Writing blog posts that stay relevant long past their original publish date provides a big bang for your marketing buck. By turning up in searches and drawing traffic to your website for the long term, those timeless articles are valuable digital assets. Crafting them can prove to be a challenge, though, as so many aspects of business and technology change rapidly.
To help in your efforts to create blog content that offers value for a long time, here are some key points to keep in mind.
1. Select topics with staying power
As you brainstorm topics, consider what information related to your business or industry stays consistent over time. What rarely changes regardless of technological advancements, the regulatory climate and other factors.
Some examples of the types of blog topics that usually aren’t time sensitive include:
- Backstories of how something came to be in your industry or business
- Customer successes that resulted from using your company’s products and services
- Explanations of industry concepts or terminology
- Tips and advice articles that touch on non-tech topics (this post, for example)
In your evergreen content creation efforts, avoid topics that will prove useful for only a short span of time.
- Current trends
- Statistics-heavy articles
- Breaking news
That’s not to say these types of topics won’t be effective for your marketing and SEO efforts. They certainly can be. However, realize they will have a limited shelf life.
2. Choose formats that keep readers coming back for more
While the types of posts you write won’t automatically make them “evergreen,” certain formats tend to draw more interest and traffic than others.
- How-tos and “Steps to … ” posts
- Listicles (“The Top 10 Ways to … ,” “9 Resources to Help You … ,” etc.)
- Tips articles (“11 Tips to Improve … ,” “3 Tips to Get More From … ,” ec.)
3. Do keyword research
Choosing the right keywords will help evergreen content get found and attract more readers. General keywords and phrases have a lot of competition in search, so aim to use long-tail keywords to better your chances of ranking more prominently in the SERP. Although they don’t generate as high a search volume as more popular keywords, they will be geared toward your target audience’s needs and stand a better chance of attracting readers with a genuine interest in the information you’re providing.
A few of the keyword research tools you might find useful include SEMrush, Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz’s SERP analysis tool.
4. Write well.
When you take the time to put some quality-control measures in place for your blog posts, you can help ensure their longevity.
- Make meaningful content — not reaching an ideal word count — your priority.
- Maintain a consistent brand voice.
- Make readers feel at ease by using a conversational tone (unless your audience expects formality from your brand).
- Refrain from using industry jargon that most readers won’t understand. If you feel you must use jargon, provide a short explanation of terms that might cause confusion.
- Structure your posts so they have a logical flow, and use headings (e.g., h2, h3, h4) to emphasize the main points within your articles.
- Break long chunks of content into shorter paragraphs and bulleted or numbered lists to make your post easier on readers’ eyes.
- Edit, proofread and fine-tune your content. I recommend getting at least one other person to review what you write to pick up on any errors or needs for improvement that you might have missed. Also, consider using the grammar-checking app Grammarly, which has a free and a Premium version (with advanced features).
5. Take some SEO optimization measures
To help get your evergreen content on the radar in Google and capture people’s interest, here are some basic SEO tips to apply:
- Include your focus keyword in your blog post title and near the beginning of your article (preferably within the first 100 words).
- Incorporate relevant long-tail keywords in your subheadings.
- Use images, videos, infographics or other visual elements in your blog posts to attract more reader interest and keep visitors on your page longer.
- Write irresistible meta descriptions that will make people feel compelled to click through to read your post.
6. Update well-performing, time-sensitive articles to make them evergreen
Review your web analytics regularly to see which blog posts are performing well. If some of your top performers are posts that don’t fit the M.O. of “evergreen,” put them on a watch list and refresh them regularly to keep them current. A few examples of what to look for include:
- Statistics that are out of date. For instance, if a research organization does the same survey every year, replace last year’s findings with the current year’s results.
- New features that have been added to a product about which you reviewed or provided tips.
- New tools or apps that have been developed since you published a resources round-up post.
- “Best practices” that are no longer considered “best.”
After you’ve updated a past post, either republish to breathe new life into it or reinvent it as a new post if it needs additional tweaks to make it timely (such as in the case of a post like, “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing in 2015,” which wouldn’t make sense to republish it “as is” in 2018).
Final Thoughts on Giving Blog Content Timeless Appeal
Blog content that stands the test of time offers long-standing value to your readers and ongoing marketing benefits for your company. To reap optimal results, approach it as a part of your overall branding, content marketing and SEO strategy so that it aligns with your business’s goals and objectives.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading digital marketing firm in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.