Content Dilemma: Trending Versus Evergreen
In general, your target market is less interested in your sales pitches and more interested in how your information and product will solve their problems or improve their lives.
You can attract these prospective customers (and keep existing ones) with a solid content marketing strategy, where you create and disseminate compelling and relevant information and features.
Quality content, however, is no longer a guarantee of digital marketing success, as internet users continue to become savvier and more demanding. Some marketers insist that ‘evergreen’ content is the key to consistent, stable web traffic. Others’ digital marketing tips work on the premise that trending content is more attractive to audiences who seek information that is considered more ‘viral’.
So, which one should you focus on, evergreen or trending content?
Seeing the forest for the trees.
Evergreen content is content that is considered ‘timeless’ and will likely stay relevant longer. Just as evergreen trees keep their leaves through the changing of the seasons, evergreen content covers principles, tips, and ideas that retain value no matter what is happening in the news. It can take the form of a blog, a video, or even a podcast, as long as the information within remains relevant for a long period of time.
As an example, an article about the basics of hairdressing (best tools, how to cut hair, different types of classic looks) will still be helpful whether or not Kim Kardashian utilises unicorn or mermaid hues on her tresses in her latest Instagram posts. Basically, evergreen content is like the crisp white collared shirt and simple black slacks in a man’s closet; it never gets old.
#thattimewhen we were trending.
Trending or viral content is time-sensitive in that it may be the latest buzz conquering the internet right now, but it will soon become outdated, and this could be in a matter of days or weeks. Cannes Film Festival fashion-related news, for example, is no longer that relevant when the festival ends, and the interest in this topic will drop off substantially after. Trending content is the ombre craze, the hipster man bun, the latest flavour of the month. You’d sport that look to the nightclub, but once it’s out of fashion, your hairstyle will change.
So, which should you go for?
Both types of content have their advantages. On the one hand, more attention tends to be directed towards trending content in the short-term, since people have a high level of interest in what’s ‘happeningnow’. While the obsession over the most recent Royal Wedding will start to taper off now that the vows have been exchanged, for a while there, you couldn’t escape it. Millions of posts, articles, and comments about the then-upcoming nuptials got incredible traffic and attention. When your content reflects current trends in a timely fashion, you present your brand as cutting edge and up-to-the-minute. You also are able to cash in on and maximise the traffic produced.
On the other hand, evergreen content can offer more mileage in the long run. Whether or not there is a fairy-tale wedding or a World Cup, great things to make for dinner or easy tips to keep your car’s paint looking like brand new will always be relevant. Evergreen content can help provide an air of authority to your brand as well, a sense that it is tried, true, and dependable.
What’s your MO in terms of SEO?
Search engines tend to favour evergreen content because it can be repurposed and is more likely to attract backlinks from other content creators/providers. This, in turn, puts evergreen posts towards the top of related search results because of their higher value. Of course, since most people won’t venture beyond page one of their search results, it really pays to be up there, more traffic means more potential conversions.
Drawing the bandwagon down your road.
At the same time, there is nothing wrong with syphoning from the popularity of a current subject you know the world is watching and using that buzz to your advantage. The audience for a particular trend may include members of your target audience you haven’t yet accessed, and let’s face it; the more exposure you can get for your brand, the better. This is where trending or viral content comes in.
Having your cake and eating it too.
There’s really no sense in having cake but not being able to eat it, right? The best social media marketing strategies incorporate both evergreen and trending content. Take a look at Australian software company MYOB’s, The Pulse blog, for example. There is a load of evergreen content relating to increasing profit margins and practising mindfulness during the startup phase. Then there are particular features that relate to trending topics such as the 2018 federal budget and in the archives, “What to do when online reviews are fake news.” The latter, of course, would likely have popped into some feeds of unsuspecting people looking for entertaining information related to one of US President Donald Trump’s favourite catchphrases.
How to slice up the cake.
Some brands may aim for 75-80% evergreen content and 20-25% trending content, while others go for a larger percentage for trending content. There are several factors you need to consider such as your content marketing goals and the kind of content that’s relevant to your brand. As an example, the content marketing for a recipe sharing site for diabetics will likely focus on evergreen content, but an online gossip magazine will spend much more attention on trending topics about celebrities. To be more precise, the ratio that will work the best for you will depend on a number of things such as (a) the nature of your business, (b) your digital marketing goals, (c) your current business goals, and (d) your target audience.
Analysing these factors will enable you to come up with the perfect content mix to attract the people your business needs to reach.
So, going back to the original question, what should you choose? In truth, there’s really no definitive answer because, as we’ve said, it all depends on several factors. So how about we just say that having both in relation to your content marketing strategy and maximising each one’s strengths in alignment with your digital marketing goals is the best policy. Makes sense, right?
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