Why You Should Routinely Write Evergreen Content

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash (my edit)

We all have days where, for one reason or another, getting things done is harder than it usually is. Whether you’ve got depression, you’re ill or injured, or you’re dealing with another type of distraction or obstacle in life, the song remains the same: life does indeed happen.

That’s why everybody should have non-perishable food and supplies in a dedicated place in case of emergency, like a hurricane or other natural disaster. It’s also why I tend to keep low-effort meals in my freezer. Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy (or, frankly, the will) to cook something. Even pasta or rice seems like too much effort. But I’ve still got to eat, and something frozen is better than nothing at all.

Think of it as a safety net of sorts. When some one-off event throws off your schedule out of nowhere, you can’t plan for every possible eventuality. But regardless of the cause, the effect is clear: your schedule, no matter how perfectly you might try to plan it, will get thrown off from time to time. It be like that sometimes.

Well, what happens when things aren’t going as you’d anticipated and planned? That obviously depends on a lot of factors, but you can anticipate at least a slight lag in productivity, or a substantial lag, depending in part on any lasting impact.

Put another way, there are only 24 hours in the day. If you budget out a certain amount of your waking time for a given task, but it takes much longer than that to get it done, the rest of the schedule has to shift around accordingly. That might mean that some or all of the rest of your plans that day go by the wayside.

There’s the problem. If you’re on Medium, trying to make some money with it, you need to publish consistently. That’s why having an editorial calendar is so important. It helps me to be able to see everything I’ve got going on, the whole ecosystem, all at once. Seeing things in context helps me learn and think about future growth in that context.

But I’m a visual person in that respect. You might not be. This article is not about how to plan or make an editorial calendar. It’s about how to prepare for when, as happens, your life does not conform to the dictations of your schedule or agenda, whatever form it takes.

How can you do some sort of damage control here?

On Medium, you need to have something to post on a consistent basis. And you may know yourself and your average rate of production fairly well, but as has been established, life is unpredictable. On a given date, you might need to publish, even though you haven’t written anything specifically for that date.

That’s where so-called “evergreen” content comes in. Evergreen trees are always green — hence the name — and I think of that as them being always in season. You want to make evergreen content for another reason, too: it’s always in season. It’s always relevant; it never goes out of style. That’s what distinguishes it from filler content; such content exists to fill space, not to add value for the reader.

Evergreen content is difficult to define in further specificity, but here are a few types of content that are not evergreen:

  • news and current events
  • trends and fads; e.g., fashion
  • statistical data that is likely to change
  • television schedules
  • weather reports

This content is only relevant to small groups of people at very specific times, and afterward, poof! The relevance drops substantially for most things.

How do you write content that’s always relevant? Think about problems or types of problems people experience on a regular basis. For example, one of my niches is food waste. There are several pain points I can focus on at any given time.

  • food insecurity: access to food, ability to store and prepare food
  • food deserts: areas with limited access to grocery stores
  • waste at the individual/consumer level, in supermarkets or restaurants, at earlier production stages
  • getting edible food to people who need it rather than it going bad and/or becoming garbage
  • making use of no-longer-edible but otherwise usable food products (e.g., composting)
  • minimizing the impact of food decomposing in landfills

Things do change over time, meaning that articles need to be updated appropriately to stay at peak relevance, whether publicly available on Medium or in my drafts. For various reasons, including these facts, I make use of Google Alerts to monitor several keywords. This isn’t always necessary or useful, but it only takes me a few minutes to scan over the results to check. It’s a simple but effective tool and one I’d recommend for just about anyone.

My main problem with production is that I struggle with bipolar disorder. Sometimes I’m okay, other times I’m more or less functional, but most days, I struggle with depression. My meds keep me from being totally catatonic with it, but there’s a reason I’m on disability, and it’s my mental health being shaky at best. I know I’m not alone in that.

Trying to make a living on Medium or as a blogger on another platform is hard enough when you’re neurotypical. But I know that many people find this kind of remote work attractive because they have chronic illnesses, mental or physical or both. When it’s hard for you to predict your overall efficacy, making your own schedule, according to your needs, sounds like the right call, doesn’t it? Who knows your needs better than you?

Well, depending on your self-awareness, that may or may not be accurate. But even if you do know best what you need, that doesn’t mean life will cooperate. I get into depressive episodes where I can hardly think, let alone write an article that will help anyone. When that happens, having something in the bank, something I can post on any given date, is extremely useful.

Creators using Patreon for non-written content can benefit from similar strategies. In terms of visual content, like web comics, the needs of the user are a bit different, because they’re looking for visual entertainment or stimulation, not a written article, and so the term “evergreen” could describe any kind of content.

One of the side-effects of bipolar disorder can be increased productivity in manic episodes. Unfortunately, priorities can get pretty jumbled up in mania, but if a person is able to harness some of the energy that comes along with mania in order to work on their craft, be that writing or something else, it can almost be a blessing. I wouldn’t tell anyone to try to, in some way, induce a manic episode in themselves or someone else. However, if you do find yourself in a situation like that, well… that means it’s time to make lemonade out of that big, sour lemon, isn’t it?

Try not to add too much vodka. (Seriously, alcohol is fine, but if you’re manic, it can make a hard situation turn bad, real quick.)

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Queer vegan cryptid trying their best to survive late-stage capitalism while helping others do the same.

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London Graves

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Queer vegan cryptid trying their best to survive late-stage capitalism while helping others do the same.

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