Long-term “Evergreen” vs Short-term Content

To promote your business or blog you’ll need some form of content. Images, articles, social media posts, podcasts and videos are popular types of content. These are more broadly categorised in two forms: long-term “evergreen” content and short-term content.

In this post i discuss the advantages and disadvantages of long-term evergreen and short-term content, and how they can be incorporated into your marketing strategy.

 

Short-term Content

Short-term content is up-to-date and highly relevant. But as the name suggests, it doesn’t last forever. It’s typically consumed, then disposed-of by the end user. There’s little scope to recycle it later on.


Long-term "Evergreen" vs Short-term Content -- What's Best? (Evergreen Content for Websites, Blogs, Online Business)
Short-term content doesn’t stay relevant for long.

Examples of Short-term Content

  • Instagram posts (e.g. an Instagram story of some recent activity relating to your business)
  • Tweets (e.g. a Twitter update about a new product version, or bug fix)
  • Newsletters/emails (e.g. informing subscribers about your latest blog post)

Advantages

  • Speed: It’s often quicker to produce than long-term evergreen content.
  • New contacts: It can help build your brand by reaching people who haven’t heard about you before (using hashtags, for example). This includes your competitors’ followers.
  • Frequency: Multiple posts can be made within a short time-frame. On most social media platforms it’s usual etiquette to post several times per day.
  • Advertising potential: Ads platforms — such as Facebook Ads — can be used to used to promote (or “boost”) short-term content, targeting those with a proven interest in your industry.
  • High relevance: Content relating to up-to-date current affairs or trends encourages ongoing engagement.

Disadvantages

  • Low conversions: Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are internalised, and don’t make it easy for users to exit their apps. Posts are consumed and forgotten about very quickly. So it’s difficult to convert those short engagements into sales.
  • Time consuming: Keeping up-to-date with current trends, and creating frequent content requires spare time. So does interacting and responding to people.
  • No lasting effect: There’s often no lasting impact to posts made about current issues. It’ll soon be yesterday’s news.
  • Competition: The low barrier for entry means that there’s so much competition within the same channels.
  • Noise: Platforms like Twitter have pretty low spam protection, meaning that users are required to sieve through junk on their newsfeed before they even begin to engage in your posts. The same applies with email.
  • Unforgiving: you often can’t amend what you put out. If you make a mistake, there’s no way to change it, or update it, without it being deleted.

 

Long-term “Evergreen” Content

Long-term evergreen content stays relevant long after its published. It’s less ‘disposable’ than short-term content, and can be recycled — or re-posted — several times.


Long-term "Evergreen" vs Short-term Content -- What's Best? (Evergreen Content for Websites, Blogs, Online Business)
Once created, evergreen content is here to stay.

Examples of Long-term Evergreen Content

  • Blog posts and articles on static topics (e.g. Word War II history, or any other topic that rarely needs updating)
  • Books (e.g. novels, or learning materials that don’t change)
  • Images and illustrations (e.g. logos, website images/photos/artwork that can be re-used several times)

Advantages

  • Potential traffic: some content can remain relevant for years, continuing to draw-in website visitors long into the future.
  • Time: With long-term goals, you’re not in a hurry. You can, for example, work on gradually improving your site’s SEO in order to reap the rewards from it later on.
  • Meaningful engagement: It’s usually broader. So there’s more scope to truly engage visitors, and align them to your voice, brand and products than with short-term content.
  • Advertising potential: Blog posts, articles and videos can be used in conjunction with PPC to drive traffic to content which highlights a strong value proposition to potential customers.
  • Organic shares: With long-standing content there’s every chance it’ll be shared, multiple times, organically. This helps to encourage more sales and boost SEO.
  • Freedom & flexibility: Your content can be shared over multiple platforms. It’s not tied to members of one network. You can also adapt, amend recycle your content to suit new objectives.

Disadvantages

  • Copycats: Your content is open to plagiarism.
  • Competition: SEO is competitive. Not all content will hit as much of your target audience as you’d like.
  • Skills required: Producing successful long-term content is often best suited to those with SEO knowledge, and in some cases — web development experience. The barrier for entry is fairly high.
  • Narrow audience: Not everyone is interested — or has the attention span — to read/watch/listen to static content. This is in part due to mobile devices being more suited to ‘consumable’ visual media, such as images and videos relating to current affairs. It’s also just the nature of modern-day internet users.

 

What Content Works For Your Business?


Short-term Content

Short-term content is great for building up a brand, relaying important messages to your following, keeping your audience engaged, and reaching out to new potential customers.

But it relies on continued input; it’s not designed to deliver any value in the future. Once short-term content disappears from the top of social newsfeeds and email inboxes, it sinks into the abyss.

So what place does short-term content have in marketing?

Well, many niches thrive by producing content that’s current. For instance, weekly podcasts about the latest sports news, rumours and results. They’re fuelled by recent events.

Whilst each stand-alone podcast might only achieve a short-lived upturn in traffic or sales, the new content encourages existing listeners to regularly tune in, and continually attracts new followers in the meantime. Being there, week-in-week-out, offering fresh content is an appeal in its own right.


Long-term Evergreen Content

Long-term content is built to last. Once published, it remains static — but relevant — ready to re-surface when called upon (in search engine searches, for example).

I should point out:


I earn more from posts written in 2016 than those created in 2017-18. This is because they’ve had enough time to climb the Google rankings, generate organic backlinks, and benefit from repeated marketing efforts. Ad-hoc material from 2016, on the other hand, had no lasting impact.


Getting results is a slow process. It takes upfront work, followed by several forms of outreach, to truly succeed.

I credit part of my success from 2016 down to “update posts”, promotional email newsletters and social media posts. Thus short-term content was used to support my long-term goals. The combination worked well.


Striking the Right Balance

In the past I’ve been too heavily focused on keeping my audience engaged with new social media posts and newsletters (including graphics). I’ve often neglected to produce sustainable content, optimised for Google, that would attract new followers well into the future. In a way, it felt like freelance writing for third parties — writing without reaping any long-term rewards.

The key to improving my traffic — without the need for continuous input — was striking the right balance of long-term evergreen and short-term content. I wrote materials that would stay relevant, that would define my site no matter what else came and went. I focused more on marketing — to great lengths at times — rather than continually trying to innovate new, and often ‘disposable’, material. And I cut back on creating posts that would only serve to “let everyone know I’m still there”.

So if you’re planning well into the future, and juggling your time, then like me, you might find some added value in creating future-proof content. Even in the example of an up-to-date sports podcast, I’d consider covering historic content like “the greatest sporting achievements of all time”. This would still be relevant and just as appealing years on from now, continuing to encourage ongoing shares and listens well beyond next week.

Think over the pros and cons of short-term and evergreen content, and work out how you can combine both to suit your goals right now as well as later on down the line.