We photographers produce an awful lot of content. It’s not just the photographs that we put up to share with the world, but also the words that we publish, too. Many of us run our own businesses or have photography as a side gig or a hobby that we promote via websites, social media, and elsewhere. Some of us just enjoy blogging, so we do that along with our photographs. The point is, we put out a lot of content—and in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Now, you’ll often hear from marketers about two different types of content, at least broadly speaking. This would be evergreen content versus timely content. What’s the difference? Evergreen content is the stuff that is good and relevant no matter when one consumes it. A blog post that is still relevant a decade after it was published is evergreen.
Timely content is relevant to the time in which it is posted. Things like current events fall into this category—they burst onto the scene, and their relevancy fades away with time. Among photography sites, gear reviews are a common example of timely content. Once the next flagship camera launches, the reviews about the now older model are no longer quite so relevant anymore.
So which is better, evergreen content or timely content? Marketers might argue with you that you either want to publish a mixture of the two—or that timely content is preferred because if you want to create buzz, you need to get in on a zeitgeist that everyone is talking about and then run with it. Keep it up, do a good job with your content, and more people will eventually start coming to you for the latest and greatest.
But if you want my honest opinion? For most of us, I think timely content is a waste of time. Maybe not for everyone, but in photography circles, anyway. The reason why is that most of us simply don’t have the reach to draw in the audience we need at the right time to view these pieces of content. If we enjoyed the reach of sites like PetaPixel, DPreview, FStoppers, or another of those huge names, then sure—timely content is great because there are millions of viewers visiting these sites daily to learn what’s new.
Most of the rest of us have daily views that number in the hundreds or lower thousands—sometimes less. We just don’t have people coming to our sites in search of the latest photography news. Our timely content will get lost in the shuffle until we’ve built up the kind of reach needed for people to begin to turn to us as an authority in the field.
For most of us, it’s the evergreen things that people will stumble upon and still find valuable years after we first posted it. And if these evergreen things are good enough? People will come back for more. It’s when they start coming back that we can consider working in a few timely pieces here and there to give our audiences new and fresh things to consume.
And everything I’ve just said about the types of content we publish to market our photography? All of it translates well to photography itself, too. That’s the thing—it’s not our timely photographs that are likely to be remembered throughout history. That is, not unless those timely photographs happen to be of an event that will be remembered the world over, like a Super Bowl winning touchdown or a political event that changes the course of history. For most of us, the types of events and “current event” photographs that we take are the types of things that will get lost in the shuffle sooner or later. It’s our evergreen photographs, the images we create that speak to aspects of the human condition regardless of time, era, or place, that will endure and keep people coming back for more. When it comes to photography, I would argue that it’s the evergreen things that are the most important for us to focus on.
Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.