HEAD OF MEDIA
HEAD OF MEDIA
29th November, 2017
Creating high-quality evergreen content that has an extended shelf-life is a common challenge that most businesses who have gone digital now face.
Whether you are publishing intense guides or short-but-sweet blog posts, if your content doesn’t serve a purpose and will go stale after just a few months, what is the point?
Creating a viable content strategy that reaches the right audience will ensure that your content has longevity, builds an organic audience, and most importantly, helps support your business goals.
Follow these essential steps to plan and create evergreen content:
As with any form of marketing, the first step of the process is to understand your audience. Content marketing can be a huge waste of resources if you don’t know exactly who you are targeting. Casting your net too wide will attract a broad audience that offers little value to your business. What you need to do is highlight your ideal readers and ultimately, potential customers.
Once you have a clear picture of who you are trying to reach out to with your content, it’s time to gather the data and find the right phrases and words that appeal to your audience. Whether your goal is to attract organic traffic, or gain traction on social media, keywords are vital in every form of content marketing.
Keywords not only help search engines rank your content and drive “free” (exclude the investment in time and resources!) organic traffic, but through word association, they direct the human-eye to your content, and help improve click through rates.
You have just published an in-depth manual on how to use your new car cleaning wax and polish set. You have put it on your website and titled the webpage “George’s Car Cleaning Help Information”. A little keyword research and you would have discovered words like “Help” and “Information” get little to zero searches when combined with “car cleaning”, while words like “DIY” and “Guide” are searchable and popular phrases - you have just lost out on some extra organic exposure.
No matter what product you sell, or what industry you work in, keywords are still vitally important for search engines and for readers.
Even if the objective of your content is not to improve organic traffic, keywords can help you improve engagement on social media channels, in your email newsletters, and on all channels in which you distribute content.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Keywords should be used to determine a searchable topic for your content, and help find the right words and phrases. Never force the use of certain phrases or excessively place words. SEO continues to evolve, so be very careful where you take advice from as it could hinder your content.
So now you know your audience, you know what words resonate with people, but what does the user expect to see when they see or search for those words and phrases?
Finding popular keywords with 1,000’s of monthly searches is one thing, but finding the right words that make the time investment worthwhile is another…
Understanding searcher intent is an incredibly powerful ability when engaging with content marketing. For the modern SEO, it is now a requirement. It can save you days, weeks or even months of targeting the wrong keywords that have zero monetary value, or even readership value.
You run a local events planning company and you’re looking at keywords that will pull in a large audience of potential clients.
You find the keyword “top events” and think great, that has 10,000 monthly searches, jackpot!
So you publish an entire database of articles on your website, 1 for each category of events all in order to get #1 in Google Search for “top events”.
All these visitors will likely bounce and leave your website because they have no desire or means to acquire your services.
You may have accumulated some traffic on your site, but ultimately, the traffic is very unlikely to convert.
This is why it is important to verify the intent behind the words you will use, and check locally or regionally if the searches are there. Don’t just pick keywords with data, think about what the reader wants when searching for it.
Before moving on to writing (we will get there, I promise!), it is always best to see what other material exists for your particular topic. This will help to:
A few simple Google searches on your topic can help you to see what content performs best. You can even use a tool like Buzzsumo if you want to look at your direct competitors or what content works best on social media.
Your target should be to create valuable content that rivals, or preferably, beats the competition.
So we have seen the competition, we know our topic, and we completely understand our audience. It’s time to think about the structure and the type of content we want to produce so we can move onto writing.
Here are just a few examples of content formats to consider:
There is no best format which will guarantee huge traffic, social shares, or whatever your objective may be. A ‘How to / Guide’ for example, is a great structure for detailed step by step advice, whereas an infographic is perfect for compressing a load of data into an attractive visual.
It all depends on the goal of the content. You will also have to consider the nature of your topic and your audience when deciding on what format works best.
Now onto the writing. We need to take what we know about our audience, transmit their intent, use the right keywords, and beat the competition by producing something with a logical format that is worthwhile and evergreen.
Always think about the ultimate goal of the content and the business. Showing off your expertise and demonstrating knowledge of a subject is good, but if you don’t plan a clever and user-friendly way of converting readers, what value do those readers offer you?
With all the information in hand from the previous steps, you need to accommodate your readers with the correct:
OPTIONAL: Do you need any images, examples, or any screenshots? The alt tags assigned to images are useful to search engines, while your readers may appreciate to see a bit of colour and a break from the text. Again, it all depends on the topic and format in hand, and if you have the resources to create useful images.
Not every article you produce will remain relevant for eternity. My advice is to take complete care in every article you publish if you want your site to blossom organically. Then as soon as you can, try to map out the bigger picture by creating a long-term content plan and strategy.
The key is organisation. You can create a Word document which just maps out the basic hierarchy, or you can go further and use Excel or another tool to keep track and organisze all your articles.
This way, you ensure you are not wasting your time and resources producing clashing and duplicate topics, which is a big problem for most websites today. The focus should be on quality, not quantity. Otherwise, you will have a lot of content pruning (cleaning) to carry out later on.
The steps mentioned above can be used to create one article, or one hundred!
Creating evergreen content that has an extended shelf-life is not easy, and all content needs to be updated at some point or another. If you try to understand your audience, their intent, and produce content that serves the topic as best as you can, you will ultimately serve your end business goals.
Thanks for reading!
If you are looking to create great content and need some professional help, reach out to us at DQ Media and we can take a direct look at your current content set up and advise you on the best course of action.
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Christopher Thoma SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER
HEAD OF MEDIA
Christopher has over a decade’s worth of experience working in digital design and developing web-based projects. He possesses a diverse and accomplished skill set and has been highly influential in the growth of DQ Media and its ventures, from its initial design, planning and conceptualisation right through to ensuring the smooth development and performance. Christopher is also the brains behind our content marketing exploits.