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Balancing “Evergreen” Topics with “Trends”

In content marketing, there is a constant drive to produce useful content that remains useful over time. Whether it’s an FAQ or an in-depth review of products, you want your content to keep driving clicks and conversions for months or years, not just a few short hours or days. With readers demanding more real-time, trendy content than ever and topics for difficult niches often changing in a matter of days, marketers are left to struggle with the difficult question of where to draw the line.

Just how much balance should you strike between evergreen topics and focusing on trends? And how can you blend the two together for an effective strategy? Here’s what you need to know.

Evergreen vs. Real-Time Trends

What’s the difference between evergreen content and real-time content? The answer lies in how long the content remains useful in the short and long-term future. An article detailing unique ways to remove stains from a t-shirt is much more likely to remain relevant and useful for years than an article about, say, Kim Kardashian’s current relationship with Kanye West. Similarly, an article about how to bake chocolate chip cookies with caramel filling will stay relevant essentially forever, while an article about Game of Thrones will no longer be relevant in a few years once the show is over.

Essentially, if a reader can glean actionable benefit from an article years after it’s written, it’s evergreen. If the usefulness will die down after a few weeks or months, it’s probably real-time instead.

Evergreen Benefits

Why create evergreen content? Primarily, it serves as a foundation that will keep people coming back time and time again. It’s also an effective tool for remarketing and filling in the gaps when real-time content is either unavailable or undesired. In many ways, evergreen content is the “meat” of the content creation world.

That said, too much evergreen content can cause readers to perceive you as being stale and boring. If your visitors are accusing you of reposts or posting comments like, “Not this post again! Post something new!” you may be over-focusing on evergreen without enough fresh topics.

Real-Time Trend Benefits

Real-time content focuses on current trends, either within the news or within your business niche. It has the power to drive significant short-term conversions and clicks, and if you’re lucky, may even result in total virality for your business. Moreover, it creates the perception that your business puts effort and time into selecting the most up-to-date and useful information for your visitors.

It’s also far easier to create persuasive clickbait from real-time content. It’s new, it’s exciting, or it’s trending – and that gives people more reasons to click through and actually go to your website.

On the other hand, only posting real-time content can lead to the perception that your content strategy is shallow or over-focused on conversions. We’ve all witnessed business Facebook pages who post nothing but click-bait; they frequently lose viewers because they start to feel manipulated and used.

Finding Balance

So, here’s the most important fact in the debate between evergreen and real-time content: you need both to truly thrive. Create a solid base of evergreen content to start, and then add in real-time content when it’s relevant and makes sense.

As for how much of each category you should include in your schedule, well, there’s no golden ratio, really. What works best for you depends on your niche and your business, and really even your readers and what they want. Keep an eye on your conversions and clicks, and play with your ratio a bit until you find what works best for your strategy. If you continue to struggle, reach out to Go Digital WSI for one-on-one assistance.