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What is Evergreen Content?

Updated on May 14, 2017
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Heidi Thorne is a self publishing expert, author of 21 (and counting!) business books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

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Just as the trees and shrubs for which it is named, evergreen content is information that can be fresh and relevant for long periods of time. This content can be written works, as well as audio, video and works of art.

Creating evergreen content can be a way to extend creative and writing sales opportunities into the future. For nonfiction, evergreen topics may benefit from improved search engine ranking (SEO) due to their continued relevance and reference value, especially if targeted keywords are included.

Evergreen Content that is Truly "Evergreen"

Ideas for Developing Business Content

Examples of Evergreen Content (and What Isn't)

What makes content evergreen? The topics covered in evergreen articles, essays, books, videos and audio works are those that people have been concerned about or interested in for many years, sometimes decades or even centuries. Though the topics listed here do have a long "shelf life," they do evolve over time and may require updating.

Though not an exhaustive list, some examples of evergreen content could include (in alphabetical, not necessarily popular, order):

  • Animals, Plants, Nature and Gardening.
  • Art and Music, along with Techniques, Critique and History.
  • Biographies.
  • Business Skills, Principles and Philosophy.
  • Cooking Techniques,Tips, Recipes and Ingredients.
  • Crafting Techniques, Designs and Projects.
  • Fiction of All Types and Critique of It.
  • History, Historical Research and Analysis.
  • Psychology and Relationship Issues.
  • Religion, Philosophy and Spirituality.
  • Sports Explanations, Rules and History.
  • Travel Destinations and Landmarks.
  • Writing Technique, Critique and Reference Works (i.e. dictionaries).

Need proof that some of these topics are evergreen? Check the list of the world's most popular books on Wikipedia. Some of them have been selling for hundreds of years! That list does not include religious or philosophical works since estimates of distribution are difficult to obtain. However, the Bible and Qur'an have been "selling" for thousands of years with estimates in the hundreds of millions of copies.

More interesting is to look at what's NOT on this list. For example, health is a topic that has been a human concern for millennia and some principles (such as yoga or anatomy) are timeless and universal. However, attitudes and developments on it change so frequently that what might be considered healthy or safe practice today may become a health hazard or problem tomorrow. Scary territory indeed for any writer or publisher since it requires constant monitoring and updating.

Other topics that have limited life include anything on computers, the Internet, technology, fashion, science, news, politics and regulations, sports, product reviews, advertising and celebrities. The only time these constantly changing topics could become evergreen is when they are critiqued or discussed from a historical perspective.

Is Your Content Ready for Retirement?

Since I've been very active in the areas of social media and mobile marketing, a book with tips for small business seemed like a natural fit. So I published it.

Then, the world changed.

The FCC (Federal Communication Commission) rolled out new regulations governing how things needed to be handled in the mobile marketing arena. Was my content still relevant? The basic principles were rock solid and still would be helpful today. However, to keep the book updated and compliant would have been a continuing nightmare. So I retired the title.

Lessons learned? Steer clear of technology topics if going for evergreen relevance. Also monitor the topic's environment on a regular basis to determine if changes, or even retirement, is a prudent path. Heidi Thorne

When Evergreen Becomes "Nevergreen"

Even though many of the evergreen topics may be relevant year after year, individual topics or works within these areas may become irrelevant due to a variety of factors including:

  • Changes in Consumer Tastes.
  • Technological Developments.
  • Changes in Philosophical Thought and Ethics.
  • Issue is No Longer Newsworthy.
  • Law or Regulation Changes.
  • Changes in Demographics.

These changes will affect the sales potential of any evergreen content. However, works may have some historical value. The writer or creator needs to continuously evaluate and adjust market pricing and demand for future sales opportunities.

Luckily, flexible online (blogs and websites) and self-publishing platforms allow for easier updates of existing content.

How Evergreen are You?

Look over your writing inventory and log how much is evergreen. Low percentage? Maybe that's why traffic and sales are low are dropping. Might be time to rethink topics.

Disclaimer: Any examples used are for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest affiliation or endorsement. The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne

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    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi alexadry! I have several holiday hubs myself and they also just get seasonal traffic. Sorry to hear they've been un-featured. That's odd. I'd contact the HP staff to see if they'd reconsider based on the seasonality of the topic. Glad you found the info helpful. Have a great week ahead!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      This is a wonderful hub. Just the other day, I saw several of my hubs un-featured and noticed they had a common factor: they were discussing about dangers to pets for the holidays. It makes senses as these rarely get any traffic during the year, other than around those holidays. Voted up and useful.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi AudreyHowitt! Yes, a lot of times we writers talk about evergreen content, but never really think about what that really means. Hope it helped your thought process. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      A really useful question! One that I think we all have to answer

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Yes, Peggy W, history, pets and plants are perennial favorites that have long shelf lives. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and sharing! Have a great day!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is a good explanation of what is and is not evergreen by way of topics. Historic sites are always a good topic as well as plants and pets among others. Up votes and sharing.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi mary615! Your hub about turning our ashes into growing oak trees fits right in here. :) We should always be looking to create our legacy for the future. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      You are SO right. My best performing Hubs are those that are evergreen. A couple of my health Hubs do well because the conditions are ever present with people. Pet Hubs always are sought after Very informative Hub.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Thanks, Anna Haven, for your comments! Staying on top of the topics we writers cover is one of our biggest challenges these days. Have a terrific day!

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      A useful and helpful article.

      It is true that when you consider the rapid changes in certain areas of our world that it would be very difficult to stay on top of them.

      Sound advice and I am sure welcomed by many.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Agreed, rebeccamealey! I don't know which one is in a greater state of constant change: health or technology. I write professionally for a blog on using mobile technology and it's a real challenge to write posts that won't be obsolete by the time they get posted. So I focus on overall strategy and principles--as opposed to this or that device--so that it will apply regardless of what changes in the mobile space. Quite a trick sometimes. Thanks for chiming in and have a lovely day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi rajan jolly! I had to really think about whether health is or is not an evergreen topic. Let's put it like this: The topic is evergreen, but the information about it often is not. Luckily for you, a lot of the information you provide on various ingredients and plants has a really long shelf life. You're never one to veer off into "diet of the day" type of information and what you offer is sooooo helpful and interesting. Keep on writing the good stuff on all the good stuff for us! Appreciate your comments and sharing. Have a beautiful day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Got that right, UnnamedHarald! Since you're a history buff, I'm sure you've run across health advice from decades or centuries (or even a few weeks) ago that is so off the mark with accepted current practice that it's hard to believe that anyone believed it! Health is always a concern, but the information for it is in a constant state of flux. And as you note, that information can often be used for scare tactics. Thanks for adding your insight to the conversation! Have a great and health-filled day!

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I guess I can understand why health topics are generally not evergreen. Eggs are bad for you. Eggs are good for you. Butter is bad for you. Margarine is bad for you. Don't drink alcohol. A little alcohol is good for you. Don't drink coffee. Drink coffee. Evergreen? I rarely pay attention to the health news of the DAY, let alone what was said a couple years ago. Usually it's from someone trying to make a name for themselves or a company trying to get in your wallet with scare tactics.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a great explanation of what is and is not evergreen content. Hadn't thought about health issues, but you are right. It changes so much, like technology. Thanks!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is very interesting, Heidi. I never thought health would be listed as a non evergreen content. True information on health needs updating with the latest on the relevant topics.

      voted up, interesting and shared.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      FlourishAnyway, I should have just put CATS as a separate evergreen category by itself. :-D So do you wear a button that says, "The Cat on my Lap Made Me Post That?"

      It is tough for newbies either on HP or blogs to figure out what's worthwhile in terms of traffic and income ops. I remember how unfocused I was starting out.

      Thanks to you and Cat for commenting! Happy Sunday!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello Purpose Embraced! Glad you found the information helpful. Some topics just never lose popularity. Good thing they're some niches you write about! Have a great day!

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for your informative hub; you listed my niche areas as evergreens. It is important to know what are evergreen topics especially when you write on cites like HubPages.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      If there's one thing that will always be evergreen, it's CATS. And they're so freaking cute! (I'm biased, and the cat on my lap told me to post that.)

      I bet you get a lot of interest of this hub, Heidi, especially from newbies who want to learn. I remember being new and trying to get all the lingo straight. Helpful stuff! Voted up and more, and sharing.