In a world where we are told that humans currently have an attention span roughly equal to that of a goldfish, it can be tempting to simply chase whatever the current “viral” topic happens to be that is setting the social media world on fire.
And sometimes, that can work well as a portion of your social media marketing and content creation — after all, even the inbound marketing experts at HubSpot fell under the spell of ‘Gangnam Style.’ (Remember that song? Don’t worry, the earworm will wear off eventually.)
While ‘viral’ material can be fun, it isn’t likely to be relevant a few months down the road. Your best business blog posts, on the other hand, can still be relevant months or even years later if you take time to create quality content that is “evergreen” — meaning it doesn’t lose its usefulness quickly.
HubSpot knew when it created that video that it was unlikely to generate leads six years later (though thanks to my link, it may experience an unexpected spike in visitors). HubSpot also knows that many of its most effective posts ARE still generating traffic and leads long past the initial publication date.
These are the compounding posts. HubSpot says about 1 in 10 blog posts becomes a compounding post, meaning organic search increases traffic to the post over time, long after the company has finished actively promoting the post through social media and emails.
Compounding posts are especially important because over its lifetime, one compounding post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. Compounding posts are like snowballs rolling downhill: As more people read them, it sends signals to the search engine algorithms about the value of the material, which in turn results in higher search rankings, and even more traffic through organic search.
(Find more here on how traffic and reader signals such as time on the site and the number of pages the average visitor views impact search engine rankings: Write For Readers, Not Search Engines.)
While we want to continually produce new content for our business blog, it is important to recognize the continuing value of posts published weeks, months or years ago. HubSpot has found that 75 percent of their blog views, and 90 percent of blog leads, come from older posts.
Though compounding posts make up only 10 percent of all blog posts, they generate 38 percent of HubSpot’s overall traffic.
We’ve seen similar results from the Inbound Accelerator. The six most-read blog posts in 2017 were all published during our first two years of posting — 2015 and 2016.
What gives these posts staying power?
They are useful.
Several of the posts outline the steps to completing an inbound marketing related task that is challenging. When your blog posts help readers solve a problem, especially one that isn’t likely to go away soon, they have lasting power. (What problem did our most-read post solve? Measuring call-to-action success.)
They are insightful or offer a new way of looking at things.
Our #2 post, which is almost two years old now, takes a common marketing tool — the customer sales cycle — and looks at it three different ways. By considering the same timeline from different perspectives, our readers get a clearer understanding of how to segment the marketing content they create. It is an evergreen topic because, while the channels and mediums used to reach prospective buyers may change, the overall thought process from awareness to consideration, comparison and decision has changed little in decades.
They mix information with entertainment.
Our #3 post, still picking up readers more than 2.5 years later, takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to something every industry, including marketing, deals with: the alphabet soup of acronyms. Humor can be timeless. See what I mean: Marketing Acronyms Can Be a Real PITA.
Not all of your blog posts need to be focused on long-term staying power, of course.
There is value in quickly responding to current events or changes in your industry. This “newsjacking” is a way of showing your company’s responsiveness and ability to stay on top of current events. You’ll find more on newsjacking in this blog post, or download our 5 Ways to Write a Blog Post templates, which include a guide for writing a newsjacking post.
Which of your blog posts have had the most staying power? Run a report to find out which have the most all-time views, the most views in the last year, and the most views in the last month — is the list dominated by newer posts you are currently promoting, or are you benefiting from compounding posts that continue to gain organic search momentum with more traffic all the time?
Writing for the long haul is just one of seven tips outlined in the latest addition to our Inbound Marketing Learning Library. Download Business Blogging: Do This, Not That for 6 more quick suggestions on maximizing the results of your business blog.