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The Blog Your Blog Could Look Like: Data on the Impact of Evergreen Content

evergreen_contentThere is a lot of talk out there about how writing more blog posts will get you to the blogging promise land where your blog generates a ton of new visitors and leads every week. You've seen the data -- you know that if you publish more, you'll start to see more and more results. 

But not all blog posts are created equal. Publishing more of the wrong content won't get you the results you need.

Should you be publishing posts on the latest and greatest news in your industry? Or should you be sticking with evergreen, tried-and-true topics? What's the best content balance to help you grow your blog?

Truthfully, you're going to need to beef up your blog with the latter -- evergreen content. Keep on reading to see the data on why evergreen is a better bet for your blog growth.

What Exactly Is Evergreen Blog Content Anyway?

Just like a New England pine tree, an evergreen blog post stays relevant and useful from season to season and requires very little maintenance. It can be referenced long after it was originally published, and even then, it's still valuable to the reader. Some marketers define evergreen content as timeless, canonical, and valuable.

How Does Non-Evergreen Content Typically Perform?

For many people, when they post that blog about a new Google algorithm change or about their take-away from a conference they attended, they see a spike in traffic. This is because at the time that is industry news and you can piggyback off of that wave -- we call these posts "topical."

Topical posts can be good for your blog. A conference recap is an easy piece of content to write, it achieves a decent spike in traffic, and can show thought leadership about an industry event. Unfortunately, this content will generate little to no visits months or years down the road. How many people out there are still searching for a conference from several years ago?

A great example of this is a blog post written by our Co-founder Dharmesh Shah. He wrote a post for INBOUND 2013 that generated over 2,500 hits in the first few weeks after it was posted -- but last month, it only generated 44 views. The takeaway here is that Dharmesh took some time out of his busy schedule to write a blog post that has generated 3,200 visits since last year, with nearly 80% of those visits coming within the first week.

Topical_Content_Example

If someone wrote only topical content and was very consistent in their posting they would continue to generate hits, however it is very hard to generate significant, long-term growth through these methods. There would be peaks based on a publication and valleys on the days when nothing was posted. This is what you could expect your traffic to look like:

Monthly_Performance_of_Topical_Blog

How Does Evergreen Content Typically Perform?

On the other hand, an evergreen post will typically get most of its visits over time. You may see a small spike in traffic the first day you post it because it is emailed to your blog subscribers or automatically posted to social media, but the majority of its success will come in the weeks and months after publish time.

An example of this phenomenon comes from a post from my coworker, Pamela Vaughan. She wrote the post below, called “How to Create an Infographic in an Hour or Less.” This is something that people will continue to search for a while into the future.

Evergreen_Content_Example

This post came out eight days after the INBOUND 2013 post referenced earlier. To date, it generated nearly 70,000 views -- and more importantly, roughly 5,000 were from last month. Compared to the INBOUND 2013 post, this infographic post has generated over 100X more visits nearly a year later.

If someone only wrote evergreen blog content the graph would look something like the graph below -- peaks when posts are first published (thanks to blog subscribers and social media followers), but the overall traffic never really hits zero over time. As you continue to write more evergreen blogs, those long tails of traffic stack on top of one another, getting you further and further away from zero.

Monthly_Performance_of_Evergreen_Blog

What Does This Mean for the Average Business Blogger?

Before you get started with a post, it's important to identify which type of post you are writing. Ask yourself: “Is this going to be relevant six months to a year from now?” If not, then you are probably not writing an evergreen post. This does not mean to stop writing that post, but maybe after you publish that timely post, you spend more time publishing several evergreen pieces of content. 

Our suggestion is to make the majority of your posts evergreen. Those topical blogs have a place in your strategy, but your prospects will be looking for those helpful evergreen blog posts months down the road -- and you want them to find your blog.

So continue to push yourself to come up with blog content that will be helpful over time. Those are the posts that generate links over time, organic search visits over time, and leads over time. Creating evergreen blog posts is a long-term success strategy, and if you stick to it, it can provide great return on your investment in the long run.

How many of your blog posts are evergreen? What tools or tactics do you use to help generate more evergreen blogs for your blog?

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