Last week, we talked about guest blogging with evergreen posts vs. guest blogging with news-based posts. My point of view, which I’ve explained in that post, is that evergreen posts are the safer route to take and have the potential to bring much better results in the long run.
Just to remind you. Evergreen posts have very long lifespans and remain up-do-date for months, if not years. News-based posts, on the other hand, are built around a given piece of industry news, and tend to be relevant only temporarily.
Probably the biggest strength of evergreen posts is that you can reuse them in case they get rejected by the first blogger you send them to.
This isn’t something that can be said about news posts, mainly because by the time you get rejected by the first publisher, the piece of news you’ve written about already becomes irrelevant. Therefore, you lose the chance of reusing it anywhere else.
With evergreen posts, you can even build a whole bank of articles and keep sending them out to multiple sites until successful. Even if it takes you a year, you will still get all of them published, and no article will be left behind.
So the question here is how to write such posts? Do you just sit in front of a blank screen and start typing with no plan or preparation?
Pick a topic with good long-term potential
Going viral isn’t really necessary when we’re talking about creating evergreen posts.
The funny thing is that you often don’t even need your guest post to be a big hit in order for it to bring good traffic over the long haul.
For example, a while ago, Darren Rowse shared a list of his most successful posts from his Digital Photography School blog.
What’s particularly interesting is when Darren starts talking about the last post on his list, saying:
Traffic to the post in the first year never rose above 800 visitors in a day and averaged only 150 per day. […] But here’s the thing… this post is one of the most viewed posts I’ve ever written and has been viewed just under 2.4 million times since I published it.
This is the power of evergreen!
When you create something that’s truly evergreen, even if it starts slow, people will continue visiting it for years to come. And over time, an initially average evergreen post can become a huge success.
So how to get into creating evergreen posts? You can start by answering these questions:
- Will people still want to read this post in one year’s time?
- Will they want to read it in two years’ time?
- What are the weak points of this post – the things that are less evergreen?
These questions will help you evaluate your guest post ideas and eliminate those with really short lifespans.
Be careful when writing about tools
Various tutorials or how-to posts focusing on specific tools are very popular on the web. People simply want to learn how to use those tools. Additionally, because of this, such posts also get good visibility on Google.
And this is all fine, but sometimes, tools introduce small interface changes, get discontinued, or even change directions completely. All of which renders your previous tutorial post useless.
The worst possible thing that could happen is a change being introduced right when you’ve finished working on an article and are just about to send it to some blogger.
In such a scenario, you are cooked! The blogger won’t publish anything that has just gone out of date. Plus, you have no way of reclaiming the time and effort you’ve spent to get the post written.
The difficult thing about this is that you can’t really protect yourself from such a situation. Even the most popular and most interesting tools go bust these days. Remember what happened to Google Reader, or Springpad? A similar thing is likely to happen with Google Authorship, by the way.
All these possible scenarios make tools a topic that’s not that safe to write about, and one that can stop being evergreen in a snap.
In a nutshell, be careful when thinking about any sort of posts along the lines of: How to Use [TOOL] for [SOMETHING].
Focus on a specific pain and provide a solution
Posts talking about specific pains and listing a number of solutions to those pains tend to be the most evergreen. And the more solutions you provide, the more evergreen the post will be.
The key here is to pick a problem that keeps repeating itself and that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
For example, in the weight loss niche, one of the evergreen problems is what foods not to eat on a diet. Therefore, a post like “10 Things To Never Eat When You Want to Lose Weight” will be relevant for a long time.
As a bonus, if you focus on such topics, you will be able to get your articles distributed months and months after you initially wrote them.
Make sure that the topic relates back to your business
This is something we talked about in one of the previous posts. One of the most important elements of the guest blogging puzzle is being able to write a post that is closely related to your business.
Essentially, we’re not only aiming to get our work published on a given site, but we’re also pre-selecting the readers to interest them in what we have to offer. That’s when we drive them back to our site.
Luckily for us, evergreen posts make this much easier to do because if we pick the right problem to solve then we can list our business as one of the solutions.
When writing a guest post, I actually advise you to start your work by coming up with the exact way you’re going to mention your business within the post. If the topic presents no easy way to do this then you should probably try writing about something else.
Rinse and repeat
The best thing about this process is that you can apply it to every new guest post you’re planning to write. There are no exceptions, and it will always give you a more optimized final product.
Here’s a short cut-out-n’-keep summary:
- Pick topics that the audience would benefit from for months (or years) to come.
- Focus on identifying a problem and delivering a timeless solution.
- Be careful when providing any how-to advice for an existing tool. There’s no guarantee that the tool will be around for long.
- Make sure to mention your business as part of the solution.
I hope these methods will help you get the most out of your time investment in guest blogging. Feel free to share your thoughts or any questions you might have.