how to write evergreen content

How to Write Evergreen Content

When I first began to look for writing jobs, it seemed like every potential employer wanted pitches for evergreen articles as part of the application package. I grew discouraged, because I didn’t know how to write evergreen content. Really, I wasn’t even sure where to begin.

A quick Google search for “how to write evergreen content” turns up a lot of hits for business blogging. If you want to start a blog as part of your existing business website, evergreen content is a great way to consistently draw in traffic.

For an article to be evergreen, it must always be relevant. News articles, seasonal posts, and statistical reports are not evergreen. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write them; if they are relevant to your business or blog niche, you should absolutely feel free to tackle them.

However, if you’re looking for writing jobs, you probably won’t be asked to provide news or similar content as part of your application package. Instead, managing editors will be looking for evergreen content, such as listicles and how-to guides.

A brief note before we go further. Eighty percent of the content here at Kristian Wilson, Writing is evergreen, including my reviews. However, most publications will have in-house writers who handle those articles. The same is true for news and other non-evergreen content.

How to Write Evergreen Content

Identify Your Niche

You should produce your evergreen content with authority. Before you protest, think about it this way: a person who has lived in Kansas her entire life, and has never seen a large body of water, probably shouldn’t write sailing advice.

That’s not meant to discourage you. Trust me, people who are just starting out have plenty of topics on which they can write authoritatively. It’s just a matter of identifying those topics and finding an outlet for them.

Think about your education, work experience, life experience, and hobbies. Nothing is too niche or unimportant. There are publications out there with readers who want to know what you know, even if what you know is how to build stuff with LEGO blocks.

Brainstorm Article Ideas

Once you’ve identified the topics on which you are qualified to write, you can start brainstorming article ideas. I recommend using Microsoft Excel or some other spreadsheet software for this, because you will be able to easily transform your idea board into an organized list of pitches and responses at a later date.

Focus on listicles and how-to guides that relate to your areas of expertise. For example, if you feel qualified to hand out relationship advice, here are some things you might write down:

  • TK Hints That Your Partner Is Lying to You
  • How to Tell If You’ve Found The One
  • TK Signs Your Relationship Is All about Sex

Yes, I know! You’ve read those articles dozens of times in different blogs and magazines. That’s OK. There’s a chance that the first publications to give you a platform won’t already have that content under their brand, which offers you the chance to give your take on an age-old topic.

Spin, Baby, Spin

When you’re learning how to write evergreen content, you might feel like you don’t have much to say. What if you land a job, write five articles, and then run out of steam?

First off, don’t worry. Any editor worth her salt has a few assignments she can throw your way if you get hit with writer’s block. Of course, you don’t want to be the writer who never has topics of her own to add, but that won’t be a problem if you’ve learned how to spin the ideas you’ve already used.

When you spin an idea, you find a fresh perspective, and tackle your stale story from a new angle. Evergreen article ideas like the ones I listed above are endlessly spinnable, so you’ll never run out of content, provided you can get creative.

Already published “TK Hints That Your Partner Is Lying to You”? You’re not out of content yet. Try writing “TK Lies All Single People Tell” or “The Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore.” Once you’re done with those, write up “The Biggest Lie I Told My Ex” and “TK Reasons You Don’t Have to Forgive Your Ex.”

Now, you don’t have to have written an article to spin it, although writing may help you come up with more angles. For now, just focus on getting as many of these ideas down as you can.

Write It Up

When you choose to write your evergreen content is entirely up to you. You might want to wait until you’re pitching an idea or applying for a writing job. Or you might want to write now, so that you have plenty of time to revise.

Although I’m definitely a procrastinator, I can tell you that it never hurts to have a few well-written articles ready to send off to an editor. If your expertise spans several categories — which it most likely does — you’ll want to have two or three articles on deck for each.

The best way to learn how to write evergreen content is to actually write it, so go ahead and polish up a few pieces for your portfolio when you have the time.

Some Things to Avoid When Writing Evergreen Content

Believe it or not, there are several things you can do to stamp an expiration date on your evergreen article without realizing it. Luckily, it’s quite easy to maneuver around these pitfalls once you know how to identify them.

Avoid dating your piece at all costs. No, I don’t mean the time stamp that you use to identify when your article was written or published. I’m talking about phrases like “last week/month/year,” “the current administration,” or “her latest novel.” Sooner or later, they won’t make any sense to your reader, and your article will be stale.

Instead of using these phrases, be specific. Write “April 2016,” “the Obama administration,” and “Hag-Seed.”

You may decide to write evergreen content inspired by current events or interests, such as an important anniversary or a news item. Publishing those articles when you know people will be searching for them is important, but it’s always nice to be able to share your content throughout the year.

Again, this pitfall is quite easy to avoid. Don’t write “Because today is Jane Austen’s birthday.” Instead, talk about Austen’s life and her enduring relevance. An article written for Jane Austen’s birthday can only be shared once a year, but an evergreen list of her best quotes may be shared any day you like.

Do you still have questions about how to write evergreen content? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credit: Calum MacAulay