Whatever side of the fence you work on, content marketing strategy is one of the topics coming up for discussion on a regular basis. As we conduct our workshops, we discuss the pros and cons of both evergreen content, that has a long life span and timely/situational, content that captures attention in relevant moments. First up, let’s take a look at the two different types in more detail.
Hubspot defines evergreen content as timeless and high quality. Timeliness, meaning it doesn’t lose relevance or impact at different points in time, i.e. it isn’t tied to a specific event or technology or it won’t be relevant in near future. High quality meaning, both a high production quality and value to the consumer.
TrinityP3 outlines best practices for evergreen content (note: TrinityP3’s post itself is actually an example of evergreen content! Even though it was originally posted in 2013, the principals are still the same today). Evergreen content should do one or all of the following:
- Address a pain point in your industry
- Include keyword terms to optimize for search
- Offer a unique POV or solution that makes it valuable to your consumer
- Should be comprehensive and include links if they are to reputable sources
Provided the content delivers on the marketing objective, the return on investment for this type of content is stretched, due to the communication being relevant for a long period of time. This isn’t a ‘shot in the arm’, this is an investment in content that can last years.
Types of Evergreen Content
The great news about evergreen content is it can live on most of your digital channels – your website, blog, social channels, email, etc. Content made for one channel can even be adjusted to work on another channel. Below are some examples of different types of evergreen content:
- Guides / How To’s / Tips & Tricks – Leverage your expertise or POV to create helpful guides for your consumers. Tips & Tricks do well on social, while guides and how-to’s are great video or website content.
- E.g. Citrix’s blog breaks down how to motivate employees via an easily digestible infographic
- E.g. A buyers’ guide to diamond rings is classic evergreen content.
- E.g. Johnson & Johnsons babycenter.com. A whole content marketing resource dedicated to pregnancy and babies. The content catering to this industry does go through some trends, however in general it won’t change too much.
- Answers to FAQs – To find questions that warrant content, connect with your customer service group, search your site or your social channels to uncover questions that continuously come up – or even pull from an existing FAQ list. You can present the information in a Q & A format, infographic, video, blog post, etc.
- Ex. The following post was an answer to a common question from consumers on how to talk about themselves How to Tell a Story About Yourself Without Sounding Like an Egomaniac
- Case Studies – Create or highlight a project by your company or relevant to your industry that will be relevant after the actual event.
- Ex. TrinityP3 created a case study about why a CMO employed the company to help with digital transformation.
- Definitions / Did You Know? – Do you offer a new unique product/service? Do you sell a product that is made out of recycled materials that your customers may find valuable? Create content that talks about your product or company in a compelling way that is relevant to consumers.
- Ex. Dollar Shave Company created a video to explain their unique product offering that resulted in a ton of views.
- Lists / Checklists – use your existing content or content from reputable sources and create a list that won’t expire.
How Can Evergreen Content Impact Your Bottom Line?
Strong and compelling evergreen content can absolutely contribute to the success of your business in the following ways:
- Helps with search rankings, especially if the content piece is more than 2000 words. Valuable evergreen content likely has a lot of engagement, thus making it rank higher in search
- Generally contributes a large amount of traffic based on the higher search ranking
- Can help you build a following if you refresh it regularly
- Content has a longer life-span so it can generate more leads
- Leads to higher ROI of content
Like evergreen content, timely content can actually be planned out ahead of time, but is most effective and relevant a specific point in time. Timely content is often missing from content marketing strategies – likely because it involves more planning and research upfront and at the time of the event. But, don’t despair, creation of timely content can be managed.
If you want a business to model, the masters of this in the Australian market are Sportsbet. ‘Like their Facebook page today and you will that they execute on this strategy perfectly. They offer very little evergreen content, but leverage the changing nature of sports, betting and wagering very effectively.
According to the OnlineMarketingInstitute, there are two relatively easy ways to account for timely content within your plan:
- Identify upcoming holidays, seasons, events (see example email below)
- Create a calendar that is flexible enough to accommodate posts to respond to pop culture or current news
Timely content involves a lot of planning & research. Here are some watch-outs when creating effectively
Types of Timely Content
Timely content is best when posted in a venue where your audience already is (ex. Social media or email) and should be backed with paid media to get the most eyeballs when possible. Here are a few examples of different types of timely content:
- Offers / Promotions / Launches – Don’t go overboard on creating too much “salesy” content, but it is important to create some content to highlight short-term offers, products or promotions. Content should be flexible enough to try to drive sales at the last minute.
- Ex. Airlines often push last minute sale deals around the time that consumers are booking their summer vacations or if they are trying to fill their flight.
- Chose to post about relevant industry/business topics or areas of interest to your consumer – It’s important to ensure the content is relevant to your industry, company and doesn’t seem like a stretch for you to be talking about it to maintain credibility
- Ex. PC Magazine created content previewing an upcoming industry event, CES, that was all over the news, providing it’s own POV related to digital cameras.
- Provide a unique POV on a widespread or popular event or holiday – This content can generally be planned well in advance. However, be sure that it makes sense for your brand/company to be associated with the event or holiday. Content should be breakthrough because other brands or companies will likely create content it as well.
- Ex. Johnson & Johnson created a tweet to welcome the new Prince of Cambridge – and it makes sense with their brand.
- React to a widespread event in real-time
- Ex. Oreo posted this when the power went out at the Superbowl and it gained 525 million earned impressions
How Timely Content Can Impact Your Bottom Line
While it may involve a bit more planning upfront, timely content can result in an uptick for your business in the following ways:
- Boost engagement – Timely content can be more relevant, inciting engagement (likes, shares, comments) from your followers.
- Increase SEO – More engagement means more eyeballs, which may mean more links back to your site or your offer, more shares = more google SEO love.
- Depending on your industry, timely content can give you credibility or draw leads – If you are in the technology industry and a new gadget is launched, your content can help guide the expert
- Earned media opportunity – If you happen to develop that “gold nugget” piece of content that is funny, heart-warming, unique enough to capture attention, it can gain you earned impressions from organic sharing or media coverage.
Some businesses skew to one or the other, depending on the type of content marketing strategy is employed to reach their marketing and business objectives.
What are your favourite examples of evergreen and timely content? Leave them in the comments below.