Evergreen content is arguably the most important type you can create.
As the name suggests, evergreen isn’t just popular content. It’s the kind of content that remains popular for years and years at a time.
While it brings your site more traffic and your brand more exposure—all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it.
What could be better?
4 Ways to Create Popular Content by Leveraging Data
How about the fact that creating this type of ultra-popular content isn’t a secret known only by the most successful of marketers?
In fact, you can learn how to do it in just four simple steps, so you can then repeat the process over and over.
1. Pull Data on Popular Content That’s Become Evergreen
It’s never been more important to make data-informed decisions about the types of content you create for your company. A “hit-and-miss” strategy based on guesswork puts you at the mercy of any competitor who lets data tell them what to publish.
That’s why we added an Evergreen Score to our Content Analyzer tool. As our own Steve Rayson explains:
“We look for articles that consistently gain shares and links over time. Based on this consistency we allocate each article an evergreen score.
In simple terms the higher the score the more evergreen the article. If an article is less than 30 days old we score it zero by default.”
So, if the goal was to create popular content about weight loss that would stand the test of time, I’d use our Content Analyzer to research the topic:
Then, use our handy breakdown of Evergreen Score averages for a frame of reference when considering your content:
For your health blog, you’d see that the average Evergreen Score for that industry is 1.49.
Those first five show a lot of engagement, but again, that’s not necessarily your goal. You want evergreen content and it looks like only three of them beat the average.
That’s helpful, but you can get a much better idea of what works best if you re-sort the list by Evergreen Score. In fact, because you want popular content that will stay that way for years and years, you’re also going to tell the platform to go back five years for results.
As you can see, this breakdown is very different. The lowest Evergreen Score is now 60% higher than the highest when I sorted by engagement.
“When creating evergreen content, think about the interview question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ You need to apply that time warp to evergreen content, says Rachel Moore, social media marketing manager at Really Social, Inc. If it’ll still matter and be accurate in five years (or more), bingo!”
2. Analyze the Actual Articles
If you were to stop here, you’d still have a lot of good information to go off of for creating content.
Clearly, “How to” and “How Many” articles do really well.
However, because your goal is the most popular of content, it’s worth to take a few extra steps to reach evergreen status.
That’s why you’d then click on each article to actually look them over. Specifically, you’d take note of sub-headers, because this will show what kind of information they’re using to answer the questions in the titles.
You’d also want to look at where they’re sourcing that information from. Maybe you can find more recent or otherwise better sources.
How many and what kinds of images do they use? Visuals tend to correlate with popular content, so that would be a helpful metric.
Finally, you’d copy-and-paste their text into a Word document to quickly figure out what kind of word-count you should aim for. The Content Analyzer tool tells you to go long:
However, it will only take a couple of minutes to assess the posts that are doing best for evergreen content just to make sure.
3. Look for Opportunities to Outdo Your Competition
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but that’s not really your goal here.
Instead, you want to beat competitors by creating content that will do better on social media platforms and search engines.
By reviewing their content, you might immediately see where they came up short and how you can better serve my market.
However, you can also head over to Google, search for “how to lose weight”, and see what kinds of related-searches they recommend.
For “how to lose weight”, you receive a lot of good feedback:
You could include information about losing weight “without dieting”, “with exercise”, “overnight”, etc. and answer some of the related questions.
Google gives you even more information at the bottom of the page:
This isn’t to say that you need to include all of these suggestions, but they’ll definitely help you find opportunities competitors may have missed.
4. Use BuzzSumo to Answer Popular Questions
Questions make some of the best blog topics because, well, so many people use Google to find answers.
“When creating evergreen content, you have to consider the types of questions your target audience will *always* have,” says Amanda Milligan, Marketing Director at Frac.tl.
“Generally, interactive tools, how-to guides, and other comprehensive resources fit the bill in terms of format, but you still have to determine what evergreen questions need answering (and that’s the most important part). The easiest way to start is by considering what the major problems/roadblocks are of your primary personas, and then asking yourself how you can answer those key questions.”
“Ask yourself what questions you get over and over,” adds Christina Olson Hendrickson, Marketing Manager at Cascade.
“Ask your sales team what they’re asked. Ask your customer support team what questions they’re tired of answering. When you start to see some common threads, that’s not just good content—it’s also the content likely to keep performing for you over the long haul.”
The best bloggers also recommend you use Q&A sites like Quora to do topic research.
However, answering questions makes for great subsections, too.
That’s why you need to use our Question Analyzer tool to get a sense for what questions tend to be related to “how to lose weight?”
Obviously, questions about “how much weight”, “calories”, and “exercise” are all important to cover.
However, maybe your competition already did.
In that case, you’d do the same and find some other opportunities.
For example, “water weight” is a common phrase in these questions, so let’s see what ideas that can give me:
You can export all 42 questions to review them in detail but sufficed to say, you’d cover this topic in your evergreen piece to ensure it turns into popular content that finds readers for years to come.
Quickly Find the Data You Need to Publish Popular Content
The CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Meyer, once said, “With data collection, ‘the sooner the better’ is always the best answer.”
At BuzzSumo, we couldn’t agree more. We know that marketers are tasked with creating entire editorial calendars full of what needs to become popular content. This is only possible if they can quickly mine the data they need again and again.
With our suite of tools, it’s never been easier to harvest actionable content insights to inform your entire content-marketing campaign. You can even see for yourself by giving BuzzSumo a completely free seven-day trial.