Is everything you post on the internet just a flash in the pan? It sure feels like that sometimes.
The clever tweet you carefully wrote on Tuesday? Buried in the feed.
That hilarious Instagram photo of your cat sleeping in a cake pan? Already enjoyed its one minute of fame.
Does anything endure?
Don’t worry! The answer is yes. I have posts on this blog that I published in 2011 that still have an active discussion going in the comments. Those posts are evergreen: they get returned to over and over again for years to come.
I think of evergreen posts like anchors. They hold your visitor levels steady over time, dependably bringing in new readers for the life of your blog. Creating evergreen content should be part of every craft bloggers long term plan.
What makes content evergreen?
An evergreen post is relevant no matter when a reader finds it. It'll be as interesting two years from now as it is today. Let’s think for a minute about what makes a post endure like that.
I had a handyman at my house once. I showed him the big crack in my kitchen counter and asked if he could fix it. His answer? "You can't polish a turd." That's perhaps the best expression ever and it totally relates to blog posts. If what you're writing about isn't interesting or useful to many people, few people will stick around to read it. An evergreen post is well researched and well written and it’s on a topic that people want to know about now, and will continue to want to know about.
Here are three evergreen post ideas for craft bloggers (with examples from my site and others):
1. Write a project tutorial or free pattern. Everyone likes free. Many people search for a free tutorial or pattern first before they look to buy one. Free patterns get pinned like crazy, and you can submit them to aggregators like Craft Gossip and CraftGawker. Visitors figure if there's one free project, there’s likely to be more so they are likely to look around a bit.
Here are three examples of freebie posts:
- Pete the Bear is one of my free patterns
- Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Anna at Noodlehead
- Plush Dino by Mollie at Wild Olive
2. Answer a question. What questions are people often asking about your craft? What do people find confusing? Write posts that answer common questions, no matter how small. Beginners are likely searching for information and if you've got the answers they'll find you! How can you know what questions people have? Listen! One way to listen is to join some Facebook groups for your craft and see what people are talking about.
Here are three examples of posts that answer basic questions:
- How to Use Safety Eyes is a 1-min. video I made
- Changing Colors in Single Crochet by Stacey at FreshStitches
- Machine Binding a Quilt by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew
3. Create a comprehensive guide. If your post truly explains every aspect of a topic, or includes links to every resource, people will come back to it again and again. They'll bookmark it and tell their friends about it. You might need to revisit and update a guide like this periodically. Consider putting "last updated on ___" up top and invite people to email you if they see a need for an addition or correction.
- Sew Mama Sew invited their readers to come together and review as many sewing machines as possible
- Heather at The Sewing Loft put together this guide to 100+ free pincushion patterns
- Jeni Baker’s wrote an incredible series of posts about color theory for quilters called The Art of Choosing
Every one of these posts is evergreen. I love each of them today and would still seek them out years from now. They're high-quality, they either answer a question lots of people have, or provide information that people want whether they've heard of these bloggers or not.
You most likely already have some evergreen posts on your blog. What can you do to make the most them?
First, decide what you want a new reader to do once they've read your post. I've decided that my ideal is to get each new reader to subscribe to my newsletter so that they hear from me in a more intimate way each week. To help my evergreen posts work harder toward my goal I’ve gone back and edited them to add a newsletter sign-up invitation to the bottom of each one.
Your goal could be different from mine, but whatever it is there's a way to go back and edit old evergreen posts to make them work harder.
Consider creating a prominent space on your blog where your evergreen content can get easily noticed. You might add a “most popular posts” widget on your sidebar or a “start here” page for new readers that features your evergreen posts. I created an autoresponder in MailChimp so that new subscribers to my newsletter get an email one hour after signing up that invites them to read my evergreen posts.
Finally, link to your evergreen posts within your new posts. If you’re doing a quilting tutorial, for example, link within it to your evergreen post about how to make half-square triangles. Internal linking like this builds your traffic and helps your blog come up in Google searches. So go for it!
Make a list at the start of each month of a few evergreen post ideas for your blog. Work hard on those posts. You only need a few. Just two a month adds up to 24 articles or tutorials in your archives that you can depend on to work hard forever.
Do you have evergreen posts on your blog? If you do, will you share one here? I think it’s helpful to see what sorts of posts consistently bring in readers. And if you have an idea for an evergreen post or series, I’d love to hear about that, too.