The Ultimate Guide To Creating Evergreen Content For Your Blog


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The Ultimate Guide To Creating Evergreen Content For Your Blog

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The ultimate guide to creating evergreen content for your blog

This post is based on
episode 136
 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Back in 2007 I was asked a question:

“If you could only write one type of content on your blogs
forever, what would it be?”

My answer then is the same as my answer now: evergreen
content.

What is Evergreen Content, and Why is it Important?

Evergreen content is content that stays fresh for your readers.
It doesn’t become dated, and is just as relevant years after you
wrote it.

Now while a lot of blogs are very successful without writing
evergreen content, I’ve definitely found it a great basis for my
own blog’s success.

And I’m not the only blogger who thinks this. Here’s

what Tim Ferriss said in a podcast episode back in 2015
:

If you’re building an audience, the most labor efficient way
to build an audience over time is to have evergreen content. I
write long pieces that will be more valuable from an SEO real
estate standpoint two years from the day I write it compared to the
week it launches, if that makes sense.

Were you to look at my back catalog and the stats—I’m on
WordPress VIP—or Google Analytics, you would see that my most
popular post that each get hundreds of thousands of visits per
month were written several years ago. That’s very much by design,
I’m not upset by that because I fully expect that some of the
articles I write this year, for instance my post on Practical
Thoughts on Suicide which is a very intense post, I expect that
will continue to gather steam and be spread around and shared and a
year from now will be right in the Top 10 rankings which is very
important to me.

So why write evergreen content? Because it’s a great way
to:

Help people: Evergreen content is a great investment because it
serves your readers as much in the future as when you write it. The
piece of content you publish today can potentially have a positive
impact on people in ten years’ time. That’s a pretty amazing
thing.
Get ongoing traffic: In terms of traffic, evergreen content
should cover a topic that will be searched for again and again. If
you can choose a topic that’s a growing trend – something you
think will be the next big thing in your niche – it can work out
even better.
Interlink your posts: Evergreen content is the type of content
you can refer back to in future posts. Many of the examples I’ll
give you later from Digital Photography School and ProBlogger are
cornerstone pieces of content I continue to drive traffic to from
my ongoing posts.
Engage new readers: You can link to evergreen content from
your navigation menu or sidebar. On ProBlogger,
Make Money Blogging
 is piece of evergreen content that’s
been live for years. I update it from time to time, and I continue
to drive traffic to it from blog posts as well as from our
navigation.
Share repeatedly: Evergreen content can be shared again and
again on social media. If I review a new camera, I can probably
promote it on social media for a couple of months before it becomes
less relevant. But with a blog post that won’t become dated, I
could keep sharing it for ten years.
Repurpose: Once you have evergreen content in one format, you
can repurpose it into another. For example, some of my podcast
episodes started out as pieces I’d already published on the blog.
If you have a piece of evergreen content that’s performing well,
ask yourself what other mediums you could repurpose it into.
Gather backlinks: Evergreen content also tends to be the type
of content other bloggers will want to link to, which can help you
both direct traffic from that blog’s readers and boost your
search engine rankings.

Examples of “Now” Content vs “Evergreen” Content

Now Content:
Get Excited About the New Adobe Lightroom CC

Back in 2015 we published a post on Digital Photography School
about Adobe’s new version of Lightroom – Lightroom CC. This is
what I’d call “now” content. It was massive news in our
community, as Lightroom is the most popular post-processing tool
our readers use.

That post did really well for us. In the first week after it
went life we had 12,000 page views. But then traffic tailed off.
When I looked at the stats a year later, the post had just a
handful of views – perhaps a thousand page views in that year.
And most of those were in the second and third week after the post
went live.

If your blog has mainly “now” content, you’ll probably see
similar trends. You might be able to keep traffic coming in for a
little while by re-sharing your post on social media a few times.
But ultimately this type of content doesn’t attract much ongoing
traffic.

Evergreen content looks very different.

Evergreen Content:
ISO Settings in Digital Photography

This post was an introduction to a photography concept called
ISO. If you’ve got a film camera at home, you’ll remember that
film used to have an ISO of a certain number. So this post explains
what ISO means – and in particular what it means for digital
photography today.

The day that post when live, DPS was a smaller blog. The post
got 100 page views in the first week and then it tapered off to 40
or 50 visitors a day over the second and third week – a similar
pattern to the traffic for the Lightroom post.

But then things began to grow.

A year after the post was published it was getting 200 to 300
post views per day.

Two years after it was published it was getting 700 page views
per day.

Three years after it was published it was getting 1,000 page
views per day.

Since then it’s been getting 1,000–1,500 views per day,
although it can be as high as 10,000 views on days when I reshare
it on Facebook.

Although I wrote that post in 2007, it continues to be valuable
from my readers. It gets traffic primarily from search engines, but
also from social media when I (or our readers) share it. It’s
also a post other people link to when they want to explain what ISO
is, which continues to help it grow.

The Adobe Lightroom post and the ISO post both took no more than
a couple of hours to write. But investing time and effort into the
ISO post (the evergreen content) was worth much more than investing
it into the Lightroom post (the “now” content).

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with writing about
today’s issues knowing those posts will date. We have posts like
that on both DPS and ProBlogger. But we focus our attention mostly
on evergreen content.

More Examples of Evergreen Content

Whenever I bring up evergreen content, some people say, “I
just can’t do evergreen content on my blog”. These examples
will give you a sense of the possibilities, and hopefully stimulate
some ideas for you.

Once we’ve been through the examples, I’ll give you some
tips on how to identify opportunities for evergreen content –
even on blogs where it’s not obvious.

With these examples, I went through the top five posts on both
ProBlogger and Digital Photograph School in terms of traffic.

Example #1:
Ten Ways to Take Stunning Portraits
 (DPS)

This post is typical of a lot of posts we have on Digital
Photography School. It’s fairly introductory and focuses on
portrait photography – probably the biggest category of posts we
have on the blog.

It’s a longish post at about 1,400 words. I find search
engines tend to like content that’s more than 1,000 words
long.

The post has a list format. It covers ten points, and for each
point I only really touch on the idea. I don’t go into great
depth. But each one links to further reading, so hopefully readers
will take a look at some of those, which increases the chances of
them subscribing to the blog.

This post worked really well because it was an introductory post
to a major category on the blog. I’ve done the same thing with
other categories: Landscape Photography, Macro Photography and
Wedding Photography. These posts are all designed to be actional
and practical, and to apply just as much ten years from now as they
do today.

I also published a follow-up post to this one –
Ten More Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography
. This drove
traffic back to the first post, and when people link to that post
they tend to link to the first one too.

The last reason this one worked well is because it was written
in an accessible style. People like lists. And this post has lots
of images so it’s easily scannable.

Example #2:
Rule of Thirds
 (DPS)

This post is a bit different from the first example. It’s only
600 words long, and so it’s at the shorter end of posts we wrote
on Digital Photography School. Evergreen content doesn’t have to
be long form.

It’s not a “how to” post, either. Instead it’s a “what
is” post that provides definitions. Many people will have come
across the rule of thirds, which is a rule of composition. So while
this post touches on how to apply the rule, it’s mostly about
defining what the rule is.

In most niches, definition posts are a great way to create
evergreen content. We often use terms or phrases that someone new
to the topic won’t understand.

Most readers coming to this post over the years have typed
something like “what is the rule of thirds?” into Google. We
come up number one or two, depending on where Google’s ranking
that post on a given day.

We do this type of post on ProBlogger as well. One piece we get
a lot of traffic to is
What is a Blog
? You might think that’s a silly post to write,
but it’s amazing how many people type it into Google.

Example #3:
How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent
 (DPS)

This post from Digital Photography School is about 1,100 words
long. It’s a classic step-by-step post that teaches people how
to do something, with lots of images along the way.

This one worked for a number of reasons. It’s a teaching post,
and these step-by-step guides tend to work well. It’s also a post
a lot of readers come back to. They might bookmark it to return to
later.

It’s also the type of post that tends to get shared. Even now
see people sharing this post on Twitter with friends. It seems to
be a memorable post, and one that readers refer to again and
again.

Example #4:
Long Exposure Photography: 15 Stunning Examples
 (DPS)

I wanted to include this post because it’s only 200 words long
(though the images do extend the length in some ways). It’s
built around 15 inspirational images that illustrate a particular
photography technique.

Your evergreen content doesn’t have to be a teaching post. It
could be a post made up mainly of images. If you choose the right
images they can live on as something that inspires people for years
to come.

You could also see this post as a bit of a case study that says,
“Here’s what other people have done with this technique”.

Example #5:
Posing Guide – 21 Sample Posts to Get You Started With
Photographing Women
 (DPS)

This post is 900 words long, and again has lots of images – 21
of them. It was part of a series of evergreen content that worked
well to build a large collection of linked posts. We had eight or
nine posts in this series covering photographing women, men,
couples, kids and different situations.

This is another example of words and images together. It’s not
so much a teaching post, but more of a “how I did it” or case
study post. We also found that people often saved this post on
their tablets or phones and take it with them when photographing
women so they could show people the particular poses.

Creating a post that people will read more than once increases
the evergreen nature of it, and the number of page views it will
get.

Example #6:
Can You Really Make Money Blogging [7 Things I Know About Making
Money from Blogging]
 (ProBlogger)

This is one of the most read posts we’ve ever done on
ProBlogger. It’s about 2,000 words, so it’s fairly long-form
content. It’s an example of using a frequently asked question to
create an evergreen piece. I saw a lot of people saying, “You
can’t really make money blogging,” and so this was my answer to
that.

It’s a list post, and the type of post I link back to from
other posts on ProBlogger and mention on the podcast. Sending
people to a post again and again increases the evergreen nature of
it. Every time you get people to read one of your evergreen posts
it increases the chances it will be shared or linked to, which
helps your SEO.

It’s also a bit of a myth-busting post. A myth in your
industry that won’t go away is an ideal topic for an evergreen
post.

Example #7:
The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate
Program
 (ProBlogger)

This is a truly mega post at 7,700 words long. Because it’s so
long, people tend to bookmark it for later. They often save it to
Facebook, which is a signal to Facebook that it ranks well. It’s
been linked to from a lot of different blogs (including Amazon
itself). And it’s a post I link back to from time to time.

A few of the techniques I mentioned in that post have dated
slightly, and so I’ve updated it (something we’ll come to in a
moment).

Example #8:
How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to
Pause
 (ProBlogger)

This post was an introduction to a series of posts I published
over several weeks. It links to all the ten posts in the series.
As I released each one I updated the introduction post to include
the link, so it acted as a central hub for the rest of the
series.

The ten things I mentioned in that post are as relevant today as
they were back in 2008 when I published it. Not only has that post
itself grown steadily in terms of traffic, it’s driven ongoing
traffic to the ten posts in the series as well.

I link to this post from the portals around Problogger as well,
so I’m sending traffic to it from the navigation areas on the
blog rather than just relying on Google.

Example #9:
How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the
World
 (ProBlogger)

This sounds like a bit of an aspirational post, and it is.
It’s actually a guest post Jon Morrow wrote. I really recommend
you go back and read it because it’s a story, which is another
type of evergreen content. If you’ve got a great story to tell,
it could work really well as a piece of content for your blog.

This post doesn’t date. It inspires people as much today as it
did in 2011 when we first published it on ProBlogger.

Example #10:
Ten David Ogilvy Quotes That Could Revolutionize Your
Blogging
 (ProBlogger)

This post was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t realise it
was still one of the most read posts on ProBlogger. Written in
2011, it’s just a collection of my favourite quotes from David
Ogilvy, who’s like the original Ad Man.

It’s 1,500 words, so I did add in some of my own content. I
guess people are still searching for quotes from David Ogilvy,
which is where the traffic is coming from.

These are just ten examples of pieces of evergreen content that
I’ve published on my blogs. If you want to take a look at some
examples from other niches, here are some that ProBlogger readers
have shared:


What is the best age to go to Disneyland?


11 Habits of Successful Women


DIY: Upcycle regular jeans into skinny jeans!


Bunting Tutorial


The Ultimate Guide to Airline Baby Bassinets


The Two Types Of Data You Need To Know About


Cleaning Mould off Canvas


Fairy Playdough Recipe


Foods vs. Supplements: The Turmeric vs. Curcumin Edition


All of the Examples Submitted on Facebook

What if it Seems Like Evergreen Content Won’t Work for You?

At this point you might be thinking, “Evergreen content
doesn’t really work for my niche”. I want to address that a
bit.

Evergreen content can take various forms. The examples I’ve
shared include:

“How to” posts that give readers instructions on how to
accomplish something.
Definition posts that define a key term or principle related
to your topic.
Inspirational content such as the image collections and Jon
Morrow’s story.
Advice posts that make a recommendation or tell readers what
they should do.
Swipe files or templates, which are posts designed to be used
again and again.

There are also different mediums you can use. Evergreen content
can be text, audio or video. You’re not limited to blog
posts.

For example, many of my podcast episodes are as relevant today
as when I recorded them. And my YouTube video on
Secrets of Making Money Online
 (which I published at the end
of 2010) is still getting views today.

Coming Up With Ideas for Evergreen Content

So how do you find evergreen content ideas for your blog? Here
are a few things to consider:

#1: What Questions Do You Get Asked Today That You’ve Been Asked
for Years?

Are there any questions related to your topic that just don’t
go away? With ProBlogger, a couple of these are “Can you really
make money blogging?” and “How do you make money blogging?”
Some of the best posts on ProBlogger just answer those types of
questions.

#2: What Key Challenges Do People Have?

What challenges, obstacles or problems do people have related to
your topic? On Problogger, one of these challenges is productivity.
Readers want to know how to fit it all in and get it all done.

#3: What Are Your Readers Searching For?

You can also look at what people are searching for when
they’re on your site, and what they’re searching for elsewhere
about your topic.
Google Trends
 is a good tool for looking into this.

#4: What “Cornerstones” Do People Need to Know?

Back in 2007 I wrote a series of posts on Digital Photography
School about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I consider these
three concepts to be cornerstone pieces of content. If you want to
take a well-exposed photograph, you need to learn these three
things.

Are there cornerstone things you constantly refer to on your
blog? You might never have written a whole post about them because
they seem so basic. But they can make great evergreen content,
which you can then link back to any time you mention those
concepts.

#5: What Could You Create That People Will Keep Coming Back To?

Is there something you could create that people would keep
coming back to again and again? A good example is Carla and
Emma’s post
Paleo Salted Choc Caramel Slice Recipe
. It’s such an amazing
slice (I’ve tasted it) that I bet people constantly come back to
again and again.

Another way to create something people will keep returning to is
to create a swipe file. Brian Clark wrote
Ten Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
 back in 2008 or
2009, and that post has become iconic. People constantly refer to
it, and I constantly go back to it.

#6: What Key Stories Could You Use from Your Life or Your Industry?

What key stories have there been in your life or your industry
that continue to have relevance today?

I think most of us have moments in our lives that have been
turning points for us. Think about one..

Read more: problogger.com

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