Timely or timeless; which is preferable? The answer depends largely on your methods of digital content monetization. If you’re scheme is to make money based on the cost per thousand (CPM) impressions your banner ads receive, then you may be more interested in timely content. However, the cost of timely content is eternal vigilance. To produce timely content, your site must live in the now, and as one blogger puts it, you’ll need to run on the content treadmill.
The problem with timely content is that it requires not just constant maintenance, but constant creation. Digital publishing companies that can provide timely content with the efficiency necessary to monetize through CPM schemes generally have a staff of writers and editors providing content. Frequently, smaller organizations that attempt this method of digital content monetization have to trade quality of articles to meet the quantitative demands.
Unless your digital publishing company has the staff required to keep up with the demands of timely content, you should consider digital content monetization centered more around timeless “evergreen” content. Timeless content is better for company sites that sell their own products, or digital publishing companies that monetize through affiliate marketing. So what is it about timeless that makes it work better?
Timeless evergreen content is more immersive than timely “assembly-line” content. It can appear in long form more often, and evergreen content should contain considerably more research and reflection compared to timely reports of events as they happen right now.
Another thing about timeless content is that it holds more value. As Paul Colligan said in a video with the Social Media Examiner, more money, time and promotion can be invested into timeless content. Timely content he characterizes as “here today, gone tomorrow, and a week from now, making you look bad” doesn’t need the same amount of resources, and its shelf life is too short for any real promotion beyond social media.
We live in on-demand times. Someone hears something happen on social media, and they want to know more about it now. Indeed, news outlets are already doing their best to stay ahead of the curve on timely news. Accidental postings of celebrity obituaries before they die are evidence that many stories are already written, and media outlets are just waiting for them to happen. These stories, in their timeliness, are “never-green,” according to Colligan. Their shelf life lasts until they drop off or are replaced on the social media feed.
On the other hand, the creation of timeless content is an art form based more in thoughtfulness than speediness. The first step, as the word “timeless” suggests is to remove all suggestions of date and age. Paul Colligan in the aforementioned interview gives examples of excluding information that could date your digital publishing company’s content. His examples sound obsessive at first though, but after consideration, the idea is to create something that is relevant no matter when it’s read. Colligan suggests not mentioning recent events, not mentioning people, such as presidents, who are signs of the times. He even suggests that fashion can date your content, if featured in an image or video.
According to an article on howtomakemyblog.com, the key to timeless content is the strength of the ideas behind it opposed to the strength of adhering to a schedule. That means content is king in the sense that its quality rules over its quantity. The focus for timeless content is on the meaning, and not on an isolated happening.
Since timeless content is meant to be read not just right now, but three weeks, three months, three years from now, it will need periodic maintenance. Revisit timeless evergreen content to ensure its message stays relevant, and that any truths stated when it was written remain true when it’s reviewed later.
While this article highlights the positives in timeless content, that’s not to say that timely content doesn’t have its own value. However, rather than spend the necessary resources, unless your digital publishing company is a daily news outlet, timely content should be used mainly through your social media channels. Social media, being never-green, is a great way to talk about what’s happening right now, but if you want to provide content with substance and value, consider how it can be published in a timeless manner.