When it comes to blogging, we want to write something that is of value for our readers. I hope that our goal is to show and teach something that our readers can remember and take away with them. Bonus points if your readers actually use what you showed them. This is not easy because there is so much stuff out there on the web already. How can we possibly write about something that does not yet already exist? Sure, you can put your own twist and spin on a topic but just how unique are you compared to the next guy? Every niche is getting taken up day by day and the traffic that is left for grabs dwindles.
You also have the concern that some of the topics that you write might have a limited shelf life. This might be the case where your articles only last for a certain period of time as long as they remain relevant. Then what? The simple answer is to write more but chances are your topic already has a million articles written about it already. If you want your articles to last “forever”, then you will have to write articles that will stay relevant as long as the web exists. These are called evergreen articles and I will talk about what they are and some things to consider when writing them.
What is Evergreen Content?
Simply put, evergreen content is any piece of content that has no expiration date on it. This content can remain useless today, next month, next year, years from now, pretty much forever. The reason why this content does not expire is because it does not chase the latest trend or fad. Therefore, there is less chance that the content will eventually fade into obscurity.
Evergreen Content Does Not Chase a Fad or Trend That Obsoletes
Fear not though, if you wrote about a trend that was popular back in the day, it will just be archived in history for all of eternity. The good news is that your content will not be relevant to be of any use in the future, but it will still serve a purpose to those who want to learn about what the past used to be like. Think about your articles being preserved one day and your website will be like a museum that talks about what life used to be like. People still like to reminisce about their past and often go online to find others who shared the same past experiences. Who knows, your museum might even become a shrine that houses the best articles of yesteryear.
The Concept of Future Proof Content
Future proofing content is important because if there is only one thing that we know about the future is that it is unpredictable. We never know what is going to happen tomorrow and therefore must prepare for it. This is why we must write evergreen articles every now and then just to protect ourselves from chasing fading trends. The last thing that we need is to write only articles about the most technical of topics that one day will pass and no longer be relevant. What do we do now? Think of not putting all of your eggs into one basket. There are two baskets, one with evergreen content and one without. Learn how to balance writing both.
Why is Evergreen Content Important?
The importance of evergreen content comes from the possibility of losing traffic if people are no longer searching for a passing trend online. This is what happens when there is a popular fad that all of a sudden shows up. You receive a spike of traffic and then when that fad ends, your traffic reverts back to before the spike occurred. This is truly disheartening to see your traffic spike short-lived. You must understand that a traffic spike from a current popular trend is common and expected. You need to know that what comes, eventually goes. So expecting what is to come and what will leave will allow you to absorb the loss of traffic when the trend passes.
Chasing trends are exciting, but they are not good for long sustainable traffic. This is why evergreen content is important. It is almost like writing evergreen content causes time to suspend for a while. Evergreen content does not know the concept of time, which is why it is future proof. You can never reach the future if time is stopped. This is one of the nice qualities of evergreen content. You are not rushed to finish an article because you are trying to chase a trend and grab its traffic before it ends.
Content That Withstands the Test of Time
In order to write something that never ends, you really do need to eliminate the concept of time from it. I know that this is becoming philosophical but evergreen content really does need to surpass time. Only then have you reached a point in your writing that does something special, remove time. I mentioned earlier that your content is not only future proof without the concept of time but also “past proof”. I know that “past proof” is not a word but basically if your content stops time, then you can neither reach the past or the future. That is why I said that your content is suspended in time, not moving back into the past or moving toward the future. When you relate evergreen content to the concept of time, you actually get something really interesting to think about.
What is the Problem with Evergreen Content?
All of this talk about stopping time is great but just like with everything else in life, there are pros and cons to evergreen content. While it is true that evergreen content can never expire, there is something else about that you have to consider when writing that type of content. I will explain what that is in the next section.
Evergreen Content is Very General and Already Plentiful on the Web
One of the biggest problems of evergreen content is that it usually consists of very basic and general knowledge that most people already know. Unless your evergreen article is in a super specific niche, chances are you are writing about something that has already been done. This means that the more general your topic is, the more personality, twisting and spinning you will have to do to get it to stand out from the crowd. No easy task, I know. It is just that without putting your personality about there, there is no way to differentiate yourself from the millions of articles already on your topic. Since we are writing articles, it becomes even more difficult to show our personality compared to videos. Videos are much easier because you actually see someone in a video, but words on a screen? That is a tougher sell, but it just means that you will have to work harder to make your words come off the screen and entertain your readers.
Remember that with blogging, we are not only trying to teach someone something. We are trying to do so in a way that is captivating and engaging. That is why storytelling is helpful because that is how you show yourself in your articles. You are both a teacher and storyteller when you write. You need both to successfully get your readers to actually read the words that you have written.
I spoke a lot already about what makes content evergreen. Now I will switch gears and talk about what makes content not so evergreen.
What Makes Content Not Evergreen?
Content That Expires and Becomes Useless
I mentioned briefly before that content that is not evergreen expires and becomes obsolete. Basically the aforementioned fads and trends were part of content that is not evergreen. Let us take a deeper look at this. If evergreen content does not possess the concept of time, then that means that content that is not evergreen does have time. What does this mean? This means that non-evergreen content will have a past, present and future. We already know that fads and trends are short-lived, but what about content that has a longer shelf-life?
Non-Evergreen Content Can Last Years
When we write non-evergreen content, we can research and determine just how long certain topics last for. Some topics will stay relevant for years to come and have no concern with becoming obsolete. I just took fads and trends as an extreme example that has a spiked timeline that ends about the same time that it starts. Knowing the concept of time can help you decide which topics will have a timeline spike and which ones will last for a long time.
So you do not necessarily need to write about topics that last forever. You could not anyway because you would limit the amount of topics that you write about before you start to duplicate and repeat yourself. I already wrote about writer’s block and how painful it can be to go through. Blogging truly is long-term and that coveted traffic that we want so badly is very hard to attain. That is why having a variety of evergreen green, short non-evergreen and long non-evergreen articles are best for your blog. When you have all of these different types of articles based on their time relevance, you get to see which ones work best for your blog.
Topics That Change or Evolve Frequently
Any topic that changes a lot is usually not evergreen, especially if that topic will eventually reach an end. Technology is one of those topics and because it constantly evolves, might be a hard one to chase and pin down. I mentioned trends and fads but I feel that those, especially fads, end too quickly to be considered to be a part of this section. I am talking about topics that morph and become something else along the way. If the changes are so fast, it might be hard to keep up with. Regular research is the key to keeping up with someone that moves too fast. This is why evergreen is nice because life feels a lot slower when you suspend time for a while.
Should I Write More Articles About Content That is Evergreen or Not?
To continue from the last section, it is best to research your topics and know how long your topics will be good for. I have spoken about adoption rates on this blog. So the topics that you write about might last longer than you think because it always takes time for people to get used to new things. So do you not need to worry about your article going obsolete just yet. Also, do not worry about writing about a topic just because you think that it will not last that long. If you released your article just at the right time and caught a traffic wave, great. If not, still great. Just keep going at it.
How Can I Make Any Piece of Content Evergreen? Take It Apart and Stretch It Out
There is a trick to making any piece of content evergreen. This will work with even the most technical of topics. The idea is to take your content and really break it down to its simplest parts. I think that making your article easy for anyone to understand will make it appear that it is evergreen because you are slowing things down when you take it apart. Basically, you are stretching your article so that it lasts longer and is easier to digest and comprehend. When you do this, you give the illusion that your article is evergreen because it is no longer moving forward toward an end. Rather, you are delaying the inevitable. This is great because then your readers will appreciate that you are considering those will vary levels of experience in your topics. Not everyone is an expert and beginners benefit from someone who will take the time to take a topic apart and explain it piece by piece in detail.
Evergreen content is highly sought out because it can last forever with no concern for time. There are issues with lots of evergreen content already present all over the web. The key is to be unique and different when you write evergreen content that already exists.
Chasing fads and trends are good for short-term traffic if you rank but they can really be short-lived spikes that are not sustainable. The goal is to balance between writing articles that are evergreen and not. The point of this article is to make you think about content in the absence of time. This type of content does not end or start, but rather stays suspended, being ever relevant.