawn care is an excellent example because it shows everything you need to know – from brief history, things to consider about your lawn mower and lawn itself, how often you mow, and more. It’s a great resource for people who just bought their first home after living in an apartment where the grounds were maintained for them. You can make more extensive guides on each subject, and link them together to create the master ultimate guide, and keep content regularly flowing.
Looking at Your Editorial Calendar
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, so I’m giving you a bit of homework. Look at your editorial calendar and take note of the types of evergreen content you’re already using. How can you improve upon it? As you move into planning for the next month or quarter, what other kinds of content can you add?
Did I miss any of your favorite kinds of evergreen content? Share them with me in the comments below.