How to Breathe New Life into Old Evergreen Content

Evergreen Content

What happens to old content when it dies?

Is there a special place in Google where they put content that nobody reads anymore? Do you feel like some of your old blog posts are in content purgatory?

Actually, there’s no such place as content heaven, or content hell, or content purgatory.

Because through the magic of search indexing, almost all content that has ever been published will live as long as the Internet exists, and by the miracle of massive scale will receive at least a few visitors every now and then.

Let me pause for a moment and apologize to your content for calling it “old”. I am very sorry if I hurt its feelings. The technical term is “evergreen content”. Moving on…

Pull up Google Analytics for one of your evergreen posts and see what I mean. Usually it looks something like this:

Google Analytics Landing Page traffic over one year

After the initial spike of page views after you first published the post and were actively promoting it, the traffic levels off, but it never entirely goes away.

You’re losing people who visit your Evergreen Content

You can capitalize on this trickle of traffic.

Let’s say you have 10 old (oops, I mean evergreen) posts, each of which gets about 100 unique page views per month. That’s 1000 unique visitors that are hitting your site, and then going away. These are people who probably searched for something related to the topic of your blog articles, or clicked on a link to one of these posts.

If you’re not converting these visitors into leads by capturing their email address, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your email list and bring one-time visitors back to your site again.

Using Google Analytics Landing Pages to Find How Much Traffic Old Posts Get

Before we dive into how to convert that long-tail traffic into email subscribers, how do you find out which evergreen posts on your site are getting traffic?

Google Analytics can show you this. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your site (many plugins exist to help you do this, just search for google analytics plugin), and then go to the Behavior >> Landing Pages link:

How to get to Google Analytics Landing Pages

You can set the date range you are interested in: I would suggest using the past year to see which posts have done well, but you could also start with a shorter time window.

Here’s what my Landing Pages look like for a one week window:

Google Analytics Landing Page Example from My Blog for a one week time window

You can see what great information is given: Two of the posts shown were new posts, but the third and fourth are old ones, years old, nonetheless each week they are getting a combined total of 34 visitors.

Now, I also notice that the one only has people staying on the page for 2 seconds on average, so that post might need to be beefed up or have a catchy story or hook added to the top to make it more compelling.

Bottom line is that you can use this analytics report to give you actionable intelligence on which posts you should first target with lead magnets (more below).

What if you could convert a few of these visitors to leads?

Let’s say for example, you could convert 1% of these visitors to leads. That would be 10 new leads per month, from these evergreen posts, without writing a single new word of content. What if your conversion rate was 5%? Well that would be 50 new leads per month from your evergreen content, again without writing a single new word.

“Sign Up Now” doesn’t work anymore

Newsletter signup forms are good for what they do: they give people who like you and want to hear more from you a way to sign up to hear more of what you have to offer. If you have a regular newsletter, and a strong following, and are a regular producer of content, then a newsletter signup form is a great way to capture leads.

The problem is that most of the traffic coming in to these evergreen posts is “virgin” traffic. They most likely have never heard of you before, and are therefore less likely to sign up for yet another email list. (Raise your hand if you don’t think you get enough email. That’s what I thought.)

Lead Magnets: Tit for Tat

The answer is to offer visitors something of value in exchange for their email address. We call that a Lead Magnet. A lead magnet is a special offer – it could be a PDF, an eBook, a slide deck, a link to a discounted offer, or anything of some minor value that your visitors can download for free after they put in their email address.

Lead magnets give your readers a compelling reason to give you their email address. They get something valuable immediately in return.

There are 111 different ways to create a lead magnet, but in its simplest form a lead magnet looks something like this:

It has a headline that tells readers what the offer is, a short subheading that explains what they’ll get when they download it, and a form where they can put in their email address to access the item.

After they enter their email address they’ll either receive the item via email, or they’ll be able to download it right away. With ContentUpgrade they’ll be able to download the item right away, and they’ll also get a confirmation email just in case they’re not able to download it for some reason.

You can create your own lead magnet using WordPress plugins and HTML.

Of course the simplest way to create a lead magnet is to use ContentUpgrade.me. The nice thing about ContentUpgrade.me is that you can use the same lead magnet on multiple posts and pages, so you don’t have to re-create it each time. We also provide file hosting so that you don’t have to worry about hosting and linking assets, and analytics so that you can see who is downloading your lead magnets and where they’re being downloaded from.

We’re running a special pre-launch promotion: right now you can name your own price. That’s right, for a limited time you can tell us how much you want to pay for this awesome, delectable lead generation service. If you get a lot of value from your lead magnets, pay more, but if you don’t, pay less! Oh, and we also have a free plan, which allows you to create your first lead magnet free.

How to Promote your Evergreen Content

Now that you’ve got a lead magnet on every single page and post, generating more leads is just a matter of sending more traffic to your posts. Here are a few ways to do that:

Boost single posts on Facebook

Do you have one or two posts that perform higher than average? These might be particularly good resources for your target market. If that’s the case, consider boosting the post on Facebook. You can tweak Facebook’s ad preferences to tweak your target demographic so that your post will appear right in the news feed of people who will be interested in your post. If you set up your post with a compelling lead magnet you can generate a handsome return in terms of list growth.

Tweet and Retweet

Consider using a tool like Edgar to put your evergreen posts into a perpetual social media queue. Edgar can queue up all your posts and will share them in each of your social media accounts forever, until you beg him to stop. Considering that only 1-2% of your Twitter followers will happen to see your tweet, you’d need to tweet the same tweet 50-100 times to reach every one of your followers. Edgar automates this and makes it really easy.

Buffer and HootSuite are alternatives to Edgar, though we like Edgar best.

Republish your Content

No matter where your blog is hosted, republishing can often be a good strategy. Republishing means to syndicate the same article, either whole or with some minor modifications, through a different medium. The most popular medium that many authors claim gives them great exposure is, strangely enough, Medium.com.

Won’t Google penalize me for duplicate content? Not necessarily. The trick is to include a link at the top of your re-published article referring back to the original article. This tells Google that the original article is the “canonical” source, e.g. the one that Google should link to when people search for those keywords.

Medium has a feature called Import Story that let’s you import a blog post into Medium and automatically includes the canonical link back to your original post.

Republishing on a medium like Medium can broaden your audience and reach readers that you otherwise wouldn’t have any contact with.

And guess what? All those readers are going to see your lead magnet. Are you starting to see the math add up here?

I should also mention that ContentUpgrade.me is the only way to embed a lead magnet on Medium. Sure, you could use a signup form, or you could link to a landing page, but signup forms are less effective, and links are an extra step that will lose people. Lead magnets are proven to be an effective way to generate qualified leads. Since you can put your lead magnet on your Medium.com posts it would be a fool move not to.

ContentUpgrade.me creates compelling lead magnets that can help you turn your evergreen content into a lead-generation powerhouse. Use it in WordPress, Medium.com, and in all purveyors of fine HTML.

 


Also published on Medium.