Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
2 mins read

Publishers: How to recycle your evergreen content

Publishers are resurfacing evergreen content for readers who missed it the first time around

There is sometimes a sense in publishing that content creation is a one-and-done deal; publish, share and move on. But creating engaging content requires significant investment. To maximize the return on that investment, publishers are developing strategies to reshape, re-use or re-share evergreen content that is not time-sensitive.

Resurfacing content

  • Responding to a reader’s question in his newsletter, Simon Owens is taking a look at the best strategies for resurfacing evergreen content. He explains that assuming your audience will consume your content if they are interested is flawed; it is just too easy for content to get buried in a user’s feed.
  • He also points out that publishers are acquiring new readers all the time and that most new audience members will have no idea about what you published before they discovered you. He says:

Since March, my email list has grown by 71%. That means nearly half my audience barely knew I existed six months ago, much less read my prior stuff.

  • He believes that the fact that a significant proportion of a publisher’s audience will miss content or will be completely unaware that it has been previously published, means publishers need systems to regularly resurface content that is not time-sensitive.

Evergreen strategies

To underline the opportunity in resurfacing evergreen content, Simon recounts a 2015 experiment run at Vox.com. Every day for one week, the site’s writers and editors each updated and republished an article that was at least two months old. Over five days, 88 of these ‘recycled’ stories were read by over 500,000 people and some articles that didn’t attract much attention first time around became very popular.

With that sort of success in mind, Simon outlines five strategies that he uses to resurface his evergreen content.

Create a spreadsheet of evergreen content that is suitable for resharing. This makes it easier to find articles when scheduling posts on social media.

Dedicate time for scheduling social media posts that link to your evergreen content. Schedule them for when you are normally less active on your social platforms.

Create a landing page for your best evergreen content and point newly registered readers or subscribers to it in an automated email.

Link to related articles that you have previously published. This helps direct your readers back into your archives, but it is also important for SEO purposes.

Use your newsletters to promote evergreen content. Simon has an “ICYMI (in case you missed it)” item at the end of his newsletter that links to an evergreen article published months before.

Assuming that your audience has seen everything you publish is a mistake and resurfacing strategies are a valuable way to maximize the return on your content investment. The Vox experiment in 2015 saw old articles attract significant new attention and, writing about reintroducing older articles in his newsletter, Simon Owens says:

These are often among the most clicked-on links within my newsletter.

This piece was originally published in Spiny Trends and is re-published with permission. Spiny Trends is a division of Spiny.ai, a content analytics and revenue generation platform for digital publishers. For weekly updates and analysis on the industry news you need as a media and publishing business, subscribe to Spiny’s Trends weekly email roundup here.