When you are having a particularly productive blogging day you might think about putting aside an emergency blog post in case you get behind or get sick. This kind of content is different to your regular blog posts because it is important to make sure that whenever you post it your blog post is still viable. Called evergreen content, this is the sort of post you can put up anytime and it will stand the test of time. With that in mind, here are a few dos and don’ts for creating evergreen content:
- Stay generic – One of the first things you should think about when creating evergreen content is to stay generic. You do not want to get into specific things like the newest cell phone. Instead pick topics that will stand the test of time. Making money, saving money, cooking, cleaning, social skills, anything that really does not change no matter how many moths go by. These generic posts also work well to give you an outline for more specific posts. You can write something generic about making money for example, and then save that one for an emergency and write something more focused like making money using your Kindle Fire. That way when you do post your evergreen content you can link back to specific examples.
- Use quotes – Quotes and citations last forever. If you write a blog post that includes details about findings, quotes from famous people, or statistics it can stick around a lot longer. Of course you want to avoid fly by night things like political polls, but other things like dropout rates in high schools will not change very quickly and will stay evergreen for quite a while. You can also go historical with your posts. By using quotes from famous people in history to back up your points you know that your post will stay usable for a long time. After all, how long have those quotes been true?
- Write How Tos and Tips – How tos and tips make for great evergreen content. Things like how to use Windows 7 will not change over time. However you do not want it to get dated so make sure you pick how tos that will be around for a while. For example, Windows XP how tos would not be a good investment of your time because it is an outdated technology. Tips for doing things easier or better are another great way to write evergreen content. Tips on when to change your car’s oil, how to get your child to go to sleep, or even how to run better all offer great information that will not change any time soon.
- Know your market – You can’t write anything well if you do not know who you are writing for. Know who your readers are and what your target market is before you write. If you know that they will always want car tips then that is great content for evergreen posts. However if you know that in summer they want ways to keep their house cool and in winter they want ways to cut their electricity rates then maybe you should not pick either of those topics for evergreen content. Instead you can talk about how to keep your house in good repair year round.
- Have pictures – Images are very powerful. You know what they say; a picture is worth a thousand words. Generic images like stock photos work well to get people’s attention without looking old or dated. You can also use historical images in your evergreen posts to make sure your blog post stays viable in the long term. Adding images to posts is a great way to get more traffic and catch readers’ attention.
- Write about current news – Things like disasters, political battles and controversies seem like they will go on forever, but in a few months everyone will forget about them. Try to avoid writing anything that is too timely if you are going for an evergreen post. Yes the Obama elections were big news, but now they are yesterday’s news.
- Talk about celebrities –Celebrity gossip comes and goes faster than a supermodel changes clothes. If you get caught up talking about what the celebs are doing then you will never get your content to stay evergreen. Even if every celeb starts wearing coral and gold, in a few months that will change and you will be left with a useless post. Celebs are best left to daily updates, not evergreen content.
- Do holiday posts – Holidays are a year round thing but what works for one will not work for another. There is nothing more frustrating than having a Christmas post lying around in May or a Halloween post still hovering in December. Instead of focusing on holidays you can go more generic with gift and craft ideas or whatever you want to talk about. That way you can give your content a few tweaks for the season and it will be ready to post.
- Do seasonal posts – Fall, winter, spring and summer make for great post topics with water sports, snow activities and more being a topic that can get your blog a lot of traffic. However these types of posts have a very set window of opportunity. True evergreen posts should be viable year round, so look elsewhere for ideas.
- Use big words – Being technical and having a big vocabulary is all well and good if you know that your readers can keep up. However if you want to write real evergreen content it might be better to tone it down a little Using words everyone can understand and cutting out the jargon can make your posts more accessible and easier to use at a later date.
- Be too general – I know I said to stay generic, but that does not mean that you should be general. Instead try to break down a general post into a group of more specific posts. Instead of writing about how to get a child to go to sleep, for example, you could write on tips to help a child wind down, how to give a soothing bath, how to read a bedtime story and so on. By breaking down a general post into smaller specific posts you can create a lot of content without overwhelming your readers.
- Assume – You know what they say about assuming, right? Well, do not assume that your readers know everything. It is a good idea to talk to readers as if they were beginners, especially if you are writing a how to article. After all, someone who knows what they are doing is not going to look up how to do it online!
Writing content that will stand the test of time is hard to do, but if you give it a little thought before you write you will find that you can do it All it takes is an awareness of topics that will not change and the knowledge of whom you are writing to. Evergreen content can boost your blog’s traffic and help you out in a pinch so it is well worth learning how to do right!
Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Computers_g62-Hand_Holding_Notebook_p57992.html
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