If love is “ageless and evergreen…”, then your blog or e-newsletter deserves this type of affection in abundance. Let me explain. I’m not talking about spruces and Douglas firs and scrub pines. I’m talking about online content that intrigues your readers and keeps them eyeballing or bookmarking or subscribing for MORE.
With a bit of planning, you’ll be able to lean heavily on your serial blog posts as archived gems. By seeding your more seasonal or “newsjacked” posts/articles with evergreens, you’ll (hopefully) attract even more devoted readers.
The concept of evergreen content isn’t a newfangled phenomenon, but it may be new to you. I happen to have a few serial posts traveling around the Internets right now, so I’m happy to share with you how it’s done. Follow the trail of (virtual) pine cones to the best, most shady evergreen in your editorial calendar’s backyard…
Coniferous Pine Needles Make for Perpetual Content: While I can’t take credit for the idea of blending evergreen content into your blog or e-newsletter’s calendar, I can point you in the direction (of Albuquerque).
Before SEO strategies, before videos going viral on YouTube, and before the tidal wave of list-oriented blog posts, there was something called … journalism. And in the world of journalism, evergreen content is defined as:
“…content that is perpetually relevant. The word evergreen is most often used by editors to describe certain kinds of stories, stories that, because of their topic, are always of interest to readers.” (Source: About.com)
By creating content that never goes out of style (it isn’t seasonal or time sensitive), you’ll build a library of articles or posts. Such content will serve you well when inspiration is lacking or you’re stuck in a writing rut. But how best to identify your evergreen topics and organize them as serial blog posts?
Before Planting Those Evergreen Saplings, Stroll Through Your Online Nursery: Generating a series of ongoing blog posts or articles is as simple as this:
What questions (for problem solving, for information) do clients/customers ask you over and over again during conversations?
What questions (for problem solving, for information) do business friends and prospective clients ask you over and over again while engrossed in a discussion at networking events, etc?
When you share/curate other people’s industry-related articles or posts via social media, which ones receive the most RTs/likes/shares/comments?
What are your deepest areas of knowledge regarding your company’s products or services?
I think it’s apparent where I’m going with this line of questioning. Your most likely evergreen/serial topics pull from your strongest, most confident areas of knowledge. These are topics you could discuss so spontaneously that the conversation becomes an impromptu presentation or mini-seminar, minus the PowerPoint slides (and technical difficulties).
Don’t whimper and tell me this is a hard thing to do. Allow me to demonstrate serial-content brainstorming for several industries other than my own:
Retail Bakery: “When Baking from Scratch, Swap That Ingredient for This Ingredient” (From breads and muffins to cakes and cookies, identify an unhealthy or nutritionally void ingredient and replace it with a better one.)
Business Coach: “Mirror, Mirror, on the Office Wall–Who’s the Least Unaware Leader of All?” (You can then dig deep regarding types of ineffective leadership styles, self-perception vs. others’ perception, leadership tips, etc.)
Commercial Printer: “Honing Your Layout-and-Design Eye: Step One” (Slice and dice articles into all the smaller elements: font size, font type, images & photos, paragraph size, bullet lists, italics and boldface, types of folds, etc.)
Accountant: “Ask an Accountant a ‘Taxing’ Question…” (Help clients and prospective clients realize they need you for all the services you provide when it’s not tax season…)
Go One Step Beyond by Giving Your Evergreen Series a Memorable Title: Anyone who knows me well would be shocked if I didn’t include this particular tip. Yes, I enjoy concocting flippy, zippy headlines for my weekly blog posts. But I’m especially fond of the headlines I devise for my serial blog posts.
I now realize I should create some new evergreen entries for (Ye Olde) By All Writes blog. But until I sequester myself for that pending brainstorming session, here are the established evergreens that continue to grow in my editorial calendar:
“Its Time to Improve You’re Grammar” (Hmm, I haven’t done one of these in a while–these posts typically light up my Facebook feed.)
“International Swear Words to Love and Use” (I expanded the original post into an enduring series that includes Yiddish style, Gangnam style, Ulysses style, and Medieval style. The fun will continue sometime soon…)
“Business Leadership Profiles from Greek Mythology” (I admit that this series is a bit self-indulgent, but I enjoy writing these posts, so the Greek gods and goddesses stay in the picture. Next up at bat: Divinely Dual Dionysus!)
“The Little Black Blog of Twitter Etiquette” (This one is MIA, but that doesn’t mean it’s DOA…)
Okay, I lied. Here’s a sapling I might plant in this year’s editorial calendar: “Business Horoscope of the Month…”
The Beauty of Serial Posts Is Embedding Links for the Previous Entries in Your New Post: This is something you must remember to do when pushing out that next blog post or e-newsletter article in your series.
Being an equal-opportunity “embedder” of other people’s posts and articles is morally upright behavior online. But when you release a new entry in an evergreen series, it’s logical to embed backlinks to your other articles or posts.
To avoid appearing overzealous by stuffing too many links in one paragraph of a post or article, there is a work-around. Make your post more aesthetically pleasing by embedding the appropriate tags/tag page for previous entries.
Being shy about the other posts in a series won’t increase eyeballs, social sharing, or subscriptions for your blog or e-newsletter. Don’t be shy!
Sometimes your editorial calendar, despite its existence, won’t inspire you. This lack of inspiration tends to happen late at night and/or on weekends. When next you feel panicked and adrift regarding an upcoming blog post or e-newsletter article, fall back on an “Old Faithful” evergreen series.
You’ll probably draft your serial content faster (and with less anxiety) than you would an ambitious topic requiring a lot of upfront research. Does this make sense to you? Do you already have several “evergreens” thriving within your editorial calendar?
If you care to, please share the title of one of your serial posts/articles. Or, throw down the gauntlet and challenge me to brainstorm one for you.
Arbor Day is coming up on April 24th; be kind to the online environment and plant your evergreens with a strategy in mind!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print or web marketing and educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation project quote today!