We live in a world where so much information is available at our fingertips. Yet despite the vastness of the internet, there's still a chance to write unique content that covers a topic no one has happened to publish online just yet. But what is the best way to ensure that you're setting out to write truly good and useful content? You'll want to think of each piece you create as a new tree in an evergreen forest of content.
Some pieces will never become more than saplings. They simply won't take root and will wither away. But from the dust of those failures, other saplings will gain a foothold and slowly grow. Once in awhile, one tree will shoot high above the rest. But while it's great to be awesome at the tallest tree in the forest, every tree is important.
Evergreen content is made up of timeless elements. There are certain universal questions that people will always be looking to answer. Sometimes, people will look for a better answer. Your evergreen trees must be able to adapt to the shifting winds of search queries and potential shifts in the online climate. The deeper your roots go and the better connected the forest is, the more sustainable it will be.
Organic search traffic brings your trees the nutrients they need. But you must water them a lot in the beginning. You must identify which trees are your strongest and be sure to invest time and energy into them. The stronger they are, the better the other smaller trees around them will do. You have to remember that your evergreen forest of content is an ecosystem all its own. It feeds off of the surrounding ecology, but it needs to sustain itself, as well.
Sometimes, you may pay someone to water and tend to your forest. You want to only hire tenders who will treat your forest with great care. You don't want to let in those who will litter or otherwise disrespect your forest. While you can't always prevent this from happening, you can always take care to focus on those who will understand how precious it is to grow a beautiful forest that can be enjoyed for countless years to come.
The last thing you want to happen is for a fire to start and burn down your forest. While rare, ecological disasters happen. Whatever you do, be sure to keep the seeds from your top content trees safe, in case you need to start over again. The beautiful thing about evergreen forests is that with the proper care, even a damaged or ravaged forest can one day thrive again.
You may not be confident that you can grow more than a small garden of content. Some of it may be made up of only annuals. That's okay to start somewhere. From the death of these plants can spring new perennial life. It's important to be patient. Prune and fertilize as necessary, but never overdo it. If it's meant to survive, given enough water and sunlight, it will.
Building an evergreen content forest will bring new fresh air to the world. Not only that, tending to it will yield fruits beyond the humble beginnings from which you planted. Good, solid contributions are welcome if they complement your forest. It may start as a small garden with a single plot or even a handful of seeds. But it's well worth the work, if you're willing to do what it takes. There will be those out there who will appreciate it if you just build it tall enough.
Do you think you're ready to grow an evergreen forest of content? You may be a lot closer than you might now think. If you need a little help, it never hurts to ask.
Awhile back, I had a bit of a pondering session. I tend to have these every so often, and they are often the basis for what I end up writing that day. I ended up thinking about how winning isn't everything. Some of us, myself included, have often gotten into the mindset that winning should be the end goal of everything. But that can be incredibly counter-productive. It can lead to a lot of needless aggravation and setting unrealistic expectations.
Not every piece of content that you produce is going to succeed. That's just a given. You could spend hours crafting a beautiful essay, and five people ever read it. You sit there and wonder. With all of your social channels, with all of your promotional tactics, with how strong your page rankings are in Google, how could that happen? There are so many factors that could be completely out of your control.
Through my various ventures, I've come to realize that success can't be measured in only in sheer numbers of successes and failures. It should be measured on what you learn from those successes and failures. You always learn more from a failure. The human brain is always going to lean towards what's worked before. Human beings like success. Life's little victories are what we live for; are they not?
Sometimes you get so involved that you get too close to something. You start setting the bar for victory so high that you lose sight of the big picture. It's so easy to do this and I had to once back out of a venture that was setting itself up for failure by not stepping back and looking at the big picture. The problem is when people just keep trying the same thing over and over again. Some people become convinced that they're simply not putting enough hours into it, that the team isn't working hard enough. Unfortunately, human beings only have so much time and energy to give. Nothing is infinite.
How Could I Fail? You May Have Done Nothing Actually Wrong. But, There Was Something Missing...
There are so many times that we bang our heads against the wall thinking how could we have possibly failed when it worked before? It is incredibly likely that you didn't even do anything wrong. But you may have missed something. Yes, you can in fact do everything right and still fail because there's something you missed. in life there's always something new to learn. There's always a new channel to pursue. There's always a new niche that's opened up or about to open up. It's a matter of remaining vigilant. You need to stick to your guns. Use failure as a learning opportunity and a stepping stone, not a world-class bomb.
What made me realize this was stepping back from something that I had worked at for almost a full year. It was very difficult to finally back away. But the progress simply wasn't there and the effort was burning out. Now stepping back, I realize it wasn't that we weren't winning. We'd lost sight of the big picture. There simply was not the depth of field that was anticipated. Because of that, we were grasping at straws trying to make connections that didn't quite fit. We tried to shove not-so-round pegs into round holes.
Now I've been working on my own projects. I did have some setbacks with my website consistently crashing. There is so much uncertainty when you run into egregious site outages and your promotion efforts are wasted. I started simply losing my mind because what I had built up to become a 2000+ visitor a day site was now falling apart before my eyes. It has been my greatest success of my life. Now, I felt that my magnum opus was going to commit suicide before my eyes.
I started thinking what if it's not this and it's that? I started dreaming up worst case scenarios, that everything I had built simply couldn't stand. The nameservers my domain was hosted at were just really sucky, it seemed. Fixing it involved spending a bit more money that I didn't really have yet, as the site just began to actually start bringing in revenue. But that's the thing. Even with all it's problems, it did eventually provide just enough revenue to cover this new upgrade. As long as the site stayed live, it did manage to pay for itself. Sadly, it pretty much died after that. The site was cannibalized for future projects.
So what I realized is that I must simply use this as a learning experience. My site apparently did well enough that apparently something about the hosting wasn't enough to keep up with my growing audience. It couldn't handle the interest that the sheer amount of content that my brother and I were trying to deliver daily through our site. There was still the possibility that something in the installation of my Wordpress was messed up somewhere. I figured that it may involve rebuilding the entire site. Even though the site ended up being shut down, most of the content was integrated into another site. It was mildly inconvenient for our audience for about a week. But that content still gets views. It just doesn't earn like it once did anymore. The traffic has to be built back up.
Growing Pains are Just Reality
Any great success MUST have its growing pains. That's unfortunately just how it is. You have to struggle before you succeed 99 times out of a hundred. It's those struggles that you need to learn from and not let you crawl back into a hole. Content marketing is VERY hard. I have had countless failures where I wrote some pieces I thought were brilliant, but NO ONE ever read them.
I've learned a lot about promotion and that if you don't rise above the noise, you simply won't be heard. I have gotten far better at finding the niches that seem to get conveniently missed by others, and that's where my latest success has come from. That's what content is all about, finding your niche. Yes, occasionally you could have something go viral. But that is definitely an EXCEPTION, not a rule.
What I am saying is not anything new. Plenty of advice out there says you need to learn from every piece that you write. If it doesn't do well, there IS a reason. Just remember that you may have done nothing wrong. You simply may not have known what else you need to do to make it right. But winning isn't everything. Consistency is EVERYTHING. You need to stay on course and keep hacking away at something. Then, take time to reflect. Try and take away something positive from every misstep as well as every success.
This isn't just true in content marketing. It's true in life. I've discovered that in my own life that I became WAY too obsessed with winning. Even in my hobbies. In everything. I like to say I learned awhile ago to bask in life's little victories. At times I've been rarely satisfied with the little things. But you have to be. The little things are what matter. Even if a piece only reaches one or two people, one or both of those people could have their lives improved by it.
Consistency is everything. Winning is nice, and the more you do it obviously the better. I'm glad I've learned this lesson well through my recent failures and my one fair success. Now it's time to build off that past success to keep succeeding.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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