Being evergreen is not always a good thing. Sometimes you can miss opportunities to comment on current events in a meaningful way. Thus you appear disconnected from your audience.
"Evergreen" is said to be the king of content. This type of content is always relevant and can be used over and over again. But why is it so important and are there any pitfalls to using it?
What does it mean to be evergreen?
Evergreen content refers to high quality, always relevant, but not time specific social media posts, articles, blog posts, or other such content. Think of a spruce tree (traditional Christmas tree). It is always green, hence the term evergreen. Evergreen content works the same way.
A list highlighting the best Google SEO practices of 2012 would not be evergreen because it only applies to 2012 and thus would be expired information after that. Even if it wasn't limited to 2012 alone, it still wouldn't be evergreen because the information would be outdated as soon as Google changes its SEO practices which could happen a day after the article is posted.
No easy task
Creating evergreen content is hard. It must always be relevant and helpful to your audience. It can't seem forced or out of place. An example could include an inspirational quote from your CEO or a video explaining time saving tips for your morning routine. A step-by-step user guide on the latest smartphone, though helpful, would not be evergreen, since phone models change every year.
It can take hours and hours to craft the perfect evergreen content. Even if you stumble upon something evergreen on the internet, somebody took time to make it. You will find that it takes less time to create original evergreen material than to find something that works for your specific company created by someone else. A tip is that when you are building your content, ask yourself this question, "Can I turn this into evergreen content by eliminating time or place specific wording?"
The pros and cons of evergreen content
One advantage is that because the content is always relevant and not time specific, you can share it at any time and over and over again. This applies to evergreen information that you found from someone else and you saved to a file to be used at a later date or evergreen content that you created in the past and you decide to share again.
Another benefit is that when you are in a pinch evergreen can be used. So when the news cycle is slow, your company hasn't launched any new products, or you are just plain out of ideas, then you can post some evergreen content that you have on file.
At this point you might be thinking, "Evergreen seems great! I'm gonna only use it from now on." That would be a mistake. A downside of only posting evergreen is that you miss out on current events. One of the joys of the internet age is analyzing and commenting on other companies' product launches or new legislation that gets passed in real time. Something that is evergreen from months ago won't have the same impact on your audience.
Another downside is that evergreen can easily turn into simplistic if the marketer becomes lazy. A cute quote might be fun every once in a while, but if this fills up social media posts, then your audience will lose interest. Most quotes are vague and often taken out of context.
The final flaw of evergreen involves borrowing too much from others. There is no such thing as a perfectly evergreen article. It cannot apply to every single industry. Lacking specifics means that it also lacks depth. You might be able to build original evergreen material specific to your industry, but trusting purely in others will disappoint you.
The key to mastering evergreen is to have a mix. Only doing current stories can become hard or boring. Change things up a bit by including some classic, but still timely material. Just don't go overboard.
Ethan Hausmann is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach for Successtar Enterprises LLC. He is an author, professional speaker, and seminar/workshop instructor. Ethan has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, customer service, leadership, and other small business related concerns.