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What Is Evergreen Content?

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing expert and advocate. Author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. Former trade newspaper editor.

Just as the trees and shrubs for which it is named, evergreen content is information that can be fresh and relevant for long periods of time. This content can be written works, as well as audio, video, and works of art.

Creating evergreen content can be a way to extend creative and writing sales opportunities into the future. For nonfiction, evergreen topics may benefit from improved search engine ranking (SEO) due to their continued relevance and reference value, especially if targeted keywords are included.

Examples of Evergreen Content (and What Isn't)

What makes content evergreen? The topics covered in evergreen articles, essays, books, videos, and audio works are those that people have been concerned about or interested in for many years, sometimes decades or even centuries. Though the topics listed here do have a long "shelf life," they do evolve over time and may require updating.

Though not an exhaustive list, some examples of evergreen content could include (in alphabetical, not necessarily popular, order):

  • Animals, plants, nature, and gardening.
  • Art and music, along with techniques, critique, and history.
  • Biographies.
  • Business skills, principles, and philosophy.
  • Cooking techniques, tips, recipes, and ingredients.
  • Crafting techniques, designs, and projects.
  • Fiction of all types and critique of it.
  • History, historical research and analysis.
  • Psychology and relationship issues.
  • Religion, philosophy, and spirituality.
  • Sports explanations, rules, and history.
  • Travel destinations and landmarks.
  • Writing technique, critique, and reference works (i.e. dictionaries).

Need proof that some of these topics are evergreen? Check the list of the world's most popular books on Wikipedia. Some of them have been selling for hundreds of years! That list does not include religious or philosophical works since estimates of distribution are difficult to obtain. However, the Bible and Qur'an have been "selling" for thousands of years with estimates in the hundreds of millions of copies.

More interesting is to look at what's not on this list. For example, health is a topic that has been a human concern for millennia and some principles (such as yoga or anatomy) are timeless and universal. However, attitudes and developments on it change so frequently that what might be considered healthy or safe practice today may become a health hazard or problem tomorrow. Scary territory indeed for any writer or publisher since it requires constant monitoring and updating.

Other topics that have limited life include anything on computers, the Internet, technology, fashion, science, news, politics and regulations, sports, product reviews, advertising, and celebrities. The only time these constantly changing topics could become evergreen is when they are critiqued or discussed from a historical perspective.

When Evergreen Becomes "Nevergreen"

Even though many of the evergreen topics may be relevant year after year, individual topics or works within these areas may become irrelevant due to a variety of factors including:

  • Changes in consumer tastes.
  • Technological developments.
  • Changes in philosophical thought and ethics.
  • Issue is no longer newsworthy.
  • Law or regulation changes.
  • Changes in demographics.

These changes will affect the sales potential of any evergreen content. However, works may have some historical value. The writer or creator needs to continuously evaluate and adjust market pricing and demand for future sales opportunities.

Luckily, flexible online (blogs and websites) and self-publishing platforms allow for easier updates of existing content.

Is Your Content Ready for Retirement?

Since I've been very active in the areas of social media and mobile marketing, a book with tips for small business seemed like a natural fit. So I published it.

Then, the world changed.

The FCC (Federal Communication Commission) rolled out new regulations governing how things needed to be handled in the mobile marketing arena. Was my content still relevant? The basic principles were rock solid and still would be helpful today. However, to keep the book updated and compliant would have been a continuing nightmare. So I retired the title.

Lessons learned? Steer clear of technology topics if going for evergreen relevance. Also monitor the topic's environment on a regular basis to determine if changes, or even retirement, is a prudent path.

How Evergreen are You?

Look over your writing inventory and log how much is evergreen. Low percentage? Maybe that's why traffic and sales are low are dropping. Might be time to rethink topics.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne

Comments

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on January 18, 2015:

Hi alexadry! I have several holiday hubs myself and they also just get seasonal traffic. Sorry to hear they've been un-featured. That's odd. I'd contact the HP staff to see if they'd reconsider based on the seasonality of the topic. Glad you found the info helpful. Have a great week ahead!

Adrienne Farricelli on January 18, 2015:

This is a wonderful hub. Just the other day, I saw several of my hubs un-featured and noticed they had a common factor: they were discussing about dangers to pets for the holidays. It makes senses as these rarely get any traffic during the year, other than around those holidays. Voted up and useful.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 07, 2014:

Hi AudreyHowitt! Yes, a lot of times we writers talk about evergreen content, but never really think about what that really means. Hope it helped your thought process. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

Audrey Howitt from California on May 07, 2014:

A really useful question! One that I think we all have to answer

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 07, 2014:

Yes, Peggy W, history, pets and plants are perennial favorites that have long shelf lives. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and sharing! Have a great day!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2014:

This is a good explanation of what is and is not evergreen by way of topics. Historic sites are always a good topic as well as plants and pets among others. Up votes and sharing.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 07, 2014:

Hi mary615! Your hub about turning our ashes into growing oak trees fits right in here. :) We should always be looking to create our legacy for the future. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 07, 2014:

You are SO right. My best performing Hubs are those that are evergreen. A couple of my health Hubs do well because the conditions are ever present with people. Pet Hubs always are sought after Very informative Hub.

Voted UP and shared.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on May 01, 2014:

Thanks, Anna Haven, for your comments! Staying on top of the topics we writers cover is one of our biggest challenges these days. Have a terrific day!

Anna Haven from Scotland on May 01, 2014:

A useful and helpful article.

It is true that when you consider the rapid changes in certain areas of our world that it would be very difficult to stay on top of them.

Sound advice and I am sure welcomed by many.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 29, 2014:

Agreed, rebeccamealey! I don't know which one is in a greater state of constant change: health or technology. I write professionally for a blog on using mobile technology and it's a real challenge to write posts that won't be obsolete by the time they get posted. So I focus on overall strategy and principles--as opposed to this or that device--so that it will apply regardless of what changes in the mobile space. Quite a trick sometimes. Thanks for chiming in and have a lovely day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 29, 2014:

Hi rajan jolly! I had to really think about whether health is or is not an evergreen topic. Let's put it like this: The topic is evergreen, but the information about it often is not. Luckily for you, a lot of the information you provide on various ingredients and plants has a really long shelf life. You're never one to veer off into "diet of the day" type of information and what you offer is sooooo helpful and interesting. Keep on writing the good stuff on all the good stuff for us! Appreciate your comments and sharing. Have a beautiful day!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 29, 2014:

Got that right, UnnamedHarald! Since you're a history buff, I'm sure you've run across health advice from decades or centuries (or even a few weeks) ago that is so off the mark with accepted current practice that it's hard to believe that anyone believed it! Health is always a concern, but the information for it is in a constant state of flux. And as you note, that information can often be used for scare tactics. Thanks for adding your insight to the conversation! Have a great and health-filled day!

David Hunt from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 29, 2014:

I guess I can understand why health topics are generally not evergreen. Eggs are bad for you. Eggs are good for you. Butter is bad for you. Margarine is bad for you. Don't drink alcohol. A little alcohol is good for you. Don't drink coffee. Drink coffee. Evergreen? I rarely pay attention to the health news of the DAY, let alone what was said a couple years ago. Usually it's from someone trying to make a name for themselves or a company trying to get in your wallet with scare tactics.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 29, 2014:

This is a great explanation of what is and is not evergreen content. Hadn't thought about health issues, but you are right. It changes so much, like technology. Thanks!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 29, 2014:

This is very interesting, Heidi. I never thought health would be listed as a non evergreen content. True information on health needs updating with the latest on the relevant topics.

voted up, interesting and shared.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 27, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, I should have just put CATS as a separate evergreen category by itself. :-D So do you wear a button that says, "The Cat on my Lap Made Me Post That?"

It is tough for newbies either on HP or blogs to figure out what's worthwhile in terms of traffic and income ops. I remember how unfocused I was starting out.

Thanks to you and Cat for commenting! Happy Sunday!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 27, 2014:

Hello Purpose Embraced! Glad you found the information helpful. Some topics just never lose popularity. Good thing they're some niches you write about! Have a great day!

Yvette Stupart PhD from Jamaica on April 26, 2014:

Thanks for your informative hub; you listed my niche areas as evergreens. It is important to know what are evergreen topics especially when you write on cites like HubPages.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 26, 2014:

If there's one thing that will always be evergreen, it's CATS. And they're so freaking cute! (I'm biased, and the cat on my lap told me to post that.)

I bet you get a lot of interest of this hub, Heidi, especially from newbies who want to learn. I remember being new and trying to get all the lingo straight. Helpful stuff! Voted up and more, and sharing.

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