Implementing the right strategy is a big factor in the success of your content marketing and when it comes to creating a content strategy, there is a debate on whether topical or evergreen content brings the best results.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be discussing the importance of each, their uses, pros and cons, and finding the right balance.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Topical Content vs. Evergreen Content: What’s The Difference
Topical Content (aka seasonal or timely) is content that provides relevant, timely, and targeted information. It can be time-based (based on specific seasons) or event-based. Despite being most relevant at a specific time, both can be planned ahead of time. Examples of this include industry news, current events, company news, trends, and holiday seasons.
Under Topical Content, we have what we call ephemeral content. Ephemeral content is any video content (i.e. video, images, or gifs) that is only accessible for 24 hours with the goal of eliciting an immediate response (FOMO) from your audience. Due to the nature of this content, not only does it create a sense of urgency but gives authenticity and exclusivity to your posts which is more appealing to people nowadays.
Evergreen Content on the other hand is search-optimised content designed to be always relevant and timeless and will always be of interest to your audience. This type of content will continue to be relevant even after its publication date, with search traffic growth over time.
Evergreen content should:
- Address an industry pain point
- Include keywords to optimise for search
- Always be valuable to a target audience
- Have citations and references to build trust
Examples of this include history lessons, lists, FAQs, Listicles, how-tos, guides and tutorials, Interviews with industry experts, etc. This blog post you’re reading now is an example of evergreen content.
Topical Content vs. Evergreen Content: Pros and Cons
High potential for sales
Creating content around seasonal and hot topics that your audience are interested in can bring high opportunities to make sales. For instance, you can create content about the best gift for Christmas as December comes in and provide recommendations including your products and services. There are so many ways you can do this and by posting seasonal topics at the most correct time, you’ll be able to catch new potential customers.
The seasonal topic gives you high traffic and will be good for your metrics. This is also a great way of attracting new audiences to your website and if you do it right they can come back all year round.
If a topic is hot, you can expect that many others will also create content around it so if you want to stand out, you’ll have to be really creative.
It takes time to build trust
Seasonal traffic is not enough, you’ll have to make sure you consistently produce high-quality content that adds value to people. This way, you’ll maintain their attention in order to keep them coming back to your business all year round.
Evergreen content stays fresh and lasts longer than topical content. It also gives steady traffic to your website.
Ideal for beginners level
Evergreen content like 'how to’, guides, and listicles are ideal for beginners will always have value to people looking to learn a new skill or knowledge on a particular topic.
Stays relevant by just updating it
What’s great about this type of content is you don't have to write another content on the same topic, You’ll always have people searching for it, will always be useful and relevant to your audience- all you have to do is update regularly and it will always be there, you’re also able to maintain backlinks and existing traffic.
Not ideal for advanced or expert-level content
Experts aren’t likely to be searching on general topics so this is more suited for beginners.
No traffic spikes
This type of content takes time to succeed, it is slow and steady, and it doesn't have the viral potential so don’t expect to have huge traffic at once. Gaining traffic for this type of content is a slow process.
You can run out of ideas
Over time, as you produce more content it will be harder to have ideas for the topic and there’s the possibility of running out of ideas over time.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the definition and pros and cons, let’s look at the ways you can use both types of content to your advantage.
Topical Content vs. Evergreen Content: Tips For Creating Content
Set a schedule for regular topical refreshes. To keep topical content relevant, schedule regular refreshes. The length of time between refreshes depends on the type of content — for social media posts, any more than a week can start to get stale. For blog posts, two weeks to a month at most.
Go all in. When it comes to topical content, strike while the topic is hot to your audience. Even if you don’t reach your desired goal, you can recover quickly as it is meant to last for just a short time.
Get super creative. Take advantage of each season, event and holiday and be super creative. Create content that reminds people of the current trends, seasons or events that get the most attention.
- Think of the broader context. Are there bigger trends behind a topic/event that can be explored? Does this topic/event have a greater impact on the public?
For Ephemeral Content: Grab attention and be authentic/personal. Due to this type of content only lasting for a short time, you need to grab their attention within just a few seconds. You are only given a few seconds so make it count and go straight to the point. Additionally, people love content that speaks to them so make it authentic and personal if appropriate.
For Evergreen Content
Think about the long-term traffic potential and choose your topics wisely. Make sure that your topics are high quality and evergreen. Will it still be relevant and useful in the future? Can this topic be updated as the market changes to remain relevant?
Do your Keyword research. A well crafted evergreen content is nothing if no one is searching for it so make sure you choose the best keywords and topic before creating your content.
Optimise for SEO. Once you have your keywords, make sure you use SEO best practices for on-page optimization. Add alt text to images, and put the keyword in the title, URL and throughout the body copy - but don’t stuff your keywords. Add hyperlink-related evergreen articles together to improve your SEO rankings.
Write for Beginners. Share your knowledge in a way that is beginner friendly. Target your content for beginners because they’ll be the ones - Beginners e are a broad and recurring audience which is why evergreen content is perfect for them. Avoid using jargon and technical words.
Repurpose your content. Re-use your content in various formats for your socials and newsletters.
- Update Consistently. Though evergreen content is meant to last, it should still be updated regularly. Create a schedule to revisit your evergreen content and update necessary information like links, resources, photos, etc.
How To Use Both Content Types To Boost Traffic
1. Plan ahead. A successful content marketing strategy starts with early and considered planning. This way you avoid the stress of last-minute planning and creating your content, long-term traffic strategy. Take the time to properly plan the crafting and launch of your content.
It is also important to note that for topical content, search engine indexation can take time. For instance when you post content just a week before the current trend/event or topic, you can miss the crucial window of opportunity because it takes time for search engines to pick up your content. Plan ahead four to six months to strategise about that sweet spot of when to post.
2. Create a Content Planning Template. When you have a template, it is easier to create content because you don’t have to start from scratch. You’ll also be able to organise your ideas and create consistent content. It also enhances your productivity and helps you keep track of your content schedule.
3. Use the right tools. Before creating your content, make sure you use the right tools like the SEO tools Tools like Google AdWords and Google Trends. These tools can help you find the right keywords for SEO content strategy.
4. Find a content balance. Finally, find a balance between topical and evergreen. While a totally topical approach can produce quick-win results, it is not suitable for long-term success. Evergreen efforts, meanwhile, offer steady progress but aren’t enough to jump-start customer interest or capitalise on market trends.
Both topical and evergreen content is necessary and beneficial for your content strategy. They compensate for each other. Topical content brings in huge traffic and helps you get noticed while evergreen content helps your site to have steady visitors and helps boost your SEO over time.
Want to have a deeper understanding of how content writing ties into your brand and uses it for your marketing strategy?
As an expert business consultant, I can help you create a winning marketing plan. For more help figuring out how to move forward in this area of business, click here to learn more about scheduling a 90-minute intensive with me or head to my Services page!