But maintaining a blog means producing content, and that means determining what kind of content you want to produce. This brings us to a frequent debate among online content creators; whether it's better to go topical or evergreen with your content.
Opinions may vary on the subject, but before delving too far in, let's first define the difference between the two.
What is Topical Content?
Topical content is timely, relevant content that relates to something current. The obvious advantages to this type of content are that it's of-the-moment and usually, highly searchable.
While topical content is great for achieving a temporary spike in traffic, it tends to have a fleeting appeal. And depending on the topic, you're likely to see the levels of traffic a topical piece generates decrease as time passes and its timeliness diminishes.
Examples of Topical Content:
- Industry news
- Current events
- Company news
- A wrap-up post from a conference you recently attended
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content gets its name from evergreen trees -- such as pine or fir -- that retain their color and needles year round. By the same token, evergreen content is content that remains continually fresh to readers by staying relevant.
According to HubSpot, evergreen content can be defined as "timeless, canonical, and valuable."
Examples of Evergreen Content:
- Interviews with industry experts
- Instructions and tutorials
- History lessons
- Answers to frequently asked questions
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Topical Content
The upside for topical content is that it's more current and could potentially be more 'buzz-worthy.' The downside is that it tends to have a shorter shelf life.
Topical content can come out of the gate hot, but ultimately, it's subject to the same 'churn and burn' lifespan that news stories experience. After all, unless you're a detective working on a cold case, who reads last year's news?
That said, topical content can potentially deliver a big payoff upfront in terms of traffic. Especially if you're quick to write, post, and syndicate via social media, and you have a unique angle on a particular current story.
But as you probably know from experience, creating content is time-consuming. You have to research, write, edit and post it over several platforms. Once the content is produced, you have to put in the time to promote it. Doing all of this for a blog post that won't have much of a shelf life is exhausting.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Evergreen Content
Evergreen content, on the other hand, might not generate the same spike in initial search-ability when it's first published. But this type of content stands the test of time and can often be repurposed and reused. In addition, evergreen content, when executed around a long-tail keyword you want to rank for, is a powerful tool for building your site's SEO.
So while a piece of evergreen content may not give you as much bang for your buck upfront in terms of traffic volume, it can continue to pay dividends over time, because of its longer lifespan in terms of relevance.
Although, even evergreen content isn't necessarily green forever. And sometimes it's difficult to be evergreen, especially if you work in a constantly changing industry, like social media marketing.
Both types of content offer value and both can be components of a successful integrated content marketing strategy. Ideally your blog should offer visitors some combination of both topical and evergreen content.
But without a full-time content department at your disposal, creating topical blogs gets time-consuming and can lead to burnout pretty quickly. Unless there's a burning need to get your angle out on the latest industry news, or to brag about how your team crushed it at INBOUND, whenever possible, it's probably less labor-intensive, and therefore better, to go evergreen.
The main question to ask yourself when considering whether to go topical or evergreen with a post, is, which approach will provide the biggest boost to your long-term marketing strategy?