Evergreen or campaign content: which do I need?

Photo credit: Janine Kearns
  • By Peter Kelly
  • |
  • Sep 23 2016
Categories: |Ideas

I think I need a campaign but I’m not sure why

It’s not uncommon for organizations to run with what they’re already comfortable producing. For many organizations, those are campaigns.

For decades, agencies built their empires on the backs of global campaigns for giant brands, so it’s no surprise that, as a marketing strategy, the campaign is alive and well. But it’s more than just tradition. Depending on your business goal, a campaign may be just what the doctor ordered.

Still, a campaign isn’t meant to solve every problem. Sometimes you need some good old-fashioned evergreen content instead.

“Evergreen content,” you say? What’s that?

When we talk about “evergreen content,” we mean any kind of content that doesn’t have a clear expiration date. You might refresh evergreen content now and then or fine-tune small details, but by and large that information will be consistent and unchanged for a significant duration of time.

Another way to describe this kind of content is “static.”

This is evergreen content. So is this. And this.

By comparison, we might call content that has a shorter shelf life “timely” or “dynamic.” It’s prone to change or removal since it’s centered around a fixed point in time. Articles or blog posts are good examples of this kind of content since they’re published on a specific date and time and move through the news cycle in a short period of time (say, a week).

This is not evergreen content. Neither is this. Or this.

Campaign content is not evergreen content because marketing campaigns are inherently bound by time. Some campaigns last months, some as short as a couple weeks, but in all cases there is a definitive starting and finishing point, beyond which the content would become irrelevant.

So do I need campaign or evergreen content?

two train track paths

Photo credit: Jimflix!

This can be a tough question. Like most tough questions, there’s no 100% right answer, but there are a few things to consider when looking at each type of content.

For campaign content:

 

Is this an attempt to drive awareness?

If your organization has a large group of untapped potential customers who have never heard of you then you’re worried about how to make them aware of your product or service in the first place. Driving awareness with uninitiated users is tough and you’ll need to try a variety of tactics until you find something that sticks. An assortment of different campaign iterations will help you get there.

Do I need to let people know about a big change or opportunity in a hurry?

Did your business model significantly change? Have you moved from a freemium to a subscription-only service model? Are you featuring a killer limited-time offer? All of these urgent messages will need to get in front of your customer base (existing or potential) in a hurry via timely campaign content.

Is my initiative based on incentives?

If you’re running a contest or requesting an exchange of information with users (like in a survey), you’re no doubt using some kind of incentive to drive engagement. Interest in your content will be based primarily on this incentive, so it’s not always fair to assume users will remain keen to consume your content once they’ve participated. Driving and sustaining these actions is best suited for campaign content so they can get in and out seamlessly.

For evergreen content:

 

Am I launching a new or amended product or service?

Product launches are deceptive. It’s a brand new product, often with a brand new market, and it’s time to get the word out there. So of course you think, “I need a campaign!” And you’re not wrong. But to where does this campaign drive? With any new or amended product, you’ll need a place to house the core information of that service offering. To get this done, you’ll need evergreen content.

Is this an attempt to drive conversions?

Often, the best value propositions are consistent over time. Amazon doesn’t create a campaign landing page for every product because their product pages are strong and optimized for conversions. You can support your sales initiatives with campaigns, but when it’s time to pull the trigger on a sale, consider some conversion-focused evergreen content you can rely on consistently over time.

Is this advice that I might change in a year?

Let’s say you’re writing advice on investment strategies. If you’re keeping things high-level and basic, this may be good information for the long-term if the basics don’t change with the whims of the markets. In this case, even though you’re writing about a seemingly “timely” topic (advice), since it’s unlikely to change, you should consider evergreen.

Wait, I think I need both…

You very well might! It’s not uncommon to support your business goals with a healthy mix of campaign and evergreen content. But it’s important to create the right content for the right need.

In general, it’s helpful to have enough evergreen content to cover a complete user journey without any campaigns. If you’re completely reliant on campaigns to drive conversions, what happens when those campaign dollars expire? What happens when a user finds your website in Google and wants to buy? Even if it’s lean, that backbone to your content experience is important.

Campaigns support this content as your business needs evolve. If your sales figures are down, producing campaign content can keep you afloat while you examine your evergreen content for ways to improve it. They’re incredibly useful tactics, though they work best when they don’t come out of nowhere and are tied to something concrete (or, shall we say, evergreen?).

 

If you’d like to learn more about the finer points of campaign content, check out this previous article we wrote. If you’re still unsure what kind of content you need, ask us on Twitter or via email at info@contentstrategyinc.com.

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