As a blogger it is tempting to aim your articles at people who are at the same experience level as you. It’s natural – you want to share what you are learning as you yourself grow and mature.
But it can be a big, big mistake.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you aim your articles at readers who are at your level you will slowly, article by article, begin to kill your blog.
What we need to do is start pitching in a different direction. And that is where evergreen content comes in.
Let’s take a look at what evergreen content is and why it is so important to master it.
What is evergreen content?
The usual definition of evergreen content goes something like this:
“Content that is always relevant and never goes out of date.”
Green is a color that denotes something new and fresh and ever indicates that it will stay that way for all of time.
But in this idiot blogger’s opinion the definition does not go far enough in that it does not give you a full picture of the content that you should be trying to write or produce.
My own personal definition goes more like this:
“Content that is aimed at narrow beginner topics and never goes out of date.”
What I’m trying to do here is introduce a style of writing where you are pitching to beginners who are searching for the answers to very specific questions. In my experience with writing for various niches this is the only way to really grow your blog’s traffic at the same time as capturing a relevant and interested mailing list.
You need to target beginners to grow.
It’s not just about content that is always relevant and it’s not just about aiming at beginners. It goes deeper than that.
Perhaps we need a new term for it like BeginnerGreen content?
Why aim at beginners?
If you’re already writing evergreen content you might be wondering why I’m placing so much emphasis on the beginner part of the equation.
Well, the reason is simple. Almost all of the people who read your blog are just starting out.
And we can take that one step further: almost all of the people reading your blog are just starting out in the particular topic that you’re writing about.
For example, when I decided I was going to write about this topic I did a quick search for what had already been written about evergreen content. I opened two articles on the first page of Google and after about 10 seconds on each realized that neither of them were written for beginners! To me this represents a little bit of a misunderstanding.
Well, let’s take a boxing topic as an example.
Say you write a blog all about boxing training and you decide to write a post called How to Recover from a Boxing Wrist Injury. Now, think about the people who will encounter this article – it will be almost totally made up of boxers who have injuries. And it is safe to assume that even though they might know a lot about boxing, they are beginners when it comes to boxing wrist injuries. That is why they are searching for answers!
Think about the make-up of that post and it will probably include information on seeing a doctor, the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method, bandage types, warning signs, swelling, etc. Even a lot of really experienced boxers will be totally ignorant on most of this stuff.
And the same applies to any niche or topic.
A BeginnerGreen content strategy?
So what does all this mean for your blog’s content?
Well, it is actually a pretty cool way to start thinking about beginner SEO and how to really drive traffic to your blog for the long term. And I am all about the long term strategy when it comes to blogging.
So here’s how to do it.
1. Narrow down your topics, big time
One of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is that they make their posts too wide-scoped. This either means there is no originality to the article or that it is such a big topic that the article always feels unfinished.
What you need to do is get good at narrowing down your topics in a very specialized way.
Let’s take a look at boxing again and assume you want to write about “how to throw a punch”. Well, within that post there are like 100 other posts you could have written about like:
- How to easily increase your punching speed
- How to master punching technique in 10 weeks
- The guide to forming a fist when punching
- How to throw a left jab as fast as Ali
- How to guard your face when throwing the first punch
And on and on it goes…
You see, a topic like throwing a punch can actually be broken down in to so many sub-topics. These sub topics are, in my experience, where the really cool stuff happens.
(Note: Michael Gray talks writes really well here about this style of developing content. While he doesn’t really talk about the beginner aspect in his post, the idea of breaking down content into smaller topics was similar to what I’d already written so I thought I better link to him. Plus he’s awesome!)
2. Use beginner speak and leave assumptions at the door
Once you have decided what you are going to write about it is really important to make sure you are writing at a beginner level. That means you want to leave out as much jargon as possible and write the post as if it is the first and last thing the visitor will ever read on the topic.
You all know that saying about the word assume – you make an ass out of u and me.
So narrow down your topics and then imagine that you are talking to someone who is totally new to the whole thing.
But wait, does that mean I have to explain the same terms over and over again in all my posts? Nope. Read on.
3. Link those posts together
What you can begin to do over time is interlink your posts so that every time you bring up an important term or concept you can refer back to your own post about it.
This is actually a really good SEO strategy where you build links to certain posts in order to elevate the posts that they link to.
But it also works really well as a method for readers to find what they want. For example, in my post on why Blue Host is good for WordPress I also link to my step by step guide on how to install WordPress on Blue Host. That way people have everything that they need in one spot.
So focusing on beginner stuff could be a little bit boring if you are always explaining the same topics. To overcome it you just need a bit of a linking strategy.
Are there any exceptions?
Of course! There are some blogs out there that are aimed perfectly at expert content. If they wrote about early beginner topics they would lose their distinctiveness.
But, a part of me thinks that even within that “expert” arena they still need to be writing about “beginner-expert” topics. Have I lost you yet?
The other exception to the rule is that sometimes you might want to throw in a blog post or two for your long-time readers who have been growing and progressing along with you. They only make up a very small percentage of your readership but you sure as heck need to look after them.
What do you think?
What do you think about the idea of your blog dying unless you write for beginners? Do you think there are any blogs out there where the majority of traffic comes from experts or people with experience and not beginners? Leave a comment.