Sometimes you create content and use it once, such as when you write an email announcing a new product launch. Most times, however, you’ll want to use content over the long term. That means that you write it once, and it produces results for weeks, months or even years.
However, here’s the key: in order to keep producing results, the content needs to be evergreen. That means that it’s relevant and “fresh” today, tomorrow and one year from now. How do you create content like this? By using this checklist!
Focus On Time-Tested Products and Strategies
If you want your content to last, then don’t share or promote anything that hasn’t been thoroughly tested over time. This includes both products and information. For example:
Fad products or information (such as the latest fad diets or marketing strategies).
New websites (social networking, new ad venues, etc.).
Here’s a specific example: You have no idea if the latest fad dieting pill is going to work or maybe even get taken off the market by this time next year, so don’t reference it in your content. However, you know with fairly high certainty that time-tested methods such as cutting calories and increasing exercise have always worked and will continue to work for weight loss, so you can share products and information that focus on these proven strategies.
Another example: Don’t refer readers to a new social networking site as a great place to drive traffic, as that may not be true in a year from now. The site may fold, or it may become a haven for spammers (in which case no one wants to be associated with it).
Remove References to Dates
For example, don’t say things like: “I started working online 10 years ago in [month] of [year].” That’s too specific. If someone reads this content in two years, they’ll realize they’re reading something older.
Instead, simply say, “I started working online over 10 years ago.” That line won’t date the content, and it remains true today and two years from now.
Also avoid making specific references about birthdays, anniversaries, the dates a business opened or a product launched, etc. For example, if you say it’s the 5th anniversary of your business opening, prospects who pay attention will realize they’re reading old content if they read that sentence in a couple years from now.
Delete References to Events
Get rid of any references that date your content. For example, this includes references to:
Regular events such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Super Bowl, or the Oscar Awards. As an example, don’t say “I just watched the Westminster dog show.” That’s because this event usually happens in February, so if someone reads your content in September they’ll know the content is older.
Regular yet infrequent events such as a presidential elections, the Olympics and similar. (Also avoid talking about who won these events, such as referring to the current president, which will date the content.)
Get Rid of References to Holidays, Seasons, Etc.
Don’t mention anything that lets people know you wrote the content near a holiday or season, as the content will be outdated to those who aren’t near that season. For example, don’t say write something like, “I just ordered flowers online for my sweetie for Valentine’s Day.”
Instead, you can make a vague reference such as, “Some time back on Valentine’s Day…” or “A couple years ago on Valentine’s Day…” (and then tell a story without any specific dates).
Another example: don’t say, “beach season is just around the corner, so now is a great time to get in shape.” Instead, simply write, “Now is a great time to get in shape.”
Avoid References to Pop Culture People and Things
Popular culture changes fast, so you’ll want to avoid references to anything that isn’t as likely to be popular in the future. For example, avoid references to:
Events related to TV, movies, sports, politics, etc.
Current “in” gadgets.
Also, be very careful of referring to ANY person as still being alive, as that may change in an instant. It’s less likely to happen if the person is young, but that person still could die prematurely due to illness, accident, overdose, etc. An older person, such as a celebrity, could pass away at any time, so don’t refer to them in the present tense as if they are still alive… because when they do pass away, your content becomes outdated immediately.
For example, don’t say: “[Name] is a great actor.”
Instead, you can be vague and say, “One of [Name of actor’s] greatest roles was in [name of classic movie].” That statement is true whether the person has passed away or not.
Remove References Related to “New”
Go through your content and delete anything that suggests a product, strategy, or anything else is new.
For example, do NOT write anything like this:
This brand-new product…
This is a new idea…
This website is in its infancy yet…
This newly launched site…
This amazing new strategy…
This product is launching soon…
Be an early-adopter…
Get in on the ground floor…
Be the first in your group of friends to get this…
Awesome new technology…
… And similar words and phrases that are going to make your content look dated if a “new” or “never before seen” product is three years old by the time someone reads your content.
So here’s the bottom line: your readers shouldn’t be able to tell if you wrote the content today, last month or last year. So go through your content and delete or rewrite anything that deletes the content. You’ll then be able to use and profit from your content for weeks, months or even years to come!