Should a news website create evergreen content?

Due to drastic changes in the way people consume information, news websites, both niche and mass-market, are facing the necessity of finding new strategies to acquire traffic and unlock new monetization opportunities.

In this article, we will talk about evergreen content: what is it, how a news website can benefit from creating evergreen content, how to measure LTV of an evergreen article, and how to create one.

Let’s dive in!

What is Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content is a type of content able to attract traffic to your website during a long period: months, years. It forms around the topics which relevancy doesn’t depend on news or seasons. The term “evergreen” derives from evergreen plants which leaves retain green despite the time of year.

Wikipedia also refers to evergreen shows on television when describing the term “evergreen”: the ones that can always be put on air when production is in a “slow-run” cycle.

Examples of an evergreen tv show
“That 70s” show lasted several years in reruns.

It is also mentioned that broadcasting and news can always rely on evergreen content to “fill the slot” on fruitless news days or when fewer journalists are on duty.

In the digital marketing world, evergreen content has almost the same meaning: it’s the type of content that generates steady traffic on a regular basis.

What’s the opposite of evergreen content?

As you have probably guessed, the opposite of evergreen content is trending content – the one that news companies capitalize on, first of all. If you’re a news company – the more trending and magnetic your content is, the most traffic and engagement it brings in. Google expects news websites to create high-quality trustworthy materials and place the “winners” in this relation on top positions.

However, how would Google react if a news company began to publish content on evergreen topics? We’ll deep into this further, and right now let’s pause a bit at one crucial point that most content creators overlook.

Evergreen Content vs Evergreen Topics

As Ahrefs noted, spot-on, in their in-depth overview of this term, evergreen content and evergreen topic are two different things.

evergreen topics definition

The example of evergreen topics are:

  • How to build a house
  • Passive income
  • Weather forecast

These are some topics with ongoing interest. People never lose interest in them, despite a news cycle or seasons. Let’s take a look at the search results for them.

example of evergreen topic

The first result is a “step-by-step guide to the home-building process” created by NewHomeSource. It’s not a large guide, but it has clear steps outlined that are crucial in the home-building process. It has a table of content:

example of evergreen content

And a video that shows how those 10 steps look like in real life.

evegreen content examples

The reason why this website is ranked the first is because, ten to one, people find this guide useful: it is not large, not “watered-down”, it doesn’t confuse them even more with their overwhelming building hassles. Because the page’s engagement rate is high, and other sites probably refer to this guide in their articles, Google places it on the first position in SERP.

A guide by WikiHow comes next, with its remarkable visuals, tips, and 4,5k-word-long blog post.

evergreen content - guide
Wikihow’s guide on house building

These are results of evergreen content for the evergreen topic. The first three results from SERP will probably stay there for years, without refreshing, as long as Google sees them as the best results for these queries.

Now, let’s take a look at the “weather forecast” query, which is also an ongoing interest for people.

evergreen topics fast-moving

This is a hugely popular topic, as people always want to know a weather forecast. However, there is no evergreen content for this topic. No matter how good and useful an article might be for this query, it will never stick in the first position because this topic is fast-moving.

Therefore, you can create evergreen content around a topic that goes stale quickly – like the “weather forecast,” or the ones that will keep up-to-date over a very long period.

definition of evergreen content
Source: Ahrefs

Now, let’s move on to what types of evergreen content are out there.

Types of evergreen content

Usually, evergreen content is created in a form that allows users to educate themselves on the topic without the need to surf around. It is a format that gathers all loose ends together and presents the squeeze-out of everything the reader should know on the topic.

The most basic forms of evergreen content are:

  • Step-by-step guides

A guide that explains how to launch a startup will need refreshment sooner than something more basic.

evergreen content - step-by-step guide
Times are changing, but the basics of how to plant a tree remain the same
  • Listicles

Sometimes we want to know the greatest books of all times or what movies are considered the best. We expect that the top result in Google search will be from someone we can trust. And yes, indeed, the Hollywood Reporter takes its first place for this query with a listicle of one hundred best movies of all times, according to studio chefs and Oscar winners.

evergreen content - listicles
A listicle of 100 best movies ever
  • Interviews

Well-crafted interviews with people who made an impact will stay relevant for a long time.

types of evergreen content - interview
Interview with Elon Musk by the News York Times
  • Cases

A case study is an analysis of a certain event that happened in the past. They stay interesting years after.

types of evergreen content - case study
Case Study of Coke’s brilliant marketing campaigns

For example, it has always been quite interesting how did Coca Cola manage to create such a strong emotional connection of its brand with Christmas. For all curious, Avario, a social media analytics tool, represented by Alina Gorbatch, created a case study analysing why Coke’s campaigns were so efficient and what contributed to their success.

examples of evergreen content - case study
Specializing in social media analytics, the company produces case studies on their specialty. Source

Undoubtedly, The Queen’s Gambit is one of the most striking TV series of our times. There is quite a chance people will be keen to learn social media’s reaction to the movie: Avario covers exactly that. Even after years, the most exclusive specialized studies will remain in first positions. Given that no one outruns this study on this particular topic in the eyes of Google, it will stay evergreen.

  • Scientific investigations
types of evergreen content - cpodcast
Historical investigations are the opposite of trending materials. “Moonrise” podcast by Washington Post

Scientific experiments and researches will stay always relevant and accessible by request.

Does a news website need evergreen content?

Now we’ve come to the most interesting. Will a news website benefit from creating evergreen content?

The short answer is yes.

A caveat is not every news website.

Let’s clear this out.

Since Google wants to provide people with the most accurate relevant content for their queries, from sources that proved trustworthiness and expertise in their specialty, a mass-market news website won’t see much effect from creating evergreen articles. The exception is when it crafts a truly unique, super-comprehensive post on a topic that no one covered before.

On the contrary, a niche news website can benefit greatly from developing multiple pieces of evergreen content on topic which is its expertise. This way, Google will know that a site has an editorial specialty to write on this topic and will send more traffic to its evergreen pages.

Examples of evergreen content in niche news

evergreen content created by news

We like how this media company that is also a news provider focusing on civic journalism, developed a separate section for evergreen content that drives traffic. Let’s see how the post looks like.

example of an evergreen article in niche news

It’s a 1,5k-word guide with 7 steps clearing up on how to start a law career with the keyword “how to become a lawyer.” Let’s take a look into how much the traffic for this keyword costs. This article pops up on the fifth position in SERP.

Keyword traffic value ahrefs
Traffic value of a keyword. Source: Ahrefs

We can see that this keyword is a bit competitive. It has 6,2k clicks per month and CPC (cost-per-click) value of $6. Calculating how much the traffic costs would be no rocket science.

6,200 x $6 = $37200

If this article moves up to the first position, this is how much its organic traffic will cost. Or, in other words, that’s how much the company will save by ranking for this keyword organically rather than paying for ad.

Remember, you only create evergreen content once, and then just monitor your rankings. Imagine occupying the first position for years? It’s stable traffic coming to your site. You decide how to monetize it.

Examples of evergreen content in mass news

Global news should create stories of world importance. In 4 out of 5 cases, it’s political, environmental, or scientific topics. Evergreen stories published by mass media have the same capacity of bringing in stable traffic, with only a difference in traffic volume for the keyword.

National Geographic answers an evergreen question

Until Putin is alive and talked about, this article with lots of amazing visuals will hold its first position answering its query.

Can we measure the efficiency of evergreen content?

Evergreen article or video is as good as the consistency of traffic it brings in. If a piece of evergreen content maintains stable traffic to your website, it works.

Traffic is good, but content can do much more than that.

For example, it can make visitors click on other articles, including news. They can become interested in exploring more and visit your homepage. They can bookmark your website or become a subscriber.

Evergreen content is a driver of new audiences: it can bring in people who don’t normally search for news but are interested in your specialty. A real estate agent may want to learn the technicalities of documentation needed for his job and find your comprehensive article that lists all the necessary documents. There is a great chance his eye will catch something else, and he’ll discover a great source to stay up-to-date with the industry news.

How much impact does your evergreen content make?

To calculate the value your evergreen content brings in, attention must be paid to the “recirculation” score. Recirculation rate shows how many visitors clicked on other articles on your website from a certain page.

IO tracker, for example, is one of the content analytics tools that helps to estimate how well your evergreen materials contribute to retaining readers, and finally, to subscriptions (or conversions).

IO dashboard: an article’s engagement scores

For instance, here we can see that an article does not perform very well – its recirculation rate is 11%. Usually, you invest much effort and time (and sometimes money) into creating just one piece of evergreen content. It must cause at least 35% of recirculation.

IO dashboard: articles’ comparison

In the dashboard, you can compare how an article performs against other articles and make changes to the one that’s lagging behind. By applying time filters, you can monitor the progress of your evergreen article during a certain period.

IO dashboard: time filters

Evergreen content must acquire users from organic search: that’s what you optimised it for. The goal is to “anchor” your post on top for the particular keyword (we will explain how to do this in our next article, watch the link bellow).

Well, we don’t want to bore you with terminology more, but these are absolute basics to understand if you want to create evergreen content that will drive traffic and attract qualified leads. So, this one will be the last for today, I promise.

IO dashboard: traffic sources

By applying the “traffic source” filter, you can see which evergreen article brought in most direct traffic. All these insights let publishers assess the value evergreen content brings. By analysing how is your evergreen material doing day-by-day, you can make small adjustments to it. Such analytics tools give your a deeper understanding of reader behavior, so that you can produce more evergreen articles to fit their interests.

You can also try any other content analytics tool, there are variety of them: we’ve compiled thorough research of the most efficient tools. Predicting your question: no, unfortunately, Google Analytics cannot provide insights into content perfomance since it’s a web analytics tool.

How to write evergreen content

The first step is to identify topics(keywords) that you will rank for. There is a specific way of picking up keywords for evergreen content: and we will specify it in the next article (watch link below). After that, you should write a blog post using the best practices of creating evergreen content. And then, of course, maintain the evergreen status of your work that includes continuous tracking of your ranking and refreshing your content.

We’d better describe this process in a separate article; it would be more convenient. Here it is ⬇️

How to write an evergreen post: step-by-step guide

If you have any questions or comments, we welcome you to share them below.