Tag Archives: content writing strategy

Should you publish evergreen content or trendy content?

Evergreen content or trendy content

Evergreen content or trendy content?

For lasting search engine rankings, it is often recommended that you publish evergreen content.

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content is the content that is relevant for a long time – even multiple years. This type of content doesn’t go out of date. You can call it practically an ageless wisdom.

Take for example, if right now I write a list of tips on how to write SEO content (assuming that the search engine algorithms by now have matured a lot), I’m pretty sure that provided I stick to the fundamental Google SEO guidelines, it will be an evergreen content.

People will find this blog post useful and relevant for at least 2-3 years and consequently, it should enjoy higher search engine rankings accordingly.

Here are some examples of evergreen content titles:

What is trendy content?

Trendy content or non-evergreen content is topical and relevant to something that is going on right now.

Let’s hope we don’t have to write evergreen content on Covid, but right now, if I write something about content writing related to Covid, it is a trendy topic.

Take for example this blog post that I wrote recently: Am I getting more content writing assignments post-Covid?

As you can see, since Covid is a temporary situation (hopefully) this is a trendy topic. It is based on an ongoing trend.

When Covid is over, except for journalists, academicians, scientists and doctors, there will be few people searching for it.

Striking a balance between evergreen content and trendy content

Trendy content gets you instant traffic. Evergreen content gets you ongoing traffic.

Both types of content are important. When you publish trendy topics, for a few days you increase your visibility. More people can find your website or blog.

They may link to you. They may share your content on social media. They may also stumble upon evergreen content.

Since Google may be constantly looking for updated content to present to its users searching on a trending topic, it will quickly crawl and index your trendy content.

A problem with trendy content might be that since thousands of bloggers and web publishers may be writing on the trending topic, the competition might be too high.

In such cases, you should give the trending topic your own twist. Write about something that is about the trending topic, but an aspect that very few people are covering.

What about highly competitive content for evergreen topics? The same advice. Even for evergreen content, the competition might be quite high. Give your own twist. Create a unique title that very few people might be covering.

What should be the balance between evergreen content and trendy content?

My personal experience says that go with the flow. Regularity is more important than strategizing in this regard, as long as you maintain a balance.

Participate in ongoing conversations. At the same time, publish content that people are going to look up for, for a long time.

You get more back links for evergreen content because publishers who are linking to your content know that it is going to be relevant for a long time to come.

Yes, they also link to trending topics but only when they themselves are writing about those trending topics and they want to add value or add another perspective.


What is quality assurance in content writing?

What is quality assurance in content writing?

What is quality assurance in content writing?

Quality assurance may have simpler meaning and it may have a bit evolved meaning in terms of content writing.

It goes without saying that the quality of your content must be good in the sense that it should be easy to read, there should be no spelling and grammar mistakes, and the flow must be engaging. Your readers must be able to make sense of what you’re writing.

If you want content writing to be an integral part of your content marketing, then it becomes an ongoing activity. Content marketing is not a singular campaign. It is an ongoing thing.

Since it is an ongoing thing, you need to have a strategy, you need to have benchmarks, and you need to have a quality assurance mechanism. What’s that?

  • When you are writing and publishing content as per your content marketing strategy, you need to ensure you publish content regularly – out of sight is literally out of mind on the streets of content marketing.
  • You maintain a publishing schedule and publishing calendar.
  • The voice of your content represents your brand’s voice.
  • You have sourcing guidelines when you use data in your blog posts and articles.
  • The titles or headlines are as per your engagement, branding and search engine optimization needs.
  • Every piece of content takes your content marketing a step forward.

You may have budgetary constraints but don’t allow them to compromise on your content writing quality.

If it comes to choosing between quantity and quality, go with quality. It is fine to publish just a single blog post every month if you cannot spend more money, but make sure that that single blog post adds value to your content marketing efforts and isn’t just there to fill up random gaps or just to cover keywords.

You should document your quality assurance guidelines. This way, whenever you have a new blog post or an article, you can quickly run it through the guidelines to make sure that most of the conditions are met.

Quality also matters when you’re posting on social media. Just because you are publishing 50-100 words, it doesn’t mean that the content that you publish on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram is less important. They say that you should let your hair loose on social media and social networking websites. Although this is fine, every message represents your brand. So, keep that in mind.

Your content writing quality assurance must include your vision

Content writing quality assurance shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should represent your overall business and content marketing vision.

A couple of days ago I was talking to a client, and he has a very clear idea of what he wants to publish for his blogs. He doesn’t want to follow the hackneyed path. He knows how he wants to engage his audience and for that, what type of content he must publish (and I must write). This clarity should be there in your content writing quality assurance guidelines.

Should the creativity of your content writer be sacrificed at the altar of quality assurance?

Not necessarily. Remember that your content exists to engage and inform your audience. Therefore, choose a content writer with whom you can feel the synergy.

Having a clearly defined set of quality assurance guidelines doesn’t mean you don’t let your content writer do his or her own thing. In fact, an effective content writer is always quite individualistic.

Clients who have been working with me for a couple of years keep coming back to me not just for my content writing skills, but for the way I write. But, it doesn’t mean I write something that is not going to add value to their content marketing efforts write in a manner that goes contrary to their vision or quality assurance guidelines.

I don’t compete on pricing for my content writing services

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

I get lots of work from abroad. In fact, in the initial years, there was no work from India. Back then people didn’t understand the value of quality content in India. Many didn’t even have a website.

People in the USA and other Western countries on the other hand appreciated good writing. They started having websites in the early 2000’s.

They also understood the importance of content vis-à-vis Google search engine rankings earlier than people in India. It was also a time when outsourcing was at its peak as one of the most preferred ways of cutting costs.

Although, at my end, I never tried to charge less but who am I kidding? Most of the people in the West outsource their work to someone from India assuming that they are going to pay less.

Even when I was charging less (doing it, but not accepting it), even those rates were a lot for Indian clients. Hence, when I started getting assignments in India, I charged a lot less compared to what I was charging my clients from abroad.

This began to trouble my conscience. The foundation of my business was built through the support of people who believed in me – even if it was for the sake of saving money – and now I was charging more from them and less from people who still didn’t understand the value of good content and were simply being arm-twisted into working with a better content writer, by Google.

Clients from India can be lousy. One shouldn’t take it personally because that’s how they are. Our sociocultural environment makes us mistrust even our neighbours. They want to pay the minimum possible rate and they want to extract the maximum possible from you, short of killing you.

The only benefit is that once they understand that there is no escape from hiring a good content writer, they appreciate your talent and somehow manage to pay what you’re asking for. Besides, once you have made a name for yourself, there are so many clients that you can conveniently pick and choose.

Coming back to different rates for clients from abroad and clients from India: even that phase passed, and I gradually started increasing my rates to what I was more comfortable with, even with my Indian clients.

My conscience stopped troubling me. Even when I was charging them rates clients from India would never agree to, they were paying me less than they would have had to pay a native writer.

These days my rates are more or less the same. I’m comfortable with my rates. I don’t compete based on my rates. If a client calls me and tells me that there is a certain content writing agency or there is a certain content writer who is charging a lot less than what I am quoting, I tell them, “Well, congratulations! You have already found the content writer of your choice. Go to him/her.”

Even from my clients from abroad, after doing some reading on the web, I have realized that sometimes I charge slightly more than their native writers. I’m fine with that. I’m charging for the value I deliver, not for the fact that I am a content writer from India. Instead of attracting clients who are more interested in saving costs by hiring a content writer from India, my objective is to attract clients who are just looking for a better content writer.

Content writing: why strategy is important

Why your business needs a content writing strategy

Why your business needs a content writing strategy

Almost everyone these days acknowledges that quality content writing is needed to improve search engine rankings and conversion rate. As a very small-time content writer and content marketer, the quality of content assignments that I get these days has markedly improved. Even my clients from India are sometimes ready to pay the price that I ask because I know that what I provide can help them improve their business.

It shows that more clients now have a clearer perspective of how important content writing is for their business.

But there are very few who think about content writing in terms of strategy. Without strategy, you are simply publishing content hoping that writing about certain topics will help you improve your search engine rankings and if you can improve your search engine rankings, getting more business is a natural next step.

It is not.

B2B with documented content marketing strategy

B2B with documented content marketing strategy


The above link also reveals that whereas 89% B2B marketers use content marketing (use content to promote their business, in our case, content writing), only 37% organizations use documented content marketing strategy.

This number might be according to the target audience of Content Marketing Institute, the generic status is much worse.

Business depends on how many people you can convince into doing business with you through content writing

Just because you have improved your search engine rankings doesn’t mean you’re going to get more business. This is because business doesn’t depend on how many people you can get to your website. Business depends on how many people you can convince into doing business with you.

And this job happens on your website. The way your content delivers your message.

In fact, if you take into consideration the RankBrain algorithm, these days even your search engine rankings depend on how people engage with your content when they are already on your website.

For more information on how RainkBrain analyses your content, you may like to read How to write content for the Google RankBrain System.

What does strategy mean?

There are many definitions of strategy on the Internet, but the closest definition that is relevant to our topic goes something like this:

The art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use.

Even this is not a full definition in the current context., I would also like to add

The art and science of knowing exactly what you want to achieve, knowing what resources you have at hand, and then planning and marshalling these resources for their most efficient and effective use.

Content writing and the concept of strategy

Content writing and strategy

Content writing and strategy

According to the current definition of strategy, the resource here is content writing.

You may think why I’m just writing about content writing and not content in general because when you want to use content marketing, there can be various sorts of content, and I totally agree.

But for this blog post, I just want to focus on content writing because this is what I provide, currently.

So, the resource that we have is content writing.

How do we use this resource to accomplish what we want to accomplish?

What do you want to accomplish?

Through content writing you want to accomplish two things:

  1. Improve your search engine rankings to increase targeted traffic to your website.
  2. Improve the conversion rate of your website.

Both these are very important and there is no use focusing on one and neglecting the other.

Where does strategy come in?

Strategy in the context of content writing means

  1. Knowing what sort of content you should be writing/publishing.
  2. Knowing what format is most suitable to draw targeted traffic to your website – general website pages, informative articles, blog posts, social media updates, guest blog posts, email campaigns, e-books, white papers, slides, PDFs, and so on.
  3. Knowing what channels to use to promote your content.
  4. Knowing what people should do once they are on your website, what path they should follow.

The biggest attribute of strategy is knowing what you are doing, what you should be doing, and what the outcome is going to be.

Similarly, when you are publishing a blog post, you should know exactly what you are trying to achieve. You should know what sort of people are going to read it, how they are going to interpret it and what they’re going to do after reading it.

Goals and KPIs for strategic content writing

Content writing goals and KPIs

Content writing goals and KPIs

Goals and KPIs are different.

Goals are normally long-term. You want to get more business. You want to generate more ad revenue. You want to get more subscribers to your newsletter. You want to achieve your sales goals for the chosen region.

Goals take place in months, even years.

KPIs – key performance indicators – are, as the name suggests, indicators.

They tell you how your content is performing.

Is your search engine traffic for the intended keywords and search terms increasing day by day?

Has the frequency with which people subscribe to your newsletter improved ever since you published those five blog posts?

Are more people using your contact form?

Key performance indicators tell you if you are moving in the right direction with your content writing. Unless you get more targeted traffic you can’t know whether your content is performing well or not (simply getting traffic isn’t performing, getting new business is).

Web analytics, strategy and content writing

Content writing with strategy is incomplete without web analytics. Having hard data is very essential to a successful content writing strategy.

Web analytics tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics (I’m mentioning just these two because they are free but very potent) can tell you what sort of traffic your content is drawing.

If you want to try out a paid traffic analytics tool, these days I’m using LongtailPro. You may like to read Why I’m recommending LongtailPro to my clients.

LongtailPro tells you which longtail keywords you should target (according to the authority of your own website) and it also tracks the current position of your individual keywords – how much higher and lower they have moved compared to the previous positions.

This can help you streamline your content writing.

These tools will also tell you how much time people spend on your website. They tell you what web pages and blog posts they visit once they have entered your website through a web page or a blog post.

Suppose there is a web page (or URL) that draws lots of traffic from Google but people don’t stay on the web page for more than three seconds. They immediately leave.

Then there is something really wrong with this web page even if it enjoys higher search engine rankings. More than doing good, it is doing harm to your cause because it is telling more people why they should leave your website and why it is not relevant to what they’re looking for.

It also begins to negatively affect your search engine rankings because when people leave your website after immediately finding it on Google, the Google algorithm begins to “think” that the website is being ranked higher for wrong reasons and it doesn’t deserve to be there, and consequently, that particular link begins to lose its place in the search.

There is a reason why sometimes your content writing is directionless – there is no strategy

When you have a clearly drawn out strategy, you know why you should be writing. There is no ambiguity. There is no throwing of darts in the dark.

When you have a strategy, you know why each page, each blog post exists. You want to deliver a definitive message. When you are sure, it shows through your writing.

In the lack of a strategy, you are not only spending more effort on writing content that isn’t benefiting your business, if you are working with a content writer or a content writing agency, you’re also wasting money.

How to quickly create a content writing strategy

Create a content writing strategy

Create a content writing strategy

A strategy can be as complex as you want, and as simple as you want. It depends on your business size and the goals you are aspiring to achieve.

What about creating a quick content writing strategy?

When my clients ask me to help them come up with content writing ideas I ask them first to make a list of issues they would like to cover through publishing content on their website or blog. A list of questions they would like to answer. A list of ways they can help their customers and clients.

What helps them stand apart?

Naturally most of the clients want to improve their search engine rankings so, keywords are very important.

Improving search engine rankings is one of the topmost priorities when businesses approach me so when they are preparing a list of issues that they want to cover, I try to cover as many keywords and search terms as possible.

Every piece of content these days must have a clearly-defined objective, if you want to get good search engine rankings.

When you are covering a topic, cover it from all angles. Give it all you have got. Deliver something that people cannot get from other websites.

Every web page and blog post that you publish must have objectives like

  • Group of keywords to cover
  • Message to deliver
  • People to target
  • What people should do after reading it

Once you have these objectives in front of you when writing content, your writing becomes clear and your bounce rate comes down.

When you have covered everything that currently comes to your mind you will have a good collection of web pages for search engines to crawl and index.

Remember that you want to keep your content relevant to the keywords and search terms you are trying to optimize your website for, because you don’t want people to think that you are misleading them into visiting your website.

As you have more and more web pages and blog posts, you will have more content to link to from within your newer pages.

You also want to focus on quality and purposefulness because you want the others to link to your content.

Focus on creating topic clusters. A topic cluster is a very comprehensive web page or blog post where you have completely, and I mean really completely, covered a topic. A topic cluster web page or blog post easily consists of 3000-4000 words.

Of course, you cannot just fill up bigger web pages and blog posts with random text, it is not going to help you. Only create such clusters when you have enough information to deliver.

Here are some immediate steps you can take to create a content writing strategy:

What is the bigger objective you are aiming for?

I know, the most obvious question, but many people who want to use content to create an online presence, have no clear idea of what their bigger objective is.

Your “bigger” objective is of course a situation where your business does well, and you make lots of money. But this is not an objective for your content writing strategy, it is just a life-related objective.

Clearly define the persona you are going to target

Who are the people who can benefit the most from your content? Why?

Persona is also known as “buyer persona”.

You write content for a defined set of people, who would appreciate what you are doing and who would someday become your customers and clients.

Have you ever done a LinkedIn search? Their interface very nicely allows you to define the personae of people you would like to search. For example, you can target your searches by (or by multiple combinations)

  • By region
  • By language
  • By industry (content marketing, real estate, pharmaceuticals, business consulting, and so on)
  • By designation/title (CEO, project manager, consultant, speaker)
  • By gender

There are many other attributes you can use to find conacts in your search. The more targeted you get, the better and precise are your results.

In the same manner you can define a persona before starting to write content for your business and then whenever you are writing content, keep these personae in front of you.

You may like to read Content marketing is basically P2P.

Audit your existing content

Why is it an important part of your content writing strategy?

If you already have lots of content and when you were writing (or getting it written) that content you were not very aware of the need to create optimized, targeted and high-conversion content. That content is just lying around achieving little or even nothing.

But it may have great potential once you have revised it for better search engine rankings and better conversion. This content is something that you already have. It is always better to audit your existing content before going for new content.

Define KPIs specific to your business needs

The key performance indicators tell you how effective your content writing is. Before beginning to write content for your website or blog, make note of the following:

  • Bounce rate – how much time people currently spend on your website
  • Web page engagement rate – for how long people stay on individual web pages
  • Email subscribers – how many email subscribers you currently have
  • Overall search engine rankings – if you plan to aim for certain keywords and search terms you should note down their current rankings, otherwise, you can note the overall rankings of your website
  • Conversion rate – how many people do business with you among all the people who come to your website

It’s only when you know where you are currently that you know where you’re going to be in future. After a few months of regular, strategic content writing on your website or blog, you can revisit these KPIs and see if there is an improvement.

Remember that different businesses may have different KPI requirements. For example, for some businesses, getting new email subscribers is more important than improving their bounce rate or their search engine rankings (although, everything is interrelated). So, define your KPIs according to your specific long-term business goals.

Focus on creating topic clusters and content pillars

Coming back to topic clusters, Google loves authoritative, comprehensive content. No matter how good and relevant to your content is, if it is just 300-400 words, it is not going to be able to compete with web pages and blog posts 2000-3000 words long.

It doesn’t mean you can fill up 2000-3000-word web pages and blog posts with trash – these bigger web pages and blog posts need to be packed with relevant and useful information. Quality can never be compromised.

Remember that no matter how much content you publish and how well you write, ultimately it all boils down to how people react to your content.

If your visitors don’t find your content useful, they’re not going to spend much time on your website and if they don’t spend much time, Google thinks that you are not publishing relevant content.

It might not be easy to create comprehensive topic clusters and content pillars every week. Maybe you can target one such piece for every month.

Repurposing your existing content

Although this current blog post primarily focuses on writing content, content these days exists in numerous forms. You have textual content, video content, audio content, slides, images, infographics, GIFs – and many more formats.

You don’t need to focus on every existing format because you may not have your audience using that format. But you will need to find out all possible formats consumed by your audience.

For example, maybe your audience prefers infographics. If you have blog posts, web pages and articles that contain lots of information around a theme, you can re-purpose these blog posts, web pages and articles and create infographics out of them.

If you have lots of instructional content, maybe you can create YouTube videos out of this content? What about slides? What about combining 15-20 blog posts into an e-book?

Is creating a content writing strategy worth your time?

A long time back I remember we used to tell a joke: there is this man who is running with his bike. On his way someone asks him why doesn’t he climb up his bike and ride it instead of running with it? This way he will reach his destination faster. He says he doesn’t have enough time to stop and get onto the bike.

The same sort of state of affairs exists with content writing strategy. While you are spending all that money and time on writing content without a strategy, you can take a breather and start working on a strategy. It may take a month to figure things out, but when you eventually start publishing your content, it will be more effective.