Let me preface this post with the admission that I am not a patient person. I recently moved to Texas and found out that I have a grapefruit tree in my backyard. Score! All the free fruit I can eat! Let me tell you, I have checked that tree every day for the past 5 months so that I can eat that free fruit and I am still waiting.
But like any good thing on this green earth, it will be worth the wait. Because when the ripe season is finally here there will be enough fruit for the rest of the year.
The same thing can be said about good content. More often than not, it takes a little extra effort, and a lot more time, but the end result is a tree that keeps on giving.
The description of evergreen content is often simplified down to a piece of content that is valuable forever. It is content that is written in a way so that the significance does not have a timestamp, such as a definition in a dictionary, or an encyclopedia entry.
Since the value of this content extends through time, so will people’s interest in accessing it. (Click to Tweet!)
Sounds pretty great, right? But what does that really mean for businesses? And how does one write something that remains valuable in the world that is always changing without becoming a giant encyclopedia?
I’m going to let you in on the trick right off the bat: focus on good old-fashioned keyword research. Not because you are looking to stuff a popular keyword into your article; but because it is evidence of the persistent value of a particular topic to your target market.
We’ll get to more on that in a minute. For now, let’s start by getting down to the basics of how to grow your blog with everlasting content.
What is evergreen content?
In the context of marketing, evergreen content is a blog post, landing page, or other piece of website material that drives consistent traffic to your site. It answers a highly coveted question for your target market which new people are searching for every day, depending upon their stage in the buying cycle.
This particular kind of content is incredibly valuable because it is an investment in your website for driving organic growth. (Click to Tweet!) It is not a piece of content that will fade and die after social media has moved on to the next big thing. At its core, it answers the basics about your industry in a format that people are looking for in the search engines.
How can evergreen content help grow your blog?
One of the great things about everlasting content is that the more you add to your website, the more it compounds on top of itself. If you find a topic that consistently drives 300 visits to your website a month, and then add another, and another, you will be driving a total of 900 visits by the third month that your content is planted in the search results.
The value of enduring content boils down to simple math. The more you add, the more your traffic will compound. And with it, the authority of your website will grow. As a result, you will gain natural links to your now proven, valuable content.
While there is certainly a lot of benefit to creating other types of content for social relevancy, such as newsworthy pieces, relevant trainings, or new studies, they are timely pieces for a reason. They are truly only valuable for that specific period of time.
It is possible that you may come across a unicorn that drives a burst of social traffic to your website, but if the seeds for a solid content strategy aren’t spread throughout your site, you won’t be left with much in the long run.
A good rule of thumb is to focus on the good old 80/20 theory for business. Write 80% of your content on time-tested, traffic-driving topics, and the other 20% on relevant pieces for the moment.
So, how do you create evergreen content?
As I gave away above, evergreen content starts with strategic keyword research. This is going to take some time at the beginning, but as you build up a library, you will find that the process gets more streamlined over time.
Strategic keyword research will give you insight into what your persona is looking for as well as where they are in the buying process. Your best chance for ranking in the search engines is by finding quality long-tail keywords (or keyword phrases).
For example, say you have a daycare and you want to write about sunscreen. You have about zero chance of ranking for that word alone over companies like Banana Boat and Consumer Reports. And you wouldn’t want to. The people who type “sunscreen” into Google are looking for a whole plethora of things from products to warnings and may not even know what they want.
However, perhaps you know that parents are concerned about how long sunscreen lasts on their kid while they are at school. Now you have a relevant search topic that is much more targeted to your persona.
Find the Right Keyword
Now that you know what you are looking for, you have a lot of options for finding the best keyword phrase to focus on.
- Try plugging a couple versions of the phrase into Adwords to find out where the best volume is coming from.
- Utilize your favorite tools for expanding upon keyword phrases (i.e. Keyword.io or Ubersuggest).
- Test the best combinations in an incognito Google search window and see what the top results are (also take a look at the related search terms and auto-populated keywords that Google provides as you type).
- Confirm who is already ranking for the keyword in your search and be sure it is relevant to what you think it is and that you have a chance of ranking with good quality content.
- Check the trends of the conversation over time with Google Trends.
- Verify the conversation is relevant in forums and social media.
Now pick the best one! It is good to optimize for the most commonly worded version of your long-tail keyword, but the beautiful thing about Google’s Hummingbird update is that the search engine will likely direct similar queries to your content too.
Write for Your Persona
One of the most important things you can do in creating any type of content, evergreen in particular, is writing it directly for the needs of your persona. To continue with the sunscreen analogy, the needs of a mother looking for sunscreen for her kid are very different than the needs of a college kid on their way to a sunny spring break trip. Consequently, the content should be very different to appeal to those two people. Content that stands the test of time will directly address the unique needs of your persona.
Create Long-Form Content
If you truly want this to be a resource for your target customer, the content itself should be all that they need to answer their question. This sort of writing takes time. And you are probably going to have to put over 1000 words to paper (I know, I know, I’m impatient too remember). But it’s worth it because not only is there a chance that your readers will want to bookmark the resource and come back to it. But the search engines have consistently been proven to favor long-form content as well.
Promote, Promote, Promote
This step is arguably one most important of all – your work doesn’t stop when you hit publish. Your seeds need some water and sunlight (I’m trying to limit the cheesy analogies), but it’s true! Growing evergreen content is also all about the promotion.
Promote heavily on social media to start. Share it to your own channels and don’t be afraid to ask contributors and friends to share to theirs as well. It may even help to do a small paid campaign. Then, don’t forget to set a schedule for returning to older content. Make it a campaign that you track within your analytics to revive successful old posts.
Build an Evergreen Forest
I won’t sugar coat it. This is all going to take a lot of time. It is not a quick blog post that you are going to shoot out in 30 minutes. And if you are anything like me, that may be a little daunting at first. But remember, the end goal is to make something of lasting value for your readers, so it’s going to take some time. You need to invest in the material if you are expecting them to invest back in you.
And that’s it! If you can accomplish each of those steps, you will be set with a scalable way to grow your blog with more organic website traffic. Your traffic will have a chance of growing if you keep writing blog posts that have a boost of popularity and then taper off over time, and maybe you will even hit a pot of social gold like Upworthy or Buzzfeed. But if you build up authority organically with excellent evergreen content, consistent traffic will continue to each of your blog posts, and in the end you can be sure to attract more quality leads.
Want a little help boosting your evergreen content? Check out our secret to finding the most shareable content.