Topical or Evergreen? How to Choose the Right Approach for Your Content

Writing online content is a time-consuming process, yet one which is vital to your brand and marketing. The online arena offers the chance to really connect with your customers or readers, and to provide them with valuable and genuine information. Yet there’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect online content and making it work for your business the way you want it to. And one of the important factors to decide on is the type of content you put out.

We’re going to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of writing topical versus evergreen content. Of course, both have their place – but what’s the right option for your content? We’ll explore what the differences really are, and delve into when and why you should opt for one over the other. Scroll on down to find out more…

What is topical content?
As the name suggests, topical content is timely and relevant content that’s typically connected to a current event. It’s designed to highlight a particular moment in time, which can help create a major spike in traffic to your blog or website but naturally limits its long-term appeal. Basically it’s a ‘hot topic’ piece which is generating a buzz. It is usually highly searchable too, with current events attracting more searches from prospective travellers which, in turn, directs them to your business. Within the travel industry, topical content could be focused on events such as:

  • Festivals
  • Religious events
  • Sporting events
  • Animal migrations or times when it is best to spot wildlife
  • Weather conditions, whether it’s hurricane season or the best time to see the Northern Lights
  • Industry news
  • Company news
  • First person blogs of recently completed travels

What is evergreen content?
Conversely, evergreen content is designed stands the test of time, offering your readers content which remains fresh and relevant for several years without ever being specific to current events. This timeless content might not see such big initial spikes in traffic as it is less searchable, but it certainly holds its own through the months and years and stays relevant for longer. Evergreen content within the travel industry might take the following forms:

  • Destination-focused content
  • History and culture pieces
  • ‘Best of’ listicle-type articles
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Inspiration pieces
  • How-to content (such as ‘How to travel sustainably’)

When to use topical content
Ultimately both types of content have their place, and each one can be a successful and valuable part of a marketing campaign. Using a combination of both will ensure you’re capturing the attention of readers, while keeping them coming back to you site – all while making the most of search engine keywords and searches.

Topical content needs to be written now, to coincide with something which is on your reader’s lips and all over their social media. For example, in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, a topical blog post might be ‘The Most Romantic Hotels in Europe for Valentine’s Day 2021’ or ‘What not to miss at this year’s Rio Carnival’. You content can also offer a unique angle or opinion on a current topic. It can also use a current story as a jumping off point – for example, an election in the US might inspire a travel article about Washington DC. It really can be that simple.

Topical content is hot news, racking up searches and traffic. But the very nature of it means that it is also old news quite quickly. Who wants to read about ‘The Best of Notting Hill Festival 2021’ in 2022 or beyond? Being quick to share your content on social media is vital for topical content. After all, you need this to be read now now now!

Having said that, topical articles might still be reusable on occasion. Take the Valentine’s Day article example: while it is timely, it’s also repeatable annually. Just make sure all the listings you have included are still relevant.

When to use evergreen content
By contrast, evergreen content can stand the test of time, and enthral your readers for years to come. While you can’t expect the same flurry of excitement and share-ability as you have with topical content, it is a slow-burner able to translate into visits and a steady stream of social media interest. You can even re-purpose it and share it again several times. It is also a firm favourite with SEO ranking, and the keywords you choose for your evergreen content are hugely important. The other rewarding thing about evergreen content is that you can keep refreshing it through the years without having to completely rewrite the article, which makes it good bang for the buck.

The downside of evergreen content is that you won’t see that initial spike of interest you do with topical content. ‘Croatia’s prettiest islands’ is unlikely going to cause a social media stir as a stand-alone article, but over time it will be relevant to all those people looking to travel to Croatia’s islands, and even set you up as an expert in the field.

Mix it up
To keep your business profile fresh you’ll need to use a combination of topical and evergreen content. Create a content plan and make a note of any upcoming current events which need covering and important dates in your calendar that your clients should know about. You should schedule topical content to come out just before those events. Just remember that with travel, topical content might need a lead time in order for people to plan their travels – it’s no use writing about why you should go to a festival once it’s sold out or even already underway.

In between releasing your topical content, you can focus on longer, more evergreen content which will stay on your site. This is the backbone of your offering so it needs to be well thought out and focused. Use carefully planned keywords for both types of content and make your social media work in promoting it. By mixing and matching the type of content, you wll not only get people to visit your website, but you’ll keep them there too.

For more ideas on how to create usable and impactful travel content, read our other travel writing advice blogs. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest travel industry news and lots of travel inspiration.

– Article by Samantha Wilson.

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