Like evergreen trees which are perpetually full of life, evergreen content is sustainable and usable for months and years to come. Generating evergreen content for a newsletter is a great way to continue to reach out to your subscribers, and the best part is, it saves you time from having to constantly generate new content.
Evergreen content is not only useful to you because it’s a timesaver, but it also becomes a reference guide for your email newsletter subscribers. You become the expert they consult about your industry, and because the information is timeless? They’ll keep referencing your content down the line.
So much of what we see and read online is ephemeral: Tweets and timelines scroll endlessly, and with a 24 hour news cycle, even many news sources have articles that become dated after just a few days. It’s reassuring to know that the bulk of your online content, and your newsletters specifically, can be evergreen in nature.
1. Strong and Captivating Visuals
Your newsletter may be chock full of fantastic information that is perfectly tailored to your subscribers, but you also need to keep your reader’s attention with great images. When people hear content, they are likely to remember 10% of that information 3 days later. However, when that information is paired with a relevant image, that amount of information retained after 3 days skyrockets to 67%.
Charts, infographics, and images can all help tell your story, and take on a narrative of their own. The goal is to drive the attention of your reader and help them follow the story you are telling, and visuals can help with that. The number one tip here? Avoid hard statistics and data that may change or become dated after a few months - that will keep your graphics evergreen in nature.
Another way to grab your subscriber’s attention? With strong, graphic formatting. If you’re already using an email marketing service like Mailchimp, then you have great formatting available to you now - just make sure you’re taking full advantage.
Great, consistent formatting can say as much as the content in your newsletter itself. You want the formatting to remain mostly the same from email to email in your evergreen newsletter chain so as to help develop your brand, and your email marketing service will have templates at your disposal for this purpose.
The templates available to you have been tested for readability on both computers and mobile devices, so you can trust them to be graphic without being overpowering, as well as eye-catching and readable. It’s a small step that will take your email newsletter from “good” to “great.”
2. Varied Types of Content
If you are planning out an evergreen newsletter, one of the best things you can do is outline different kinds of content to include in each edition of your newsletter. Varying the way your information is presented keeps readers engaged and keeps your newsletter interesting.
- How-To Guides and tutorials: No matter the expertise level of your subscribers, how-to newsletters can help even the most skilled among your readers to hone their craft. They are interesting, informative, and if you choose the right subject, unlikely to change in a month or two.
- FAQs: Frequently asked questions can loop new readers into the workings of your business and acquaint them who you are. FAQs can also incorporate questions about your industry and become informative in the same way a tutorial or lengthy, narrative post is informative.
- Lists and top tips: Lists (like this article you’re reading now!) are a great email format that are accessible and skimmable, making them very popular to read right now. They’re easy to write and easy to read, and your subscribers are already comfortable and familiar with this kind of content. It’s an efficient way to break up information in a way that makes sense to readers.
- Interviews: Interviews can introduce your subscribers to your team, other experts in your field, and become quite an informative and thoughtful resource for your subscribers. Stuck on what to ask? Here’s a great list of interview questions that can be a starting point for your next interview.
- Your origin story: One way to generate need or interest in your company is to express why it is you saw a need to create your company in the first place. Take the Dollar Shave Club, for example. Shaving is inherently an unexciting thing. But learning about the origin of the company with an energizing video creates an emotional attachment and demonstrates a need your reader may not have realized before.
These formats also lend themselves well to information that sustains itself well over time. Current events, seasonal articles, or statistic-laden data become irrelevant after a few weeks or months. An evergreen newsletter sent to your subscribers can become a reference point for them over time, and because the content is more timeless, it will stand the test of time.
Above all, remember that you are the supreme expert on your company, and the definitive source for your area of knowledge. The rest is just formatting to keep it fresh and interesting.
3. Your Best Content
Your new subscribers could miss out on your strongest content if it gets buried in the depths of your website. Including your best content in your evergreen newsletter is a great way to share this information with your new subscribers. Chances are much of your first-rate content is already evergreen in nature, whether you intended for it to be evergreen or not, and is well-suited to an educational newsletter format.
Perhaps a lengthy, informative blog post can become part of an email newsletter series. Old blog posts tend to lose some of their traffic over time, but if the information included in the post is valuable and likely to grab the attention of newer readers, this information can be included as part of a series in your evergreen newsletter.
Some of the best advice has been to write for beginners. Experts are unlikely to search for much content, and the more content you generate, you may tend to get more technical and more detailed as your content grows in specificity. This is a bad idea for generating new readership and information that is accessible to everyone. Taking some of your “greatest hits” and formatting them to be evergreen in nature is a great way to loop new readers in to some of the strongest content you’ve created and put your best foot forward in your newsletter.
4. All the Same Technical Parts of an Email Newsletter
It’s not just about the content of your email, but it’s also about the technical aspects too. It’s just as vital that you make sure your subscribers can read your email, and read it clearly, as it is that the content is strong. If your email doesn’t load well on a mobile device or is hard to read, you’re likely to lose readers. Here are a few things to consider:
- Alt-text: Alt-text is text that shows up if a picture doesn’t load. Some email platforms don’t load pictures or graphics very well, so you want to be sure the alt-text is available to your readers no matter what. Even if your readers go to pull up your email months after you send it (and they will want to, since the information is sustainable for months and years at a time!), they’ll be able to read the content.
- Mobile formatting: In 2017, 52% of all online traffic was done on a mobile device so check your formatting on several mobile devices before you hit “send.” Many of your readers will be reading your email newsletter on their device, and it should be clear and easy for them to do so. If they are pulling up your email to reference later on down the line, they may do so on their phone or tablet, and you want it to be legible and easy to read.
- Avoid these things: Not everyone has Java or will want to play a video from within their email. Try not to embed videos, but include visible, easy links instead. Your email will load better, and will be less intrusive for your reader.
There are lots of steps involved in writing an email newsletter, but if you’ve thought about the above technical aspects, you’re off to a great start.
5. An Eye-Catching, Motivating Call-to-Action Button
The focus of your evergreen newsletter should be to give information, not to sell a product or service. While this may seem counterintuitive, what you are doing with your newsletter is establishing your company as a leading authority in your industry, who your subscribers can trust.
However, any well-constructed newsletter should also inspire your readers to continue learning about your company and investigating what it is you do best. The best way to get them to do that is to make it as easy as possible for them to take the jump from your email newsletter to your website with a motivating, easy call-to-action (CTA) button.
Concise text, a bright color, and persuasive message will get your readers to click on your CTA button. Just check out these examples of truly strong call-to-action buttons. Think of your CTA like a lead: propelling your reader forward to dive further into the wells of knowledge available on your website.
Evergreen newsletters serve both you and your reader. They make your life easier because you don’t have to continuously work to generate new content all the time, and they benefit your readers as well because you are presenting quality content; some of which they may even be able to reference later and use in their own working life. You’re creating relationships with your readers and establishing your expertise all at the same time.