How to Come Up With Ideas for Evergreen Content
More than 2 million blog posts go live every day. That many every day? How can my article break through this competition and reach the reader? No magic rule can help you stand out. But here is the thing: all these blog posts can be divided into two groups. Some die in a matter of days, and some bring traffic to your site for years.
In this post, I’m going to tell about evergreen content, and share some tips on how to create posts that constantly drive traffic, links, and shares.
What This Is All About
Evergreen content is articles which remain relevant for a long time. It’s easy to understand if the article you’re writing is evergreen by asking a simple question: if I read this article a few years from now, will it still be relevant and interesting?
As an example, this beginners guide to SEO by Moz is a basic article that will always be relevant as it’s one of the best guides for those who are strangers to SEO. If we check its backlink profile, we’ll see that a lot of sites still refer to this article despite the fact it was published in 2015.
Another article on the same blog tells about Google update and, of course, it’s no longer relevant as the update was launched in 2016.
The number of referring pages differ too: the first article has 179.5K, and the second one has 268. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create articles about the latest news or articles dedicated to holidays/occasions. I used this example to show the difference between such posts.
So let’s highlight the features of evergreen posts:
- Relevance. It doesn’t depend on external factors like news or season.
- Practical component. Actionable advice a user can apply to his/her own business. Manuals, case studies, checklists, storytelling, lists, tips, detailed guides, white papers, tutorials, educational posts, glossaries.
- Basics. This type of content should be basic as advanced methods and technologies quickly become obsolete.
The formats like annual ratings, reviews of new tools, statistics, info about occasions and holidays, surveys of trends, new technologies, news, and so on aren’t considered an evergreen content. Having said that, some of these types of content could be evergreen as well. For example, a useful statistic is always shareable content, but it quickly becomes obsolete too. BuzzSumo has found a way out. They create research trying to find the secret of viral content every single year. Once the new research is published, they add links to it in the previous articles.
Thus, their studies remain relevant as it’s interesting to monitor the progress and compare the changes from year to year.
The same thing with other “not evergreen” formats. You can update old posts from time to time or create new versions of old posts and interlink them. This way you can bring your old posts back to life!
The benefits of such content are quite obvious. Of course, you’re getting regular visits to your site that can last for years, rather than short-term exposure. Also, this article gets more shares, comments, and referring pages.
Tips on Creating Evergreen Content
Tip #1: Ask Yourself a Few Simple Questions
After reading the features of evergreen content I mentioned, it may seem that every basic guide is evergreen as it meets all requirements I mentioned. Well, yes, in a way. At the same time, your article should be as comprehensive and unique as possible to drive traffic and shares constantly. See, if I type “guide to SEO” into Google search, the first and the second results will be that article by Moz:
So if you want to write a similar post, it probably will be driving traffic regularly (except if your post is really good!). But it will never bring as much traffic as it could as we already have one comprehensive guide that ranks first at Google.
When brainstorming your topic ideas, you should ask yourself these simple questions:
- Is this topic covering basic issues? If yes:
- If there something unique to cover within this topic? Or:
- Can I write something 10x better than the existing content? Or:
- Can I write it in a way no one else had ever done before?
As to the last bullet, I mean that you can present the same topic in different ways. For example, SEL created SEO success factors in the form of the periodic table. The success factors topic has been covered to death. But the same info presented in such an interesting way is bringing a lot of traffic to their blog.
Only this approach can help you write something that will get noticed by readers and rank high. And it will be real evergreen content.
Tip #2 Find an Area of Your Expertise
If you want to create something unique, you have to write about your own experience. Even if there are a lot of articles on this topic, your own point of view or expertise can make this article your own. So find out what you’re expert in and start brainstorming.
Start with the largest topic and narrow it down to the specific topics. For instance, I’m an expert in digital marketing. It can be divided into email marketing, social media marketing, search analytics, content marketing, etc. Well, I know a lot about all these spheres, but the one I’m passionate about is content marketing. Content marketing, in turn, can be divided into content creation, content strategy, content planning, outreach strategy, content layout, and so on.
Create a mind map to make it more visual and organized. Canva may come in handy when using this approach. Here is what my mind map looks like (it’s just a beginning):
Narrowing these ideas more and more you can come up with something exciting to write about.
Tip #3 Analyze Competitors
If you want to write something that stands out, you should analyze your competitors’ content. The simplest way to do it is to use an SEO tool that allows finding top pages by topic. One of them is Serpstat. Type your keyword into the search box and go to Keyword Research > SEO Research > Top Pages. This feature shows all pages that rank for at least one search query related to your keyword.
In the screenshot, you can see that the tool found a lot of fundamental articles: what is content marketing, advanced guide, ultimate list, etc. It’s exactly what we need to analyze. You can sort results by organic keywords a page is ranking for in Top 100 search results, or by social media platform shares.
Another tool that may come in handy is BuzzSumo. It doesn’t analyze keywords like the previous tool. However, it has an evergreen content metric, which is based on the number of shares and backlinks an article gets a month after it’s been published.
Read these articles too, and you’ll be ready to decide on the topic.
For instance, I’ve noticed that there are no comprehensive articles on outbound content marketing metrics, and on outbound content marketing in general. A lot of companies post articles with native advertising on external platforms, but how can you measure the effectiveness of such campaigns? There are some articles related to this topic, but I see that there is an opportunity to compete. An article that explains the entire process in full could be a great idea for an evergreen content!
It’s just an example, but you can see that it’s possible. Such analysis can help you find ideas for basic but unique articles. (Sounds insane, right?)
Once you create the list of ideas, Google it one more time to check what’s in the top. Read these posts and decide if you can write better and more comprehensively or add something unique. And then start writing!
So my advice would seem quite insane.
- Choose a basic topic and somehow…
- Find something unique to cover within this topic
These two conditions can only be met if you write about what you are most aware of, what you’re best at. So analyze competitors and find something they have missed. This way your comprehensive post can become the best answer to user’s question.
Would You Like To Add Anything?
While I hope this article has been helpful to you, I’m always interested in hearing other people’s techniques. Do you have anything that you feel could be of further help to readers of this article? If so, please add them in the comments section, below.
You may also want to read: How To Share Your Evergreen Content To Every Social Network Forever
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