Nature’s Guide to Blogging in Context
At this time last year, the Hubspot blog did an experiment testing the value of evergreen content in drawing traffic to blogs. It has been a common discussion among bloggers of varied experience: creating evergreen content or creating timely content. Though many, many people tout the importance of evergreen content in the blog-o-sphere, others continue to assert that with the rise of social media, staying on top of trends and dispensing a link to Twitter and Facebook (among other sites) will ensure that your blog is getting the page views. The results of Hubspot’s promotion seem to have created a strong case for evergreen content, but does that mean ignoring current events and trends?
First, let’s start with some definitions:
Evergreen – Content that stays relevant, or “fresh,” over time.
Timely – Content that speaks to current events or trends that will “die out.”
The experts have come down in favor of evergreen content. Right now, next week, or eleven years from now, the content will still be understood. (Notice how I said “eleven years from now” and not “in 2022,” in order to avoid “dating” my content.) This content can be referred back to, or can draw in new readers despite being months or years old. For example, an article about abdominal workout techniques can be read in winter or summer, right now or a decade from now. The content won’t expire—barring any crazy scientific news saying that having strong abs is bad for your health.
It should be noted, though, that many say evergreen content doesn’t mean it can’t be seasonal. An killer margarita recipe may only work in the warm weather, around Cinco de Mayo, but it can work every Cinco de Mayo.
However, is this verdict claiming that bloggers should shut themselves out from the world and merely create quality content about things that have no context in the outside world? Absolutely not. It means you direct timely material toward your audience, funneling the ideas in a way that could always stay fresh.
All bloggers should be keeping up with the news giants—The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today—and RSS feeds that speak toward the niche and audience in which the blogger speaks. Always stay aware of trends, follow the news, understand the context in which you are writing.
If I’m a wedding blogger, in theory I want to be considered a wedding expert. So if I were blogging in April 2011, I would not overlook the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. It would be a nick in my expert armor to pass over an opportunity to weigh in on a newsworthy story in my industry. However, there are ways to keep an evergreen edge in your coverage; it doesn’t have to be a straight news story. You can discuss how it relates to wedding fashion in the modern times. Or it could be a blog about social aspects of weddings, how friends react to engagements and what that means.
What about the conflicts in the Middle East? Take the current events in Libya or Egypt and blog about how it may relate to U.S. history of involvement in international affairs, or revolts against government in the modern and historical times and what they say about the progression of ideals. Use a new product launch by a food company to make an evergreen how-to recipe. Grab at the evergreen content in a typical new story. Not only will it help your traffic, but it will give your content a unique edge by saying something that not everyone else is or already has. And quality content will keep readers coming back.