The decision about what content strategy to implement on your blog or site turns out to be much more important than you initially thought. And here’s why: SEO, outreach, and traffic are on the balance. This post will dig deep into the two most popular content strategies, evergreen and breaking news, to show you the pluses and downsides of each of them and to help you find the right one for your site.
The Importance Of A Good Content Strategy
Content strategies are, as the term shows, guidelines for content creation and publishing. Their purpose is to achieve a goal, typically it would be one of the following: web traffic, brand awareness, engagement or sales.
When developing a content strategy, marketers research their target group and their competitors to figure out, whether there’s an unmet need of the target group and how it could be met in the best possible way.
The type of preferred content and engagement drivers get researched.
All this results in a content strategy that has a measurable goal, milestones, and all it needs to help marketers explain how good it’s working.
However, it’s still rare that the team behind a website manages to consider all implications of a content strategy, simply because they are too many. Here’s a list of what gets affected:
- Engagement. This is the most obvious point. Of course, your content strategy affects greatly engagement. If you deliver quality and value, you can expect to be rewarded with loyal customers, returning visitors, social shares, positive word of mouth, etc. You have to be aware though, that quality should be consistent. Nobody will give you a second chance, if you waste their time once.
- Brand awareness. When people visit your pages and read/watch your content, it’s inevitable that they’ll notice your brand. Whether it’ll be a good or bad impression, depends on how good your content is at satisfying their need.
- Traffic. Content drives traffic. There’s nothing new about that. However, when crafting your content strategy, you should keep in mind that it should drive the right kind of traffic to your site. For example, if you sell something, you need traffic that researches and wants to buy a product like yours. If you run a vacation center, you’d like your site to attract vacation-hungry visitors that like the kind of vacations you offer. If you run a swimming center, you aren’t interested in hikers, right?
- Bounce rate. When we mention traffic and engagement, bounce rate must be mentioned as well. A good content strategy can help you maintain a low bounce rate, which in turn can give a boost to your SEO score. A bad strategy can, on the other hand, result in high bounce rate hurting your SEO.
- New customers. Approaching new potential customers is important for every kind of business. The right content strategy can help you balance between serving existing customers and reaching out to new ones. The wrong content strategy does nothing to help you develop or maintain your business.
- Sales. It might sound as the most natural thing that the goal of a content strategy should be more sales. In the same time, it’s rare that this goal is achieved. The reason is simple: it’s very difficult to balance between delivering value and blurting sales slogans.
- Keywords. If you want your website to pop up in search for certain keywords, implementing a thorough content strategy can help dramatically. For this to work though, you’ll need to think about the strategy’s goals and keywords in the same time.
- Topical authority. It might be that you don’t see how it can be relevant to, for example, a web shop. However, topical authority can boost the SEO score of your site and result in more organic impressions, attract valuable traffic and result in greater revenue.
- Influencers. If you create a blog of great value, you can invite influencers to review your posts or become guest-bloggers. Having an influencer onboard is one of the sure shortcuts to success. Your content strategy should aim at cooperation with influencers.
- Subdomains. A good content strategist must also consider whether a blog should be a part of a site or appended to it as a directory or subdomain. There’s indeed a good chance that a blog hosted on a subdomain won’t affect the ranking of your domain, whereas a blog situated on a page of your site, will benefit it’s SEO score maximally.
- Social media profile. Some produce content only to feed their social media profiles – and for a small number of them it works fine. A true content strategy goes, though, farther and aims at developing a social space on your site, appended with social media profiles to offer the best possible customer service.
Content Strategies: Evergreen vs. Breaking News
Evergreen content is lasting or eternal peace of information where changes to the subject are almost never necessary. It doesn’t matter, when the information gets published, as it’s not tied to an event. An example here could be writing about extinct but well researched animals.
Breaking news content is a news-like information, where it’s important to be among the first ones publishing on the topic. The subject becomes quickly outdated or irrelevant. An example here can be a report about changes in search algorithms.
Here’s how the two strategies compare:
To understand traffic, you should be aware of its different dimensions: moment of publishing and over time.
Breaking news content offers an amazing opportunity to score heavy traffic at the moment of publishing. Over time its relevance and popularity degrades and it’s likely that traffic generation will stop almost completely after a certain period. Exception here might be queries in relation to research of development or history of events.
Evergreen content doesn’t generate lots of traffic when published, simply because it doesn’t review a trendy or under-researched topic. What you can expect is an average number of site visitors in the beginning, eventually growing a bit if your content is truly worth it. Over time, traffic to your page will get slower as newer – and possibly better – content on the same topic pushes it down in search results.
Every successful content strategy must take account for Google’s weakness for fresh content.
Most pages get indexed by search engines between a few minutes (for the major publishers) and few days after publishing. The date of publishing is considered a “freshness indicator”. The simple truth is that, everything else equal, fresh always wins over old content.
Breaking news content is, of course, the winner here as it’s always fresh. The fact that it gets outdated quickly – and constantly replaced by newer content – means that a website implementing such a content strategy is guaranteed an everlasting SEO boost for freshness. Of course, a SEO boost for freshness isn’t enough, if you don’t go all the way and offer quality and value to your site users every time.
Evergreen content doesn’t manage to benefit fully from its freshness in the beginning, as the competition is usually very strong, when it comes to evergreen topics. It does, however, get old almost just as quickly as breaking news due to all the new content being published all the time.
Even though there are many out there arguing that evergreen content brings you steady traffic over a long period, understand years, it’s very important to note that this doesn’t happen on its own.
In order to continuously generate traffic via that kind of content you must regularly update or rewrite your posts to keep them fresh and to make them better than the competition.
It’s no secret that ranking in search depends heavily on keyword optimization and long tail keywords in particular.
Breaking news content gives you the unique opportunity to rank high in search due to low competition for the given keywords. That is of course only true, if you manage to be among the first publishers out there. Otherwise you can still benefit from the huge interest in the topic.
The exceptional visibility, that such a content strategy offers, can help you reach new members of your target group. This way it’ll give your traffic a boost that might as well be lasting, if you manage to deliver quality and value.
Evergreen content, on the other hand, has the advantage of being able to generate lots of social interactions and backlinks over time. This means that, as long as it gets regularly updated and lives up to all quality standards, it has real chances of ranking quite high and boost your entire site’s SEO score as a result.
Needless to say, backlinks are and will continue to be one of the strongest SEO factors in the years to come. It’s therefore pretty important that your content strategy focuses on building quality backlinks.
Breaking news content generates usually a relatively high number of backlinks over a short period after publishing, due to other publishers quoting it and users sharing it. How many backlinks it’ll generate, depends though on factors as your site’s popularity, the news value of your content, the branch you are in, whether an influencer gets involved, etc.
Evergreen content can, in theory, generate more backlinks over a long period of time, again depending on site popularity, regular updates, number of views, the value of the content, whether it gets shared on a popular sharing platform, etc.
People get engaged by different types of content, depending on their interests and needs. Some prefer to keep updated and are thus active on update-sharing platforms as Twitter. Others like to sit back and dig into the basics of theory on platforms as Facebook.
Breaking news content attracts and helps retain internet users who are looking to keep up with the development within their field. It can also help create brand awareness among new members of your target group by leading them to your site for the first time to check out a trendy post. Engagement is characterized by single visits to a single post, possibly followed by systematically checking out the newest posts on one or all available topics.
Evergreen content can help you generate followers interested in basics, that is, beginners or non-professionals. As evergreen content can sometimes cover professionally-relevant and current topics, it can also attract professionals but hardly as the major portion of your traffic. Evergreen content is usually searched for in connection to a specific problem that has to be solved. Users find specific information and move on. Some will likely follow you but only if you specialize in a topic of high interest to them. Engagement is therefore more often characterized by single visits by random online users. Highly popular websites and sharing platforms are an exception here.
Influencers can be interested both in discussing latest news and sharing their broad experience with others. No matter what they choose to communicate, their image and continuous efforts to stay on top of the wave feeds their popularity.
Breaking news content gives influencers great opportunity to show how sharp and informed they are. They have usually insider knowledge and share some of it publicly. Even though you might relatively easily get in touch with them as an owner of a reputed site, it’s almost never that you can rely on exclusive access to information. The reason is that this kind of influencers base their image on spreading accurate and timely information.
Evergreen content-based websites can also attract influencers. Both the kind described above and the kind that can best be described as renown specialists. This doesn’t, per say, mean that it will be easier to get them to write for you or speak with you. It will, however, make it possible to get them to provide you with an exclusive piece of content, as it will likely be based on their experience and not on current events.
Content strategies as evergreen or breaking news provide you with different opportunities to rank or boost your domain authority. It’s impossible to state that one is better than the other, as too many factors play a role in the performance of your site.
From a SEO point of view, a breaking news strategy gives some clear advantages as low competition on popular search terms and freshness of content.
Evergreen content is, on the other hand, easy to maintain and drives traffic over a longer period of time. Some argue therefore that the best content strategy is a mix of evergreen and dated content, depending though on your market.
From a branding perspective, it’s, however, important to work on a clear profile that makes it easy for current and potential site visitors to shape their expectations of your brand.
No matter which content strategy you choose, it should be compliant with the expectations of your target group and fulfilling a specific need they have. If your readers expect breaking news content, this is what you should deliver. If they need evergreen content, this is the right path for you.
If you’re in doubt about the right content strategy for your site, here’s the checklist that will help you figure it out:
- Who are the members of my target group?
- What (unmet by competition) need do they have that I should address?
- What can turn them into loyal followers?
- How efficient is my strategy? (evaluate regularly results after launching your content strategy)
- What can I do better?
As you can see, you’ve been asking yourself the wrong question. It doesn’t matter which content strategy performs better in theory or when being tested by somebody else. Simply because your situation is unique and so should be your content strategy.
Consider the pluses and the downsides of evergreen and breaking news content reviewed here but only use them after finding the answers to the questions above. Meeting the needs of your target group should always be your main concern.