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Trending vs. Evergreen Content: Which is Better?

3/26/21

Content Creation, Content Marketing, Content Planning

Written by: JESS HAMMONS

If you read our Blog vs. Podcast post and enjoyed how we argued both sides of a fierce content debate, we have another showdown of opinions for you today: Trending vs. Evergreen content. But we’ll be presenting this to you… Mayweather & McGregor style.

In this corner, it’s trending content—content that’s topical, seasonal, and possibly even controversial—against evergreen content, or content that is meant to last forever and ever, until the end of days.

Which is better? Which should you be using? Is there a better time to use one over the other? Are there times you shouldn’t use one of them? We answer all those questions and more below.

Team Trending

Need some quick examples of trending content? There are seasonal pieces of content, like “tips for spring cleaning” or “top summer vacation ideas.” Other pieces of content may center around events or the holidays, like “DIY Halloween costumes” or “best back-to-school books for kids.”

You also have trending content that’s super topical and of-the-moment, like breaking world news or viral memes. Take the Bernie Sanders inauguration meme from January. How many of those did you see right after Biden’s swearing-in ceremony? How many have you seen in the last week? That’s trending content for ya.

The pros

Need content that’s sure to grab your audience’s attention? Trending content can do that. You’re sharing your two cents on a relevant topic that people are already talking about. Because readers are already looking for this specific content, you’ll likely get more views, likes, downloads—you get the picture. Trending content gets you noticed.

Topical content often takes less time to research and write than evergreen content, too. Sometimes you can even update old trending content and republish or repurpose it to be current. And we are all about efficient use of content.

The cons

Trending content’s biggest benefit is also its biggest drawback. Yes, it can attract readers right away—but only for a short period of time. Once a season has passed, an event has ended, or a hot topic is no longer making waves, discovery and engagement of your content will fade, too.

It’s worth mentioning that search engines don’t like trending content as much as evergreen content. Your site traffic will be spotty and inconsistent with trending content. Even if you publish your content early on a trending topic and enjoy a big spike in traffic, it’ll end once the topic loses its luster.

Team Evergreen 

Evergreen content is always relevant and meant to withstand the test of time. You may need to update small bits of info here and there, but generally, evergreen content will benefit your brand for years to come.

You won’t have to look far for examples of evergreen content: our blog is chock-full of ‘em. Like Want to Know How to Find the Right Copywriter? and How Good Content Can Boost Brand Awareness. (For comparison, our post What We’ve Learned in 2020 is an example of trending content.) 

The pros

Invest in good evergreen content, and you’ll enjoy the benefits much longer than you would with trending content. Evergreen content can bring you consistent site traffic and leads. You may not notice big spikes in traffic as you would with trending content, but you’ll get steady, stable traffic. 

You can also break down and repurpose evergreen content into smaller, different pieces of content: podcast episodes, YouTube videos or Instagram Lives, Instagram carousels or infographics, downloads and opt-ins, or social media posts.

When done right, evergreen content can build powerful relationships with your readers. Typically, evergreen content is a source of valuable, useful information. You might explain how a concept works or share tips on how to do something. 

The cons

To harness the awesome SEO power of evergreen content, you’ll need to invest more time and research into creating it. Everything, from choosing evergreen topics to picking the right keywords to using trustworthy sources of information, takes more time than a simple piece of trending content.

Competitors in your industry may have already published content on the topics you choose. You’ll have to do a little extra brainstorming and figure out how to make your evergreen content unique, either by including your opinion or playing around with format or delivery. 

So…who’s the winner here?

Publish a mix of both (but keep it on-brand)

That’s right, we say you need a mix of both trending and evergreen content to up your content strategy game. Everyone can win here — unlike in that match.

No one is stopping you from enjoying the benefits of both types! You can get your brand noticed and boost your site traffic when needed with trending content, and you can play the long SEO game and build your brand reputation with evergreen content.

The best tip we can offer you when creating both types of content? Just make sure whatever you create is on-brand, in form, language, and choice of topic. 

Don’t chime in on every single viral TikTok or breaking news article just because it’s popular. That type of piggybacking is not genuine, and it’s super obvious to everyone that you’re just jumping on a trend. That can also backfire if you fail to really think about what you’re saying when it comes to a controversial topic or hot-button issue.

Likewise, don’t spend time creating an evergreen post if it doesn’t make sense for your brand or brand strategy. Your evergreen content should serve a purpose for your audience, whether it’s to inform, entertain, or inspire. Don’t publish any old evergreen thing for the sake of SEO.

Remember: on-brand content first, then mix it up with both trending and evergreen pieces. You’ll keep things interesting for your audience, and you’ll see results in traffic, leads, and engagement.

Need help keeping a good mix? Access our content planning spreadsheet fo’ free here.

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