Evergreen Score: The New Content Metric You Should Care About
In the 1970s, a British boutique owner named Susie Faux came up with the capsule wardrobe. The idea behind it is that you should aim to collect a small amount of timeless pieces of clothing. These garments, like a white silk button-down, work in any season, at the office, on the weekend. They also become the building blocks for a highly functional closet.
For years, I have been chasing the capsule wardrobe.
That chase to streamline your wardrobe is similar to the quest to create and measure evergreen content. Compared to trend-based commentary, evergreen content provides consistent value to your audience (and a reliable stream of traffic to your site). For most B2B companies, it’s the most effective way to create content that makes an impact.
However, few of the brands I’ve worked with personally have a dedicated and repeatable process for ideating, creating, and measuring evergreen content. I understand why—it might seem more appealing (especially for folks with journalism experience) to react to industry trends and be part of the current conversation. But these people are missing opportunities to future-proof their content destinations.
What’s needed is a strategic approach, which includes a way to measure the success of this very specific type of content.
Finding the evergreen score
My solution to this challenge is the evergreen score. This metric helps marketers understand and amplify their most timeless content pieces.
While no content marketing metric is a magic bullet, this one focuses on impact after the first wave of engagement on your piece has come and gone. Buzzsumo, one of our trusted data providers, calculates evergreen score by taking the sum of all backlinks and social actions associated with a piece 30 days after publication, comparing that result to other content in a similar timeframe.
While they keep the exact details of their formula under wraps, you can preview your own content’s evergreen scores in a free trial on their site. Clients of Contently’s Strategy Services programs have access to this metric through our internal tool, StoryBook, but you can also make an approximation of your own with some Google Analytics customization.
When you rank your own content by evergreen score, your top performers will often be different from what you’d expect, especially if your current goals focus exclusively traffic or attention time. For example, on The Content Strategist, “What’s the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?” is one of our most evergreen pieces, even though it hasn’t received as much traffic as something like “The Latest Insights on Gen Z.”
Keeping up with the times
After calculating your own evergreen scores, you can (and should) take a few actions. First, update your most evergreen pieces. There are comprehensive guides on how to do this well from an SEO perspective, but any opportunity to add new, helpful information, or update statistics is always a safe bet. It’s also a good idea to check that structural elements are in place—like clean, descriptive headers and helpful images.
Secondly, you can use your successful titles to predict what new evergreen opportunities might be worth exploring. Our most evergreen pieces on TCS define and demystify marketing concepts or provide in-depth instruction on how to improve your content program. I might pitch something like “What’s the Difference between Brand Voice and Tone” because the format (“What’s the difference”) has evergreen potential for us, as does the topic of voice and tone.
Generally, explanatory pieces and well-structured lists make good candidates. If you’re up for a challenge, you can also analyze the most evergreen content of your competitors and your favorite publications to get an idea of what’s performing in your space. Sorting by evergreen score is a great way to filter out the noise from blue chip publications that cover news but also provide really good evergreen content too (like TechCrunch or NerdWallet).
Calculating evergreen score won’t solve all of your content marketing challenges, but it can help clarify where you’re already providing lasting value for your audience. If you use it well, you might just build a ‘capsule’ content collection of your own.Image by Allie Smith