Evergreen Content Explained: What Is it?

Anyone familiar with SEO, content marketing, or digital marketing will likely already know that evergreen content is a goldmine for their business.  

Why’s that you ask?

Youth with a Rolling Stones t-shirt reading a book on digital marketing
Photo by Elio Santos on Unsplash

Because evergreen content doesn’t stop making money –it keeps on bringing in new web traffic, consumer engagement, and sales to your website long after it’s been produced.

Sounds pretty good right?

Of course it does.

If you’re in a band and need to create great content to release to your fans, you’re going to need evergreen content. If you’re starting a freelance business (writers, in particular, I’m looking at you), you’re going to need evergreen content. If you’re tasked with producing quality videos/articles/graphics for a client, you’re going to need evergreen content. Evergreen content is the kind of content that’s going to put a lot of money in your wallet (and continuously) should you master how to create and use it successfully.

After some careful consideration, I’ve decided this topic would be best broken up into parts and so this will be the first of a series on evergreen content. In this post, I will briefly explain what evergreen content is, what it’s not, and provide some examples for extra clarification.

As the Creative Wealth Project was designed for us creative types, I’ll primarily be using examples from different creative industries to help demonstrate what evergreen content is and its usefulness to creative people. Still, the lessons here apply to all industries.

That being said, let’s get started shall we?

Evergreen Content: What Is It?

Close up of evergreen tree pine needles
Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

Like the evergreen trees (i.e., pines, firs, etc.) from which it takes its name, evergreen content is content that remains relevant long after its original publication date. In other words: it’s a lasting and sustainable resource.

While most other content (topic content) has an expiration date for its usefulness after it’s published, evergreen content continues to be useful even as the seasons and popular trends change around it.

Now, I don’t mean to say that topic content actually disappears (because it doesn’t), but as the purpose it was created for becomes increasingly less relevant/interesting, so too does its existence.

Evergreen Content vs. Topic Content

To demonstrate the differences between topic content and evergreen content, here are some examples of the different types of articles/creations that fall under each classification.

Let’s start with what evergreen content is NOT: topic content.

Traditional Types of Topic Content

News Articles

Any content based on news is only useful if it is current. For that same reason, current news will always generate immediate interest, but as soon as new reports/updates come in… the news you’ve posted becomes out of date, and so its value goes down significantly.

Think of how sports news works: if your favorite team played a match last night, you might be interested in checking to see the score/match recap in the morning. If a few days go by, however, and your favorite team has played another game since you’re not likely to check back to look at the score of the game that happened a few days ago, you’d more likely be more interested in the recent one.

News of any kind is ONLY relevant when it’s current. 

Announcements

Quite similar to news, the relevancy of an announcement is the same: once the activity/event you’ve announced is underway or completed, this type of content quickly becomes unimportant.

Wall covered in various posters for upcoming concerts
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

An example within the creative community would be a blog / social media post (or posters, like the ones shown above) designed to promote a band’s upcoming tour. As soon as the tour is concluded (or sometimes even midway through), the post becomes irrelevant and is replaced by what’s coming up next.

Statistics

Statistics are a great way to use scientific proof to demonstrate a point… but they’re only useful while they’re up to date. As soon as new statistics come out, the old ones get replaced (keep in mind that you can always update statistics). Generally, though, most reports that use stats as a means of proof use them inherently as a principle source in generating the argument/point of the article itself (so it’s often challenging to update them without having to rewrite the entire article).

An example within the creative community would be if a musician was using their song play counts to project upcoming album sales or to determine their current popularity/influence. If the play counts they are using are recent ones, they might serve as a good indicator of how the new album might sell. However, if the play count statistics are mostly from 10 years ago, those mean very little today. There are plenty of “one-hit wonders” who were influential artists for a short period of time before they faded into relative obscurity as the trends around them changed.

Holiday / Seasonal Topics

Oddly enough, the evergreen tree is often a seasonal symbol because of its association with the holiday of Christmas. However, as soon as Christmas is over, so too is the relevance of Christmas related content. I don’t know too many people who listen to Christmas carols in April, do you?

Fireplace and Christmas tree decorated for the holiday season
Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash

Anything that revolves around a specific date/time should be categorized as seasonal and therefore, will likely lose its appeal once that date passes.

A good example I can provide is actually a post on this site: COVID-19 Coronavirus: 5 Things Creative People Can Do During Isolation.

Once this crazy coronavirus pandemic goes away, this article will likely fade quickly and become irrelevant in any SEO results.

Trending Topics

New trends seem to emerge almost overnight sometimes, and generally, they do so at the expense of existing ones. While a trend is “in,” anything related to that trend is usually a popular search result… but when that trend disappears and is replaced by a new one (which is generally a tough thing to predict), the worth of any content related to the old trend decreases.

I’ve used a lot of musical examples so far in this post, but there’s nothing in the creative community trendier than music fads. Only a few artists stand the test of time and maintain their popularity through changing trends… most other “clone bands” or bands that had been using a trend to ride the wave of its current popularity usually get forgotten (look at the hair metal trend throughout the ’80s if you don’t believe me) when public interest shifts to something new.

Traditional Types of Evergreen Content

Now that you know what traditional evergreen content isn’t (and the forms that topic content usually takes) let’s look at what evergreen content actually is.

Lists

Who doesn’t love a good list? I’m not sure exactly why people respond to rankings and listings the way they do, but the proof to support that notion is endless. How many times have you personally searched or clicked on a “Top 10 R&B singers of all time” or “Ranking Stephen King’s Best 20 Novels” type of post?

The truth is that people love lists, and perhaps even more so, they love comparing them to other ones (so having or linking multiple lists is always a good idea). Lists are also very organized and generally easy to read. They can also easily be updated to retain their relevance as the times change around them, making them are a perfect example of an evergreen content post.

Tips / Advice

A search engine is just that: a tool designed to search for information or an answer to a question. People often search for advice on things they don’t already know about, or for guidance on how to deal with new situations. Therefore any article/post that offers tips or advice for a specific situation is an excellent piece of evergreen content.

For example, if you’ve ever suffered from writer’s block, perhaps you’ve wondered how others have gotten through it and so you search for it, eventually clicking on an article like this one: How to Beat Writer’s Block: 7 Tips to Overcome It

Tutorials / Guides

Even better than advice is a tutorial/guide that teaches or shows someone how to do something. We should all be humble enough to admit that we don’t know how to do everything, but when we do want/need to learn new things… the wonders of the internet have provided us with several guides to do so (or links to books/courses).

Dale Carnegie's Book How to stop worrying and start living
Just one of 6 million copies sold sitting on my kitchen table. Yeah, you could say that “How to” books are popular.

This type of content is THE BEST type of evergreen content for putting money in your pocket. The entire self-help category of books falls under this label (those types of books are making millions of dollars), as does any article/guide that starts with “How to” in its title.

Simply put, this type of content provides the answer to the questions that people have asked and that others will ask again, meaning that tutorials/guides will NEVER lose their relevancy.

Information Entries

Maybe you’ve heard of Wikipedia before, yes? It may be “just” an online encyclopedia… but it provides detailed information on just about every single topic ever known to mankind, making it one of Google’s top search results for almost anything. You don’t get more evergreen than that.

Information is a type of content that never goes out of style because someone somewhere is eventually going to want/need information… so if you can provide it (you can do this for literally any topic), you’ve got evergreen content.

I could list countless examples of information content because you could create an informative post about anything. Still, for the sake of demonstration, an article summarizing the plot of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea would be a fine one.

Read: Spark Notes for The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Side note: I really love that book.  

Product Reviews

This one’s a little trickier because, in this case, this form of evergreen content’s life cycle is tied directly to the product’s life cycle (and many products are regularly phased out as they are updated). However, in the creative community, there are numerous products that, once created, are here to stay.

While a cell phone might be replaced with a newer model every year or two, books, films, music albums… all of these products, once released, are not. Therefore, any reviews of these types of products (the kinds us creative people like to make) will also not lose their relevancy to time or trends.

Videos

Videos, in many regards, are a great source of evergreen content. Not only are many people visual creatures (and therefore are more inclined to watch a short video than read a lengthy post), but also because videos can be embedded within other works. That means that at a later time, an old video can serve as an accessory to new content while not having to be recreated itself.

Yes, technology and other changes can influence the relevancy of some videos… but not all of them. A good video can serve as a promotion or gateway into other existing content you produce, so their value as evergreen content is cemented in their versatility.

Ever heard of the Castor Troys? Now you have. Evergreen content at its finest.

When’s the last time you showed a friend a new band using a YouTube link to a music video (see the one above)? Probably not that long ago.

Evergreen Content Summarized

Like a fine wine, evergreen content just gets better with age. Hopefully, this post gave some insight into what it is, what it isn’t, and also offered you some types of evergreen content you can work on creating for your website/band/blog/portfolio / etc.

As a final call to action, make sure you sign up to follow the Creative Wealth Project (at the bottom of this page), so you don’t miss the next posts in the Evergreen Content Series!

Coming soon, I will discuss why evergreen content is vital to growing your audience (and, therefore, income). Then, I will discuss how to create good evergreen content that will generate lasting results. Finally, as a special post written just for you creative types that explains how evergreen content can secure your creative livelihood for years to come.

That’s it for today folks!

Never stop creating!  

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