Looking for a way to grow your podcast and get the most out of each episode you make? Planning, scripting, recording and editing all take a lot of time and energy - so it makes sense to try and maximise your return on that investment. Publishing evergreen content is usually the best way to do that. But what exactly is it, and how do you actually make it?
In this post we’ll cover what evergreen podcast episodes are, their key benefits, and how to come up with great ideas for your own evergreen podcast episodes.
What Are Evergreen Podcast Episodes?
Evergreen episodes stay relevant and interesting years after they’ve been released.
Evergreen content doesn’t lose its value over time. It’s not reliant on current affairs or keeping up with the latest trends. Instead, it focuses on topics that stay relevant for a long time after recording. So if an episode is just as interesting a year later as it was on release, that makes it evergreen.
For example, if you make an episode about the latest news stories in your niche, that’s very topical. It’ll become outdated and irrelevant once a month or two has passed. The world will have moved on. But if your podcast is on Stoic philosophy or the history of ancient Greece, that’s likely to be just as good in five years – that’s evergreen content.
Basically, if you want to make an evergreen podcast episode, you need to focus on more than just the immediate value of the content. Dan Misener, Head of Strategy and Audience Development at Pacific Content explains:
"Brands that care about long-term, ongoing relationships with their audiences should look beyond the initial spike of downloads, and consider the lifetime value of their shows."
He went on to talk about how one particular podcast talks about how a podcast managed to satisfy listeners with even its oldest episodes from the archive:
"They were smart about producing a show with a long shelf life, so the episodes didn’t go stale. Listeners continued to find value in the early episodes, and new listeners continued to discover the show."
Evergreen content is all about being able to stand the test of time.
Benefits of Evergreen Podcast Episodes
But should you go out of your way to produce and publish evergreen episodes if you aren’t already? Here are our top three reasons why it’s probably worth investing in.
1. Stick to Your Schedule Easily
One great thing about content that never goes out of style is you’re free to make it whenever you want. You can batch record a bunch of episodes, and they’ll still be relevant and fresh even if you publish one six months down the line.
This makes sticking to a consistent publishing schedule much easier. Even if batch recording isn’t your thing, just having one extra episode in advance ready to post means you’ve got flexibility in when you work. So if there’s a sudden emergency, you fall ill for a week, or you’re just in need of a break, you don’t have to sacrifice your release schedule. You’ve always got an episode or two to keep you going.
If all your content is so topical that recording in advance would make it outdated, you’ll have to be a lot more organised and rigid with your timetable. Otherwise you risk messing up your regular posting schedule and losing reliability in the eyes of your audience. That’s why it’s worth having a few evergreen episodes ready, even if most of your podcast is focused on topical content.
Tip: Even if you produce a topical show, you should still keep a few evergreen episode tucked up your sleeve in case of emergencies what might prevent you from meeting a deadline on your publishing schedule.
2. Take Your Time Making Quality Episodes
If you’re constantly rushing to cover the latest trend and immediately put your opinion out into the world, you’ve got to be quick. Take too much time to collect your thoughts and make an episode, and your content might be out of date by the time you release it.
But if your content is evergreen, you have a lot more time to really think through what you want to say and how you want to say it. You’re no longer restricted by tight deadlines on every topic.
When you’ve got more time to figure out each episode, it becomes easier to produce quality content. You can afford to wait until you’ve thought of the best way to tell your story or add to a subject. This can lead to a much more creative, thoughtful podcast.
Ultimately, your audience will be able to tell if you’ve rushed an episode. But if you’ve spent real time on it, they’ll appreciate it. Evergreen topics make it much easier to do that.
3. New Listeners Can Enjoy Everything You’ve Made
Evergreen content is perfect for building up a solid back catalog of episodes. New listeners can binge stuff you’ve already made, and it’ll still be relevant wherever they find your podcast, regardless of what year it is.
Dave Jackson, Podcast Consultant at the School of Podcasting, explains how this works:
"A bunch of people found your show and they’re working their way through your entire back catalog and … your business card keeps growing and growing."
Episodes that never go out of date get more downloads overall, and they can help new listeners find you for years to come. Basically, you get much more use out of each episode. Veteran podcaster Shannon Hernandez, AKA Shan Man, agrees evergreen podcast content "helps you get more downloads and helps you build a thriving community around your particular topic."
Considering how much work you’re pouring into your podcast, getting more for your effort can only be a good thing.
How to Come Up with Ideas for Evergreen Episodes
So how do you actually create great evergreen episodes?
There’s likely to be some competition for each topic, so you’ve got to bring your best game. Because evergreen content doesn’t go out of date, you can almost guarantee there will already be lots of existing episodes out there from other shows addressing the same topic. So you essentially need to outperform those in terms of quality and originality.
The key is figuring out what unique perspective you can add to the conversation. That could be finding an expert to interview, or coming up with a better way to tell the story, or making it more accessible for your audience. There’s always something you can add to a topic, you’ve just got to find it. Your own unique background and experience means you can create content that brings something different to the table.
But it can be difficult to come up with evergreen topic ideas to begin with. If you’re struggling, here are some places to start:
How-to guides: e.g. How to Train for a Marathon
FAQ’s or Q&A’s: e.g. Answers to All Your Questions About Podcasting
List-based episodes: e.g. The 10 Best Films of All Time
Explaining basics to beginners: e.g. The Beginners Guide to Becoming Vegan
Conversations about topics that never get old: e.g. Speak to an expert about their chosen subject
Storytelling / telling anecdotes: e.g. The Time I Climbed Up a Mountain
Biographies or interviews: e.g. A Biography of Nelson Mandela
Historical topics: e.g. What Can We Learn from the Holocaust?
Make an Argument You Believe In: e.g. Why Disability Representation in TV Matters
This list is a great starting point, but feel free to get as creative as you like with content ideas. You can find inspiration anywhere if you’re looking. Check out what other shows in your niche have done and think about how you could put your own spin on it.
If you’re used to coming up with ideas for topical podcasts, it’s often possible to make them into more evergreen content. For example, looking at the news today can lead to all kinds of topics that will still be relevant for a long time to come. From dealing with the climate crisis to advice on dealing with mental health, there’s always something to take from current events that doesn’t just apply to today. So there’s usually a way to make your episodes long-lasting, by focusing on the parts that aren’t specific to the here and now.
Evergreen podcast episodes never go out of date, and always stay interesting no matter when listeners find them. Evergreen content is great for you, because it makes sticking to a schedule easy. It also means you’ve got all the time you need to make quality content. And it’s great for your listeners, as they’ll be able to catch up on all your episodes whenever they want, and it always feels fresh and exciting.
Evergreen content can be difficult to get right, especially if there’s lots of podcasts that already cover topics you’re interested in. But there’s always a way to add your own twist, and make your episodes uniquely suited to your audience. Making content that stays good for longer will make sure your podcast keeps paying off long after you’ve put the work in.