Viral vs. Evergreen Content: Which is Better?

The goal of creating any content is to make a positive impact for your brand or business. Whether your aim is to educate, to entertain or to see SEO growth, content can only make an impact if it’s seen. It’s this desire to be seen that drives so many content marketers to strive for viral content. It’s everyone’s dream to have it be their video, picture or post that the whole world is talking about.

But does five minutes of fame make enough of an impact? Or is long-lasting evergreen content that gets steady growth over time better?

Viral Content

We all know what viral content is. We’ve all even participated in making it viral by watching and sharing it. Viral content makes a huge splash in a short amount of time. Millions of views and shares can be racked up in a matter of hours. That type of impact is every marketer’s dream. It makes your brand and business seem interesting, engaging and relevant. While paid advertisements and marketing can have a powerful effect, and they can even go viral themselves sometimes, content that becomes hugely popular somehow seems more relatable.

For SEO purposes, viral content is a gold mine. Links, press, traffic, comments and domain name will be attached along with that content. Instead of taking years to build up and maintain ranking, viral content can make it happen instantaneously.

The reality is that most popular videos and articles happen without really trying. Creating content with the purpose of making it go viral is actually really difficult. There’s no easy to guess timeline for when content will go viral either. It can happen immediately or even take years. A huge downside of viral content to is that while it might get a ton of views it doesn’t necessarily start a conversation. People might find a video endearing or entertaining but that doesn’t mean they’ll connect that feeling with your brand.

Evergreen Content

 Viral content is great, but there are two main reasons why businesses don’t focus all their energy on it. For one, viral content doesn’t mean prolonged traffic and two, viral content can backfire badly. Evergreen content has a longer lifeline than viral content. It maintains relevance and continues to maintain targeted traffic and links that benefit SEO in the long run. Evergreen content can also easily be republished, reformatted and reworked to continue to be useful.

There’s also a level of control over evergreen content that doesn’t exist with viral content. An evergreen article controls the message continuously while viral content can spin out of control to potentially negatively impact a brand or business.

Evergreen content just isn’t as glamorous as viral content. It’s the practical Toyota versus the flashy Ferrari. Both will get you where you’re going but viral content will definitely get you there faster. Evergreen content also might not pay off. It could sit there, static, with limited views even if it contains solid content. For content creators and marketers that can be extremely frustrating.

Which is Better?

So which is better, viral or evergreen content? It depends on your business. For businesses that depend on ad revenue, working on creating viral content would be beneficial. For most businesses though, evergreen content is more worthwhile. If your content is better than your competitors it might not get a lot of traffic but it will work to increase your SEO ranking and convert customers to your business.

The ideal content, of course, has aspects of both viral and evergreen content. It should be positive, entertaining, heart-warming and educational like viral content but have the long-lasting, controlled message aspects of evergreen content. The best advice is to spend solid time researching, creating and promoting your content. You never know, that solid evergreen post just might turn into a viral one.