The future of content is about creating evergreens

Stop wasting time on single used, disposable content. Start creating evergreens. Your content is your future gold.

In the last few decades we have produced more and more plastic every year. Single use, disposable plastic. We have created so much waste that we don’t know what to do with it anymore. So we try to educate people to recycle and reuse it, but we all know the best way to get rid of single use plastic products is to not create them in the first place.

So why start an article on content with a lecture on plastic? Because we are doing exactly the same thing with content. Marketers are creating so many single use, disposable pieces of content that they’ve created a flood across all channels. A colleague of mine once called it “the content soup”, following the similarity with the “plastic soup”. The only difference is that we don’t pollute the oceans with this content. What we do instead is waste our precious time, energy and money on disposable, timely content. And the reason for this is just to be ‘present’ or because companies lack a good long-term strategy and mostly focus on the short-term goals.

But what if we put our efforts into creating relevant, inspiring and evergreen content? Not only because we have to meet our targets, but because we, as marketers, are creating content that should be relevant to members of our audience whenever they are open to it or have a need for it.

Try to think back to the content you have created in the last 24 months. How many pieces of that content are still relevant at some point in your audience’s journey? Have you created a database of evergreens for your own platform? Or did most of your time and budget go to creating and distributing timely campaigns? And if you have created evergreens, do you treat them alike? Or is it just content that has been downgraded to the dungeons of your website?

Invest in evergreen content
Let me compare this to the stock market. You wouldn’t put all your money on just one share for a short-term result, would you? You will also invest in shares that will bring revenue in the long run. And of course, you’ll spread your money over different types of shares and funds. And you know what? Content is your future gold. Start investing now and you will see the results year after year. A beneficial side-effect is that it has a positive influence on your organic search results.

But how?

It’s not that hard. The only thing you have to realize is that not all of the content you create in quarter A is relevant to all audience members in that same quarter. When you invest in creating a database of evergreens, your audience can just as well consume content that was created in quarter A, in quarter B or C, or next year. Compare it to a Netflix series that is ready and waiting for audiences to binge all at once, or to consume piece by piece. Your audience decides when it wants to, feels like it or needs it. You only have to be ready.

Treat your content like evergreen content

Maybe you are already creating evergreens. But, as I mentioned before, you have to treat your content accordingly. A common pitfall is the fact that a lot of marketers are using a current situation, like the Covid-19 crisis, as an approach for their topic. There is nothing wrong with that, but is there a way to create this piece of content, or “episode”, as I’d rather call it, in a way that you can still use it next year? It could be a twist of words, another intro paragraph, or in the case of video content an additional scene that can replace the one referring to the current situation.

Divide your time and budget into evergreens, audience growth and campaigns.
Expect the same content war for brands as the one on the streaming platforms market. Content is their gold. Without content neither a streaming service, nor a brand has value. So rethink your strategy and your budget. Can you divide it into three investments?

1. What percentage of your budget can be allocated to create evergreens?
2. What percentage do you need to distribute content to grow your audience?
3. What percentage do you need for timely, event based, or campaign based content?

The last investment can also be done with the evergreen content you have created. Just add context, news and the date to it and distribute it. The more you focus on creating evergreens for the long term, and building the audience along the way, the more value your brand will gain over the years. And that is the most value stable investment you can get from your marketing budgets.


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