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Timeless Content vs. Flavor of the Month


By Sarah Green, October 13, 2016

Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, you’ve probably seen a ton of posts about the Walking Dead Season 6 finale. Thanks to one of the most talked-about cliffhangers since the infamous “Who Shot J.R.” Dallas episode, for weeks on end, you couldn’t open a browser without being ambushed by articles filled with various fan theories, and the #TWDFinale hashtag was having a party on Twitter. With the Season 7 premiere around the corner, we should be prepared for another storm of articles coming our way. All we are left with in the aftermath is the question – will anybody ever read all of those posts after the show gets into full swing?

When writing a blog post, any blog post, it’s important to keep in mind the shelf-life it will inevitably have. On the other hand, writing an article about a trending topic, any trending topic, will definitely bring in more views. It’s a tough balancing act, because people definitely like new material, but they also want something they can come back to time and time again.

So: do you want to create something that will stand the test of time and come up in search engine results in the future, or do you want something that will bring in a ton of readers in the short term? Actually, the biggest question is: is it possible to do both?

Creating Timeless Material – Who, what, when?

Using the word “timeless” when talking about anything published on the Internet may sound ludicrous, because one of the things the web does best is keep you floating in an insane amount of fresh and current information. Just check out Internet Live Stats, and see how many blog posts are published each second. Yes, I said second.

Blog post statistics

However, there are some ideas that are indeed timeless, all you need to do is find them. What this means is putting aside all your Walking Dead-Marvel-GoT-Empire related puns, and rather letting your ideas roam elsewhere.

What can be considered timeless will depend on the industry you are operating in and the type of audience you wish to attract. Every niche has its own set of topics of interest. Bear in mind that in order to become timeless, your content needs to provide true value to your readers.

Timeless Content – Why?

The biggest benefit of timeless content is naturally a steady stream of traffic. Because of its nature, as time goes on, more and more people keep reading your posts. What’s more, most search engines have a “mechanism” that determines whether your content is still fresh or not. For instance, Google Caffeine is an algorithm that stresses the importance of relevant, evergreen content. And if Google has been kind enough to step out with clear information about their ranking algorithm, you should take note – as we all know this only happens once in a blue moon.

Let’s take a look at an example that proves creating timeless content is worth your time.

An Evergreen Content Case Study: Chris Fielden decided to create some timeless posts (or as some people call them, evergreen posts), and update them regularly. By ensuring that his posts give great value to the reader, he was able to rank for lateral search terms, attract great links and ultimately increase his traffic. And even though this case study was created three years ago, you have to agree that it is still relevant today.

Staying on Fleek – How to Find Trending Topics

Image via: https://twitter.com

Image via: https://twitter.com

The truth is, too many timeless posts can cause you to miss out on some huge traffic, and if you want to see spikes, then you should focus some of your attention on trending topics. For starters, if you decide to go hunting for trends, you have to be aware who your audience is, and what they like. While Twitter’s Trending Topics are a good place to start, the fact is, too many people look for content ideas on the friendly little section on the left side of their Twitter feed. There are other places you can look for current stories, which will offer even better options:

  • Buzzfeed

While the site is mainly known for its cutesy poppy pictures and spoiler-filled lists, the trend section gives you a look at what’s popular on Buzzfeed, as well as what’s popular around the rest of the Internet.

  • Reddit

This a place where memes, news, and other amusing tidbits from across the web are gathered and even ranked according to the number of users who up- or down-vote a post. If you want humor to be the main selling point of your posts, Reddit is the right place for you.

  • Google Trends

The tool has been around for years, but it has made a resurgence three years ago, when it released a visualizer that allows you to view up to 25 current trending searches. The tool is customizable to show trends for a certain country or worldwide trends.

Buzzfeed, reddit, google trends

Flavor of the Month – Should you Even Bother?

It may be risky to gamble on these fleeting opportunities, but the benefits of the right post at the right time are potentially huge. Take Buffer for example, a company that has never really focused on chasing trending topics. But last year, they noticed the rise of the #talkpay movement on Twitter, that urged users to open up and share their salaries, and hopped on the trending topic.

They tweeted a post about their open salaries, and the post resulted in 11,000 more clicks and three times more than their normal engagement rate.

Zombie-Themed “Walking Dead” Cruise: Sometimes you cannot predict what topic will attract the most readers. For example, last year, a simple article about a Zombie-themed cruise from Fox News got a huge reaction – over 400,000 comments and 1.5 million shares on Facebook. Fox, of course, has a very popular website, but this post absolutely dominated their content, getting more than five times the comments and shares as their next most popular article.

Buzzsumo statistics

Image via: http://buzzsumo.com

Visualizing Your Content

Visualizr integrates with industry leading partners, maximizing revenue from your mobile traffic while engaging users with your content.Visualizr.me

No matter what type of content you’ll decide to write, you have to realize that the needs of your audience are getting bigger and hungrier by the second, and in order to get noticed, you must produce content that provides them with some actual value.

Your visual presentation is more important than ever – did you know that colored visuals can increase user’s willingness to read an article by 80%?

This means that you need something that will give you an advantage, and Visualizr is the tool that can give you that competitive edge. When you look at some of the Visualzr-powered posts, you will see right away that they are more refined, mobile friendly and clickable. In addition to customization, the tool also allows you get all the visitor data you need to create great articles and tailor them to a specific type of reader.

A Quick Word about Niches

If you want to write about trending topics like news, social media trends, gadgets and other “time-sensitive” things, it is practically impossible to create timeless content. The concept of timeless news is nothing short of an oxymoron. People won’t read month-old news.

There are some exceptions, like news about historical events, such as the launch of the first iPhone for example, which are clicked on to this day, but even those articles are mainly used by bloggers as references. Some niches however, like personal blogging, writing and photography are timeless niches, and the content you create in these niches may be relevant for years.

Combing Timeless and Trending

Of course, an ideal article combines the two, but seeing how these two are practically at opposite ends, it certainly may be difficult to achieve this. The best strategy is to use trending topic to introduce more timeless ideas, or even talk about a timeless concept using relevant examples. But make sure that you’re not abusing this concept, because the post might bring in views, but it will only push away a lot of your readers.

Freddy Kruger

Image by http://www.disruptiveadvertising.com

The most obvious thing to do is to analyze your social shares and comments, and discover what your readers want.

For example, back in 2013, Disruptive Advertising published “6 Killer PPC Branding Tactics Even Freddy Krueger Loves!” It was a Halloween-themed article, strategically released on October 31 that drove a lot of organic traffic to their site. However, despite all the traffic, the publishers did not see a single lead from the post. While the article was informative and relevant, it turned out that the post wasn’t showing up on Google’s first page when you searched for “PPC”, but it did when you typed in “Freddy Krueger”.

The most obvious thing to do is to analyze your social shares and comments, and discover what your readers want. If your timeless posts receive more attention than your trending posts, concentrate on them.

If not, buy enough popcorn, and tune in to HBO as the latest season of the Walking Dead opens us up to another month of internet chatter.


Author:

Sarah Green

Sarah Green explores the latest web trends and covers stories related to technology, startups and digital life in general. Writing professionally since 2012, she has developed a sixth sense for trending topics in these fields.

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