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Content Marketing: Hot Trends versus Evergreen – What’s best to wow your clients?

Let’s face it – when we create content to promote our business we secretly want it to go viral.  We all want to be the new big thing on YouTube or Facebook and for millions across the world to be amazed and captivated by what we have to say – and to go on and share it unreservedly with millions of their friends.

But on the other hand we don’t want our content to be a flash in the pan.  Whilst it would be great to be an overnight phenomenon on account of our witty ad, hilarious video or hard hitting blog, we don’t want our content to be forgotten after a week.

So it is best to follow the new top trends or to always aspire to evergreen content?

  1. Hot Trends

Hot trends range from newsjacking to all manner of content that resonates with different sections of today’s internet users:

– Newsjacking – If you want to newsjack, you have to have you wits about you and get on the publicity band wagon as quickly as possible.  Find a news story of great national or global interest and relate it to your own product or services to create content that blends the two. If you want some inspirational examples, check out how big brand Oreo and the more modestly known Radiological Society of North America piggybacked on the 2013 Super Bowl power outage to create some newsjacking content that most of us can only aspire to.

Newsjacking of Superbowl blackout by American Society of Radiologists

– Hyperbolic headlines – There are plenty of businesses nowadays who are opting for teaser headlines which are so punchy that most readers can’t resist clicking through to find the answer to the question they never even raised. Here’s a couple of examples:

A Giraffe starts pacing in her pen.  What happens next? Bystanders are in Awe. (www.sfglobe.com)

A Young Disabled Woman Made This. 20 Seconds In, I’m Totally Impressed.  And By The End, Blown Away. (www.upworthy.com) 

– Celebrity Endorsements – the Epic Split featuring Claude Van Damme video has more than 75 million views on YouTube and counting.  If Volvo had posted a technical video about their Volvo Dynamic Steering which creates highly precise steering it would never have had the same impact and certainly would never have gone viral.

Claude Van Damme epic split on YouTube

Whilst following Hot Trends won’t always make content go viral, at least it gives your content more than a passing chance. But of course the actual content itself has to be worthy of a million hits.  Studies have shown that viral content always evokes a strong response, either positive or negative and has an element of surprise.  So examples could be:

  • a superlatively witty newsjacking item about a much talked about event
  • a hyperbolic headline which not only tempts the reader to quench their thirst with the answer but rewards them with topical, witty or thought-provoking content
  • seeing a famous person in an unexpected but entertaining situation – in today’s celebrity obsessed culture, not many can resist checking out what their favourite celeb is up to

However how desirable is viral content and should we all be following the hottest trends to attain it?

Newsjacking content will always have a very short lifespan by the very nature of the beast. It’s topical and has the potential to go viral for only a few days after the original event.  And then as the next big news item comes on to the scene, the content will soon be forgotten.

And what about those super trendy hyperbolic headlines? Yes they are enticing – but after a while as more and more companies use this kind of approach, it will become passé – if it hasn’t already.  If people are seeing these headlines splashed all over social media, on video clips and on blogs they will start to develop ‘Headline Disbelief’ – they won’t believe they’ll see something new and exciting if they click through as they feel they’ve seen it all before. And so they won’t click through.

As for Monsieur Claude Van Damme in his eye-watering pose, he may be remembered for his daring deed, but after a year or two will people remember what he was promoting?  And if he falls out of fashion, will the video become completely outdated?

  1. Evergreen Content

In contrast to creating short term topical content to satisfy peoples’ hunger for the quick-fix update, evergreen content intends to be around a while. It might aim to last forever but perhaps more realistically has a shelf life counted in years.  Long after it is posted, it will attract traffic its way – readers will continue to read it, enjoy it and share it with others.

Evergreen content tends to shirk a little from the trends of the day lest they may become dated. It carefully considers how best to present itself to the world in a more timeless and enduring way.

So what does that mean in reality?

– Newsjacking will rarely result in evergreen content unless it is so unbelievably clever that it stands the test of time and gets quoted time and time again as an example of newsjacking excellence.

– Hyperbolic headlines should be toned down to enable content to become evergreen. They will still be intriguing but will actually tell the reader what to expect if they click through.

Perhaps sfglobe.com would consider “Giraffe unexpectedly goes into labour in front of zoo visitors” (now you know what the original article was referring to!).  This means that only readers who want to learn more about this subject will progress – and just imagine how good that is for bounce rates!  After all the current trend of the punchy “Upworthy” two sentence headline formula is in danger of annoying readers when they land on content they have absolutely no interest in.

– Use of celebrities must always be carefully managed if content is to be manageable.  Endorsement by the new X Factor star may seem like a coup at the time, but might be a huge marketing mistake 6 months down the line if the so called star retreats back into obscurity.

The Compromise

If you want to wow clients with your content and keep them coming back for more there really is only one solution – and that is compromise.  Evergreen content tends to be presented in a more conservative way than the hard hitting new trends which may be outdated in a few months.  However you don’t want to be posting old fashioned content that is so far behind the times that no one notices it.

So here are our tips on how to blend hot trends and evergreen concepts in your content marketing strategy:

  1. Headline & Content – keep headlines concise and punchy but don’t overdo the hyperbole. Create anticipation – and reward your visitors with strong content and an element of surprise.
  2. Delivery of Content – keep it modern and current. Use videos which are all so popular but don’t tie them to a so-called celebrity with a short shelf life (unless you can afford Madonna or the ever so supple Van Damme). Make sure you move with the times and include podcasts and infographics – both bound to be around for many more years. And as new formats appear, make sure you include some in your content marketing strategy.

If you are aiming for overnight success with content that goes viral bear in mind that your ‘fans’ might love you for just a few days and then swiftly move on to the next big thing.  Better to aim for loyal followers and customers who appreciate you for what you are and what you sell – so blend all the new hot trends with the principles of evergreen content to wow new clients and keep existing ones happy.

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