When picking a topic for your next guest post, you can basically take one of two paths: either focus on stuff that’s evergreen (topics that will bring value no matter when someone reads the post), or pick a trendy topic that’s based on some industry news.
So which is better?
Well, as usual, there are pros and cons to both, so let’s go over them quickly and try to find the perfect approach for you personally.
News-based posts – their strengths and weaknesses
There are two main strengths of news-based posts:
1. They get readers excited almost instantly.
After all, they’re based on something new that’s going on in the industry.
2. They are easier to come up with, in comparison to evergreen posts.
That’s because you don’t have to develop them from the ground up. You always start with a piece of news and build upon it.
What the above basically means is that you can generally build such a post from start to finish (including research, finding your voice and angle, writing, etc.) relatively quickly, which is great!
So, for instance, if you were to write only news-based posts, you would be able to get significantly more of them done than you would evergreen posts.
But hold your horses, there are some downsides too:
1. You have to be really, really quick.
Remember that we’re talking about guest posts here – posts that you can’t control entirely since you’re not the one pushing the Publish button. So think of it this way, if there’s anything important going on in the industry, there’s a big chance the blogger will write about it himself/herself.
Therefore, your only chance of landing a guest post is if you manage to get your piece written quicker than anyone else.
Also, when pitching a news post, you have to rely on your email being read in time.
2. It’s hard to make news posts relate back to your brand.
We talked about how to pick a topic that relates to your brand a couple of weeks ago. So in terms of news posts, you usually need a very specific piece of news to make it 100 percent related to your brand.
If the industry you’re writing for isn’t extremely big, such news might come up only once every couple of months.
And what if you write about something that’s not entirely related? Well, then you won’t get much traffic back, which is probably your goal.
3. The lifespan of the post can be really short.
This one is quite obvious, but there are serious consequences of this fact.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that something new comes up in your industry on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, you already have a post written about it. You send a pitch immediately. The blogger doesn’t respond until Friday, and what’s worse, they’re saying “thanks” but “no, thanks.”
You try pitching the thing to someone else immediately. Since it’s Friday, there’s a very good chance they won’t see your pitch until Monday. And on Monday, you’re already a week late in comparison to when the news first aired.
What I’m trying to convey with this story is that it’s more than easy to fail with news-based posts, purely because of their short lifespans.
Evergreen posts – their strengths and weaknesses
I need to be honest with you. Virtually all of my guest posting is done with evergreen posts. Personally, I try to stay away from news-based posts. This is probably why my list of strengths of evergreen posts is way longer than that of news-based posts:
1. They’re generally more quality content.
Please bear with me. I’m not saying that news posts are poor. It’s just that when you’re working on an evergreen post, you can take all the time you need to make it awesome.
You can research it properly, ask other people for opinions, even let it sit for a week before you come back to edit the first draft. Most often than not, this freedom will allow you to produce a better post.
2. They’re better for building reputation in the niche.
Evergreen posts are great when it comes to building your personal brand. That’s because they are basically your only chance of having a unique voice with your content. And to be honest, this is why people will want to publish your posts in the first place.
News posts give you a lot less room for showcasing your style.
3. Freedom to use whatever content type and presentation you wish.
Have you ever seen a news story presented as an infographic? Maybe you did, but you can surely admit that it doesn’t happen often.
News stories are primarily text. Evergreen posts can be anything.
4. You don’t have to hurry the writing process.
I already mentioned this earlier, but I feel that it deserves its individual entry.
Being in a hurry is never good for the quality of your writing. If you have a bit of time, you will almost always write better stuff.
5. You can reuse your evergreen posts if they get rejected by the first publisher.
So the blogger didn’t like your post. No worries, you can easily pitch it to someone else, but only if it’s evergreen.
(My personal record is nine rejections before getting a post approved.)
6. (Captain Obvious alert!) Evergreen posts are evergreen.
In some cases, you can get an evergreen post published even six months or more after you wrote it.
(My personal record is nine months.)
Okay okay, this is not a fairytale and there are some downsides as well:
1. Evergreen posts take longer to develop.
You can probably write a news-based post in 20 minutes if you’re in the zone.
However, writing a quality 1000+ word evergreen post in the same amount of time is rarely possible. Two hours or more sounds much more realistic if you ask me.
2. They are more expensive to develop.
This is a byproduct of the above. It’s especially true if you’re getting other people’s input when creating the post.
For example, if you’re introducing some custom presentation, or turning the post into an infographic, it will cost money.
3. Finding a topic is more difficult.
The blogging space is really crowded right now, so coming up with new and interesting topics is getting harder by the hour.
After all, we don’t want to publish things that are recycled and based on other people’s content, do we? So the only way to remain original is by spending a lot of time brainstorming on different ideas.
This isn’t a problem with news-based topics because they basically get fed our way on their own.
Okay, I’ve tried to present all the common pros and cons of either approach, so I hope they’ll come handy when you’re planning your guest blogging strategy!
And as you can see, I’m kind of skewed towards one direction when it comes to this whole evergreen-vs.-news thing.
Looking back at my guest blogging journey, and the hundreds of guest posts that I’ve sent out, going the evergreen route simply gives me a lot more freedom and a lot more possibilities regarding what kind of posts I can get published and where.
Of course, I more than encourage you to reach your own conclusions here. And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments.