ad image for perfectly planned content

When to Use Evergreen v. Timely Content In Your Marketing

This was originally written for and published by Twenty Over Ten.

If you’ve spent any time building a content marketing strategy, you likely have heard the term “evergreen content.” Evergreen content is a blog, video, or podcast episode that won’t “age” quickly. In other words, an evergreen marketing strategy means that you’re covering topics that will be just as relevant to your audience now as they will be five years from now.

As a financial planner, your evergreen content might be about:

  1. The elements of a perfect retirement income strategy.
  2. Understanding the difference between your clients’ Expected Family Contribution and actual college affordability.
  3. Ways to coordinate student loan repayment as a new attending physician.

If each of these topics were a blog post on your website, you would be able to reference them with clients and prospects for years to come. Yes, small details may change, but the core ideas you explore in each post would remain the same.

Timely content, on the other hand, doesn’t usually stand the test of time. Financial planners will run into these types of topics simply because the world of financial and tax planning is subject to change. These types of topics might be:

  1. Annual changes to retirement plan contribution limits.
  2. Fluctuating tax brackets, and how they impact forward-thinking tax strategy.
  3. Changes to Medicare or Social Security.

As you can see based on these examples, both types of content can be important depending on your unique audience. So, how do you decide what type of content to produce?

The Difference in Evergreen and Timely Content: Which is Best?

For the most part, as a marketer who works with financial planners, I recommend keeping your strategy as evergreen as possible. Maintaining an evergreen strategy means that you have more content to share – be it on social media, in a newsletter, or directly with clients or prospects. It gives you a bigger library to reference as needed over the years. More importantly, your evergreen content can continue to work for you and your business both now and farther down the line.

I’m consistently surprised and pleased with how some of my own business’s older content continues to perform. If the topic you’re covering is a core element of your business or your beliefs as a financial planner, the likelihood people will continue to seek it out (and successfully find it on your website) will only increase as your digital footprint grows.

However, as is evidenced by the wild year that 2020 has been, there is also a distinct case for timely content. The CARES and SECURE Acts, PPP, coronavirus, election season – all of these are timely topics that won’t age well. Two years from now, we may not even be discussing these topics with any regularity. Still, during this moment in time, all of these topics are top of mind for your ideal client. Failing to address them could potentially make you and your business seem out of touch, or your content irrelevant in the mind of your audience.

The truth is, most marketing strategies need a combination of timely and evergreen content to be 100% effective. Evergreen content is a long-term play for your business, while timely content shows your audience that you’re in tune with what’s on their minds right now.

Let’s talk about how to use each of these types of content in your strategy to create a winning plan.

How to Leverage Time-Sensitive Content in Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re like me, you like to plan your marketing strategy in advance. The idea of thinking up topics on the fly stresses me out and doesn’t fit well with the other tasks on my plate as a business owner. However, as 2020 has shown us, sometimes stuff comes up – and you need to be ready to respond. Luckily, there are a few ways you can pseudo-plan for time-sensitive content so that you don’t feel like you’re having to create marketing collateral at the last minute.

First and foremost, plan for “timely” content as much as you can. As a financial planner, you have specific, time-sensitive topics that likely need to be covered over the course of the year. For example:

  1. Benefits enrollment (with updated deadlines or information that targets your niche audience).
  2. Tax planning or end-of-year tax checklists.
  3. Financial aid application season with up to date information about deadlines, and what your clients can expect from the application process that particular year.

You know these events are coming. In fact, they’re likely part of your client service calendar as meeting topics or items to discuss. Plan ahead by creating content based on your client service calendar, and schedule it out during “timely” seasons of your business.

Of course, not all timely content can be planned. A global pandemic, for example, is tough to predict. In these cases, I recommend leaving room in your schedule to address unprecedented financial topics. Have a game plan for how you want this kind of content to look, and play to your strengths.

For example, I know that writing a brief blog post with up to date information that’s relevant to my clients won’t take me as long as recording a video. I’m still learning to be comfortable on camera, so it will be much more challenging for me to actually find the motivation to record off the cuff than it will be for me to knock out a 1,000-word blog post. This may be the opposite for you. If you’re more comfortable recording a quick video update – do it! Lean into what you do best to make ultra-timely-content an easy lift.

A Case for Evergreen Marketing – Even During a Pandemic

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it may seem like any “normal” content you put out into the world is overshadowed by timely material. It feels like lately something new and surprising happens every day, and a lot of business owners feel burnt out trying to keep up with addressing every unprecedented change the world experiences.

This is why I believe that, even in the midst of a tumultuous season, evergreen content still should remain a priority. The truth is that your audience will still need to address their key financial concerns. Regardless of your niche, they’ll still get value out of content that educates, answers questions, or offers up your own personal insight as a financial planner.

Beyond the immediate impact of evergreen content (even in the middle of a pandemic), there are long-term benefits to think about, as well. The more consistently you create evergreen content, the more quickly you’ll reap SEO benefits, and be able to use your evergreen content to build a more comprehensive marketing strategy that includes social media sharing, email marketing, and more. Just like financial success is all about consistency, successful marketing requires the same.

If you focus on staying the course (even when it feels like the whole world has turned upside down), you’re more likely to see a positive impact on your business in the long run. Creating a content strategy or editorial calendar that blends both evergreen and timely content can feel overwhelming. However, with a little bit of forethought, and a plan in place for topic coverage you need to turn around quickly, you can continue to build a content library that serves your business well.

Have questions? Get in touch by scheduling a call!