Learn how to create a sustainable content strategy. Take the time to carefully plan out a content strategy that will last and is full of relevant, high-quality content that has been curated.
Creating content that continues to work for you long after publication requires a strategic, sustainable approach. Rather than producing disposable content that quickly becomes outdated, you can adopt practices that yield evergreen content with lasting value. This allows you to get more mileage from the effort you put into content creation.
Sustainable content has the following key attributes:
- Relevant – Focuses on topics and themes that connect with your audience’s interests and needs on an ongoing basis. Avoid fads or hyper-specific trends.
- Universal – Explores ideas, insights, and best practices that apply across industries and use cases. Taps into broader human experiences and challenges vs. niche issues.
- Evergreen – Minimizes overt references to dates, events, or temporary circumstances so content stays pertinent. Evergreen topics withstand the test of time.
- Authoritative – Establishes your expertise and thought leadership. Content is thoroughly researched and provides unique insights and analysis vs. aggregation or commentary.
- Strategic – Aligns with and furthers your core goals, mission, and positioning. The content supports business objectives beyond just driving traffic.
- Optimized – Employs SEO best practices including effective keyword usage, internal linking, and metadata so content can be easily found in search.
- Promoted – Leverage existing content through repurposing, syndication, social amplification and other means of distribution. Promotion expands reach and lifespan.
Definition of sustainable content
Sustainable content is content that can be used for a long period. It’s also sustainable if it’s easy to update and maintain, so you don’t have to spend all your time maintaining the website or blog.
Sustainable content should also be easy to find and retrieve so that people looking for information on Google can find it easily if they search under relevant keywords.
How To Research Sustainable Content Ideas
Conducting research is a critical first step to identify engaging topics with longevity. Here are some tips:
- Audit Existing Content – Review your own archives and analytics to reveal evergreen performers worth refreshing. Identify content gaps.
- Study Competitors – See what rival brands produce and promote heavily. Look for areas you can take a unique stance.
- Know Your Audience – Understand your readers’ roles, pain points and goals. What issues do they commonly search?
- Leverage Tools – Use keyword research to detect high-demand topics. Analyze search trends over time to spot sustainability.
- Conduct Surveys – Ask your audience what topics they want more information on. Consider common FAQs.
- Monitor News – Stay current on your industry and niche without overly focusing on breaking events.
- Talk To Experts – Interview thought leaders in your space for insights on emerging or universal themes.
Elements Of Sustainable Content
Once you’ve identified a strong, evergreen topic, implement these elements to ensure your content has longevity:
- Share actionable tips, lessons learned and little-known facts – not just surface commentary. Offer unique vantage points.
- Include step-by-step instructions, how-tos, templates, cheat sheets and other useful resources readers will retain.
- Don’t just report information. Provide context through insightful analysis, commentary and interpretations.
- Produce surveys, studies, experiments, interviews and other primary research. Get data direct from the source.
- Bring concepts to life through anecdotes, case studies, analogies and storytelling techniques.
- Respectfully challenge prevailing wisdom and give voice to overlooked perspectives. Offer counterintuitive yet logical views.
- Minimize obscure cultural references, dated slang or temporary issues. Use timeless examples readers easily relate to.
- Anticipate trends and emerging shifts in your industry. Take a forward-looking vantage point.
- Expand scope beyond niches. Show how insights apply broadly across roles, industries and use cases.
- Charts, data visualizations, diagrams, infographics, photos and videos help simplify complex topics and drive engagement.
What is Sustainable Content?
Sustainable content is a term that Joe Pulizzi popularized in 2009. He defines sustainable content as:
- Relevant – Content that’s relevant to your audience and their needs.
- Applicable – Content that provides value to your audience, whether information or entertainment.
- Engaging – People want to interact with your brand because they see you as an authority on the subject matter you’re covering (in other words, they trust you).
Explanation of sustainable content
Sustainable content is the kind of content that’s going to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. It’s not just any old piece of writing but a carefully planned series of articles, blog posts, or videos that work together to tell one story.
Sustainable content has several benefits: it helps you build trust with your readers by providing them with valuable information about your business; it establishes yourself as an authority in your field; and it allows you to earn links from other sites–which in turn boosts search engine rankings (and traffic).
The key characteristics of sustainable content include the following:
- Consistency – Each piece needs to be consistent with the others so that readers know what they’re getting each time they visit your site or subscribe via email.
- Clarity – Each piece should be easy enough for anyone interested in what you have to say about sustainability practices at work/school/home etc…
Benefits of creating sustainable content
Sustainable content will benefit you, your customers, and your brand for years to come.
- Your business will be able to focus on creating the best possible experience for readers. This means more time spent on producing high-quality content that offers value in the long term rather than just trying to get people through the door as quickly as possible to make money off them now.
- Your customers will have an easier time finding the information they need because it’s all in one place–your website or blog–instead of searching through multiple sources (like Google), hoping they find what they’re looking for before giving up and going somewhere else entirely!
- Readers are happier when they know exactly where their favorite brands stand on issues such as sustainability vs. convenience; local vs. global impact; etc., so once again, this leads back to making sure those conversations happen within those channels where everyone can see them happening too!
Characteristics of sustainable content
Sustainable content is relevant, timely, and engaging. It must be easy for your audience to find, share, read, understand, and act on.
It’s not just about creating a piece of writing that looks good; it’s about creating something that works for you over time.
How to Create Sustainable Content
- Research and planning
- Identifying target audience
- Determining topics and themes
- Writing and Editing
- Creating high-quality content that meets your goals
Research and planning
Before you start writing, it’s essential to do some research. You need to know your audience, what they want, and how they like to consume information.
This can be done in several ways:
- Study the competition. Look at what other companies in your industry are doing with content marketing and see what works for them. Also, look at the content that doesn’t work so well–what did people not like? What could be done differently?
- Know what’s working for you right now (or not). If you’re already producing any content on an ongoing basis, take note of which pieces have been successful and why; also, keep track of any negative comments from users so that when planning new pieces of work in future months/years/decades (depending on how long-term your strategy is), these points will help inform future decisions about whether or not certain types of ideas would work better than others based on experience.
Identifying target audience
- Define your target audience.
- Know your audience.
- Know your customer.
- Who are you talking to? Who do you sell to, market to, and reach out to on social media?
- How can you define them in terms of demographics (age, gender), psychographics (interests), and geographic location so that you can create content that resonates with them better than any other brand/organization in the same space as yours does right now!
Promoting Evergreen Content
Creating evergreen content is only half the battle. You also need an ongoing promotion strategy to maximize its lifespan including:
- Search Optimization – Maintain pages with latest SEO best practices. Create fresh backlinks from new evergreen content.
- Content Refreshing – Periodically update old evergreen content with new facts, examples and perspectives while preserving core insights.
- Repurposing – Adapt evergreen content into new formats like video, podcasts and infographics. Tailor for new channels.
- Listicles – Aggregate evergreen content into “best of” lists and roundups that re-surface old content.
- Social Promotion – Schedule regular social shares of evergreen content, not just when first published.
- Email Newsletters – Promote relevant evergreen content in email campaigns and notifications.
- Paid Ads – Retarget website visitors with ads featuring links to your evergreen content.
- Lead Nurturing – Work evergreen content into lead nurturing sequences to continually provide value.
- Guest Posting – Permit strategic republishing of evergreen content on partner websites to expand reach.
- Speaking/Events – Adapt evergreen content into speeches, webinars and other live engagements.
Sustainable Content Formats
Certain types of content lend themselves well to an evergreen, sustainable content strategy including:
- How-To Guides – Step-by-step instructions on executing tactics.
- Ebooks / Whitepapers – In-depth reports and guides on industry topics.
- Case Studies – Success stories and lessons learned from real-world examples.
- Interviews – Insights collected directly from thought leaders.
- Checklists / Cheat Sheets – Quick-reference lists on executing key processes.
- Glossaries – Comprehensive definitions of key industry terminology.
- Reviews / Comparisons – Guides weighing the pros and cons of popular solutions.
- Templates – Downloadable, customizable files like budget spreadsheets.
- Infographics – Visual representations of data, stats and insights.
Focus your sustainable content efforts on producing strategic formats optimized for longevity. Treat content like an asset to maximize its usefulness over time. Avoid disposable content that quickly becomes outdated and irrelevant. With a little forethought, your content efforts can pay dividends long after initial publication.
Optimizing for search engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to digital marketing and content strategy. It’s the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher in search results. The better your page ranks, the more traffic you’ll receive from Google and other search engines.
Many different elements can be optimized to improve your site’s SEO–some of which we’ll cover later on in this guide–, but all those elements have in common is they need to be written with keywords in mind. Your content needs to include words and phrases that people are searching for if you want it to appear at the top of Google searches when someone types those terms into their browser window or voice assistant device like Alexa or Siri, who increasingly prefer conversational language over traditional keyword searches because it makes them feel less like robots!
Promoting and repurposing
You need to promote your content to get the most out of it. Use social media and other blogs, forums, and communities.
You might also want to include a link in email newsletters or magazines if they’re relevant to your audience.
Sharing content through various channels
You can share your content in a variety of ways, including:
- Social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great places to share your blog posts. If you want to get more out of social media sharing, consider creating custom images for each position that include relevant hashtags and links to the original article (you can also use this technique on Pinterest).
- Email marketing campaigns. Create an email list using MailChimp or another service, then send emails with links to your latest blog posts whenever you publish something new! You’ll be building up an audience of people who have explicitly opted-in because they want updates from you, so they’ll be much more likely than random readers on social media sites or Google search results on pages that may not care as much about what’s being shared with them right now… which brings us nicely onto our next section.
Repurposing content in new and creative ways
Repurposing content is a great way to use old content and make it useful for your audience. You can repurpose old content in many different ways, and here are just a few examples:
- Use your existing blog posts as social media posts.
- Make videos from old blog posts or articles by recording them on tape and then uploading them as part of your YouTube channel’s library of videos.
- Create podcasts based on past articles or interviews with other people (if you have permission from the interviewees).
- Create an infographic from one of your blog posts that would be interesting visually but doesn’t need too much text explanation because readers can easily see what’s going on in their minds when they look at the visual representation provided by an infographic rather than reading through paragraphs upon paragraphs explaining everything in detail!
Examples of Sustainable Content
- Blog posts
- Lists of sources used in the article
Blog posts are a great way to engage with your audience, build trust and authority and promote your products and services. They’re also relatively quick and easy to create, meaning you can write many of them!
If you want to start blogging but aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips:
- Write about topics that interest people in your niche (or even outside it). You might be surprised by how much traffic comes from outside-the-box cases! For example, when we wrote about the history of dog breeds on our blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree, we got tons of attention from people who had no idea they were interested in such things until they read our post–and now they’re regular readers because they enjoy our content so much.
- Be consistent with posting frequency.
- Include photos or videos whenever possible; this help make posts more shareable on social media.
- Use keywords related to what people search for online when writing titles/headlines so that search engines pick up those terms when Google indexes them
Infographics are a great way to convey your message in an easy-to-digest format. They can be used to communicate complex information in an engaging and interesting way, making them perfect for sharing data and statistics on social media. Infographics are also ideal for explaining how something works or why it’s important; for example, if you want to explain why sustainable content is essential for businesses (or just plain old humans), an infographic may be right up your alley!
If you’re looking into creating infographics yourself but don’t know where to start, here are some tips:
- Consider the audience before starting any design work. What do they already know? How much time do they have? Do they prefer text over images? These questions will help guide your design decisions later on down the line when putting everything together into one cohesive unit.
- Consider using multiple visualizations throughout each piece rather than relying on one type alone.
- Don’t forget color schemes; these should complement each other instead of competing against one another. Make sure both elements work well together before making any final revisions.
- Be consistent throughout all pieces; don’t switch styles halfway through because this could confuse readers who haven’t yet grasped what kind of content they’re reading at first glance (and thus won’t stay engaged long enough).
There are many different types of videos that you can create, including:
- Marketing and promotion videos. These promote your business, product, or service by demonstrating its benefits and features. They can also be used for customer testimonials or case studies.
- Training and education videos. This type of content helps teach people how to use your products/services effectively, including step-by-step guides on installing a new software update or setting up a new piece of technology in their homes (e.g., smart TVs). It’s also great for providing information about specific topics related to the industry, such as healthcare tips if you’re selling medical equipment!
- Storytelling videos. These are entertaining stories that tell exciting tales about real people’s experiences while using one of your products/services; they often include interviews with customers who have had positive experiences but could still benefit from additional training materials, which would allow them greater control over their lives.”
Podcasts are a great way to get your content out there, but they can be tricky to create. Whether you’re hosting your podcast or just listening to others, here are some things you may not know about this medium:
- Podcasting is not new–it’s been around since 2004! But recent studies show that listenership has grown exponentially over the last 5 years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
- If you’re looking for inspiration about what podcast would suit your business or organization, check out what others are doing with theirs! For example, NPR does a fantastic job with their podcasts; from This American Life (which I love) down through shows like Planet Money and How I Built This (which covers entrepreneurs’ stories), they’ve got something for everyone! And if those aren’t enough options, then check out our list below, where we’ve curated some great ones ourselves:
- The Tim Ferriss Show: Entrepreneurial wisdom from Tim Ferriss himself, who interviews industry leaders including Tony Robbins & Ray Dalio, among many others;
- Business School Basics With Robert Glazer: A great place if you want tips on how best to practice management skills such as delegation & communication within any company structure;
- The Science Of Successful Marketing With David Meerman Scott: Learn how effective marketing works so well by applying principles such as storytelling techniques to daily tasks like blogging posts;
What are the benefits of sustainable content?
The benefits of sustainable content include increased traffic over time as evergreen content continues to rank, less time spent creating new content from scratch, building authority and trust by providing lasting value, and getting more return on investment from content production efforts.
What makes content sustainable long-term?
Content that remains relevant long-term focuses on universal human experiences rather than passing trends, imparts timeless wisdom and expertise, is optimized for organic search, and is actively repromoted instead of neglected after publication.
How do you generate sustainable content ideas?
Strategies for generating sustainable content ideas include reviewing high-performing evergreen content, monitoring audience questions and surveys, leveraging keyword research, analyzing competitor content that performs well long-term, and brainstorming universally appealing topics.
What formats work best for evergreen content?
Checklists, how-to guides, interviews, case studies, glossaries, and templates are formats that tend to work well for sustainable evergreen content.
How often should you refresh evergreen content?
Most evergreen content benefits from some refreshing every 6-12 months. This involves updating statistics, examples, adding new sections etc. while preserving the core framework and insights.
Creating sustainable content requires forethought and a strategic approach vs. disposable content produced at the moment. Focus on identifying universal, widely appealing topics that will stand the test of time. Optimize content for search visibility and longevity. Continue promoting evergreen content long after publication through repurposing and social amplification. Sustainable content aligns with audience needs, furthers business goals, and yields dividends for years after initial creation. With the right systems and workflow, you can establish a content production engine fueled by evergreen content that attracts new visitors while saving time and effort.
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on Jan 12, 2023. This is the content marketing guide you’ll refer back to repeatedly in 2023 and beyond. Forget the 15,000-word articles that attempt to cover every single topic.
I’m Alexios Papaioannou, an experienced affiliate marketer and content creator. With a decade of expertise, I excel in crafting engaging blog posts to boost your brand. My love for running fuels my creativity. Let’s create exceptional content together!