How to Create Evergreen Content and Make It a Productive Marketing Tool

Evergreen content is content that holds appeal year after year, rather than being topical and timely. Frequently these are the veritable truths of your industry, things that change little or not at all over time. Today, let’s talk about evergreen content and how you can create it once and reap its rewards for seasons to come.

white flower growing on crack street, soft focus, blank text

Wouldn’t it be great if you could create content once and have it serve your marketing needs for years to come? Well, now you can!

Actually, you always could, and my jokey late-night-information come-on notwithstanding, getting the most out of your content should be something you’re doing anyway. More on that in a future post.

Today, though, let’s talk about evergreen content and how you can create it once and reap its rewards for seasons to come.

What Is Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content, in case you’re new to the content marketing game, is content that holds appeal year after year, rather than being topical and timely. Frequently these are the veritable truths of your industry, things that change little or not at all over time. (Or whose changes are measured in generations rather than years.)

Examples of evergreen content include how-to guides, terminology glossaries, and process checklists. For example, at Andigo we might publish articles, videos and templates like

  • How to Secure Your WordPress Website
  • Everything You Need to Choosing a Website Host
  • Essential Website Planning Documents

What to Do with Evergreen Content

Once you have it written, you promote it of course, but then you can aggregate it into even more useful tools.

Content Hubs that provide an overview of a broad topic, with each evergreen content element diving into more detail.

Summary / Roundup posts or videos that also refer to topics that are related in some way.

Volunteer Evergreen Content borrows a term I learned from my wife, who is an avid gardener.

In gardening, a volunteer is a desirable plant (as opposed to a weed) that is growing without having been planted on purpose.

You may find, among your content, some items that attract a steady stream of attention over time even though you didn’t plan on them having that kind of staying power. You’ll find these happy accidents if you regularly review your analytics data, and can make the most of them by determining what long-tail keyword they are suited to and developing more content along the same lines.

You may also want to use content that is attracting a lot of attention as a gateway to other content, an introduction into a deeper dive, as we’ve mentioned with content hubs and roundup posts mentioned above. These can also take the form of a special series, that either uses the original piece as its front door for a broader look at the issue under discussion, or that dives deeper into the sub-topics you’ve mentioned in the original piece, expanding each into its own post, video, infographic, or podcast segment.

If you’re just getting started with evergreen content, you almost certainly have some sprouting under your nose already, so seek it out and make use of it as we’ve outlined above. And as you do so, you’ll begin to see opportunities for creating more evergreen content on purpose.

Encourage Action

Don’t forget perhaps the most important part of evergreen content – or any content marketing: make sure you have a strong call to action built into each piece of content. Ask your audience to subscribe, offer them a downloadable resource that dives more deeply into the topic, or find another way to provide value while building relationships that help you create a strong funnel and positive ROI on your content marketing efforts.

Is How-To Content in Your Junk Mail Drawer?

I took a little time the other day and went through a drawer at work where I keep a motley collection of direct mail pieces I’ve collected over the years. Some of them have made their way into videos. Some of them I used in blog posts. And quite a few I forgot I even had.

I took a little time the other day – like an hour – and went through a drawer at work where I keep a motley collection of direct mail pieces I’ve collected over the years. Some of them have made their way into videos. Some of them I used in blog posts. And quite a few I forgot I even had.

Here’s an example: I have a folder filled with “how-to” mail. These are booklets and postcards that include instructions for various things that various marketers have said we should know how to do. Kind of like The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook.

SiteyardHi_01Speaking of which, check out the cover of a booklet from Zapwerk, a now-defunct web publishing software provider. Besides that bit of helpful alligator advice, there are tips on “how to avoid being struck by lightning,” “how to survive an avalanche,” as well as lots of illustrations.

Blue Nile_02I found another copy of Blue Nile’s classic “How To Buy A Diamond” brochure that I wrote about a few months ago. So among other things, I was reminded of how to read palms, say “I love you” in various languages, and oh yeah, pick out jewelry the right way.

For a while — about 10 years ago — Volkswagen sent out a series of mail pieces that laid out steps for some basic life lessons, like how to fold fitted sheets. And, ummm … I still have a little trouble with that one.

VWHi_01VW also mailed a 42-page booklet called “Five Things to Build in This Lifetime.” This is pretty cool: detailed plans on how to put together a doghouse, a tire swing, a birdhouse, an Adirondack Chair and a picnic table (which I’ve already done, by the way).

VeerHi_21And then there’s my favorite, a secret society campaign from Veer, the stock photo and type website that was closed by Getty Images earlier this year.

Back in 2008, it mailed a “Members Handbook.” This was a 28-page booklet filled with rules of conduct, special handshakes, code phrases and many riddles. I still haven’t figured some of those out. But at least I got some of the typography humor.

So, what’s so great about a bunch of older direct mail pieces?

First, the copy is so strong and compelling. Curiosity kept me reading in 2016 as much as it did the first time they landed on my desk. And, putting aside the tangential content, each company promoted its own product or service in a way that would make me trust their expertise.

Second, they’re fun to read. They don’t take themselves so seriously, but present their information in a way that makes me smile, or even laugh.

Third, all of this content is simple. With the possible exception of some of the Adirondack Chair instructions, sentences are short and easy to read. Illustrations are plentiful.

Finally, all of these mail pieces are roughly pocket-size. They easily fit into your hands and were printed on good paper. That’s the power of print.

To stand out against the increasing amount of digital clutter, think about how printed content like this can humanize your brand and help you share information with your audience.

How about it marketers? Have some interesting “how-to” mail that’s worked for you, or that you’ve enjoyed? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!