Every day I interview guests on one of our 7 podcast shows. These shows are unique because I allow the guests to choose the topics.
When choosing a topic, guests have the opportunity to decide whether they would like to choose an evergreen topic or focus on current events. After explaining the two choices, about 95% of guests decide to go evergreen. The next question is typically, “well how do I go evergreen?” That question was the inspiration for this article.
Most people don’t know how to create evergreen content WHILE addressing current events. There really is an art to it. When executed properly, a person can create content that ages well.
To prove this point, I’ll give you an example of a recent topic that a guest chose and how I coached them to make it evergreen.
First, let’s define evergreen vs. current events. Evergreen content is content that doesn’t go out of date. Put simply, just like an evergreen plant keeps its leaves year round, evergreen content can be relevant many years into the future. The opposite of this is current events. Content that is here today and not relevant or in this case “clickable” tomorrow.
Let’s start with a case study from one of my recent interviews:
For context, the guest, who we will call “John” is the owner of a very successful event planning business. Prior to Covid-19, John’s company held very large events. To stay profitable while in person events were banned, his company “pivoted” to online events. For the interview, John provided me with the following topic and talking points that he would address:
Headline: “How the Event Business is Pivoting Due to Covid-19”
- His business is pivoting due to Covid-19
- The online event business is booming because people are forced to stay home among other reasons
- It’s likely that this will be the “new normal” so businesses who want to hold events should seriously consider doing them online
Here was my feedback:
The topic is great and timely. Each point that he mentioned makes sense and is logical. Per my normal protocol, I asked John the question, “do you want your interview to be relevant in a couple years?” John said of course he did, but he didn’t know how exactly to accomplish the feat considering “all that is going on.” This is natural. Most people go into interviews thinking about current events. It’s logical. They are consuming the news of the day, not thinking about how their interview will be viewed in years to come.
Here were my proposed changes:
New Headline: “Increasing Demand is Causing an Online Event Boom”
New Talking Points:
- We are one of the leading online event planners for small businesses
- The online event space continues to expand as more people are preferring the convenience of going to events online
- As technology evolves, it’s becoming easier and more cost effective for ALL businesses to hold events online
It would have been a mistake for John to bring up a “pivot.” Why would anyone listening to this need to know John’s company wasn’t always a leader in the online event space? Why volunteer information that could cause someone not to pick up the phone and call John after listening to his interview? Furthermore, I wouldn’t even have volunteered that information to the host, myself in this case. Just no point.
My advice also included telling John not to mention the pandemic or Covid-19 at all during the interview. Why? Well I don’t know about you, but when we are out of the pandemic at some point, I will not click on a single Covid headline again. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. Why would he want to link his business or success to something people will REALLY want to forget in the future if possible?
Quick exercise. Read the talking points and my headline above again.
Ok, hope you did it.
Here are the facts, ever since Skype came out in 2003 an argument COULD be made that every point I made above was correct at least a decade ago. Well other than the company’s position as an event planner. But you get it. “The online event space continues to expand.” “As technology evolves, it’s becoming easier and more effective for ALL businesses to hold events online.” Even an argument for the headline, “Increasing Demand is Causing an Online Event Boom,” could have been defended many years before this pandemic.
The end result is this. John could have given a similar interview a decade ago and it may have still had some relevance to what is going on today. Furthermore, IF the responses were crafted carefully, it would still be relevant in another 10 years.
Key things to consider.
What did John really do to make an evergreen interview that is “clickable” for the next decade? At the most basic level, John focused more on principles and long term trends while framing them in the present. “People going online” and “technology improving” are long term trends. Not changing anytime soon. The second key ingredient to this recipe is he took out all the “perceived negatives.” All the things he wouldn’t want to come up in a google search under his company’s name were omitted. He took out the words “Covid-19,” “pandemic” and “pivoted online” from his entire interview. If you google his event planning company in a couple years because you are looking for someone to host an online event for you, which headline will you be more likely to click? Probably not the original Covid one…
A few exceptions to the rule.
The exception to the above example in creating evergreen content in the example given is those that I’ve interviewed who are working on technologies directly related to solving the Covid problem. Like vaccines and medical equipment technology. But an event planner? At least 20 different angles that will serve that business owner better long term than a Covid angle.
It should also be noted that yes, I did take a non evergreen example to prove my evergreen point by referencing covid throughout this article. We can all laugh at that one. In an interview situation, I would have used a hypothetical or referenced a historic event for context. Maybe I would have taken it to the absurd going back to a historic roman reference to make it silly. But, I didn’t want to give you a hypothetical for this example. I know a lot of people reading this may have interviews or PR coming up for their businesses. My goal was to equip you with new (or remind you of old) skills that will give you a choice in the way you frame your media relations going forward.
Learning the skill of giving evergreen interviews is truly an art. Depending on the show, you may not always have the opportunity to take advantage of that skill. For example, if the host wants a Covid-19 episode, well you probably don’t have a choice. However, if the host is like myself, and focusing on creating content that will age well, you will be better served if your “evergreen skills” are honed now. Then your interviews will remain “clickable” for many years to come.
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