So, here I am, sitting at my office, sipping my coffee, and thinking about the early days of my career in Digital Marketing, especially Content Marketing.
I remember when I was just starting out- I was terrible at writing blog posts. I had many questions like- How to write magnetic headlines? How to write what people want to read? How to understand the needs of my readers? How to make my blog post sound interesting to the reader? How to write evergreen content? …and so on…
At that time, it was hard to find an answer to my never-ending questions.
But I remember how many countless hours I spent every day (and every night) to figure out my craft!
After making countless mistakes over the years and learning from them, I can finally say that- “I know exactly how to write evergreen blog posts that people would love to read, share, and talk about.”
But don’t worry, you don’t have to go through all the hardships I have been through because I am going to share with you a step-by-step guide to create killer evergreen blog content. Everything I’m going to share with you is a juice of 6 years of my blogging experience.
So, let’s start without further Ado…
What is Evergreen Content?
Before giving you the steps, let me share with you what Evergreen Content really means:
“Evergreen content, as the word suggests, is a form of content that is timeless. It never gets old. This form of content will keep bringing traffic to your blog for 3-6 years down the line.”
I hope we are on the same page?
Cool! Let’s start now…
1- Market Research
Market research is the most important part of writing evergreen content. You need to know certain aspects of who your customer is, what is he/she looking for online, what your competitors are doing, etc.
In short, you need to do market research to gather some relevant data. You need to gather data to understand your audience. You need to understand your audience to give them what they want. You need to give them what they want because it will make them read and scroll and read your blog post until the end. If you can make them stick to your blog and read till the end, you will surely be able to position yourself as an authority in front of them which will make them consume some other content on your blog, and most likely, purchase your product.
So, here is how we go about doing market research:
a. Develop Customer/Reader Avatar – Customer Avatar is a template which contains all the demographic and psychographic information of your “ideal customer/reader”. You have to research some key data points to develop this “customer avatar”.
Those key data points are:
- Name – In order to distinguish your different personas
-Size and type of company as well as the industry they work in
-Job description and details about their role
-Responsibilities and people they answer to
Age – Are your ideal visitors teenagers, twenty-somethings or silver surfers?
Gender – Does your topic or product appeal more to a male or female demographic?
Salary – Think of this also in terms of buying power.
Location – City dwellers or country folk?
Education – Also think about this in terms of computer literacy.
Family – What other roles do they fulfill, such as parents, grandparents etc?
Hobbies – How do they like to spend their free time?
Interests – Blogs they read, where they get their news and so on.
- Goals and Challenges
-What are their life goals?
-What challenges are they facing on the way?
-How can you help?
- Values and Fears
-What is important to them?
-What keeps them up at night?
I know…I know…I know…
You might be thinking – “From where I am going to get all this information”.
You don’t need to get everything perfect, but it should be almost similar to your ideal customer/reader.
I’m going to give you a quick method to develop your customer/avatar.
Close your eyes and visualize a perfect person who will read the blog post you are going to write.
Give him an imaginary name.
Then ask yourself- What do the demographics of your reader look like? What are his/her pain points? What are his/her struggles? What are his/ her values? What are his/ her fears?
Everything you know till now is just your assumption. So to make it clear, do some surveys, ask your current readers about their pain points, fears, etc. Survey them. If you cannot find the answer to any question, just make an assumption and move on to the next step. The goal is just to get an “idea” of who your ideal reader is.
b. Analyze the competition- This one is a biggie when it comes to market research. You have to become a detective. You need to know everything that your competition is doing, and what’s working and what’s not working for them.
It’s very certain that you and your competitors have the same audience. So what is working for them will work for you.
You have to find answers to the following questions:
- Which content works best? – Look at the articles that get most comments and social shares. For the latter, you can also use tools like Buzzsumo or Feedly. By doing this, you’ll find their evergreen content.
- What topics do they cover? – If your competitors have some popular topics that you haven’t ever covered, then you must consider them.
- What type of content are they producing? – Pay attention to the content your competitors are publishing. If their most popular content is short-form content, then you should consider doing short-form content in the future.
- What are people saying in the comments? – Blog comments are a treasure of information about your readers. Try to identify common themes and frequently asked questions so you can address them in your evergreen content.
After analyzing your competition, you have some good idea of what is working for them, what is not working for them, what is their evergreen content…now all you need to do is, write better content than your competition to attract more visitors to your website, to build more links, and to rank higher in SERP.
c. Listen To Social Conversations: Listening to social conversations is something that most people either miss or underestimate. Your audience is constantly giving signals to you by interacting with your or your competitor’s content. All you have to do is pick those signals.
How to pick up those signals?
Well, this is an easy one…
· Join groups and communities related to your niche- Go on the social media channels where your audience is hanging out and see what they are talking about, what conversations they are having what, what posts they are posting, and what comments they are making?
· Website comments- Read what people are talking about you, about your competitors, and about your niche? See what problems they are sharing in comments? And most important- What solutions they are seeking.
· Read reviews of your as well as your customer products- Read both, positive and negative, reviews. This will give you a broad idea of what makes your audience happy, what makes them sad, and what they want more? And most importantly- what misunderstandings or questions needs to be clarified?
You might be thinking why you have to do all this? Where it fits in the equation of writing evergreen content?
It does! It fits, and in fact, it fits very well!
You need to listen to social conversations because you want to catch signals that your audience is giving you. And you want to catch signals so you can address them in your next “evergreen post”.
d. Direct conversation with your audience- This is the traditional yet most effective way to do market research. Nothing is more effective than connecting with people, empathizing, and trying to understand their problems in person.
There are some good ways to do it…
· Hanging out where your audience hangs out- Are you writing about weight loss? If yes, then go visit the local gym and have a conversation with people who are trying to lose weight.
· Attend conferences and meet-ups- Go to meetup.com, see what meet-ups are going to happen in your niche near you, and join them. Don’t forget to connect with people and have conversations with them!
· Your inner circle- Do you have contacts with people who may be your potential readers? Do you have friends or relatives who can benefit from your content?- I’m sure you have. Just pick up your phone (or close Facebook if it’s already in your hands) and call those people.
Don’t forget to ask the questions related to your customer/reader avatar everytime you meet your potential readers. Try to understand their pain points so you can address them in your content.
We are finally done with the most important part of writing killer evergreen content, i.e., market research.
Let’s move to the next and the most interesting part…
2- Crafting Actionable Content by using AIDA
Think of AIDA as a magic dust. You have to sprinkle this magic dust all over your content to make it interesting and appealing to your audience. This magic dust is one of the reasons why some blogs do well and some don’t, why some content marketers become successful and some don’t, why some bloggers get millions of visitors and some get none…
I can see you’re getting impatient to know what AIDA really is!
So, without further delay, let’s dive right in…
As the name AIDA suggests, it is a mixture of 4 elements. A.I.D.A- each alphabet stands for something. So let’s see and discuss what it stands for.
a. Attention (A)- You have to grab your reader’s attention otherwise he/she will slip somewhere else. To grab attention, you have to build some triggers like curiosity. Now, for this “attention” part you need to focus on the “first touch point” of your content with your reader.
What is the first touch point of your content?
Right…it’s the headline and meta-description.
So you have to craft your headline in such a way that it hooks the reader and makes him click on it to know more.
Your headline may be of various kinds – it may be some staggering number, something that builds curiosity, or something that tells the reader what he/she will learn.
For example, “Mind blowing study: There are more people alive than there have ever been dead”- this is an example of a headline that will instantly grab the attention of the reader and will make him click on the headline to learn more.
More impressions and less click-through rate mean a bad use of attention element. You have to optimize for higher click-through rates.
Hope you get the idea!
For now, let’s move to the next element of our magic dust.
b. Interest (I)- Once you’ve grabbed attention, you have to make it interesting for your readers to read till the end. You can make your content interesting by giving them “Ah-ha” moments while reading, open loops in between and open another loop as soon as you’re going to close the last one.
Add relevant pictures, and visually appealing graphics to make your content, not only sound but also look interesting.
Let me mention it again- “Add relevant pictures and graphics”- I can’t emphasize this enough. You need your content to be as well as LOOK interesting because it should appeal to both- eyes and minds of your reader.
See it this way- No matter how interesting you are as a person – you should never dress-up like a beggar on your first date.
Hope you got it now…
The metric you need to measure and optimize for, in this case, is- Bounce Rate. You’re getting high impressions, high click-through rates, but you have very high bounce rates- that means you need to work on the “interest” element.
c. Desire (D) – You have successfully grabbed attention and you have successfully engaged your readers by making your content interesting. Now you have to satisfy their desire by giving them what you promised.
If you promised to teach them something then articulate what they have learned and how they can implement it.
If you promised to solve their problems, then present your product in front of them, tell them the benefits of buying your product.
In short, at this stage, you have to give something of value to your readers.
To measure if you’ve done this step successfully, you need to measure link-clicks in your blog post if any.
Let’s move to the next one…
d. Action (A)- Everything is in place till now, you grabbed attention, built interest, satisfied their desire…now you have to ask them to take action. We call it “Call to action”.
“Add to cart”
“Click the link below”
“Get access now”…
…these are some call to actions. You have to say something similar to motivate your reader to take action.
This was an easy one, right?
The metric you need to measure for this may vary depending upon what you ask them to do. If you asked them to buy your product- measure your conversion rates, if you asked them to read another blog post- measure you link clicks…you get the idea!
So this was the magic dust…
Till now, we have covered almost 90% of what it takes to write evergreen content.
Now we just need to put together some other parts of the puzzle…
3- Search Engine Optimization
You have done your market research, you have great content mixed with magic dust, now, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play.
You have to do on-page as well as off-page SEO to make your content rank high in the search results.
SEO is not very important, but it indeed is necessary. Wearing a bow or a tie with a suit is not important, but it’s necessary to improve your get-up. Same goes for SEO.
I already assume that you know SEO, if not I have an article about SEO. Read it – Here.
These 3 steps are all you need to write killer evergreen content.
But You need to keep some things in mind…
DOs and DON’Ts:
· Only write to provide value. A lot of people write just for the sake of publishing “something”. A post that’s not written with passion will reflect carelessness in your article and people will bounce off.
· Keep updating your content. Evergreen posts don’t expire but they get old. To keep your content fresh, you need to keep updating them.
· Follow the above-mentioned steps in sequence (from 1-3). Never start writing with finishing market research.
· Make your content scannable. Some people don’t read every word, so you have to use bold, headlines, italics, and bullets for those who just scan through the content.
· Use a good website design to provide the amazing user experience.
· Always link to related content and articles throughout your content to support your argument.
· Stir curiosity in the minds of your reader but never come across as confusing. Curiosity leads to a high retention rate, confusion leads to high bounce rate.
· Never propose marriage on the first date. Don’t ask your user to buy a $1000 product after he read your article. Start with a low dollar offer (if you are selling something).
· Never come out as a salesman. Don’t write to get something out of your reader. Just write to provide value. People are intelligent, if you will write with the mindset of getting something out of them or selling them something at the end, they will sense it and bounce off.
· Don’t beat around the bush, directly come to the point. It’s good to open loops (as we discussed earlier) but to do that – some people start beating around the bush.
The conclusion is simple. You have 3 dead simple steps to follow, to write killer evergreen content:
1- Do Market Research- Always do this before starting to write your content. Customer Avatar, and understanding your audience is the most important of all.
2- Use AIDA structure- Never forget the magic dust! Without this, you will be able to write but you’ll never succeed in making people read your content till the end.
3- Do SEO- Don’t forget to do SEO to attract some free traffic. You can surely run ads, but everyone should do SEO rank higher on search results. It not only helps in getting free traffic but also helps in positioning you as an expert in the market. Here is my article on SEO.
BONUS STEP- Start writing NOW.
If you are a newbie and have some questions- ask me in the comments…
If you’re an expert- share your secrets with me in the comments…