Figuring out what you should be blogging about may be the biggest challenge when it comes to content marketing. How often should you be ‘selling’? What will your tribe actually be interested in? What topics are going to be good for your SEO?
These are all great questions and I endeavour to answer them all but today I want to talk about the types of content you should be creating for you business.
Not the subjects you should be writing about, the frequency you should be posting, the length they should be, or if they should be in the form of a blog, vlog, or podcast. These are all important variations, but they’re not what I mean by ‘type’.
There are four types of content that every single blogger should be creating, and if you’re a vlogger, podcaster, or primarily create content for social media, the same types are equally as relevant for you. Understanding what they are, how they work, and when each should be used is crucial to helping you create a balanced content marketing schedule, so let’s dive in shall we?
Evergreen content is the holy grail for content marketers. It’s the stuff you should be aiming to create, the content that’s going to consistently get you found, and it (usually) needs to be the highest quality.
That’s not to say your other posts should be less than high-quality, but simply that evergreen content is worth investing even more in, because you get a lot more mileage out of it.
As the name suggests, this is the kind of content that’s always relevant. Whether people are reading it the day you’re posting, a week later, or a month, six months, a year from now, they’re going to get just as much value from it, and it’s going to bring just as much value to your business.
Evergreen articles are particularly great for SEO, because your blog posts increase in SEO value the longer they are live (particularly if you update them occasionally). So optimising them for search terms that aren’t just relevant now, but will continue to be crucial to your niche long-term is highly beneficial.
Your website needs evergreen content! Without it, the amount of traffic you get from SEO will be negligible. More than that, the ability for new visitors to binge your content and find massive amounts of instant and immediately relevant value will be minimal.
Catering To The Binge Mentality
We live in a Netflix society these days. We’re used to absorbing a massive amount of content in great big binges. You will have some visitors who are only interested in a post or two, and check out your new stuff as and when it comes out. But you will also have people who want more of you.
Not next week, right now.
A lot more.
They will devour everything you’ve ever published, either in a single sitting, or over the course of several viewings. And they’ll keep coming back for more. They may even re-read and re-watch everything multiple times.
These are the people who become super fans and you want as many of them as possible. Which means you need plenty of great content for them to binge on, and it’s tough to create that if your content has a short shelf life.
Like the Christmas trees that are as green in December as they are in July, your evergreen content should be sustainable, always interesting, always relevant.
At the very least, it should hold its value for a reasonably long time. Industries change, niches evolve, you may find it’s impossible to create content with an indefinite ‘self-life’, so aim for the longest life possible.
There are a few types of posts that are not and will never be evergreen:
- News articles
- Statistics or articles and reports containing numerical data that will change, evolve, or become outdated
- Posts about seasons, holidays, or events
- Pieces on trending topics and the latest fad of pop culture
- Fashion and technology trends
That doesn’t mean these kinds of content don’t have a place in your blog schedule (we’ll get to that in a minute), but they aren’t evergreen content!
What Forms Of Content Are Evergreen?
So now you know what’s not evergreen, you’re probably wondering what is. Here are a few safe bets:
- List posts
- Top Tips posts
- How Tos and Tutorials
- Entries in an encyclopaedia-type system or series
- Any of the above in video format
Despite the massive benefits of Evergreen content don’t try to create a schedule consisting of exclusively evergreen posts. For one thing, it’s incredibly difficult. For another thing a good content schedule is all about balance, to achieve that you need a range of post types. Which brings me to the other three kinds of content you should be creating for your blog…
Seasonal content is, generally speaking, the most under-used form. Most entrepreneurs don’t think about creating seasonal stuff until the season is actually upon them, or the day in question is already happening. By then it’s too late to get anything out, and you either miss out or rush something that does you more harm than good. It’s a real shame. But what exactly is seasonal content and why is it so useful?
The simplest example of seasonal content is content that ties directly to the weather seasons each year – spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Content that ties directly to something that only happens at a particular time of year.
The new bloom of plants or the birth of so many baby animals in spring, the heat and holidays of the summer, the turning of the leaves or Halloween in the autumn, and the snowfall and Christmas/New Year madness of winter.
Seasonal content is not evergreen because it’s only relevant during the season to which it relates, although it generally becomes relevant again (at least to some extent) when the season rolls around again. In that sense, it can be semi-evergreen, if it’s a post that relates to (for example) Halloween, that will be relevant every Halloween for years to come.
Out of season it’s not going to get any attention or do you any favours if it’s popping up in your content shared on social media.
In season, however, they’re the kind of posts people are actively searching for and happily devour.
As important as it is to create evergreen content for your content marketing schedule, you should also make it a priority to include seasonal content where possible, and where relevant to your business.
Some businesses lend themselves to certain seasons, holidays, and times of year, and having great seasonal content at these times is super helpful, while creating it for other seasons has less impact because it’s not really relevant to the business model.
The best example of this are products that are specifically for Christmas, like decorations, wrapping paper, cards, and Christmas-themed gifts.
There’s very little interest in these things outside the Christmas season, but inside the Christmas season if you don’t have loads of great seasonal content you’re never going to sell these products.
Trending content works in a similar way to seasonal content, in that it has a short shelf-life and is tied directly to a specific event. The difference with trending content is that the time it’s relevant is usually even shorter, and it can be limited to a single day, or even a few hours. While there’s generally some buzz around the topic for a few days, sometimes weeks after, trending content is designed to have a huge impact in a very short space of time.
News stories are the perfect example of trending content, as the majority of them are only relevant on the day they are happening, and frequently only for one part of the day – by the time evening rolls around, the top stories of the morning have evolved and changed. They may still be trending, but the specifics will be different.
If you can use trending topics to your advantage they’re really powerful, particularly on social media where hashtags make it super-easy to get your content found. Twitter has a whole section dedicated to trending topics, and simply writing around what’s trending on Twitter and using the appropriate hashtags will go a long way to boost the number of people seeing your posts.
Just remember, it’s only going to be relevant for a brief period, and continuing to share it after that period has ended will make you seem out of touch or (worse still!) a little desperate.
The final type of posts your blog/vlog/podcast/social media platform needs is general content.
This is quite literally anything that doesn’t fall into the other categories, and there is a surprising amount. Sales content is frequently too ‘salesy’ to be evergreen, yet it’s relevant for longer than trending content, and often even beyond the lifespan of seasonal content, especially if your offer isn’t time-limited.
Even if it is time-limited, it’s useful to have the information in sales content (if not the actual sales pitch) available beyond the expiration of the offer, as it will continue to educate people on the value of what you do, making them more likely to buy in the next selling cycle.
You will also find the need to create a lot of SEO content – posts that attract people to your platform, optimised for very specific search terms. These may well be evergreen posts, but a lot of the time they are created for search terms that have a relatively limited relevance, or simply to ensure you have regular updates on your site.
Seasonal and trending content can, by definition, only be shared at specific times of year. Evergreen content is very labour-intensive to create and requires a lot of careful planning and resources. And yet, you still need to be producing regular content.
This is where general content comes in – it fills the gaps in your schedule around other content, and ensures consistency and regularity in your marketing.
It’s the icing that holds the whole cake together!
For more great content marketing tips and to learn how to put my signature method to work in your business, download your FREE copy of chapter one of my book, Divine Blogging…