The Complete List of Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog

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Tree ringsA good tweet peaks at 18 minutes. An evergreen blog post lasts for years.

It’s crazy to see the disparity between two pieces of content that we all create on a regular basis. It’s a little reassuring, too, that some things we make online have a chance to endure.

Having this long-lasting content on your blog and in your archives is a boon to traffic, social sharing, and more. Chances are good your site already has some evergreen articles, whether you intended to make them evergreen or not. These dependable performers are great to have around. I’m happy to share some ways to work more of them into your content strategy.

What makes a piece of content evergreen

Evergreen content is quality, useful content that is relevant to readers for a long period of time.

I assume all of us are already creating quality, useful content by default. The key with evergreen then is that this quality content means something to a visitor who found the post the day it was published and one who happened upon it six months later.

There is no specific length of time for how long evergreen content remains relevant. Some evergreen content lasts forever. Some lasts a year or two. As long as the post can be linked to and gain traffic long after it is originally published, it qualifies as evergreen.

The draw of evergreen content, as Moz.com puts it, is continued, sustained success.

Amazing content—evergreen or not—is highly likely to generate ongoing interest, engagement, links, and traffic, leading to increased sales/conversions and brand awareness.

Couple amazing content with timelessness, and you start to see the value of evergreen. Traffic, engagement, and conversions don’t just peak once and then trail off. They grow over time.

Here is a graph of what visits look like on a typical blog post—peaking on the date of publishing and dwindling in the days after.

Normal content traffic graph

With evergreen content, you’ll find a graph like the one below, which reflects visits and growth long after the original publish date.

Evergreen content traffic graph

The one big question for creating evergreen content

If you plan on working evergreen content into your strategy (and with traffic graphs like the one above, it sure is enticing), you have the advantage of being proactive and setting your content up for sustained success. The best way to guide this process, according to Hubspot, is to keep in mind this vital question:

Will people still read this and think it’s interesting a year from now?

That’s the goal of evergreen.

Evergreen content must hold its relevancy over time or else it risks losing its value. The Big Question—will this content endure?—is thankfully something you can control, to a degree, by taking steps to ensure that your evergreen content is set up for success. Keep creating amazing content, and follow these guidelines to make the amazing timeless.

3 keys to creating evergreen content

  1. Be the definitive source
  2. Write for beginners
  3. Narrow your topic

1. Be the definitive source

Your evergreen post will be the ultimate resource for the topic you cover. Be thorough, be complete. Spend more time on it than you would a typical piece of content.

If being definitive means writing lots of words, then so be it. In fact, long posts might even come with an extra advantage. Posts 2,000 words or more are being highlighted on Google search results pages under the heading of “in-depth articles,” and these posts are getting the Page One treatment for searches.

Google's in-depth articles listings

Copyblogger and Search Engine Watch have helpful guides for making sure your evergreen content is accessible for these high-profile Google spots.

Write for beginners

The definitive nature of evergreen content might seem like it lends itself well to experts. As Megan Marrs of WordStream points out, the opposite is actually true.

Experts are less likely to be searching for help—your audience is primarily beginners, and you want to generate content aimed at them.

With this in mind, it is important to avoid showing off your expertise on a topic by talking over the heads of your audience. Avoid technical language and complicated terminology. It is possible to be both definitive and write for the everyman.

Narrow your topic

Choosing a specific topic holds a couple advantages:

  1. Specific topics are easier for readers to grasp and stick with
  2. Specific topics are easier to write

When possible, you can string together a handful of narrowed topics into a series. Write about related posts around a main subject, link these posts together (bonus SEO boost for internal linking), and voila! For instance, “How to Create a Facebook Business Page” and “How to Build Your First Facebook Ad” could go into a Facebook Business series.

The complete list of evergreen content ideas

As long as the content serves the purpose of timelessness and quality, the post itself can take virtually any form. That being said, there are some common evergreen content post types that seem to work best.

How-to posts and tutorials

Examples:

Historical posts and origin stories

Examples:

Encyclopedic posts and informational posts

Examples:

Resource lists of curated content / Top tips

Examples:

Answers to industry FAQs

Examples:

 

Examples of non-evergreen content

What is the opposite of an evergreen? A willow? An aspen? Call it what you want, these types of posts lack the longevity and timelessness of evergreen content, but they could still serve as helpful articles in a content plan.

Data and statistics

Examples:

  •  The 20 Most Important Marketing Stats of 2013
  • What the Latest Numbers on Facebook and Twitter Usage Mean for Your Business

Speculation and opinion

Examples:

  • Why iOS7 Is a Bad Idea
  • Looking Ahead: The Future of Blogging in 2014

Event-specific content

Examples:

  • The Top Ways to Tweet Your Winter Olympics Coverage
  • The Ultimate List of Christmas Vector Images

Breaking news

Examples:

  • Complete Coverage of the Twitter IPO
  • What the Nintendo Wii U Announcement Means for Gamers

How to share evergreen content

With all this great content to share, the question then becomes how. Leveraging evergreen content is where the things get fun—you get to reap the benefits of your hard work, again and again and again!

Promote evergreen blog content on social media

Evergreen content makes for ideal fodder for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. The content is, if you followed the above guidelines, some of your best work. It can be Tweeted and posted more than the standard one or two times on its publish date.

We’ve written before about the benefits of reposting content: 1) more traffic, 2) hitting multiple time zones, 3) reaching new followers. We regularly post old Buffer blog posts to our social accounts and continue to see good results. Here’s a post from August 2012 that we shared to Twitter just last week:

sleep

Some sites hide or remove the publish dates on their posts (a hot debate to be sure—do you love it or loathe it?). This literally gives the content a timeless impression. Visitors don’t know the content is a year old, and in theory, they shouldn’t need to.

Others go so far as to republish their evergreen content, posting the same article that appeared before—a rather straightforward interpretation of repurposing content. If you decide to do this, it may be a good idea to reference that the content was originally published earlier and is being reposted because it is amazing. I have always found it helpful when authors explain the genesis of the posts I read, especially if they’re redos.

Create an evergreen hub on your site

This hub can take many different forms:

  • “Start Here” page
  • A menu link to training guides
  • Top posts widget in a sidebar

Popular Posts widget example - Help Scout

(Popular posts widget as seen on the Help Scout blog.)

Call attention to these posts on your site somewhere, as prominently as you are comfortable. Remember: This is your best work. It can be one of your go-to tools for attracting new readers and customers.

Link to evergreen blog content in other content

The art of internal linking is a topic that I cannot do justice with just one paragraph. Just know that linking to your evergreen content from within regular blog posts and other places on your site is good for building traffic, promoting pages, and boosting SEO. We aim to link internally to 10 to 12 different Buffer articles within each post here on our blog.

Takeaways

The timelessness of evergreen content ensures that it stays relevant.

The high quality of evergreen content ensures that it gets traffic.

With new emphases on longform writing and in-depth articles (with a boost from Google), evergreen content is now more valuable than ever. Creating definitive articles and resources on topics that are relevant to your audience can be huge for driving traffic and conversion, and your arsenal of timeless posts are ideal for sharing on social media.

Evergreen content ensures you always have something to share. Who wouldn’t want that?

What kind of evergreen content do you find yourself always coming back to? What has worked wonders for you on your blog? I’d love to hear your success stories, your experiments, and your thoughts!

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like The Ideal Length of All Online Content and The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.

Image credits: Honor Photo Bar, Moz.com.

  • Karthikeyan

    Oh Kevan!

  • http://jonlim.ca/ Jon Lim

    Speaking from experience, tutorials and how-tos (properly worded and titled!) are the vast majority of my blog’s traffic.

    Thankfully I run into so many personal problems that I find solutions to that finding the content is never that difficult.

    Thanks for sharing this list!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Awesome, Jon! Our how-tos and “the science of” are always big for us, too. Great point about making sure these are properly worded and titled. :)

  • Caroline

    Good point on starting beginner. I’m drafting a blog post right now about writing for your audience’s level of knowledge. It’s always difficult to find a balance between too beginner or too advanced (and how that positions your business).

  • Dennis Yeomans

    I blogged evergreen content but had no idea that I was doing so at the time. As a fundraiser I published “70 Fundraising Ideas for Small Voluntary Groups”
    over 2 years ago and it’s still being read now.
    http://dennisyeomans.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/70-fundraising-ideas-for-small-voluntarycommunity-groups-ok-for-small-sums-of-money-but-youll-need-bigger-plans-for-raising-larger-sums/

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Awesome to hear, Dennis!

  • http://www.hijos-del-atomo.com/ Christian Orellana

    This is incredibly useful, specially the examples. I always try to include some evergreen content in my portal, and this article gives me some good starting points. Thank you very much!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Right on, Christian! Glad you can take some ideas away from here.

  • Monica

    Kevin, I fail to understand how do you do this each time. Write around one great topic and share your vast knowledge with others, so that they can benefit from it as well. I just love reading all your posts.
    Way to go! :)

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Wow! Thanks so much for saying this, Monica. Really glad you find this info helpful. :)

  • http://tonimcnulty.com Toni McNulty

    I subscribe to several social media blogs. Some of them sit in my inbox for days. Yours gets opened right away. I always either learn something new, or it triggers some action I’ve been meaning to take but keep putting off. Thanks!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Wow, Toni! That’s so amazing to hear. :) Thank YOU for taking the time to tell us that!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Wow, that’s the kind of comment all writers online yearn for, way to go Kevan and Courtney! (I’m been silently reading :))

  • http://www.thewebsitemanagers.com Thea Woods

    Another great post — thanks Kevan! Definitely bookmarking and Evernoting (is that a word?) this one for sure. To answer your question – a few people who I think provide a lot of evergreen content are some of my entrepreneurial heroes: Dani Johnson, Jim Cockrum, Frank Kern, Marie Forleo, etc… When I need a virtual kick-in-the-a**, I can read some of their old posts and/or watch some of their videos on YouTube (another great source for evergreen “content”) to get back on track, or remotivate (I think I just made that word up too…mah bad!) myself.

    And now, I can add Buffer to this list. Seriously! Like Toni McNulty commented below, since I started following your blogs a few months ago, I check my email to see if you posted anything new. I almost always read it — even the technical stuff on the Open Blog that often boggles my mind; yet I still can’t help but to read it (albeit, SLOWLY)! :) Anywho – thanks again.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      I read some of those Open blog posts slowly, too! Thanks for the kind words, Thea. :)

  • Khuram Dhanani

    Surely a valuable contribution, Kevan. I also think we should update long length content with new tips, news and society trends from time to time. They do really amazing jobs in relation to increasing traffic:- Khuram Dhanani

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Khuram! Sometimes keeping these old posts fresh is a lot easier than starting over from scratch, isn’t it? And you get the old SEO benefits to boot. :)

  • http://www.thetolkienist.com/ Marcel Aubron-Bülles

    I think it is truly important to see any given topic from different angles as it all “puts it in perspective” :) However, the Buffer blog really is a great first place to start.

    So, when is Buffer’s first book due for publication?

    “Sharing the world.
    How to have fun doing so and be successful at the same time.”

    • Courtney Seiter

      I LOVE this idea, Marcel! We’ll get to work! :)

      • http://www.thetolkienist.com/ Marcel Aubron-Bülles

        You will have to work on a snappier title but I am quite sure you’ll know how :) Best of luck!

  • ronellsmith

    COurtney and Kevan, We need to turn the dial down, folks. You’re making folks look bayad :) Awe-damn-some squared.

    RS

  • http://www.referralcandy.com/ Visakan @ ReferralCandy

    And you’ve written the evergreen post on how to write evergreen posts. You sly bugger. #respect

  • Jerry

    Thanks for this. Caroline also commented on your advice to write for the beginner. I see how this maximizes your potential audience, but what about a definitive article written at a more advanced level for those that want to dig deeper?

  • Iola Goulton

    Good points.
    Personally, I like to see the dates on posts, because evergreen content can still date, especially when it’s referring to a third party website who change their processes (e.g. Amazon, if the post is aimed at authors). Dates show the information is outdated … not wrong.

  • http://www.philosophyguides.org/ Suguru Hirahara

    Thanks for the great tip. Now I’m sure I’ve created quite evergreen content – guide of philosophy for beginners :-)

  • Jimmie

    Kevan, you are fantastic. I’ve saved so many of your posts, I may have to create a “Kevan Koolness” Evernote tag, for serious.

  • Andrew Daum

    Great stuff Kevan.

  • بازی