The 80 Percent Rule: How to Balance Timely and Evergreen Content
Too much evergreen content can make your blog seem too sales-y and pushy.
But too much timely content can be a double-edged sword — while your article is timely and punctual now, it will be extremely dated in a really short time.
So what gives? How do you publish the timely, ephemeral content your followers want to know alongside the timeless content that will last for months?
It’s easy: follow the 80 Percent Rule.
Before we get to the 80 Percent Rule, let’s rewind a little bit. What is evergreen content? And how can it help your business?
Many blogs are chock-full of content that works for a short period of time, but is useless later.
Examples of these sort of blog posts
“Check out our Valentine’s Day Sale!” (Valentine’s Day will come and go.)
“Save 50 percent on Shipping if You Buy Today!” (Today is ticking away, and it’ll be over soon.)
“Meet our new salesperson, Dave!” (Dave won’t always be the new guy.)
“Check out the best new fonts of 2012!” (If they’re the best new fonts of 2012, they’re the most mediocre fonts of today.)
“5 inbound marketing lessons we learned from Nicki Minaj!” (Sure, she’s popular now, but will she be in two years?)
These ephemeral posts are fine—they tell your audience all the snippets of information about your business they couldn’t know otherwise. (Or they add a little splash of personality through pop culture.) They’re all the little things that portray you as timely and approachable. And they present you as a thought leader that keeps up with the times.
Evergreen content is the opposite of that. It’s the stuff that will hang around (possibly) forever, and be just as relevant as it was the day you published it.
Evergreen content is timeless, lasting content that remains relevant, builds momentum and becomes the definitive answer for your customers’ questions for years to come.
So, what’s the benefit of publishing evergreen content?
Benefits of Evergreen
There’s little maintenance involved: Other than updating links once a year (and making sure any pop culture references are relevant), evergreen content is a “set it and forget it” situation.
There’s a snowball effect: Since that article is designed for the long haul, it will pick up backlinks and page authority as it ages (also great for SEO).
Lead generation: When your content has high rank and authority, it’s more likely to show up in search results than something ephemeral and timely.
The 80 Percent Rule
If everything you write is monolithic and designed to stand the test of time, your business comes across as unapproachable.
But if everything you write is timely and has little relevance to your customers mere weeks after the fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
80 percent of the content you make on your blog should be evergreen. The other 20 percent should focus on the little facets of your business that no one else could know about.
Examples of evergreen content (from our blog):
- Blogging in HubSpot vs. WordPress: One Agency’s Experience
- Bookmark this Page: 31 Invaluable Free Marketing Resources
- Let’s Get Down to Brass Tacks: How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost?
Examples of non-evergreen content:
- Business Critical: Ice Buckets and Beats Headphones
- More than an Exhibit: “The Wall” Connects ISU Alumni with State Fair Fun