As we enter 2016, look for evergreen content to grow in prominence.
Once utilized by large brands with deep pockets, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of content marketing lies in the ability to create rich, immersive, and engaging content that lasts. If your content schedule for this calendar year only contains on-site blog posts and the occasional syndicated article, then you’re missing out on a major opportunity to expand your reach and grow your brand.
From beginner guides to infographics, evergreen content needs to be a focus.
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5 Types of Evergreen Content
As you can guess, the term evergreen content gets its name from evergreen trees, such as pine trees and fir trees. These trees, which are often used to decorate the home around the Christmas season, serve as a symbol of perpetual life. They retain their leaves throughout the season, as opposed to shedding. Well, much like the trees, evergreen content is sustainable and long-lasting.
Whereas traditional forms of content, such as news articles, statistical reports, and pop culture pieces, are date-oriented, evergreen content has no expiration date. In most cases, an evergreen resource is made to provide value for years to come.
But what exactly does evergreen content look like? As a marketer or business owner, you’ll want to pay attention to the following five formats, which are widely used across many industries.
One of the most popular types of evergreen content is the “beginner guide.” This is an in-depth resource that familiarizes the reader with a new concept or idea. Beginner guides can provide immediate and lasting value – and are regularly shared amongst social media users. This Penny Stocking 101 guide is the perfect example of an evergreen beginner guide that will provide value for years to come.
Very similar to beginner guides, “how-to resources” are a little more advanced and targeted. Whereas a beginner guide may introduce someone to a broad concept, how-to resources provide very specific advice for a tangible problem or need. This resource, which tells readers how to use the Google Analytics URL builder to track campaigns, is a great example.
Whether you realize it or not, some infographics are considered evergreen content. The difference between a standard infographic and an evergreen infographic lies in the content. If you’re using data and statistics that are only relevant for a few months, then it’s a standard infographic. However, if you’re referencing thoughts, ideas, and trends that are always true, then the infographic is evergreen. This coffee infographic is an example of the latter.
One of the most popular types of evergreen content, especially around this time of the year, is annual posts. These typically come in December or January – wrapping up a year or predicting trends for a new one – but can theoretically be published whenever. Here’s a prime example of an annual post that’s also considered evergreen in nature.
Finally, interviews can be considered evergreen content. This is especially true when the interview is discussing a basic concept or idea, as opposed to a recent issue or newsworthy topic. Interviews can be published in written, audio, or video form. This iBlog Magazine interview with Scott Jangro, founder of Shareist, is the perfect example of valuable evergreen content.
There are obviously plenty of other types of evergreen content, but these are the five most commonly used formats in the content marketing industry today. Start with these types and then feel free to get creative and try some new strategies.
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The Value of Evergreen Content
It’s challenging to put your finger on the exact value of evergreen content. As the name suggests, it stays relevant for an extended period of time, but relevancy isn’t the ultimate goal. What is relevancy without the subsequent conveyance of tangible or monetary value?
In other words, you shouldn’t invest in evergreen content for the sake of developing content that lasts. You should create evergreen content for the purpose of building brand equity and driving value. In today’s digital marketing landscape, evergreen content does many different things.
1. Lead Generation
When your target market consumes quality content that’s relevant to their individual pain points, they’re more likely to become comfortable with your brand and do business with you in the future. It’s this lead generation aspect of evergreen content that is most valuable to businesses.
While content of all formats can generate leads, the true value of evergreen content is that it generates leads for a long period of time. Theoretically, something you post today could still generate a lead in five years. This offers the potential for huge returns and more than justifies the upfront cost of creating and publishing quality evergreen content.
2. Authority and Thought Leadership
The quickest way to establish thought leadership in your niche is to invest in quality content that delivers substance and positions your brand as knowledgeable and progressive. Evergreen content accomplishes this very task in a natural, cohesive manner.
When you think about brands that are considered thought leaders in your industry, what types of content do they publish? While they probably invest some time and energy into timely, date-oriented pieces, it’s more likely that they produce timeless content that’s used and shared for long periods of time. This isn’t a coincidence. Evergreen content directly feeds the growth of thought leadership and brand authority.
3. Search Engine Optimization
Evergreen content is an excellent tool for growing SEO prominence and moving up the search rankings. The more sustainable content you develop, the higher your authority becomes. Search engine algorithms reward brands that attach their names to in-depth, timeless content.
“The biggest challenge small business owners face these days is creating quality content that is highly rated by both humans and machines,” writes Julia McCoy of Search Engine Journal. Evergreen content – and Google’s in-depth article feature – allow users to research certain topics and get more detailed information. Understanding this, business owners can publish evergreen content and then optimize their websites to finally appease both human readers and search engines.
4. Social Sharing
Finally, evergreen content drives shares. This is a huge benefit of creating evergreen material in the social age and will continue to grow in significance in the coming years. When readers see content they like, and find valuable, they’re more apt to share it on social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And while news stories come and go with each news cycle, evergreen content can be shared for months and years to come.
Develop Content That Lasts
As you can clearly see, evergreen content is a valuable tool for brands and organizations across many different industries. Regardless of the type of business you’re in and what your competition is doing, you can benefit from the creation and distribution of sustainable evergreen content that touts your brand as authoritative and high quality.
While thousands of businesses are already investing in evergreen content, 2016 will be the year that it explodes. As a forward-thinking business owner or marketer, now is the time to get involved. By making an investment today, you’ll reap rewards for years to come.