The term ‘evergreen’ refers to something that is sustainable or lasting.

Where digital content is concerned, evergreen represents something that is continually relevant, that people can consume, reference or share year-round, often many years after being published.

News stories, press releases and trend pieces, for example, are not considered evergreen as they are tied to a specific moment in time, and therefore lose traction as the content becomes less relevant days, weeks or months after being published.

Evergreen content pieces can exist in virtually any form – written, visual, interactive or otherwise – but typically follow a trend of offering something of value to the consumer; either providing an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. However there are exceptions, including some examples that we’ll look at in more detail below:

1. Zoopla’s Property Power 100

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/property-power-100/

What it is: a live leaderboard of the top 100 most influential UK residential property agents on Twitter.

Why it’s awesome: gaining ‘Power 100’ recognition plays on businesses’ natural urge to self promote – it gives them a huge ego boost, a badge of honour which even the most modest of organisations would find hard not to shout about – just check out some of the recent Tweets.

From a social point of view the Power 100 is quite genius; as the list changes regularly, new businesses are introduced, and in turn Zoopla’s social reach grows wider.

From an authority/SEO point of view, Zoopla gains links through embeddable badges, which featured businesses are encouraged to flaunt on their respective sites.

2. MOZ’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO

http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

What it is: an in-depth tutorial on how search engines work. The guide covers the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine–friendly.

Why it’s awesome: there are a million and one SEO guides out there, but there are a number of things which make this one different, and ultimately superior to the rest.

First off, the guide really is a beginner’s guide to SEO: it covers everything that a beginner needs to know, in a no-nonsense, from the ground up way. Nothing more, nothing less.

Secondly, as the guide promises, it focuses purely on the science of search engines and how they work. It does not talk about business growth or ROI, as so many other guides do. This gives the guide a much wider appeal – from anyone with a general interest in SEO, to budding marketing students, industry professionals and everyone in between.

Finally, as well as being available in web format, the guide can be downloaded as a PDF document (no registration required, I might add). This makes it even more ‘sharable’, in the sense that it can be printed off and passed around offices or classrooms.

Did I mention that it looks nice too?

3. Environment Agency’s live flood warning map

http://apps.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood/142151.aspx

What it is: shows the locations where flood alerts or warnings are in force. The map is updated with information every 15 minutes.

Why it’s awesome: it does one job very well – provides reliable, up to date flood data to users when they need it, all via an easy to use live map.

As a result the flood warning map has become the number one resource for flood warnings in the UK, with many governments and authorities, news channels and even the Met Office linking through to it from their own sites.

Whilst this example may not be evergreen in year-round sense (obviously it is most relevant throughout wetter, winter months) it is ‘always on’ and will, unless something better comes along, be the ‘go-to’ resource for years to come.

This is a great example of bringing data to life.

In conclusion

Some of the best evergreen content is not, I suspect, written with the intention of being evergreen. It sticks around because above all else, it is good content that resonates with the desired audience, continually.

Furthermore, evergreen content does not need to be as strategic or in-depth as the examples above. A successful piece of evergreen content can take the form of a simple ‘how to’ post, ‘top ten’ list or infographic.

Ultimately, for content to be evergreen it should not be time sensitive, and should be resourceful in the sense that users will keep coming back to it.

Good content is, well, good content, but content that provides sustained traffic, social buzz and increased authority through link attribution for a long period of time is even better.

Seen any examples of evergreen content you’d like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below.