For many years, I’ve described myself as a “lazy entrepreneur”. Hell, the opening line of my first book was a Tim Kreider quote: “I hate being busy. I’m the laziest ambitious person I know”.
But please don’t confuse my laziness with idleness or inactivity. I work hard so that I don’t have to work hard. I work hard creating Evergreen Marketing Assets, so those assets continue to work hard for me while I’m slacking off.
In other words, I work hard once creating evergreen content marketing and then reap the rewards again and again (and again).
My role model for this evergreen content strategy is Noddy Holder, from 70’s glam rock band Slade.
In August 1973, Slade had become one of the most popular bands in Britain, having achieved two No1 singles in three months. Their manager, Chas Chandler suggested that they release a Christmas song later that year.
Holder got to work. After an evening of drinking with the band, Noddy worked through the night at his mother’s house in Walsall, turning “Buy Me a Rocking Chair” (a flower-power style tune he’d written several years earlier) into the festive romp that we now know as Merry Xmas Everybody.
It would turn out to be the last number-one single Slade would ever have.
But the story doesn’t end there. As I write this, 49 years have passed since Noddy Holder pulled a drunken all-nighter at his mum’s house.
Almost five decades since he first yelled: “It’s Christmaaaaaas!” (when it very much wasn’t), creating a three-minute, 26-second song that most people wouldn’t want to hear for 90 per cent of the year.
Merry Xmas Everybody re-enters the top 40 every year. You’ll hear it at any shopping centre from early October. It’s often the “most streamed” song on Spotify each December. No self-respecting Christmas compilation album would be complete without it. It’s been covered hundreds of times by artists such as Oasis, Girls Aloud and Robbie Williams (with Holder receiving the royalties).
In 2009, PRS for Music announced that 42 per cent of the world’s population has listened to the song.
Merry Xmas Everybody is “a nice pension plan” for Noddy Holder, earning him an estimated £500,000 a year in royalties. Half a million quid a year – every year – for FIVE DECADES… based on ONE night’s work writing a three-and-a-half-minute tune, and a single day pretending it’s December in a sweaty New York studio in the height of summer.
Now that’s what I call evergreen content marketing!
What is Evergreen Marketing?
In my bestselling book Evergreen Assets, I describe evergreen marketing as “an ecosystem of content-led resources that you can repeatedly deploy to create a content marketing machine, with dozens of individual assets interacting with each other and all contributing towards the machine that is your business.”
There are six Evergreen Marketing Asset classes that contribute towards this ecosystem. They are:
● Lead Assets.
● Nurture Assets.
● Sales Assets.
● Fulfilment Assets.
● Admin Assets.
● Viral Assets.
Creating an Evergreen Content Marketing ecosystem gives you that elusive missing ingredient from your marketing mix – momentum.
Sure, you’ll need to work hard to get those Evergreen Assets moving, but once your ecosystem is up and running, with plenty of momentum behind it, you can take your hands off the ride and just give it a little push every now and then to get it back up to speed. Do the work once, to reap the rewards again and again (and again!).
Evergreen Marketing is the antidote to the fleeting, momentum-sapping world of on-demand marketing. Constantly having to churn out social media content in order to keep some algorithm happy, knowing that your content is worthless after a day or two. No – when you switch to an evergreen content strategy, you’re going to create content that will still be working hard for you weeks, months, years (and maybe, like Noddy Holder, even decades) later!
Evergreen Marketing is not about “what’s working right now”. They’re not about “what’s your favourite biscuit?” engagement bait, vanity metrics or throwing enough shit at the wall in the hope some of it sticks. So what is Evergreen Marketing? It’s permanent content-led resources that you own, you control, and that, when they are added to your ecosystem, compound on one another to give you huge momentum.
Evergreen Content Marketing
Content Marketing doesn’t work – at least not the way most people approach it. I think there are six reasons why non-Evergreen Content Marketing doesn’t work (for most people).
Reason number one: You don’t know where to start. You’re staring at a blinking cursor, daunted and overwhelmed by the sheer task ahead of you. What social media channels should you post on? How often should you blog? How many words should it be? What about SEO? Do you need a podcast? Where to begin??
Reason number two: You think you have nothing to say. “Who the hell wants to listen to me? My business is boring.” Well, to the right audience, there’s no such thing as “boring”. Would you binge-watch several hours of squirrels hunting for nuts, bluetits wallowing in a birdbath, or meerkats squabbling with each other? Nope, me neither. Five minutes would be my limit. But my cockapoo Chewie will happily watch “TV for dogs” for hours on end.
Reason number three: You don’t have an audience. You’ve got loads of ideas for content, but no one’s listening. Your content is good, so why aren’t you getting the likes, comments, shares, opens, views (and most importantly) sales that the popular kids are?
Reason number four: You’re trying to be something you’re not. This is my pet hate on social media – people who simply copy the successful influencers on each platform. Trying to emulate them, rather than being yourself.
Reason number five: You’re expecting instant results. Evergreen Content Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be committed for the long haul, building an Evergreen Content Marketing machine – one that delivers steady, predictable, long-term results.
Reason number six: You’ve made it harder than it needs to be. If you think you have to post on social media four times a day, and then record a YouTube video, Facebook Live, and write a blog post, you’re making content marketing far harder than it need be.
How do you define Evergreen Content?
I define Evergreen Content Marketing quite simply: Can I “do the work once”, and “reap the rewards again and again (and again)”?
Will there be a residual benefit to my work? I’ve invested a significant amount of time in creating an amazing social media post that went viral, with more than a million views, and thousands of likes and comments.
Three weeks later, however, and all that engagement has dried up. If I want more rewards, I have to do more work. I don’t even own my work – by uploading it to a social networking site, it now becomes THEIR asset, not mine. That’s not how I would define evergreen content!
- I need to own the future rights to my work.
- I need to create content that will still be relevant and interesting in the future.
- I need to accept that the rewards for work done now, will come at some point in the future.
- I need to abandon the need for instant gratification – ignoring the vanity metrics of “engagement”.
Evergreen Content Examples
I recently re-read my copy of Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham.
Now, my copy of the book is well-thumbed and has been covered in notes and scribbles over the years, with massive sections highlighted and entire chapters copied and sent to my team to implement. As I flipped through the book, I could see the evolution of my business, through the pages of the book.
But then I came to the chapter about the internet – and suddenly, there was not a highlighted paragraph to be seen. Now, I’ve been running businesses on the net for more than two decades. So I found it puzzling to read a book in this day and age that claimed the internet is “still finding its legs” and that “50 per cent of online businesses fail”. It all seemed a tad outdated. At one point, Jay listed the top eight search engines:
● Northern Light.
Now, I’ve only heard of around half of these search engines. In fact, most of them aren’t even around anymore (looks like Jay’s “50 per cent of online businesses fail” prediction wasn’t far off), and, of course, where’s the unicorn in the room? Why no mention of Google, which owns 92 per cent of the search market?
I found my answer in the copyright notice at the start of the book: “Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got. Copyright © 2000 by Jay Abraham.”
2000? The year of the Millennium Dome and Y2K bug fears? The year Wembley Stadium lost its twin towers, Big Brother started, and not a single Harry Potter movie had been made. Until I reached page 287, I didn’t have a clue that I was reading a twenty-year-old book.
Jay’s chapter on the internet wasn’t truly evergreen (although it probably served him well for a few years, it stands out like a sore thumb now) – but the rest of the book remains a great example of evergreen content.
Types of Evergreen Content:
Here are the various types of evergreen content that I show you how to create in Evergreen Assets:
● One Lead Asset To Rule Them All: The Right Bait.
● Email: Build a list using The Right Bait.
● Websites: Squeeze and Hug pages. Sharing the “big idea”.
● Search Engine Optimisation: Give Google what it wants.
● Google Ads: A shortcut to SEO.
● Facebook Ads: The interrupting cow.
● Social Networks: Build 1,000 true relationships.
● One Nurture Asset To Rule Them All: Weekly Emails.
● Email: Find out what they want and start two-way conversations.
● Websites: Your website is not about you. It’s about “people like us”.
● Awards: Winning awards is a shortcut to trust.
● Google My Business: People already google you. Control what they see.
● Social Networks: Dig the well before you’re thirsty.
● Podcasts: Be Basil Fawlty or Sir Terry Wogan (or just be a guest).
● Books: The best business card you ever had.
● Printed Newsletters: Like an email newsletter, except it’ll get read.
● Remarketing: OMG! They’re everywhere.
● PR: Become BFFs with the people who have your future customers’ eyes and ears.
● Video: Convey tone, emotion, and sincerity ten times quicker.
● One Sales Asset To Rule Them All: An Offer They Can’t Refuse.
● A Proven Framework: The step-by-step process all successful clients follow.
● A Guarantee: Put your money where your mouth is.
● A Small Taste: Try before you buy is tried and tested.
● Make It Easy: If you want to sell more, make it easier for people to buy more.
● A Deadline: “‘Too late! too late!’ will be the cry, when the man with the bargains has passed you by.”
● Email: Create your Signature Move. SPEAR your best prospects and milk the GOAT.
● Websites: Make it easy for busy, lazy, drunk, amnesiac idiots to buy from you.
● Funnels: A deselection process. Don’t be Mrs Doyle.
● Direct Mail: Cuts through the noise. Its barrier to entry (cost) is also its greatest asset.
● Google Ads: Target the buyers, not the tyre-kickers and “just looking” brigade.
● Video: Your best sales rep, delivering a perfect pitch every time.
● Remarketing: Shoot fish in a barrel by only advertising to qualified prospects.
● Your Network: Can anyone recommend a ____________?
● One Asset To Rule Them All: The Quick Win.
● The Kick-off Call: Make sure their burger matches the picture before you drive away.
● The Handover: Not “Terry will be looking after you from now on”.
● First 100 Days Checklist: Don’t lose 20 to 70 per cent of your customers in the first 100 days.
● Proven Framework: The guardrail that keeps customers on track to getting what they want.
● Video: Don’t tell me how it works. Show me.
● Email: Keep the same pre-sale level of razzmatazz going.
● Websites: Make sure your customers do have everything they need.
● Evergreen Products: Be the Netflix in your niche.
● Membership model: Predictable, steady income without too many peaks and troughs.
● Feedback loop: Find out why customers’ burgers don’t match the one in the picture.
● Direct Mail: We’re all in the renewals business. Keeping customers could be a piece of cake.
● Remarketing: Who else follows people around the internet just to make sure they’re happy?
● Your Network: Keep digging the well. Your network just got bigger.
● One Admin Asset To Rule Them All: Company Culture.
● Proven Processes: This is how we do it.
● The Company Handbook: Your bible. The law, according to you.
● The Humble Checklist: Your ten (or preferably fewer) commandments.
● Task Management Software: Get people to actually follow the proven processes.
● Email: Use (un)canned responses to add some raspberry ripple to the boring vanilla.
● Self-serve: Only when it’s easier for the customer.
● Video: Personal video doesn’t scale and that’s what makes it so damn effective.
● Finance: Stop driving with the rear-view mirror and become a numbers person.
● The Purge: Keep it simple, stupid. Remove anything that doesn’t serve you.
● Slopey Shoulders: Stop trying to do it all yourself – embrace specialisation and exchange.
● One Asset To Rule Them All: Bring Your Friends.
● Case Studies: Make heroes of your successful clients and tell their stories.
● Testimonials: The little brother of the case study. Use them everywhere!
● Reviews: There’s no such thing as “too many”, so start collecting them now and never stop.
● Who’s Got My Customer?: Kill 50 birds with one stone. Just remember what’s in it for them.
● Referral Systems: Start with a simple, “Who do you know who ________?”
● Your Network: Make it easy for them to refer and make them look good when they do.
Evergreen Marketing Campaign
In Evergreen Assets, I walk readers through the creation of an Evergreen Marketing campaign – showing how my entire business runs on an ecosystem of content marketing assets:
I use free sample chapters of my books to build an email list. I share my “big idea” (improving your business by one per cent each week leads to huge improvements over the long term) on my
website, again using both squeeze and hug pages.
I’ve written dozens of SEO blog posts, giving Google what it wants. I dig the well with my social network. I’ve also run Facebook Ads and Google Ads to generate leads.
I’ve been writing weekly emails for the past four years, and I’ve also written three books (including this one), appeared as a guest on more than 200 podcasts, and hosted more than 100 episodes of my own podcast. I’ve done countless public speaking gigs, and regularly leverage video to have maximum impact.
I make prospects an Offer They Can’t Refuse (my team’s help to improve your business by one per cent every week). I’ve created a Proven Framework (The One Percent Way), a step-by-step process that all successful clients have already followed. I back this up with a “money-where-my-mouth-is” guarantee but have a strict deadline (I only have two sales windows per year: in March and September).
Again, I SPEAR my best prospects and shake the tree with an eight-word email. I remember that funnels are a deselection process and don’t force anyone to buy.
I want to deliver a quick win, so aim to give members their first 1% gain on the very first day. New One Percenters immediately get a kick-off call with Jason (who they’ve already been introduced to as he’s part of the A-team), and a razzmatazz video welcome from yours truly.
Using our first 100 days checklist, we’ll then aim to keep newbies on the One Percent Way Proven Framework, as well as sending them an onboarding survey (to find out what they want). There’s also plenty of surprises planned, and a feedback loop to make sure they’re getting what they want.
Everyone in my team is crystal-clear on the company’s “why” – to help ambitious, lifestyle business owners improve their business and lifestyle by one per cent each week.
We have proven processes and a digital company handbook with everything collated and managed by our task management software. We know why we do it, we know how to do it, and the TMS makes sure it gets done correctly and on time.
We leverage automated billing and invoicing, cloud accounting and bookkeeping, and enable members to self-serve (to update payment methods, access our Netflix-style back catalogue of videos and masterclasses, or change their membership) if that’s the easier option. If they prefer to speak to a human, they can do that too. We’ve designed red flag “slipping away” processes to alert us when members are becoming less engaged, enabling us to reach out and remind them that we care, and that we won’t rest until they get what they want.
By creating an environment that our members truly love, they naturally want to bring their friends along, too.
When they do so, we understand the need to work even harder in those first 100 days because it’s no longer just our reputation on the line. Every month, when Jason and I record the Ambitious Lifestyle Business podcast, we’re creating another case study and making another hero out of one of our most successful clients by telling their story. I never stop asking for reviews of my books, because I know there’s no such thing as “enough” reviews.
My aim with these viral assets? To turn one One Percenter into 1.2.
Creating Evergreen Content
Creating Evergreen Content isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it – and there’d be no advantage for the likes of us – those willing to forsake instant gratification, and instead do the work once, and not reap the rewards until some point in the future.
Of course, the benefit of doing so is that once you’re in the swing of creating evergreen content, you’ll start to get some momentum – and that momentum will be very hard to stop!
Remember the key things to remember when creating evergreen content:
- You need to own the future rights to your work.
- You need to create content that will still be relevant and interesting in the future.
- You need to accept that the rewards for work done now, will come at some point in the future.
- You need to abandon the need for instant gratification – ignoring the vanity metrics of “engagement”.
In Evergreen Assets, I show you exactly how to create evergreen content that lasts – and that gives you momentum, including:
- How to write a really powerful email using just 8 words.
- The simple framework for coming up with new content every single week.
- How to “give them what they want” – and build long-term relationships with your prospects and clients.
- Focusing on creating evergreen content that delivers REAL metrics (money in the bank, rather than meaningless likes and comments)
- How to do the least amount of work possible, for the greatest return.
Evergreen Content for SEO
When thinking about creating evergreen content for SEO purposes, it’s worthwhile asking yourself the following question: What does Google actually want?
In my opinion, what Google wants is simple: to deliver the best results for its users. The most relevant, insightful, helpful content that reliably, and comprehensively solves the problems and queries that its users have.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about creating evergreen content for SEO.
“Doing” SEO these days is simple (but not easy). Just make sure your website or webpage is:
- “the internet’s best answer to that question”
- “the number one source of x on the internet”
- the most comprehensive
- the most user-friendly
- the most downloaded
- the most bookmarked
- the most popular… you get the idea.
Google doesn’t care about you or your business and it has no obligation to send you any traffic whatsoever. But if you care about Google’s users, look after them when they’re on your website, and give them what they want, Google is more likely to reward you with hundreds (or thousands, or tens of thousands) of highly targeted, ready-to-buy customers, who are looking for exactly what it is that you do – for free. Now, Google would charge you a few quid for every one of those clicks via Google Ads, but if you scratch its back (by giving Google’s users what they want), it’ll scratch yours.
Over the past two decades, I’ve had millions of pounds worth of free traffic from Google, by following the three objectives of Evergreen Content Marketing:
- Find out what they want: Google wants the best possible results for its users.
- Give them what they want: Make sure you’re creating the internet’s best answer to their question.
- Make damn sure they’ve got what they want: Use analytics to spot where you’re missing the mark and fix it, so that you are giving them what they want.
Evergreen Email Marketing
Around a decade ago, Google kicked me in the balls. I’d spent several years building my businesses around one single marketing pillar – SEO.
With one simple tweak of their algorithm, Google knocked that pillar out from underneath me. With my solitary marketing pillar crumbling and no foundations in place, every one of my businesses saw their revenues tumble too.
Well, all except one. What set that business apart was an email list of 14,000 people who wanted (even expected!) to hear from us daily. Our Google traffic may have dried up overnight, but the revenue for this business remained steady. Google could take away my rankings. It could take away my traffic. But it’ll never take my email list.
My email list is my greatest Evergreen Asset. It’s mine. I own it. I control it. It still amazes me when I speak to business owners who either don’t have an email list or, more frequently, have one that they never send an email to.
I met a restaurant owner a few years ago and asked him if he had an email list. “Yeah, we’ve got 3,700 email addresses of people who’ve eaten here before.” My eyes lit up – that was 3,700 previous buyers with whom we could nurture a relationship and encourage to return to eat at the restaurant more often.
“How often do you email them?” I asked (knowing the most likely answer wasn’t anytime remotely recent!)
“Oh, I’ve never emailed them.”
Oh dear. Well, let’s just leave that money on the table then, shall we? How about leaving it on that table over there? Or this table here? After all, this restaurant is full of empty tables, every night. If only there was a way of tempting people who’d eaten here before to return again…
Step one in creating an evergreen email marketing campaign is to have an email list. Once you have that, step two is to actually email them – and regularly. In Evergreen Assets, I’ll walk you through my step-by-step process for getting the most out of your evergreen email marketing campaign, including:
- Why you should send a weekly email (that DOESN’T sell anything).
- How to write really quick emails that people LOVE to read.
- Where (and when) to start an evergreen email marketing campaign.
- How to create a “never-ending nurture sequence”
- What GDPR really means.
- Why you should ruthlessly purge people from your email list
Evergreen Social Media Content
I hate social media.
If social media is your only marketing pillar, then you’re essentially working (for free) for a silicon valley tech company, which only compensates you (with vanity engagement metrics – not actual money!) if you keep feeding them more free content every week (or every day!)
I refuse to work for an algorithm – I work for myself. That’s why I write books and blogs, not tweets and posts. And it’s why I hate social media.
I may hate social media – the idea that we’re all celebrities, and should be broadcasting our lives to the masses. But I’m quite partial to what social media used to be – social networking. You know, building relationships with like-minded people. Socialising with your network.
So how can we turn social media networks into an Evergreen Asset? By ignoring the word “media” and instead building true networks with real people by having actual conversations with other humans – what social networks were intended for before marketers came along and ruined everything. Forget about social media, and focus on social networks instead.
Don’t obsess over fans or followers. Build friendships instead. My entire social networking lead generation strategy could be written on the back of a napkin:
- Connect with the right people.
- Talk to them.
- That’s it!
Sure, I’ll occasionally post on my feed if I’ve got something that I think my network will enjoy, or find useful (often posting it as an article on LinkedIn for example), but I’ve deleted the apps from my phone. I’ve installed news feed blockers on my laptop so I’m not distracted by social media content. I’ve pretty much abandoned social media – which I see as a shallow do the work once, (maybe) reap the rewards once (if you’re lucky) platform, and instead choose to spend my time creating lifelong social network connections, and permanent, evergreen content marketing assets – assets that enable me to do the work once, and reap the rewards again and again (and again!).
Evergreen Content Strategy
Joe Karbo sold three million copies of The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, despite never being sold in bookstores. He did so using an evergreen content strategy – a simple sales letter.
In it, Joe writes: “This ad took about two hours to write. With a little luck, it should earn me 50, maybe a hundred thousand dollars.” Well, it didn’t earn Joe fifty grand – or even a hundred grand for those two hours of work. Instead, Joe earned a whopping $10 million – for two hours’ work! That certainly sounds like The Lazy Man’s Way To Riches to me!
Of course, Joe put in a lot more work behind the scenes than simply writing a sales letter and hitting the beach. He had to write the book in the first place. The book had to deliver value from his decades of business success.
He had to set up fulfilment centres, upsell readers onto courses or seminars and invest into infomercials.
Joe had to:
● Generate leads from prospects interested in learning more.
● Get those prospects to know, like and trust him.
● Sell books (as well as courses and seminars).
● Fulfil orders.
● Handle admin for more than three million customers.
● Turn one customer into more than one.
Joe worked smart, not hard. He fully understood the leverage a great sales letter can bring. Investing two hours writing that letter created an Evergreen Asset that served him for decades (and is still studied by marketing students and copywriters all over the world as a shining example of great sales copy).
Joe did the work once and reaped the rewards three million times – to the tune of $10million.
What will you do with YOUR next two hours? Watch the footy? Binge-watch Netflix or create an Evergreen Marketing Asset that could serve you for decades to come?
Fancy a FREE chapter of Evergreen Assets?
My bestselling book, Evergreen Assets is a complete “step-by-step” guide to running almost any business. Best of all, it’s centred around how to create evergreen marketing assets that enable you to work less and earn more.
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DON’T YOU WISH GROWING YOUR BUSINESS COULD BE LESS STRESSFUL?
Could you improve your business by just 1% this week? Note: I said “improve”, NOT "grow" your business - growth might not be what you need.
More customers, more leads, more staff, more stress might be the last thing you need.
You might actually need more profit. more margin. more leverage.
More time, less stress, and a business that relies less on you as the "font of all knowledge and the godlike genius through which everything must flow".
For you, the answer could be a smaller team, less customers, and fewer products.
The One Percent Club won't help you grow your business. It'll help you IMPROVE it - 1% at a time. Baby steps. Steady, predictable improvement - towards the kind of business you wanted when you first started - one that delivers a fantastic lifestyle, and serves you rather than you serving it.
John released his first book “Big Ideas… for Small Businesses” in 2017, and it shot straight to the #1 bestseller list for Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Amazon, outselling books by Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Duncan Bannatyne combined.
Since then, it’s sold thousands and thousands of copies all over the world, and attracted more than 100 five-star reviews. But more importantly, it’s changed the lives of small business owners all over the world, who now understand that running a lifestyle business isn’t a bad thing.
I think you’ll like it…
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