How to Create Impactful Evergreen Content: From Strategy to Execution

Tracy Ring on Sunday, June 23, 2019

create evergreen content

Evergreen content is defined as timeless content that carries value and stays relevant for years after it’s publication date. However, the word timeless can be intimidating. How do you know what will remain relevant in the future without a crystal ball?

Instead, think of evergreen content as sustainable. A blog post that continues to be useful for both your current and new audiences for years to come. Another important point to remember as you build evergreen content into your strategy is that you can (and should) always go back and update the content.

Use this step-by-step strategy to understand why evergreen content is important and how to create impactful evergreen blog posts.

Understand the Benefits of Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is an essential component of any successful content marketing strategy. While there’s value in seasonal content, you should take a hybrid approach, regularly publishing both because, like seasonal content, evergreen content offers a wide range of benefits for your website and blog, including:

  • Year-round value: Unlike seasonal topics, which see a spike in traffic during specific times of the year, evergreen content is useful all year long.
  • Continuous flow of traffic: When your evergreen content is SEO-optimized with the right keywords and is continually shared and linked to, you’ll continue to see increases in organic traffic to your website, even years after it’s written. Learn more about SEO for your content in: Blog SEO: A Foundational Guide.
  • Authority in your space: High-quality content about industry-relevant topics allows you to showcase your experience and insights, which further develops your industry expertise and reputation.  
  • Attracts backlinks: Other writers, bloggers and publishers look for data-driven, informative articles to use as sources in their work. If you create valuable, evergreen content, you’re more likely to increase backlink opportunities. Learn more about backlinking: The Importance of Backlinks in SEO.

Use These Common Evergreen Formats

While any content can be evergreen, the following formats lend themselves well to content that provides value for many years to come. When building evergreen posts into your content strategy, keep this list handy.

Question-based articles

Even as your brand develops, your audience’s top questions will likely stay the same. Focus on creating posts that answer the how, why, and what. Long-form, question-based content can also be used and seen as cornerstone content.

How-to guides

Create practical content that provides the reader with actionable tips and advice that they can use then and there. These educational articles can also help drive conversions—consumers are 131 percent more likely to buy from a brand after reading educational content according to recent research.   

History-based articles

History has already happened, and won’t change. Writing posts about the history of your company or industry will continue to provide value over time. You can also update this type of content as a topic progresses. For example, Wallaroo Media, a digital marketing agency out of Utah, created an evergreen article on the history of Google Algorithms. They updated it monthly and grew organic traffic by 1,800 percent in 14 months.  

Case studies

Success is always relevant. If you document a project or client win, you show your value as a company, now and in the future. This also lends itself to backlinking for writers who are looking for examples of success in your industry.

Do Topic and Keyword Research

Start by using competitive research to find potential evergreen topics that perform well for other blogs. Don’t forget to look for gaps that you could fill as well. If you’re new to this process, get familiar with The Competitor Analysis Guide for Content Marketing Success. Use the free template provided for doing your competitor analysis.

To keep it simple, you can always start with a tool like Buzzsumo’s free content analyzer, where you can search for topics and view other examples along with each article’s engagement levels. This will give you a sense of which topics are well-received and thus have high engagement. Use this as an opportunity to identify articles that haven’t performed well and identify poorly written content, so that you know what to avoid.

Don’t forget to conduct your keyword research using Google’s Keyword tool, Ahrefs (or another similar paid tool) or Neil Patel’s free tool, Ubersuggest. The goal is to find keywords and topics that you have a chance to rank for, meaning the topics have high search volume and low competition. Cross-reference keywords and topics with Google Trends to see the interest in those search terms over time.

If you need more help with keywords, download the Jessica Thiefels Consulting free keyword research guide.

Find a Unique Angle

As you settle on topics that your target audience will search for, differentiate your content with unique  angle. You don’t want to write about something that other websites and publications have already covered. Instead, strategize about what information and insights you can bring into the conversation.

Luke Richards, explains this strategy to Search Engine Watch: “Exploring a niche aspect of a bigger subject is an [effective] option for evergreen content. For example, ‘How to bake bread without an oven’ has just as much evergreen potential as ‘How to bake bread’ and although it has a smaller potential audience, it would be far easier to rank for in the SERPs.”

While it can be a fine line to walk, providing a fresh take on an evergreen topic will ensure that your content is valuable and impactful. This in turn drives organic traffic for years to come. Niche keywords, like the one Richards is referring to, are often referred to as long-tail keywords, which are important to consider.

Once your topics are defined, start inserting them into your content calendar. If you don’t have one yet, download this free quarterly content calendar template.

Write a Value-Driven Article

Creating content for the sake of having it is not a smart strategy for SEO, engagement or driving leads. Which means, the research isn’t over once you settle on your targeted topic. Now it’s time to research for your article. The best evergreen pieces are well-researched, in-depth, and  detailed.

This means you need to back up all claims and statements with a reliable statistic or source. Bring in other expert opinions and quotes to support your arguments. If you have proprietary data you can use, (like customer buying history or client survey results), bring that in too. The latter is unique proof to support your ideas and insights and can also highlight your value or work as a company.

Don’t forget about SEO best practices either. Refer to the JTC blog SEO guide for a refresher on the components of a well-optimized blog post.

Use Data to Create More Evergreen Content

The best marketers learn from what they’ve already done. Once published, analyze your metrics and data to track the best-performing evergreen posts and repeat them over and over again. When you find a style, format, and tone that works, use this to create more content that your audience will love.

If you’re not sure which metrics will help you determine success, read this content marketing reporting guide that our CEO wrote for Wave.

Don’t Let Evergreen Content Get Buried

Regular content production can bury your high-performing posts in the archives of your blog. While those posts still attract organic traffic, they’re more valuable when you put them front and center. This ensures all new visitors will immediately see them.

To make the most of this content, create a featured content section highlighting your best evergreen articles or cornerstone content. Notice below how Content Marketing Institute uses a sidebar to showcase their most popular how-to guides on their blog.

To get even more mileage, update your best evergreen blog posts regularly. Audit your content, each quarter or year, and identify evergreen posts that have performed well. Update as needed and re-share with your audience. Look at this successful example of Backlinko’s SEO tools. This long-form list has existed for years with the same URL. It’s also regularly updated and has amassed over 19K social shares.

Incorporate Evergreen Content into Your Marketing Strategy

Blending time-sensitive and seasonal blog posts with evergreen content makes for a robust content strategy. One where your content will continue continuously earn traffic and SEO value, helping you get in front of potential customers and clients and grow your business.