Ideally, your blog should have a mixture of both trending and evergreen content—striking a healthy balance between trendy and timeless. Easier said than done, right?
What makes a blog post evergreen? Content marketing expert Megan Mars explains that evergreen content, like the evergreen tree, never dies off. “Anything written about this year’s presidential election, for example, is not evergreen content because it will become obsolete six months from now and many keywords associated with that topic will end up in the Google graveyard, never to be searched again,” warns Mars.
On the flipside, timely and trending content captures what people are interested in right now, driving traffic to your blog or social media account. “By its nature, recent content — that is, content focused on the latest news or market developments — can have a short shelf life,” says Gregg Frieshtat of the Content Marketing Institute, “and requires you to repeatedly replenish your content stream with the newest information.”
If a music blog only writes about the best new albums each month, their archives would be filled with out-of-date content of little use to new readers. On the other hand, if the same site only focused on definitions, how-to posts, and lists (in other words, the most popular flavors of evergreen content), they would fall behind the times and appear out of touch with the current music scene.
So what should you do?
Know your industry’s cycle. To everything there is a season—including your business. Knowing when certain information will be useful to your readers is key to planning your posts. If you write for CPAs, then the months leading up to April 15th are a good time to talk about tax preparation. If you’re a fashion blogger, then your posts will probably reflect the latest collections from the runway each season.
Watch for Trending Topics on Twitter, but make sure you double-check the origin of trending hashtags before you jump in. DiGiorno Pizza’s team usually plays the social media game well, but in 2014 they made a huge blunder by using the trending hashtag #whyIstayed. “If they had bothered to research the hashtag,” reports Austen Fracchia for Business 2 Community, “they would have found that the ‘#WhyIStayed’ hashtag was being used to share stories of domestic abuse. Once DiGiornio discovered their blunder they quickly deleted the tweet and made two apologetic statements.”
When planning Grammarly’s editorial calendar, we often look at upcoming holidays and celebrations—the wackier the better! For example, did you know that February is National Canned Goods Month? No matter your industry, you’ll find a treasure trove of weird holidays that can anchor your posts to a specific point in time.
That covers the trending content, but what about evergreen posts?
Listen to your readers to find out what’s really relevant to them. You can do this directly through a survey or by examining your site’s metrics to find out which posts garner the most page views, shares, and comments. It’s also a good idea to check out your competitors’ blogs to see which posts are most popular on their sites.
Start at the beginning with how-to content directed toward newbies. According to Ramsey Taplin of Blog Tyrant, “almost all of the people reading your blog are just starting out in the particular topic that you’re writing about.” Taplin advises creating a foundation of tutorials and other content aimed at beginners.
Regardless of whether your posts are cutting edge or evergreen, always make sure that you take the time to proofread. Trendy topics may not last forever, but your archives do—so make sure that every post is error free.
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