What Is Evergreen Content?
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.
- 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