It’s been said time and again, but it remains true: Content is key to search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing success. It empowers even the smallest businesses to stand out and stay competitive in an increasingly populated digital landscape. It’s also cost-effective, requiring much less spend than traditional marketing. For this reason, even start-ups and mom-and-pop stores are allocating a significant portion of their marketing budget to paying for a content marketing strategist and SEO content writing services.
If you’re new to content marketing, you might be wondering what kind of content you should be creating for your brand and if it’s truly worth the investment.
The simple answer is to focus on quality content. This is content that is informative, insightful, and relevant. It delivers value at all stages of the buyer’s journey, helping brands attract new leads, engage prospects and delight customers.
Beyond just writing for SEO – in other words, producing content targeted to search engines – you should prioritize writing for actual readers. Doing so helps strengthen a business’s online reputation, establishing it as a thought leader and a reliable, trustworthy information provider.
But these are just some of the reasons brands are increasingly leveraging content marketing solutions: 97 percent of respondents to a survey by SEMrush consider content as a critical part of their overall digital marketing strategy.
The Two Main Types of Content
Content can be categorized broadly into two: evergreen and real-time. As their names imply, evergreen content has no shelf-life, while real-time is current and time-sensitive.
Each type has its uses, benefits and disadvantages, and choosing whether to use one or the other or even both, depends largely on your content marketing strategy goals. If you are unsure, you may want to enlist the help of a content writing agency as they’ll be able to dig a little deeper and help you develop the best content strategy for your business.
Digging Deeper: Real-Time vs. Evergreen Content
The Case for Real-Time Content
In a report by Salesforce, 45 percent of consumers stated that if a company doesn’t anticipate its needs, it will switch brands.
No longer willing to wait for stores to open and unsatisfied with a vague “we’ll get back to you,” modern consumers want what they want fast. However, this desire for instant gratification drives not just the demand for same-day shipping and 24-hour customer support. Modern consumers also want to be on top of news and trends as soon as they occur.
To meet their expectations and thrive in a world where want-it-now, get-it-now is fast becoming the norm, brands need to step up and deliver so they won’t get left behind by their more agile competitors.
Businesses can support their customers’ need for near-instant gratification through fresh content delivered in real-time. This content is created about or around a current event, capitalizing on its powerful yet brief popularity.
Real time content marketing solutions are all about keeping your audience in the loop. For instance, a large thunderstorm is forecast to occur in the Western United States. A residential contractor in Utah can capitalize on this news by providing helpful tips on preparing a roof for a big storm days before it hits.
However, it’s essential not to implement a real time content strategy by yourself. Instead, it pays to have an expert on hand, such as a content marketing strategist, who can employ social listening and other techniques to stay on top of trends, events and other time-bound matters of interest you can use.
You should also consider SEO content writing services. A content writing agency can quickly create posts and articles, preventing too much lag between the event and publication, making sure your brand is never late to the party.
Advantages of Real-Time Content
Apart from satisfying consumer demand for immediacy, real time content delivers a host of benefits to brands and helps them achieve their content marketing goals. For example, research from Smart Insights found that real time marketing helps build relationships with target audiences, with 76 percent of brands surveyed claiming to have increased engagement.
It may also help with reach. Real time or fresh content is typically shorter, more digestible and therefore much more shareable than conventional articles and blogs.
Real time content marketing solutions increase audience engagement and go well with promotions and limited-time offers as it draws upon the fear of missing out (FOMO). A report by GlobalWebIndex found that the primary internet and social media usage motivations of those who experience FOMO include:
• Staying up to date on news and events
• Learning how to do something
• Researching/finding products to buy
Going back to the residential contractor example, the company can lead readers down the sales funnel by ending the article on preparing a roof for a storm with a relevant call to action, such as “Click here for a roof inspection.” In addition, you can increase the sense of urgency by indicating that your promotion is only for a limited time.
While real time content can benefit your marketing strategy, there is a drawback. Because it’s tied to a real-world event, it cannot be expected to be relevant for a long time. It’s the type of content that makes the rounds of social media for a few days until a newer, more interesting event occurs or when the season changes. However, a few months down the line, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the same burst of traffic you did when you first published your fresh content.
Real-Time Content Writing Tips
Fresh content is the equivalent of junk food: fast, easy and instantly satisfying. However, that doesn’t mean you should put quality, accuracy and tone by the wayside. Even if you need to get a post out about a current event right away, ensure that the information you provide is accurate and that your tone is on point.
Avoid promoting your business during a tragedy, no matter how relevant it might be to what you offer, unless you’re certain that you will not offend customers or appear exploitative.
To make content more share-worthy, keep it short, and include visuals such as infographics and videos. Also ensure that you’re writing for SEO as much as you are for user intent. A content marketing strategist would be able to help you identify the topics and keywords your target audience is likely to be interested in, the formats they prefer and the best times to publish for the most reach and engagement.
The Case for Evergreen Content
In contrast, evergreen content stays relevant for many years. Topics discussed are those that do not change much, if at all, over time. Some evergreen content examples are:
• Guides and tutorials
• Knowledge base/Wiki-like articles
• Case studies
• White papers
What do these evergreen content examples have in common? They:
• Are timeless
Evergreen content is not tied to a specific period or event. For this reason, it requires very little upkeep or updating, making an evergreen content strategy ideal for those with limited time or resources to keep up with news and trends.
• Add value
Content that delivers value is detailed, helpful and fulfills the user’s search intent. It should provide information on what the user aims to accomplish, answer their questions, deliver solutions and give actionable tips.
• Are relevant and engaging
Evergreen content should be considered “search-worthy” by your target audience. For this reason, it’s critical to research your target audience and their preferences, behaviors and interests.
Advantages of an Evergreen Content Strategy
When writing for SEO, evergreen content is a must. Because it has no expiration date, it will continue to draw organic traffic long after its publication date. It will always be relevant. In terms of longevity, if real time content is a cut flower, then evergreen content is a healthy pine that continues to deliver benefits for years after being planted.
Apart from being future-proof, evergreen content helps your website rank. This is because well-written, timeless and quality content encourages backlinks. This, along with its searchability, makes evergreen content an important resource for improving search rankings and a worthwhile spend on content marketing services.
Evergreen Content Writing Tips
Evergreen content, while having no expiration date, should still be updated from time to time. Similar to how a tree needs pruning to stay healthy, evergreen content should be periodically checked for opportunities for content optimization. Some things you can do to keep your content healthy are:
• Replace outdated statistics.
• Check for and remove broken links.
• Rewrite calls to action, if you’ve changed your contact information or links.
• Incorporate new, relevant keywords.
• Add visuals and new media.
Content optimization also requires updating HTML elements, such as meta descriptions, alt attributes, image tags, title tags and file names. Doing so demonstrates the relevance of your content to Google and other search engines, potentially improving your website’s rankings.
Get the Best of Both Worlds by Striking the Right Balance
Some providers of content marketing services shy away from utilizing real time content because its effects are short-lived. Meanwhile, businesses with little experience in content marketing might be put off by how long it takes for evergreen content to show results in terms of traffic, engagement and conversion compared to real-time.
The success of your digital marketing campaign depends largely on how well you draw customers to your website, capture their attention and lead them down the sales funnel. However, long-term success relies on your ability to establish yourself as an authority and provide your customers with lasting value.
For this reason, one of the best content writing tips is to incorporate both real time and evergreen content in your content marketing strategy. A content marketing services provider should be able to give you the flexibility to choose how much of your content should be fresh or future-proof.
To determine how much of your content should be real-time and evergreen, ask yourself first: What are your content marketing goals?
If you want traffic fast, such as when you want to call attention to a promotion, then real time content should be your top choice. Meanwhile, if your goal is long-term growth, audience-building and improved SEO rankings, then evergreen quality content should take priority.
Since all businesses want long-term success, it makes sense to always have an evergreen content strategy in place. Periodic publishing of fresh content draws in new visitors, while evergreen content keeps them coming back.
Achieve Balance With Your Content Today
Evergreen and real time content each have their advantages. However, determining whether to use one or the other or even both requires a careful evaluation of what your content marketing strategy aims to achieve, whether it’s short-term virality, lasting results or both.
At Thrive, we know all about the importance of quality content and consistent marketing efforts. We are a content writing agency that offers tailored strategies that align with our clients’ goals, and our SEO-informed approach results in content written for humans and targeted to search engines.
With our content writing services, you can increase brand awareness, grow your reputation as an online authority, get more leads and increase conversions.