By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Content marketing is all about telling a compelling story.” Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
Are Your Posts Out-dated?
Writing’s been with us for thousands of years, and some of the best writing is about how to write. Why do even experienced writers re-read these timeless books and essays? Because the information is relevant to us at any stage of our writing careers, and just as many of us like reading a book on improving our writing, today’s writers are looking for that same kind of valuable advice online.
Solid, relevant information is evergreen; not trendy, time-sensitive, fashionable, or forgettable. But refreshing and updating your posts make them ever-relevant.
Evergreen articles tend to be more comprehensive and longer. Neil Patel strongly suggests that more words are a better plan. But it’s more than just an additional 300 words. Those extra words need to add value, answer a question or be interesting, not just written to fulfill a word count.
There’s also a difference between evergreen and sustainable. A “How-to” on tree trimming will remain the same; however, a sustainable or ever-relevant article on “What to Use to Trim your Tree” might need updating as tools improve even when the act of trimming remains the same. If the writing is solid for the how-to, people will return to this writer when they update with new and better tools, or better safety measures.
So, I’ve covered writing and tree trimming, but what if they aren’t your focus? That doesn’t matter. Your focal point may be something entirely different, but the points about evergreen and ever-relevant apply to all subjects.
When you narrow your focal point, that’s a huge advantage.
Finding your focus means you have an idea about your target audience. But what if you haven’t? Think about what you’re passionate about, and that’s your focus. It will eventually become your niche. For instance, food is something that we all have an interest in; whether it’s healthy, for the diabetic, vegan, or that dinner party for fifty. The subject is evergreen, but the focus is precise. It’s in the specifics that you can stand out. But you won’t stand out if you’re just giving a rehash.
Revising some of your evergreen information but from a different perspective is another way to use some of your original blog or posts if it is still relevant.
Traffic numbers and readers let you know if you’re reaching your target audience and how well they are responding to your words. I’m a generalist and the encouraging one. I want to write about useful and helpful writing tips, but also to encourage writers to be authentic, creative, and imaginative.
Hopefully, my articles will help you improve – the evergreen, but I like to use analogies, metaphors, and stories in mine – the sustainable or changing aspects.
Some of that variation in my writing probably comes from my other passion; working for more than twenty-five years with the addicted population. We need stories to relate, so memoir and reflective writing are part of my means of expression.
When you find a way to convey your passion or purpose and combine that with excellent writing, you will be a source that people return to for advice.
But your writing must have certain elements in it to maintain reader’s long-term interest. Here are the four ways to guarantee that readers stay loyal to your blog or site with your evergreen articles. Make sure your writing satisfies the following:
- Written with clear, concise and compelling words
- Tackles FAQ
- Offers different styles and tones to appeal to a larger audience
- Updated and revised to reflect better links, images, and information
How will each of those four guarantee that your posts stay evergreen and ever-relevant?
1. Use Clear, Concise, And Compelling Words
None of us likes to read an article where we have to have a Thesaurus handy just to make it through the first sentence. However, language is particular to each writer; some have extensive vocabularies and others use plain English. I like to refer to the differences as Home Cookin’ or Haute Cuisine writing.
I can go either way, depending on the tone and style I think works best for an individual post. When you see which of your articles has done well by the numbers or the comments, pay attention to how you used words, and which words or style you used.
I’m not talking SEO and keywords here; I’m referencing the language.
If you’re writing a technical post, for a professional reader, you might not write in a conversational manner, and you might not include your emotions, either. But if you are in the process of building relationships with your readers, some dialog, and emotional components must be there to make a connection. That’s what makes a post compelling. It’s convincing; the reader knows who’s writing, and this can go a long way towards establishing trust with you, which can in turn, translate to confidence in your blog.
I’ve always like the quote about, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I knew it”. Although I’d like to give you a link like I usually do on quotes, darn if I can find it on Google. Anyone knows who said it, let me know in a comment, thanks.
2. Tackle FAQ
Now, in this case, I’ve asked you to help me – find the author of that quote. However, questions are what leads most readers to our posts. They want to know how to do something, or want more information about a particular subject, so they conduct a search. Sometimes, we anticipate a reader’s question and write a post about that aspect.
When something changes in one of your niches, you can update and make an older post relevant to today’s questions and concerns. Not sure what is next? Create alerts for your niche topics and stay current.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions in your pieces. So far, I’ve got several questions up to this point, and will have more by the end of the piece. Are they what my readers are asking? I’m not sure, but they are reasonably good questions to ask to be helpful, so they’ll stay.
3. Offer Different Styles and Tones to Appeal to a Larger Audience
We are fortunate at Two Drops of Ink because, in addition to Scott Biddulph and myself, we have several writers, all with diverse styles, tones, and voices. None of us tries to imitate the other.
It is different styles and voices that attracts a wider readership.
Scott is a combination of educator and enchanter. He writes in a formal academic manner for his posts on better writing. He’s exacting in his descriptions of usage, grammar and syntax and edits with an eye for these writing mistakes. He can then switch gears and write poetry or a short story, which still has rules, but allows his creative side to emerge and he uses more freedom in his expressive poetry. I’m not sure if he breaks rules, but creativity allows him to bend them sometimes. What if you don’t have anyone besides yourself that’s writing for your blog?
While guest blogging fluctuates in popularity, it is back in favor. Ask yourself:
- Who do I read?
- Who would add value to my site?
- Who seems to be most current in their presentation of information?
- Who shares my passion for the topic?
When you find a writer who answers those questions, contact them and extend an invitation to write for your blog or site.
Establishing these relationships with other writers in your niche exposes your blog to a wider audience. Often the two writers will exchange posts and then each benefit. With combined social media sharing, each author is presented to a greater audience.
If you get to write for their site, give them your best effort, just not the best. You’ll want to save that for your blog or site, but you’ll know that you put time, energy and effort into your other piece, and it will be seen by other readers and that will increase your audience.
4. Update to Reflect Better Links, Images, and Information
Most of us spend a lot of time creating new posts, but how much time is spent updating or checking links on an old evergreen post?
Reviewing them for bad links or better links is helpful and keeps them fresh.
If you’re not doing that, you’re missing an opportunity to inform as well as increase exposure or income.
For instance, I may have thought that John Doe’s article about verbs was the definitive example, and then I find Susie Smith and am blown away by her writing. But did I go back and change my link? Often the answer will be no. And we all know the excuses:
- Too busy
- Concerned with writing new articles
However, if you are not checking links, you do your readers and yourself a disservice, and readers don’t like that at all. And that guest writer you’ve got scheduled to post?
See if your guest bloggers have a complementary or opposing viewpoint for one of your evergreen or even new pieces and link to them. I’ve included links to other writers today because it’s going to help my readers.
Some are writers at Two Drops of Ink, but many are to other writers, not affiliated with us. However, it fulfills my sense of integrity to give our readers relevant, informative and helpful information, regardless of who wrote it.
Now we get to another aspect of well-written articles that I like – images. I spend a lot of time finding them, fretting over their placement, and want them to pop. Some of us have been writing long enough to remember when Microsoft clip art was all we had.
My 400,000-word recovery system had images from the 1990’s because that’s all that was available. Clearly, words weren’t the problem, and if I wanted, I could rationalize that much of the information hasn’t changed, still has relevance and just leave it as is. However, that would cost me in the long run. I’ve already stated that evergreen is ever relevant.
Therefore, I had to update my images, as well as the writing. But those changes demonstrated my commitment to creating the best-written and presented information that I could.
Do you have evergreen articles that you could present better?
- Are you updating your images?
- Does your article go beyond words and use active and interesting images?
- What images are you using?
- What do your images contribute to the article?
- Are they outdated?
- Are they generic and boring?
Invest in an image service or check out these sites that go beyond the “computer-writer’s notebook- coffee cup ” shots that just bore us to tears.
These are simple changes that you can make to your evergreen articles. I hope you find some information in this post that helps you improve. However, it’s not one-sided. I hope that other writers will want to contribute their advice, stories, poems and evergreen content as well, so think about submitting to Two Drops of Ink to gain exposure for your writing.
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