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Content is King - Tips on How to Keep Information Evergreen

Updated on June 19, 2013

Don't Mess with the King

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Current Articles Are Worth Reading - Anytime

The Internet has flipped the way we think about fresh data. If you write an article in a traditional outlet such as a newspaper or magazine, you don't expect it to be timeless, unless the content of the article has no relation to its date of publication, and that's rare. For example, "Tips for Snow Removal" seems at first glance to be timeless, but an article published in 1930 would have no information about the modern snow removal devices and methods. This article is for writers who create useful content, whether on your own blog or on a content creation site such as HubPages.

The Two Ways to Keep your Content Up To Date

There are two choices. Rewrite your existing article or leave it and write a completely new one. The latter choice is the better, because it gives you the opportunity to discuss the old article in the context of what has changed. You may simply say at the end of article one that you have written a new article and provide a link to it.

Rewrite. First you can rewrite or partially rewrite the article, changing words or phrases to remove time restricting information. For example. I wrote an article about the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912 and compared it to the wreck of the Costa Concordia in January 2011. In the article I noted that it was almost 100 years since the Titanic sank. It is now over 100 years. A simple change was able to bring the article up to date and remove its "time stamp."

Write a new article. The second way to keep your content current is to leave your original article in-tact and write a new article. This method has a lot going for it. First, your original work is still there for anyone to read, but the Internet provides a bonus for writers. If you write a new article you will reference your old article and provide a link to it. In your old article you will prominently note that you have updated the article and provide the new link. From a journalistic point of view as well as a simple business consideration, writing a new article with reciprocal links is excellent for search engine optimization.

An evergreen article, meaning one that doesn't erode with the passage of time, is now possible with Internet writing. Evergreen content is, for the writer, a goal to strive for. The reason is simple. Years from now a researcher may come across your article and find its content useful as long as the content isn't stale. If your article is on a site from which you receive advertising income, this can be critical to the long term financial success of your efforts. If you write an article for the Internet, you can keep the data fresh by taking a few simple steps.

Evergreen is Beautiful

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Naturally Evergreen Topics

· Concepts and Ways of Looking at the World. I once wrote an article about giving yourself more time by changing your perception. I believe that this article will be as useful 10 years from now as it is today. It's an article about time that doesn't change with time.

· Historical articles. If you write an article summarizing a historical event or your opinion of it, chances are the article will be evergreen. Again, with reference to the article I wrote about the Titanic, that's evergreen. But I compared the Titanic sinking to the Costa Concordia disaster, the results of which are ongoing, so I have it diaried for review every six months as the massive salvage operation continues. I may, as I suggested above, simply write a new article about the Costa Concordia and reference it in the old article.

· The natural world. Articles about places, animals and things of nature seldom go stale.

· Recipes. A good brownie recipe will still be good far into the future.

· "How to" articles. Caution. Not all "how to" articles stand the test of time. Changes in technology also change how we do things. An article about gardening tips may need updating to account for a new chemical or garden tool breakthrough.

Do You Check Your Old Articles for Updating?

See results

Things That Can Change - Diary these for review

Here are some article topics that you should diary for review periodically.

· The largest dinosaur skeleton

· The smallest human being

· The tallest human being

· The fastest, longest, fattest, skinniest, largest, smallest, deadliest anythingest. If you're reporting anything that is a superlative, the changing world will eventually change your article.

· Disasters. Hurricane Sandy is a perfect example of a disaster that needs updating. Never think that you have to wait a year before you write about a disaster. Nonsense. Just diary it forward so you can update the outcome of the disaster. Data pours in about the results of a disaster long after it's over. Getting back to Hurricane Sandy, you can write now, as so many have, that this was the worst (note, a superlative) storm in the Northeast United States in 100 years. I hope this won't change in the near future, but what if another storm tops Sandy? You can update your article or write a new article on Sandy entitled "Hurricane Sandy - Two Years After the Storm."

· Political events and upheavals. Remember the Arab Spring in early 2011? Would you use the word "spring" to describe now what was happening then? By all means write about it, but diary it forward for review. On the other hand, a review of a presidential inauguration is probably evergreen. Robert Frost's inability to read a poem because of bright sunlight was a highlight of JFK's inauguration. That will never change.

· Articles of praise or denunciation. Suppose you write an article about Senator X, who you think is the most upstanding citizen in the country. One day he's convicted of child molestation. Time to rewrite or write a new article. Or you write an article denouncing a convicted person, but a few months later he is completely exonerated. A rewrite or a new article is called for.

An Update Spreadsheet

Articles to Review
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Article
 
Time to Review
 
Notes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Titanic
 
Jul-13
 
Check on Concordia progress - New article?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wordpress tutorial
 
Jul-13
 
check fo software updates
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How to buy a boat
 
Sep-13
 
check market stats
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Law school applications falling
 
Dec-13
 
recheck facts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Drone aircraft
 
Dec-13
 
check current law
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AI and automatic writing
 
Dec-13
 
check status of software
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lincoln movie review
 
Apr-13
 
check Oscar results/box office stats
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Les Miserables movie review
 
Apr-13
 
check Oscar results/box office stats
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Radon gas article
 
Dec-13
 
check EPA for current status
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Online courses
 
Jul-13
 
Check for new companies/offerings
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TV Judges
 
Sep-13
 
Check for current roster/retirements, newbies etc
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gun Control
 
Sep-13
 
Update current state of legislation/debate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
US Armed forces - overview
 
Dec-13
 
Update statistics
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
US Constitution Primer
 
Nov-13
 
Check current caselaw
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Carnegie Deli Review
 
Dec-13
 
check status
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Five review
 
Sep-13
 
check status
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hurricane Sandy
 
Jul-13
 
aftermath, financial stats
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Practical Steps for Keeping Your Content Evergreen

· Don't rely on your memory. If you're a prolific writer you're bound to lose track of time-specific content in your articles.

· Don't spend endless hours combing through old articles to see if they need updating.

· Log it, put a "time to review" note, and include any updating notes. The simplest way to do this is to use an Excel spreadsheet

  • Column 1 - Article title.
  • Column 2 - Time to review. This should be a date, not a time period such as 6 months.
  • Column 3 - Any notes to help you recall why you should review. For example, in my future article on the Costa Concordia I will note "has the ship been floated yet."

Using these three simple columns you can periodically recheck your articles by sorting on Column 2, "time to review." Make this procedure a part of your regular checklist for putting an article to bed.

Bonus

By keeping a list of articles to check for updating you provide yourself with a steady stream of new articles to write, articles that will have links and backlinks to your original article.

Content is king. As a serious writer you have every reason to keep your content fresh, by rewriting or writing a new article with cross links between the new and the old. From a journalistic and business point of view, you can use the powers of the Internet to create evergreen content.

Copyright © 2013 by Russell F. Moran


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    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for your input. Glad I could share some ideas.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This is an amazingly useful hub. You've put so much good, valid information in here.

      I think I need to make a spreadsheet! Thank you for this great hub.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      One good idea sparks another--synergy!

    • rfmoran profile image
      Author

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for your input aj. I think your word count column is a great idea.I'm going to add it to my sheet.

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      rfmoran --I thought I'd share that I've added a new column for word count. I thought of adding this in case I found new information on the topic. If i was near the 1500 word count, I would start a new Hub. Or it may have some other value I haven't thought of yet--I only have 15 hubs so far. Thanks agin for the idea!

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Stephanie. I love it when I get feedback that something I've written has been helpful.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks ib. I think the best way to plan things is to keep it simple, otherwise you will abandon your plan.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I love these tips, Russ. I do try to write primarily on evergreen topics, but as you note, even these hubs can use updating. I am going to create a chart as you suggest with specific dates on which to go back and review published hubs to keep the information evergreen.

      Rated up and shared, Stephanie

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Russ

      Great hub on rejuvenating hubs.

      I have tried some of these methods, and they are a lot of work.

      Your list is a great snapshot of things to do to keep your hubs alive.

      Thanks voted up, interest, and useful

    • rfmoran profile image
      Author

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Hi shiningirisheyes. Even if it's not a money thing ( and what does money have to do with hubpages?) it is a satisfaction to keep one's work up to date.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Very helpful write rfmoran. I am not one that often writes for the money, however - from time to time I do make that effort. This will help considerably.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for you comments Glimmer

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I absolutely love your idea of the updating spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets so I am definitely doing this. Great hub with awesome suggestions. Shared.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Victoria. Glad it helped

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Excellent tips! The spreadsheet is a great way to keep track. I need to do more of that to remind myself to update my articles. Awesome hub! Voted up and others!

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Love the spreadsheet idea--your practicality and effectiveness as a writer are evident. Thanks!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Rfmoran I like your ideas here. I will be putting some of your good advice to work. Thank you so much for the tips.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Creating a schedule for when a hub will need review is an excellent idea, especially when it is documented on a spreadsheet as you have done. In this way, you know which hubs need review, and can make sure they always stay fresh. Voted up.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      You make an excellent case for both rewriting and writing new articles on the same subject. While I regularly go back, update and check hubs that are not doing well, I never thought to make an organized list of my articles for review. This is an excellent idea, and your chart is very helpful!

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks vocalcoach.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks joan

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thank you. Happy you enjoyed it.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Yes, content is the King and nothing can beat it....

      Useful and well explained Hub, thanks.

      Shared with followers...

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Good ideas here. I'm saving this to my favorites so I can reference it from time to time. Thanks.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      You have given some excellent tips for keeping hubs current. I revise hubs from time to time - but it never occurred to me to write a new hub and link the older one to the new. I'm very excited about this. Thanks so much and voted up and sharing.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Georgie. Great minds think alike!

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      This is great information and very useful to web writers. I keep a spreadsheet similar to yours that also includes date published, last date edited and word count. I'll be sharing this Hub around, thanks!

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Jess. Oldies can still be goodies.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Bill. I always look at a hub as a creation that I may move at a later date.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      dsfg dfg

    • JessBraz profile image

      JessBraz 4 years ago from Canada

      Very well written hub..and a good one for hubbers to bookmark! I'm a fan of the idea of re-writing an article to update it.. I'm new to hubbing, so coming up with a constant stream of new things to write about is proving to be a bit challening for me as I being the writing process... Re-writing an older article seems like a good way to possibly get new insights and inspiriation for new hubs..

      Great job!

      Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Judging from the little money I make on HP I would say this is a valuable article for me to save and refer to. Thank you Russ!