Save Time With Evergreen Content

How’d you like to save time writing and updating your sites?

It’s easy!

Make your content “evergreen.” Evergreen content appears up-to-date whether it’s consumed now, next month, or three years into the future.

Evergreen boughs

If you write, “My exhibition took place at Y’s Gallery last month,” that means it took place in September 2012 if I am reading it right now.

This is all fine and good if someone is reading the text in October of 2012. But what if they stumbled upon it in January 2014? They’d think you were talking about December 2013.

This is a cinch to fix!

Write your content so that there is no question as to the facts: “My 2012 exhibition at Y’s Gallery.” This means the same thing regardless of when the text is read and whether it’s on the Internet, in a brochure, on a wall label, or in your artist statement.

Beware of these words and phrases: yesterday, last week, next month, and x# years ago. All of these will lead to outdated text.

Announcing Events

Facebook updates seem to have replaced the events announcements we used to post on our blogs. But I still think there is a place for announcing events on your blog as long as you make the text evergreen.

For instance, I shouldn’t say: “Next month I’ll be in Naperville, Illinois for a Shameless Self-Promotion workshop.”

Instead, I’d be better off writing it this way: “On October 19-20, 2012, I’ll be giving my Shameless Self-Promotion workshop in Naperville, Illinois.”

Sure, the post is for a specific time and isn’t in itself evergreen, but the text is. It will be clear to the reader whenever it is consumed.

I haven’t always followed this advice and every so often I get inquiries about a workshop that happened 4 years ago! People don’t necessarily read the date stamp on the blog post – just the post itself. So I, like you, need to be careful to make my content evergreen.

Examples

Dates aren’t the only thing that can make text evergreen. Subject matter itself is critical. See what I mean in these examples.

These are evergreen posts on the Art Biz Blog:

Implementing Is Worlds Beyond Knowing

3 Ways to be a Rock Star in Your Art Community

Checklist for Your Invitations

Each of these posts is almost guaranteed to be valuable to readers in 3 years.

These posts are NOT evergreen on the Art Biz Blog:

How to Set Up a Custom Welcome Page for Your Facebook Page
Facebook no longer allows custom Welcome pages. This post was viable only for about 8 months. Almost ALL of my Facebook posts are out of date!

The Month Ahead at Art Biz Coach
This was out of date almost immediately after I wrote it.

While the above posts served their purpose at the time they were written, they’re just taking up space on my blog now. They won’t bring me traffic or cause a buzz. And I certainly won’t be sending anyone to them ever again.

Bottom line: Just be careful about how your content will be read in the future. Is it possible it will be misunderstood?

Also, make sure that you have some content that is evergreen. I’d aim for 50-75% evergreen content – at the least. People are more likely to find and link to evergreen content. This is something I’ll be working on along with you.

 

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3 comments to Save Time With Evergreen Content

  • June Carol Hines

    Alison, Your text on Evergreen for Oct. 2012 was most helpful. thank you,
    June Carol

  • Great idea Alyson… I never thought of this. I often write in terms of last month, last week, etc. especially on my blog. Something to think about and correct in the future!

  • An example of how I do it on my personal website…Something that Alyson suggested a while ago…

    “Phil Kendall was born in the UK in 1946. He lives with his wife in the UK Cathedral City of Peterborough, the place he has called home since 1975.

    His main career, which started in 1973, was that of a college lecturer in biological sciences. He quickly became the master of drawing complex diagrams freehand on a variety of surfaces like: chalk-boards, white-boards, and on paper for student notes & so on. He took an early retirement from this in 1996.

    1996 had him picking up the artists’ brush after a gap of 35 years and it was the start of a second short career as a civil servant.

    2006 he finally retires and establishes The Art Studio of Meltemi. Since then he has painted on a near daily basis. This web site was introduced in 2008″.

    It is oh so simple and time efficient…more painting time!