I’m sure you’ve heard this stat: more than two million blog posts go live every single day.
And that’s just talking about blogs. You don’t even want to start contemplating total online content including emails, landing pages, product pages, podcasts, and social media.
Standing out in the deluge is harder than ever. Even for established publishers it’s tough. For beginners … it’s a nightmare.
So, what’s the solution?
While there is no magic bullet for content marketers, there is one type of content that can cut through the noise and deliver long-term results.
It’s called evergreen content.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content — like the name implies — is timeless.
These special resources are in-depth examinations of a problem, solution, trend, or topic. They can help your audience find tons of information on a subject that interests them, which adds value to your blog.
For example, Copyblogger used their original evergreen content to create a content library that produced historic results for the site. Visitors can register for a free My Copyblogger membership to get easy access to all of these materials.
Creating evergreen content does require additional time and money, but it’s worth those investments … if you want to rank higher in search engines, drive traffic for years, and help your audience find exactly what they need.
So, do you want to discover what types of evergreen content you could create — with more examples detailing exactly what success looks like?
Well, that’s what this post contains: 20 different evergreen content types, tips on how to make yours stand out, and examples all along the way.
Evergreen data and case studies
Original research and data-driven posts are evergreen gold. Likewise, case studies help show off your expertise by promoting real-world results that attract new prospects.
1. Your own original research
Investing in your own original research is hard, but that’s why it’s at the top of this list. Primary research is unique, exclusive, and — therefore — powerful.
While you might not have the resources of Forrester or Mary Meeker, that doesn’t mean you can’t go mining on your own.
Andy Crestodina does this every year through a simple Google Form for his blogger research survey.
2. “Every flippin’ stat” collection
If you can’t create your own research, the next best thing is to collect stats. This can’t be an exercise in brevity though.
Instead, get exhaustive by assembling 100 or more data points from across your industry. Then either add original commentary that helps your audience make use of the stats or design an infographic to accompany and simplify the content.
3. “Deep dive for success” case study
Case studies are a great two-for-one:
- You get to show off your expertise.
- You get to tell a story. And everybody loves a good story.
Neil Patel’s How to Write a Perfect Case Study That Attracts High Paying Clients does both brilliantly. On top of that, it gets pretty meta: it’s a case-study guide that is a case study itself.
4. “What went wrong” case study
Even more than success, failure is an effective teacher.
In fact, people often connect with our failures far more than our successes. Failure humanizes us. It evokes empathy and builds trust.
So, muster up the courage to get honest about your biggest flop. In Case Study: 18 Tips to Destroy Your Own Webinar, Emily Hunt takes this track, revealing mistakes and pointing out lessons at every turn.
5. One shocking stat and its consequences
Another creative way to present data is to go small … really, really, really small.
Pick one shocking stat and build an entire article or ebook around it. Explain the stat’s backstory and draw out all the applications you can.
For instance, this article is essentially a response to the problem of content overload and how to overcome those two million blog posts that get published day after day … after day.
Evergreen how-to guides
By breaking down a timeless issue into bite-sized steps, you educate your visitors and provide genuine value. The key is to solve a real problem with a real solution.
For evergreen content, ask yourself:
What hell am I saving my reader from and what heaven will I deliver them unto?
6. How-to for beginners
According to Chip and Dan Heath: “Once we know something … it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others.” Because of this, true beginner guides are few and far between.
For a model, check out How to Write First Blog Post (16,000-word Guide +63 Expert Tips) by Michael Pozdnev. It combines emotion, a free ebook, and advice all centered around taking your very first step into the world of blogging.
7. How-to for advanced users
In many ways, advanced guides are easier to write than beginner guides. Why? Because you and your reader already share expertise and a common, technical language.
But how do you say something genuinely unique and deliver on your promise?
Jason Quey’s The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing starts with data and a bit of groundwork. Then the content reveals Jason’s own templates along with high-level insights from other thought leaders in the space.
8. How-to checklist
The challenge of producing both beginner and advanced guides is how to present a lot of information. Three thousand or more words on any topic is hard to take in.
Enter the checklist. Checklists can stand alone or be added to how-to posts as downloads or content upgrades.
Whichever method you choose, the non-negotiable principle is this: boil it down.
Copyblogger’s Ultimate Copy Checklist ends with a black-and-white poster that helps you easily work through all 51 questions from the article itself.
9. How to do something over time
In addition to “do this now” advice, showing your reader how to accomplish long-term goals is vital. You can do this by breaking down your steps into days, weeks, months, or even an entire year.
How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar for a Year walks visitors through five steps to persevere at social media marketing by moving from the big picture — complete with spreadsheet examples — right down to individual posts.
10. How to pick the best product
Explaining how to pick the best product is a dangerous evergreen gambit. Most guides come across as transparently self-promotional.
To avoid that, make your product tutorial about teaching: provide definitions, collect advice from industry experts, and present impartial reviews from third-party sites.
While they certainly sell their own security software, Heimdal Security’s How to Find the Best Antivirus, the Ultimate Guide nails this tight-rope walk on every front.
To help readers navigate through all the content on the web, compile the very best information on a topic and create a list that’s easy to follow. Include detailed commentary that serves your specific niche.
11. Ideas and resources
Creativity is a fickle thing. Sometimes the muse strikes without warning, but rarely does she arrive exactly when we need her most.
Bringing ideas and resources together turns the creative lights back on. Check out Henneke’s 35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business.
12. Best free and paid tools
Regardless of your niche, there are plenty of tools that help people be more productive and profitable.
But to be evergreen, you have to do more than just list them.
To make tool lists shine, try tutorials with screenshots, videos, tips on how to get started, usage hacks, and insightful commentary detailing pros and cons.
Set a periodic reminder in your editorial calendar to keep these posts up-to-date.
13. Top influencers in a specific niche
Most influencer lists are pretty superficial. Even on well-known media sites, they often aren’t more than surface-level comments taken directly from each name’s most prominent social media profile.
To stand out, connect your influencer list to practical applications and get original contributions. At the risk of sounding self-serving, that’s exactly what I did in 50 Best Social Media Tools From 50 Most Influential Marketers Online, which combines this approach with a tool list.
14. Best books for a specific goal or niche
I love books. And I love lists. Turns out, so does the internet. Best-book lists are always a popular topic.
However, just like many of the other examples in this post, you can’t throw together blurbs from the back cover and call it good.
Dig in. Summarize each book. Call attention to its best lessons. Drop outstanding quotes into Click to Tweet boxes. Or even ask industry experts to share their favorite choices like The 10 Top Copywriting Books from the Top 10 Online Copywriters does with names like Brian Clark, Joanna Wiebe, and Demian Farnworth.
15. Common mistakes in a specific niche
Every industry has its seven deadly sins. Some have more like 10 or 20. Outlining these common mistakes — and providing tips on avoiding and overcoming them — is evergreen paydirt.
As a model, consider Henneke’s 11 Common Blogging Mistakes that Waste Your Audience’s Time. True to her engaging and winsome form, Henneke presents a bite-sized breakdown of each issue and easy-to-follow corrections.
For an even more exhaustive example, check out Shanelle Mullin’s post on ConversionXL, Google Analytics Health Check: Is Your Configuration Broken?
Evergreen encyclopedic content
You can create evergreen content around the history of your niche or product by building a glossary or producing an exhaustive “everything you need to know” post.
16. History of a topic or product
History doesn’t have to be boring. And it doesn’t just attract the “nerds” of your industry. However, it does have to be either visually or pragmatically engaging.
Beth Hayden and Rafal Tomal’s A History of Social Media [Infographic] has both of those two ingredients.
They kick things off with a secret — “There’s nothing new about ‘social media’ …” — and proceed to dispel that myth with a beautifully illustrated timeline.
17. Single-greatest tip roundup
It might seem like the old-school “what’s the best tip for blogging?” roundup has been done to death, but that doesn’t mean single-tip roundups can’t shine.
Ask an original, niche-specific question and present the answers creatively.
Case in point, Venngage’s 46 Expert Tips For Creating Addictive Content. “Addictive” content is far more enticing than “good” content, and it’s packaged as a post, ebook, and infographic.
As if that wasn’t enough, each and every tip is boiled down to a memorable and Tweetable nugget for easy sharing and retention.
18. Best or worst practices for a specific goal
Similar to the how-to guides above, best-or-worst-practice lists aim to add value by solving problems. Think of them as catch-alls, built on data and backed by examples.
While best-practice lists are low-hanging evergreen fruit, worst-practice lists give you the opportunity to be just as valuable — and have a lot more fun.
Beth Hayden combines both ideas in 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Virtues of Email Marketing.
19. Complete glossary of a niche or topic
Dictionary entries aren’t the sexiest type of content, but they are link-building dynamite.
Check out Copyblogger’s epic Content Marketing Glossary. The downloadable PDF, extensive cross-linking, and videos throughout make it compelling.
Complement your own glossary likewise to bring it to life.
20. Everything you need to know about a niche or topic
Our final example is easily the most daunting.
Words like “definitive” and “ultimate” get tossed around a lot. And while the luster is wearing off, the need for all-in-one content hasn’t gone anywhere.
Lawn Care: The Ultimate Guide should be in the content marketing hall of fame.
After an opening quote from Michael Pollan — “A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule” — the rest of the article works through the complete history of lawn care, definitions of key terms, best and worst practices, and a host of visuals.
Oh, and how perfect is it to end a post on evergreen content with a lawn care guide? That’s just icing on the cake.
It’s not easy being green
Now that you’re equipped with more types of evergreen content than you’d ever need, the temptation will be to start growing an entire nursery … all at once.
Evergreen content is powerful, insanely so. But remember creating it requires an investment. Pick one of the above templates and dig deep.
Above all, aim for originality and value. Being genuinely helpful never goes out of season.