Evergreen Content? What’s That?

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Recently I saw a call for evergreen content. In the past, when I’ve seen posts about evergreen content, they were talking about subjects that readers want to read about year after year. For online markets that might include articles about holidays (Christmas and Valentine’s Day) or annual events (the new school year or tax season). 

The wording in this post made it clear that that was not what the publisher wanted. They wanted material that would continue to bring people to their site. 

How we use various writing-related terms changes over time. That shouldn't be surprising because writing and layout standards have also changed. For example, we no longer need to include two spaces after a period in a document. Now a single space is standard. Because it was obvious that the meaning of the term evergreen had shifted,  I knew I needed to do some research. 

Evergreen content is anything that is relevant long after it is posted or published. It is something that readers will continue to turn to with readership building over time. There are certain types of posts that tend to be evergreen. These include listicles, tips, how-tos including videos, and reviews. 

Remember it is more than the format that makes the content evergreen. The topic must also draw readers in. It has to be something that readers need to know.

What types of topics will do that? Many evergreen articles answer common questions. Others give tips. An evergreen post might be a how-to describing how to get something done. Or it might go into information about the topic that might confuse a newbie. 

For my own blog, which is on writing, I could post: 
  • What you need to know to write a picture book. 
  • 10 ways to find the facts you need for historical fiction. 
  • A video about how to find time to write during the holiday season. 

I could query a parenting publication on: 
  • 5 rewards that aren’t food. 
  • How to get your preschooler to eat healthy foods. 
  • What parents need to know about team sports. 
But there are just as many things that you need to avoid when pitching evergreen content. I have used deadlines to drive sales in that I will pitch a piece about an upcoming award or an anniversary. Because there is a date attached, editors will generally give me a yes or no. This kind of content is not evergreen. 

Neither are articles about trends or pop culture. Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl? That’s so two weeks ago. The Barbie Movie, chocolate covered bacon, and troll dolls all had their time in the spotlight, but they are not evergreen. Barbie dolls? You’d have to pick the right topic. Other topics that are not evergreen involve those that rely heavily on statistics which can quickly become dated, the latest fashion trends, or hot toys for Christmas. 

Evergreen online content also needs to be written with SEO in mind. SEO or search engine optimization is all about making sure that a site or article ranks high in a web search. Don’t worry. If you don’t know how to do this, Google it! You’ll find articles and tutorials to help you better understand how it works. 

Now when you see a call asking for evergreen content, you’ll know that they aren’t asking for pieces about literal evergreens. Instead, they want to you give them content that will draw readers in for months if not longer. 


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of 40 books for young readers.  
  • To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.  
  • Click here to find her newsletter.

She is also the instructor for 3 WOW classes which begin again on  March 4, 2024. 
She teaches:


Renee Roberson said...

When I used to work at regional parenting magazines, we relied heavily on the evergreen content like tips for back to school, local places to visit during the holidays and surviving cold and flu season. I wouldn't have even considered SEO for that back then because I wasn't on the website side. Like you mentioned, it seems like evergreen is much more general now. I've seen some gigs asking for writers to help update articles that are already online with new stats or facts so they aren't reinventing the wheel. Evergreen content has definitely evolved!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

It has! I wonder how much of the change is due to the online nature of many publications? You post something and it can just as easily be found by someone in Missouri as Maine or wherever.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I hadn't heard of the term evergreen used in this context before. But it makes sense and I like it. I'll keep this in mind when choosing subjects to post about and for an upcoming guest post I'm slated for. So thank you. This is helpful information!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm glad you found this helpful. Of course, there are posts that are continually popular that you simply would not assume would be evergreen. On my site, they have been posts on stakes and false apology poems.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I've only heard of the term evergreen in relation to web content, so I never knew it meant something else like you and Renee mentioned. You're so right about having a date or stats attached, and that's one of the things I've always looked for in articles. We prefer evergreen articles for the points you mentioned, but also because they don't require updating, which takes time and money.

Over the past few years, I've stopped worrying about common SEO practices--things like having pretty slugs (the end of your URL), keyword stuffing, DA, inbound links, authority outbound links, hierarchy of headers, etc.--because they're not as relevant anymore. Search engines used to work off of keywords, but they are much smarter now because they are AI powered. The best way to target AI, like Google's RankBrain, is to create valuable in-depth, well-researched content, which is basically going back to old school article writing. User experience and web design counts more than ever now, and if you really want to make an impact, try targeting Position 0. Those are the "snippets" at the top of Google's search that answer questions before you get to the regular results. So if you can create an article that provides an answer to what people are asking and it's really good, then you might have a chance of getting into that position, which is gold.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Hi Angela,
Interesting that there is so much content still pushing SEO practices as if nothing else factors into ranking. I've been seeing so many courses and certifications. What you've described feels much more genuine and useful. Thank you for the info!

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