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The inbound methodology focuses on providing value to your audience and laying a strong foundation so you can generate results over a long period of time.
When it comes to the resources you create as part of your inbound marketing strategy, evergreen content is the epitome of inbound.
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is defined by its ability to withstand the test of time. Much like the trees its name references, it continuously thrives as opposed to its performance fluctuating season to season.
“It’s going to be relevant years from now. The same concepts and principles can be applied over time,” says Olivia Perek-Clark, the manager of New Breed’s Inbound Team.
After an evergreen piece of content is published, its performance will keep increasing after it ramps up and not eventually drop like normal content does.
Evergreen content will continue to show up in search rankings, drive traffic for your company and create awareness of your brand.
“It pays dividends over time, and that happens when you produce content that people are going to want to search for and reference for years to come,” Olivia says.
Why You Should Develop Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is extra valuable for your company because it requires a similar upfront resource investment as the other content you create but will have a much higher payoff.
“Content isn’t necessarily something you’d consider a quick win, but more timely content is going to have a greater short-term impact,” Olivia says.
If you write about a current event that’s happening, there’s going to be high search volume immediately around when it happens, but in six months that’ll likely no longer be the case.
“Evergreen content is going to build those compounding returns over time, so you definitely want to make sure it’s part of your content strategy because otherwise, you may only be producing things that have a short life that won’t be sustainable over time,” Olivia says.
Olivia recommends aiming for 35% of your content to be evergreen. You should still take advantage of the short-term boosts of current hot topics and you don’t want to seem ignorant of what’s happening at the moment in your industry, but you also should place some priority on content that’s more sustainable.
How to Create Evergreen Content
Formats like blog posts, pillar pages, gated long-form guides and case studies all lend themselves to being made evergreen, but it’s not limited to just written content.
“It can take whatever format,” Olivia says. “It’s ultimately what the subject matter is [that determines whether or not something is evergreen].”
Content that speaks to topics that aren’t nuanced or timely has the most chance of being evergreen. Additionally, evergreen content tends to be focused around a subject that’s fundamental to your personas’ educational journey.
Avoid centering your topics around current events or industry trends since both will fade in prominence. Additionally, super technical content tends to not be evergreen because as technology evolves those processes and details change.
However, you can still create something with a lasting impact based on more fleeting events if you step back and write about more thematic takeaways as opposed to the specifics of a single event.
For example, a blog post about how to react to a specific Google Algorithm update is probably going to be outdated within a couple months, but a blog about how to react when Google updates their algorithm in general could be evergreen.
It’s important to remember that just because evergreen content will have long-lasting results doesn’t mean you can publish it and never touch it again.
According to Olivia, regardless of what type of content you’re producing, you should always build periodic performance evaluations into the process.
Your personas may evolve over time, so you may need to adjust some of your content’s positioning so it’s still relevant for your audience. If you include any concrete examples or statistics, you’ll need to regularly replace them with something more up to date. Plus, sometimes it’s beneficial to freshen up the visual appearance of a piece of content so it doesn’t look outdated.
Those efforts can have performance benefits too because search engines like to see content get regularly updated.
Evergreen content helps increase the ROI of your content strategy.
A piece of evergreen content you produce now can continue to generate leads for your company for years to come. So, it’s important to devote a portion of your content strategy to creating materials about topics that’ll be relevant for a while instead of staying hyper-focused on the needs of your current pipeline.
Quinn is a writer and copyeditor whose work ranges from journalism to travel writing to inbound marketing content.