How To Focus On The Long-Term Content Opportunity

Red Leaf
Will you link to your content in the future? That’s one test to see if you’re creating evergreen content.

Long-term content.

Evergreen content.

There are a handful of names for it.

The basic idea is that long-term content presents value to people for a really long time. If a person finds it today they get value and if another person finds it in 5, 10 or even 20+ years they’ll get value too.

Some long-term content won’t need updating, but some you may need to go back and update. And that can actually be a really good strategy too. It seems that one item important to Google (and to its users) is the age of content.

For example, let’s say you have a page with information on How To Unclog A Shower Drain. Even if you publish that content today and it’s the best answer available on that topic it will take awhile for it to rank well. Google (and their users) need a little more proof that it’s the best and that just takes time.

But in 10 years your page may proof its worth and at that point you can really be bringing in the visitors because the content is good and the age is good. And if you update the page when you get new information it will be even more appealing.

Content Example

This is a little different, but hopefully it’ll help get the point across.

In 2015, two great country albums were released around the same time.

On April 28th, the Zac Brown Band released their album Jekyll + Hyde. Great album. Lots of excitement about it. The album sold about 228,000 copies the first week. Since then the total has risen to ~675,000. Very good numbers, but more than a third came from that first week.

On May 5th, Chris Stapleton released his album Traveller. It sold 27,000 copies the first week. Since then the total has risen to over ~2,000,000 copies.

I love both albums. There are different factors that go into it. Music is different than content marketing.

But it’s an example of how long-term content can be very appealing if you have the patience for it.

Types Of Short-Term Content Marketing

The big example in the business world is news-type content.

And there is certainly a place for it.

Company updates and press releases are helpful.

So are points of view on current topics.

That second one is very common. A new trend or news item will pop up and there will be a spike in interest. Businesses want to rush to publish something on the trend because they want to capture some of that spike in interest.

There is value there. You can get spikes in traffic especially if you’re already an established source of information. But most of the time those spikes in traffic are just spikes. The interest wanes and the effort you put into the content may or may not have been worth it. Now the content is available for anyone that wants to see it, but nobody searches for it in the future.

The Key: Patience

The key to long-term content creation is patience. It’s having the patience not to chase trends. Or to identify the trends that will hold for the long-term.

But because it’s long-term it’s not always a guarantee that what you identify as long-term will stay that way. But if you’re thinking about your content that way you’re in a much better position to build something lasting.

Here are a few tips I use when creating content for the long-term.

For me it’s usually blogging and podcasting, but it could be any type of content.

Tip #1. Will I Link To This In The Future?

This is a question I’ll ask myself about this post I’m writing. And I think the answer is a pretty strong “yes”. This is something that should be pretty timeless. It should be relevant tomorrow and five years in the future. There is no guarantee, but it’s worth aiming for that goal.

I like to link to posts I’ve written in the past. It’s a great way to introduce new readers to older content. One of my favorites is a few years old. That post still brings in a good amount of traffic everyday for this site.

And I still link to it once in awhile.

So as you’re creating content take a second to ask yourself if you’ll link to it in the future. If the answer is yes then you’re doing good.

Tip #2. Will I Share This In The Future?

Similar to the previous one, but it’s another key aspect of content marketing and content promotion. This post is several years old, but it’s still one of my favorites. It talks about how to share and reshare your content over and over again.

Most people publish something and share it that same day. Then that’s it. Or maybe they share it a few times over the first few days. Then the excitement wears out and they never share it again.

If you go through the effort of creating long-term content there is no reason not to setup a process where you’re constantly sharing all of your old content.

If a plumber created a video, for example, on how to unclog shower drains ten years ago there is no reason they can’t share that once a month in perpetuity. If it’s valuable then share it and keep sharing it.

So when you’re creating something ask yourself if you can see yourself sharing it in five years. If yes, you’re doing good.

Tip #3. Is The Topic Old?

There can be a lot of buzz for new topics. Some will endure and live on as trends for many years. But it’s risky.

Another way to approach content is to ask if the topic has been around for awhile. If there has been consistent interest for several years the odds are good that there will continue to be interest for more years.

It’s not as flashy or exciting to create content on these topics, but if you have the patience it’s a great way to ensure that you’re getting consistent traffic for the long-term.

Final Thought

This is an opportunity. I’m a big believer that patience gives you an edge in the world today. A lot of people lack patience. They want rewards right now. They want stimulation right now. Let the other content marketers drive themselves crazy chasing trends that flash and burn while you build things that last. Be the Chris Stapleton of the content marketing world.

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