It was about 8 years ago, if you’re reading this blog in 2015, that my dad retired and started another business in selling software. His market was a bit tough, they were small store shop owners and they were always busy. The thing was that he was doing this the old school way, going door-to-door. He was burning up a tremendous amount of time, energy and fuel just to meet with a “maybe”. I then went in and created a website for him and wrote up all of the information that could be so relevant to his market that he generates leads from that site even today, after he stopped doing the sales for the software.
That is what I want to talk to you about in this blog! How do you create what I like to call Evergreen Content.
What is Evergreen Content?
When you think of content, I would place it into 3 buckets.
1. Short-term Content: These short-term content pieces usually run about hours to around 6-month timeframes. Essentially these are your news stories and “what’s happening in the world” type events. This is the stuff you have to create as the news hits. So, you would have to spend a substantial amount of time and resources making sure that you can deliver.
2. Medium Time-Framed Content: This type of content can be considered information that is good for at least 6 months to a year, maybe even 2 years. These are things like Google updates, even though they could be short term, but you will find information about this that is fairly relevant for the next 6 months. The information changes within 6 months or as new information is revealed or discovered.
3. The Evergreen Content: This stuff is the golden money maker. This is information that is so relevant to your target audience, and will always remain true for at least several years. I can’t say that your content won’t need to be updated, but in most cases unless that are law changes or something big that happens, your content will be relevant and current for a long time.
You don’t need to have complex funnels in your evergreen conversions. Do I recommend them? Yes, having a nice laid out funnel system is always a great idea, but in my dad’s case all I did was make sure that the information was findable.
How to Get Started in Creating Evergreen Content
I always like to start any content program with frequently asked questions (FAQs) and frequently unasked questions (FUQs). Why? These are the questions you will always get hammered for and you will probably answer them for every single client that walks through your door.
The classic example in the content marketing world is River Pools and Spas. Jay Baer talks about this example in one of his books. This company on the verge of bankruptcy turned to content and doubled its sales.
For Currently Running Businesses
First of don’t sell your business, I swear if you start saying how “amazing” you are then you’ve seriously just lost the point of the whole content marketing efforts. For those of you who don’t plan on selling your business, here is what you want to start off:
Go back and think of the top 20% of your customers who buy from you. You could also ask your sales reps or just start making notes down based on who is contacting you now! Either way, get a list going. Make an ongoing list of questions that they ask. Now, categorize those questions into three buckets
Bucket 1 Quick Answers: These are the fast answers that can’t really be turned into articles or blogs, you can just answer them over the phone. These can also be about your business and who you are etc. You want to make sure that you could at least generate a 500+ post, so don’t go posting 4 sentence information in your blog, it just looks bad. You could turn it into an infographic, but that’s for another time and another blog.
Bucket 2 Fits the Short-Term and/or Medium Time-frame Questions: These would be great blogs, but you have to go back and update these. Don’t get me wrong, you still want to write about this information, but you want to try to get the bucket 3’s out of the way first.
Bucket 3 The Golden Blog Answers: These are FAQs that fit our nice evergreen model and they require some lengthy explanation. Make sure that you optimize the heck out of these questions. Not sure on how to do on page optimization? You can read about that here.
For Startups Businesses
But, what if you’re a new business and you don’t have any customers that came to you yet? You’re just getting started and you don’t know what the FAQs and FUQs should even be?
This is where you would have to do several things in order to really map this out well. You don’t want to waste a ton of time trying to just write content and then have no results or even have no one looking for it.
1. Go to Forums: Find your industry keywords and find all of the forums, LinkedIn and Google+ forums & groups you possibly can. Now, write every single question that you find that is relevant and put them in the above bucket lists.
Here is how you find some forums:
i. Google search your <Keyword>+forum
ii. Go to Reddit.com
iii. Go to LinkedIn and type in the search <your industry> and find groups
2. Talk to your friends and family that don’t work in the same business as you: Why? If you go to someone who has absolutely no clue about your industry, then as you explain it to them, you will uncover a ton of questions that you had no idea people were thinking about. Just make sure that these people fit within your personas.