Have you ever noticed that some of your content blog posts, although written a while back, maybe even years ago, still get consistent traffic? Have you ever wondered why that happened? Or tried to leverage it?
There are two main kinds of posts like this. Seasonal fixes, like a pest solutions company that sees a spike in readers of their 2013 post about Love Bugs every spring and fall (the insects’ mating season). Or our own post dealing with the most cost effective way to save audio files for your podcast. No, there’s no podcast season, per se, but there is an ebb and flow in popularity and people being inspired to start their own.
This kind of content lingers and continues to get increased attention over time because it doesn’t radically change.
The term, “Evergreen Content” of course, comes from the idea that, like an uncut fir tree, these articles are always fresh and green. It’s quality, useful content that remains relevant to readers no matter when they find your website. Therefore – evergreen.
So, for example, the series of recent posts that we did related to working at home and dealing with the novel Coronavirus will have a limited shelf life – and we all want it to be as short as possible.
On the other hand, our posts about marketing strategy and building your small business through an economic recession are still relevant 5, 10, even 15 years later! Even though the algorithms that govern search engine relevancy have changed and been updated through several iterations in that same time.
This is the second kind of evergreen post. Posts that build exponentially over their life, bringing increased value to your find-ability on Google and other search engines.
Obviously, you want as much of your content as possible to be evergreen – always fresh and inviting. But you have to find a balance. Otherwise, you may feel out of touch to customers dealing with pressing issues that need to be addressed today, even if they won’t matter a year from now.
Fresh and (Mostly) Easy
Like all the other content that will be posted on your blog or shared with your newsletter readers, evergreen posts have to come out of your marketing strategy. Who is your ideal customer – the one that balances out to provide you the most income for the least effort. What are they asking – how do they find you online – what questions are they searching on Google that you provide the answer for. And the third leg of the stool – making sure you’re tracking key performance indicators so you stay ahead of changes in the marketplace and your customers’ needs.
The beauty of a properly executed business marketing strategy is that it ensures that a good portion, if not the majority, of the posts on your content blog will be evergreen.
One of the first things that online marketers will tell you is to be specific and speak as if you’re talking to beginners. After all, experts are less likely to look for your content. Which makes some sense. But our way is better.
You do need to tailor your content for people who aren’t experts in your field. So, no, Neil Patel and Seth Godin aren’t popping by Grow the Dream to learn how to do marketing. But you also can’t come off as condescending or talking down to your customers. That’s a big turn off. Just avoid the jargon and particular industry-ese for your business. The potential client may or may not understand a term, depending on the level of research they’ve done before landing on your site.
Squint Like Clint
I also agree with narrowing your focus. As I’ve mentioned before, the riches are in the niches, and that’s a particularly great way for a smaller business to stand out. But you don’t narrow your focus for convenience or because you’re worried about confusing potential buyers – unless your target market includes a specific lack of knowledge.
You drill down to the specifics, the exact knowledge your potential customer is looking for because, well, that’s what they’re looking for. Think about it. The more specifically you address the needs of your ideal customer, the better chance they will find you. The Internet is like a virtual universe – ever more rapidly expanding. If you can narrow their search from 332-million+ results to a mere 7-million, you’ve increased your odds.
Or even better, if you can grab the #1 search position away from all your competitors, regardless of how many results turn up, do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
A Third Factor
There is another kind of evergreen content. It requires a little more work, but worth it if you’re serious about keeping fresh eyes moving to your website. There’s a great way to take advantage of certain posts and the credibility they’ve already gained in the “eyes” of Google.
I talked about the wrong way to do this a few weeks back. Just taking dates off your post, and/or leaving old, outdated numbers and whatnot might help you rank, initially. But ultimately it will just be a source of irritation for people who land on the page. And it makes you appear less trustworthy. And that’s assuming they do business with you at all.
For most of what we call evergreen content, the information provided or concept explained will be enough to keep it relevant. But there are some posts that rank high where parts of the article are dated. Sections are old and in need of a refresh. Or at the very least, an added comment pointing out that the numbers or information were true on the original date of publication and should be taken into account. I personally prefer to add the caveat that no newer data could be located, if that’s true (and believe me, I look).
But Wait, There’s More!
In a similar way, you can bolster the credibility and worth of old posts that are doing well by adding onto them. In addition to reviewing and refreshing anything that’s not accurate any more, you can add an update or two. You can add more graphics; Infographics; a slide show; additional related material, and even video or audio..as long as what you add enhances the user experience and offers more information or value to the person landing on the page.
In a study HubSpot posted in 2015, higher word count blogs tend to be considered of higher value for both readers and search engines. While I couldn’t track down newer numbers, from what I’ve seen, this is still the case.
By making older, high traffic blogs bigger and better, you retain the benefits of that traffic already directed to the page. You gain the benefit of being more helpful and providing additional value to someone who isn’t even your customer yet. And, Google tracks the changes, and will increase bot crawls to the page and any connected pages. While it’s temporary, that offers another minor boost.
In a way, it’s like doubling down on the evergreen-ness of the content.
Reading the Signs
Another benefit to tracking which posts are evergreen and gaining the most traffic is that it gives you valuable insight into your ideal customer. At worst, it confirms that certain posts are on target. Your customers are searching for the answers you’re providing to their questions. The strategy is working.
What’s more – it allows you to hone even tighter into the most pressing things they need that they’re looking for you to provide. You might have three posts about Florida’s flying insects – more specific than all the insects – but still verging on general. But then you see that your posts on mosquitoes are really driving your converted traffic this month. It’s probably good to spend some time drilling down into that niche.
To take it one step further – you can take the time to create a highly targeted Lead Magnet for your best potential customers. Rewrite or just “reprint” the information from your top 5 or 10 posts. Then use it as a value trade-off to get customers onto your mailing list. And once they’ve “bought” a small thing from you, even for free, they’re more likely to remember you and put you high on their list of finalists.
The ultimate value of well-performing evergreen content is that more eyes find your website. And if your strategy is in place and everything is aligned, that turns into higher quality, more relevant, and consistently converting leads.
If you need help with strategy or need to work on developing your best strategy, please reach out. We’re here to help small businesses succeed and grow their dreams. And if you need a team to help you execute your strategy and produce consistent, professional, evergreen content that reaches your ideal customer, we can help with that too.