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You put a lot of work into creating your content. Why not have it serve you longer?
Trends come and go, and they can be great for getting some short-term exposure, but producing things with a timeless message will continue to serve you for years to come. That’s evergreen content.
In today’s short episode, we talk about the benefits of long-lasting content, repurposing that content for people in the future, and capitalizing on trends to bring people into your evergreen content.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- It’s good to have some content that’s timeless.
- Avoid talking about devices or things that immediately date whatever you’re saying.
- Tools change with the advancement of technology, but the mindset and values behind how you use the tools can be timeless.
- Bring people in using trends and then point them to your evergreen content.
- Through the context of an entrance point, like a trend, your evergreen content will feel hyper-relevant to your audience.
- You should still go back and update your content, even if it’s evergreen.
- Find out what your most popular piece was in the past and if that was timeless, repurpose it.
- 02:53 Sean: There are two routes you can go with the content you create: you can go off of current trends or timeless principals. Evergreen is based on the tree. Those trees are really big, they last a long time, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Evergreen content can be a really valuable pillar in your overall content marketing strategy. You don’t have to go completely 100% evergreen content, but it’s good to mix it in. It’s good to have some content that’s are timeless. What I mean by “evergreen” is something that’s going to stand the test of time.
- 03:38 Maybe, for you, that’s thinking a few months or years in advance. The zoom could be a little bit different. Someone could make evergreen content for phones or technology in general. Some people are very current—“Here’s what’s new in IOS9.” As soon as I say IOS9, I have dated this episode. When we hear people talk about IOS3 and IOS4, it immediately dates something. It could just be a little bit of consciousness when you create content, not using things that immediately date your content.
- 04:22 Ben: There’s a gentleman called David Allen who wrote a book called Getting Things Done. I hear about this book a lot because I listen to Back to Work with Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann. Any time this book comes up, the stuff that is being shared from the book is so great, and it’s what I would call the evergreen content of the book. It’s still relevant today, though that book was written quite a while ago.
- 04:53 Sean: You know who else does evergreen content? Bob Ross. It’s timeless principals, where you could read that book now, even if it was written years ago, and still get something out of it.
Current Trends vs. Timeless Principles
- 05:11 Ben: You could. Rachel bought the book. We didn’t even talk about it, and I said, “Hey, you bought that book!” She said, “Yeah, I heard about it on something.” I stole it from her right away and started reading it, and it’s actually an updated version, where he’s talking more about current technology, because a lot has changed in ten years. I think it was written longer ago than that, but just in ten years, a ton has changed. The way we interact with technology, apps, and that kind of thing. When it comes to practical application:
It’s difficult to make things evergreen because the tools change with the advancement of technology.
The principals behind how you use the tools, the mindset and the values, can be timeless.
- 06:08 Sean: I’m wanting to get people thinking about being mindful of the shelf life of their content. How quickly will this be outdated? You think about trends on Twitter, Vine, different social media platforms, memes or jokes that go around, and how quickly they’re recycled. I want to talk about using trends, but in the general sense, unless you want it to be immediately outdated, irrelevant, and almost a joke in a few months, weeks, or even a year, you really should focus more on evergreen content. Maybe that’s not just talking about the latest tools, sites, trends, and platforms, but distilling it down into the principals.
- 07:05 When people discover you as your audience grows and they go through your backlog, they’re going to be able to get more value out of that older material. Evergreen content is long lasting, relevant regardless of time, typically non-trendy. One tip is to try to avoid talking about devices or things that immediately date whatever you’re saying. I think we might have mentioned this on a recent podcast—150 years ago, someone could be talking about something that was totally timeless. What are you focusing on in the day? How are you managing your time? They could be talking about how they rode the horse to the store.
- 07:57 That immediately dates the material, and it’s kind of funny to us now. With things accelerating now in the Information Age, things get older faster. Everything is really accelerated. We would be wise to try to adhere less to the things that are trendy and short lived in the content that we’re creating.
It’s Not 100% Autonomous
- 08:39 This is one of the more common things that people assume. “I make it once and I never have to touch it again.” Ben just gave the example of David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. That was updated. You should still go back and revisit your content, update it. Maybe that’s updating the information you say, maybe that’s links on a website. Update things to make it current. It could just be a few little tweaks, but remember that nothing is completely autonomous. There’s no such thing as fully passive income, forever lasting sales funnels. Even for a car, you have to change the oil periodically. That’s great, you have a car. That’s great, you have evergreen content, but even though it’s longer lasting than something trendy, remember that you do need to go back and revisit those pillars of evergreen content that you have.
- 09:37 Ben: This is especially true if you’re providing content that’s solving a problem. In order to make it practical, most of the time, it necessitates that you get into tools that are current in order to make what you’re talking about practical. You can’t always avoid that, because doing so might make your content too vague. Being mindful of that is a step in the right direction.
- 10:09 Sean: Be mindful, because vagueness is a real challenge. If I never said YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and I said “places on the internet that you could post things where other people could see it,” it’s almost too vague to where it’s doing a disservice to people.
Use Trends to Funnel People to Evergreen Content
- 10:40 If you have evergreen content, it does a number of things for you. Generally, really good pieces of content that stand the test of time people will continue to read, link to, and share, which Google sees as really good information highlights in the searches. When people search for things, they see your content, even if it’s from a year ago. The cycle continues, so more and more people get to read it. Say you’ve got these pillars of evergreen content—you can take those and turn them into some kind of automated course.
- 11:19 You could have a sign up for an email and promise this email course, through which periodically—every day or every few days—you send this evergreen content that you can “set it and forget it” for a while. Just make sure you’re periodically updating it. Once you have that, it becomes an asset to you. You can bring people in using trends, and then point them to your evergreen content. The entrance point could be something very relevant. Maybe there’s an event that just happened, some new Apple device was released, a big story, some kind of fashion thing going on—some big thing happened in the world. You can take that and show how it relates to this thing you’re an expert on, you’re teaching on, you’re writing on, and people can sign up to go through your evergreen content.
Through the context of an entrance point, like a trend, your evergreen content will feel hyper-relevant to your audience.
- 12:28 Ben: This reminds me of when Sean says, “Replay your greatest hits.” What do people keep coming back to? What do they keep linking to? Even though it’s something you posted years ago, now, it’s likely the reason it’s still getting action is because it’s more evergreen in nature and the content remains relevant today. I was listening to a video, a gentleman was being interviewed by Michael Hyatt, and I can’t remember his name, but he’s basically a WordPress expert. His advice was that there are a lot of plugins out there that will automatically feed related articles and that kind of thing, and he was saying that, as a content creator, the best thing you can do is to look at your stats and see what articles are getting the most traffic and attention.
- 13:31 Purposefully find an article that’s related and realize the person who’s reading relevant content that has to do with current events would also be interested in a topic that’s more evergreen. Be purposeful about positioning that so that it’s easy for them to make that link. Instead of just lazily throwing something up there and thinking, “It will cycle through the other relevant stuff and, hopefully, by chance, it will get the algorithm correct and people will read through more of the content.”
- 14:20 Sean: Don’t think of it as wanting to get people through a ton of your content, but wanting to take them on a journey. What is the better version of this person? How can I get them there? What’s relevant? A quick win would be to go through your analytics, find out what your most popular piece was in the past and if that was timeless, repurpose it. Repurposing could look like telling your story again with your current perspective, turning it into a different kind of medium, or, if you look back and you find that one of your most popular pieces was on a trendy topic for that time, think of how you could take the core of that and repurpose it for today’s time. Maybe there are some timeless aspects of that piece that did really well, but it was specifically about some kind of trendy thing. Strip away the trendiness and repurpose it. Re-present that to people.