Do you want your news media site or blog content to be both timely and timeless?
Yes, it’s a tough goal to accomplish, but it’s possible especially if you want to own your niche on the Internet. That’s my experience here on this portal as a Seattle business consultant and credentialed journalist.
Timely articles that analyze trends are popular. Well-written timeless or evergreen content with strong keyword tags will bring readers back for years. Good visuals — images with people and videos help, too.
Google looks very favorably at sites containing old articles that are relevant to readers year after year. (Some of the most popular articles on this portal are several years old.)
The next obvious consideration is how can you accomplish such a goal?
You must ask yourself five key questions:
1. “Why am I writing this article?”
You must know yourself as a writer and know your motive.
One motive might be to write articles on trends and citing relevant timeless principles in providing solutions.
This requires an astute author who stays contemporary with constant reading and keeps the focus on evergreen principles.
For example, a case study: 15 HR Strategies to Improve Your Business Performance, which I wrote July 19, 2011.
It was written at a time when many senior executives were pointing fingers at their human resources professionals. The motive was to help management and HR personnel.
It’s still a concern for business worldwide, so the article remains a popular topic – years later – month after month.
2. “Do I truly understand my audience?”
You must be very familiar with your readers and your readers’ potential preferences.
True, for example, images are great for visual aids. However, you must discern which visuals work best while staying within your budget.
It’s tempting to incorporate infographics. But does your audience want them? Do the infographics add enough relevance? For how long will the infographics be relevant?
You can test your approach by daily paying attention to comments, responses and your visitors’ data.
Additionally, you must consider the big picture. That’s why in late December I publish a “year-in review,” an overview of the year’s most popular articles.
In this way, I know what has played well and what will continue to play well with readers. Ironically, the annual reviews prove to be popular with readers, too.
3. “How can I write timeless articles pegged to news events?”
In order to write evergreen articles tied to news events, it might surprise you to learn that news-led content can be timeless.
If you write with authority on news events using proven tenets, you can deliver a reference readers will use for years to come.
How? Write an original analysis using best practices for a white paper on a subject that has the promise of remaining topical by providing lessons for the future.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (AKA the BP oil spill or BP oil disaster) occurred on April 20, 2010. It prompted me to write an analysis: BP Crisis Management, PR Misfires — a Case Study.
Yet years later, the article continues to be popular with timeless appeal. Almost amazingly, readers discover it buried in The Biz Coach archives, which contain 1,200 articles.
Candidly, college students around the world have also cited it in their research papers on strategic planning, public relations tactics and business ethics.
You can also obtain free media coverage and social-media spin by getting your content injected into late-breaking news stories. The technique is called newsjacking.
And while you at it, consider submitting your site to the Google News Publisher Center.
4. “How can I keep readers on my site?”
Years ago, bloggers recommended brevity – they recommended that content be limited to 300 words. But their advice proved to be fallacious.
Content filled with value and relevance in 800 or more words have proven to be effective for keeping the interest of readers and influencing search-engine crawlers.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Google’s algorithm updates, and how they affect Internet sites. Many sites have benefited and others haven’t fared well in their Google ranking.
You can also insert links to other articles in other posts to help explain your points. Notice how several links to relevant articles are embedded in this article.
Another technique is to insert an archive of links to several relevant articles at the end of each post. (Scroll down to the Coach’s Corner to see examples.)
With both of the above techniques and numerous other secrets for enticing readers, visitors will be inclined to spend more time on your site especially it’s well-organized for easy navigation.
5. “How can I plan the best content?”
You can best plan for the future by keeping close eye on the news and trends. Readers love analysis of trends. They want insights.
It will help if you plan an editorial calendar.
For instance, when you’re planning months in advance, say December for example, consider angles you haven’t covered. That might mean techniques for selling more in Q4 or tax deductions you can use the following year.
Such an article can easily be updated the following year when new tax laws are passed. So, you should budget time to monitor your articles to see if they can be updated or re-purposed for maximum relevance. The search engines and your readers will love it.
From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s tips for additional resource links:
Your Mobile Site: 7 Precautions for a Top Google Ranking — If you don’t have a mobile site, you should. And if you do, make sure it has what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” Here are seven precautions to take.
5 Best Practices in Thought-Leadership Web Publishing — In the face of dynamic marketplace-change, it’s challenging to become a front-runner on the Internet. Here are best practices for publishers.
9 Content Traits of the Best Blogs — In blogging, it helps to be trustworthy and a great storyteller. My sense is that the best blogs share nine common traits in publishing quality content. Why do the best blogs share nine common traits? I base my conclusions on two factors: Information gleaned from Google and from my own journalism experience.
25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. A lack of writing skills will can hold you back or even hurt your career.
Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”