Taylor Swift sang it, and we know it: some things just never go out of style. Evergreen content is one of them.
While we keep up with the trends in our industries and cover them extensively to help our customers prepare for what’s coming next, that doesn’t mean we can forget things that are universally true.
In content marketing for business blogs, it’s not enough to write about new tactics. They’ve got “best before” dates stamped all over them.
Evergreen content that covers tried and true tactics, on the other hand, stays relevant for a long time.
However, what is evergreen content exactly, and how can you produce it to get more bang for your content marketing buck?
Let’s find out!
When you hear “evergreen,” what’s the first thing that springs to mind? Probably the evergreen tree, right? You can probably picture something that resembles a Christmas or Pine tree shooting high up into the sky.
One trait that evergreen trees have is that they stay the same no matter what season it is. Years pass, weather trends come and go, and though they may grow, they seem unaffected by the ebbs and flows of the world around them.
That’s where we get the idea of Evergreen Content — content that has a timeless value that doesn’t diminish over time.
Now, what do you think of when you picture evergreen content?
Frank Sinatra’s songs? Cult movies like Casablanca ? Books that are classics, like Catcher in the Rye ?
All of these things are evergreen content. They transcend time and become classics in our hearts and minds—never going out of style.
Now, when we talk about marketing, our definition of evergreen content is:
Content that retains its relevance and value over time, regardless of trends, industry changes, and the ebbs and flows of the market.
Just like evergreen trees, evergreen content never sheds its leaves (relevancy).
Industry principles are evergreen.
For example, if you are in finance, the principles of stock and bond exchanges aren’t likely to change any time soon. In this case, you’d write thorough content describing that topic. Since it isn’t a topic that changes all the time, it remains relevant for new audiences over time.
Evergreen content can also describe content that’s frequently updated to reflect changes.
So let’s say you were covering SEO on your business blog. Search engine optimization changes all the time with algorithm changes of search engines, so it’s normal to presume that content loses relevance and needs to be updated.
In our first scenario, where we’re talking about principles, we can presume that an article written in 2019 will still be relevant in 2025.
However, in our second scenario, you can write a thorough article in 2019, but you may need to update it to make sure that it’s still relevant in 2025.
When writing content that you may want to update and refresh as an evergreen resource, begin with a URL free or numbers and dates.
For example, The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Bonsai Trees should be located at a URL like this: huzzahbonsai.com/ultimate-guide-bonsai-tree, not: huzzahbonsai.com.2019-ultimate-guide-bonsai-tree.
Just like a lady, a URL should never disclose it’s age!
Evergreen content is typically packaged into the following formats to be more appealing and focus on the value from the get-go:
Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out on what the people who are sharing and linking to your evergreen content are saying and asking. You never know what updates you’ll be able to add to make your content even better!
Typically, evergreen content comes in the form of extensive guides covering the major areas of a topic.
If you were writing about stocks and wanted to make that piece evergreen, you’d write about things such as the history, application, key aspects like shareholders, and trading principles (buying, selling, etc.)
If you were writing about SEO, you’d write about its history, getting indexed, crawling, keyword research, and ranking.
You can probably see that evergreen content’s definition fluctuates quite a bit depending on your industry.
That’s why we have developed The Evergreen Score.
We want to see if content is evergreen, and we calculate the score by measuring the number of backlinks and social signals 30 days after an article has been published.
In the digital age, 30 days is a lot, so this is a good indicator of the content’s quality and relevance.
Now that we’ve established what evergreen content is, we come to the most important question:
Why is evergreen content worth my time?
We believe there are five solid reasons you should be producing evergreen content.
Evergreen content is typically long-form and in-depth content.
The primary goal of content marketing, in general, is to provide value, and evergreen content does it by being a one-stop shop for everyone looking for the ultimate resource on a topic.
Now, when we have in-depth content, Google appreciates that because its searchers appreciate it, and they show it with factors such as dwell time.
Why should people go through pages and pages of search results to find what they need when they can find it in one piece of evergreen content?
Since Google appreciates evergreen, in-depth content, it’s more likely to rank in the search. Short blog posts may or may not get good SERPs. In-depth content is a full-fledged resource, and it’s appreciated by bots and humans alike.
Since long-form content is so useful (especially when it’s evergreen), it’s naturally shareable.
Think about your ideal customer. Let’s say they’re interested in social media marketing. They hang out with similar people by nature, and when they come across a piece of content that their entrepreneurial friends would get much value from, they’re more likely to share it.
Conversely, if they come across a blog post that’s not a complete resource on a topic, well, they’ll consider sharing. However, they won’t press the button.
Backlinks have always been the backbone of SEO and Google’s algorithm reasoning.
Why? Because backlinks show Google that your content is valuable and trusted by reputable websites across the internet.
Now, websites (with strong domain authority) won’t link to content that’s not thoroughly researched. They can get bite-sized information everywhere, but a truly valuable resource gives them more credibility.
Think of evergreen content as a one-time investment that’s going to bring in returns for a long time.
When you produce new content all the time, you lose time, traction and relevance.
However, if you’re updating timeless pieces that have performed well, you’re building up the momentum of a piece that’s already getting shares and backlinks because of its value.
You’re also saving a lot of time while still getting great results.
In simplest terms, by creating content with a longer shelf-life, you’re creating less work for yourself in the long run since you don’t need to produce as much content.
Again, evergreen content doesn’t lose relevance. If you update it as needed, you can keep sharing it because you know that your audience will continue finding value in the piece.
On the other hand, if you’re constantly producing new posts, you’re forced to take part in the attention and relevance rat race.
You can only share fleeting pieces so many times before your audience gets tired.
With evergreen content, your customers keep finding new value.
Think about it—if you’re constantly producing and promoting new things, you don’t often get much time to analyze the results properly. Sure, you can monitor how a handful of social messages perform, but typically only within a short timespan.
When you’re promoting something consistently over time, you can monitor results and experiment with variations of how to promote that content to see what gets the best results.
You could discover a specific message variation performs exceptionally well on one social channel while underperforming on another. You can then tailor your future promotions accordingly to get the best results from each marketing channel.
You can also experiment more with your lead magnets and calls to action within the article to see how you can drive the most leads over time.
When you have more time to test, experiment, and analyze a piece of content, you can glean more sophisticated insights.
The benefits are clear, so the question is: how can you produce evergreen content? What goes into the mix?
Here are a couple of methods to help us out.
There are some questions that audiences are always asking. These can be the basics or more specific details that no one else answers clearly.
Your goal here is to answer your audience’s questions with as much depth as possible.
A great tool to get started with evergreen content is The Question Analyzer.
Let’s try searching for “wedding” with the Question Analyzer.
The Question Analyzer indexes hundreds of millions of forums, including Reddit, Quora and Amazon Q&A, to provide a detailed look at customer questions about products or topic areas.
The word cloud analysis quickly identifies the most frequently discussed sub-topics. Following links to the actual questions provides insight into customer vocabulary and immediate access to the answers already given within the forum.
If you want to double-check that people are interested in these questions, you can insert them into Google Keyword Planner or a similar tool
Make sure that your evergreen content addresses the topics that people ask about.
Some things and events can be revisited regularly. For example, Super Bowl and holidays happen every year. So do big industry conferences.
This means you can create a holiday shopping guide, and update it every year.
Be sure to focus on a sub-topic.
Instead of producing a “How to Shop for Holidays” guide, focus on specific niches such as:
You get the idea. The more you can narrow your topic down and target long-tail keywords, the better.
When the time is right, refresh your evergreen article with new content and promote it on social media.
We do just this with our B2B Black Friday guide. Check it out.
When in doubt: stake out the competition.
In fact, scratch that. Even if you’re not in doubt, check out what your competition is doing. Chances are, they might be on to something.
Some things are universal, so even if you’re getting inspired by an evergreen how-to guide in an industry that’s not your own, you can get a lot of value for your evergreen content production.
However, if you take a look at what your competitors are writing, you’ll learn a lot more about what your audience likes.
The trick is in determining which articles are evergreen content.
You could be scouring other websites’ blogs for hours without knowing which article performs as evergreen.
After all, just because it’s a how-to guide doesn’t mean that it’s evergreen (relevant and shareable).
This is where BuzzSumo’s evergreen score helps.
You’ll get a list of results for that topic that shows you exactly who’s posting what, and how well their content is performing.
If you click to sort by evergreen score for your topic, you’ll see information on what kind of content is getting shared the most.
You’ll see Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Reddit engagements, as well as the number of links.
But most importantly – you’ll see the evergreen score that’ll show you how well the content is performing long after it’s been published.
Just because evergreen content isn’t bite-sized information doesn’t mean you can’t use it as bite-sized pieces. You should be able to easily isolate small sections of your long-form piece that can serve as a self-contained teaser.
These bite-sized pieces should be valuable in and of themselves, but also encourage your audience to click-through and get the full meal.
A blog post can become a video with a tool like Animoto giving you more opportunities to share.
If you add visual elements, you can even make use of highly-visual social networks like Pinterest and Instagram.
After all, with different content types, more people can find your content on the channel they prefer.
By now you’ve gotten a firm grasp on what evergreen content is, why you should produce it, and how to produce it effectively.
Also, those of you with especially sharp eyes have figured out that this article serves as its own example! This article is a perfect example of Evergreen content, and you can easily bookmark it for future reference.
Now get out there and create some evergreen masterpieces. And remember: keep it simple, keep it useful, and keep it fun.
And keep it green all year long.
Enter any topic, term or url to search to see BuzzSumo in action. It’s free!
100% free. No credit card required.