Content Under Pressure
Evergreen Content: Saves Headaches and Sets You Apart
These days, everyone in the legal profession is a legal publisher. You have content on your website, your practice and bio pages, LinkedIn updates and posts, and, if you have one, a blog and client newsletter.
That’s a lot of content, and it needs to be relevant and refreshed.
With the 24-hour news cycle and the lightning pace of social media, it can be hard to keep up. That’s why “evergreen content” is so important: It buys you time and sets you apart from your competition.
Why Evergreen Content Is Important (and Tips for Making It Easy)
Evergreen content is that which has no time hook. For example, an analysis of an appellate court decision needs to be timely; it’s no good publishing your take on it two months’ hence. Evergreen content is not dependent on news or events; it’s material that is relevant regardless, many times for years.
It buys you time. Even when we block out time to write, client needs can supersede those calendar entries. Suddenly you have a post or article due and all that’s there is “Blank New Document.”
If you have three or four evergreen articles in the pipeline, you’ve just won publishing’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
It sets you apart. If are you looking at your competitors’ newsletters (and you should be; if not, sign up today), you know many talk about recent court decisions or new municipal codes. These analyses are not much different from each other. Typically, once those in your audience read or receive one, they are not likely to pay attention to others.
But if you write a post on “Five Tips Every Hiring Manager Needs to Know,” the information is timeless. In-house counsel can easily forward it to HR, who can either include it in a monthly newsletter to managers or pass on directly to those who need to know. What’s more, this copy doesn’t need citations.
It’s easier to outsource. If you can provide the bullet points, an experienced legal affairs ghostwriter can quickly and efficiently produce a first draft and then incorporate your edits. In most markets, such content is $1 a word. You might be able to get a volume discount if you can offer the writer 6 or 12 posts per year.
It’s easier to repurpose. Unless you are doing many CLEs or bespoke in-house education panels for clients, you are not likely going to use a piece on a specific appellate ruling again. But evergreen content can be used on your website, as a link from your practice page and bio pages, published as an update or post on LinkedIn, incorporated into a client newsletter, used in slide decks, and incorporated into pitches to potential clients to show them the kind of holistic service you provide to head off problems before they occur.
It’s also easy to use it as the basis for a “From the Experts” article for your city’s business weekly or the local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management newsletter.
It can earn you other publishing gigs. Publishers love lists and “listicles.” You can use your tips piece as a query to the local Chamber of Commerce newsletter for a “Seven Tips to Prep Small Businesses For Tax Season” article. In this case, a legal analysis of a court decision won’t help you get the assignment the way an evergreen piece will.
Hug a tree. Go evergreen. You’ll be glad you did.
Susan Kostal is a legal affairs PR, marketing and business development consultant based in San Francisco. She writes the "Content Under Pressure" column for Attorney at Work, and has covered legal affairs as a journalist for nearly three decades. You can follow her on Twitter @skostal and view more of her content at www.susankostal.com.
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