Classic HVAC Content VS Evergreen HVAC Content

In the world of B2B marketing, evergreen content has long been hailed as the holy grail of digital strategy. These timeless pieces, designed to remain relevant and valuable long after publication, promise a steady stream of traffic and engagement. But what if we’ve been chasing the wrong ideal?

While evergreen content certainly has its place, it’s time to recognize that “timeless” doesn’t always equate to lasting value. In fact, the pursuit of purely evergreen topics can sometimes lead to bland, forgettable content that fails to make a meaningful impact on your audience.

Enter the concept of classic content. Unlike its evergreen counterpart, classic content doesn’t just endure—it evolves, offering new insights and sparking fresh conversations with each encounter. It’s the difference between a well-worn handbook and a beloved novel you can’t help but revisit. In this post, we’ll explore why shifting our focus from evergreen to classic content could be the key to creating truly memorable and impactful B2B marketing materials.

Evergreen VS Class Content

Content creators in the realm of B2B marketing often strive for “evergreen” content – pieces that remain perpetually relevant.. This is typically achieved by avoiding specific dates, trends, or references that might date the material. Think of it as a research paper titled “The Strategic Approach to X,” where X represents an industry, business approach, or foundational best practice. The goal is for this content to be eternally valuable to the reader.

However, the pursuit of timelessness shouldn’t overshadow the power of classic content. Classic content goes beyond mere relevance; it offers a unique blend of familiarity and discovery. It resonates deeply with audiences, prompting them to revisit and glean new insights with each encounter. Here’s the key distinction: evergreen content might fade into the background after an initial read, while classic content lingers in the mind, prompting further exploration.

The difference lies in the creative effort required. Classic content isn’t simply devoid of expiration dates; it’s meticulously crafted with lasting value in mind. It aims to be a cornerstone of knowledge, a trusted resource that audiences turn to again and again. This doesn’t mean classic content ignores the present moment. In fact, being grounded in the current context can be a core ingredient. By addressing contemporary challenges and opportunities within a timeless framework, classic content offers a unique perspective that resonates across generations.

So, while evergreen content has its place, B2B marketers shouldn’t settle for simply staying relevant. By striving to create classic content, they can build trust, establish themselves as thought leaders, and cultivate a loyal audience that actively seeks out their expertise.

What Makes Classic Content Different?

Classic content transcends the limitations of “evergreen” content. While evergreen content aims for perpetual relevance by avoiding specific dates or trends, classic content goes a step further. It offers a unique blend of familiarity and discovery, ensuring that audiences gain something new with each encounter.

Italian author Italo Calvino perfectly captured this essence in his essay, “Why Read the Classics?” He described a classic as a work that “gives the sense of rereading something we have read before” while simultaneously offering “as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.” This seeming contradiction lies at the heart of classic content. On the first encounter, it feels strangely familiar, like rediscovering a forgotten memory. Yet, upon subsequent readings, it reveals new layers of meaning and fresh perspectives.

Take, for example, “The Lego Movie.” This animated film might seem like a simple children’s movie on the surface. However, it cleverly combines a nostalgic love for Lego bricks with witty humor and a surprisingly profound message about creativity and conformity. The film’s unique storytelling, with its blend of pop culture references and clever meta-humor, resonates with audiences of all ages. This depth ensures that adults can appreciate the satire and clever writing, while children enjoy the vibrant visuals and slapstick humor. The Lego Movie’s ability to entertain and provoke thought on multiple levels is what makes it a classic with lasting appeal. It offers a familiar comfort of childhood nostalgia, yet surprises viewers with its wit and depth, guaranteeing a rewarding experience on every viewing.

Why Classic Content Matters in B2B Marketing

Imagine this: you’re discussing the future of content marketing with a colleague. You ask, with a hint of amusement, if they believe generative AI could ever create a piece of thought leadership content that isn’t just factually accurate and eternally relevant (evergreen), but something so impactful that people would actively seek it out again and again.

The laughter you receive is a testament to the unique power of classic content. While AI might be able to churn out endless streams of evergreen content, classic content goes beyond mere factual accuracy. It offers a captivating experience with lasting value, something your audience will actively seek out to revisit. Think about it – wouldn’t you rather have a single piece of content that resonates deeply with your audience and becomes a trusted reference point, than a dozen forgettable pieces that gather dust in the digital abyss?

This concept of “replay value” is what separates classic content from the rest in the B2B marketing world. Classic content doesn’t just inform, it inspires and engages. It provides a foundation of knowledge that your audience can return to and glean new insights from over time. Take Theodore Levitt’s seminal paper on “Marketing Myopia” for instance. Published decades ago and analyzing industries of a bygone era, it remains a cornerstone for business strategy discussions today. Its timeless message about focusing on customer needs transcends specific examples.

Similarly, “Crossing the Chasm,” a book published over 30 years ago on navigating the adoption of new technology, continues to be a go-to resource for B2B marketers. Its core principles resonate because they address fundamental human behavior in the face of innovation. This book itself draws heavily on the even older classic, “Diffusion of Innovations” by Everett Rogers, a testament to the enduring power of truly insightful content. This book, first published in 1962, continues to sell tens of thousands of copies with each new edition, a clear sign of its enduring relevance.

Perhaps the most remarkable example of classic content marketing comes from John Deere’s magazine, “The Furrow.” Launched a staggering 129 years ago, the magazine transcends mere product promotion. It offers in-depth articles on agriculture, rural life, and even historical perspectives. Readers not only subscribe year after year, but many save past issues as collector’s items, a testament to the timeless value they find within its pages. The Furrow exemplifies how B2B content can become a trusted companion, a source of inspiration and knowledge that endures for generations.

In a world saturated with fleeting information, classic content stands out. It offers a depth and richness that keeps your audience engaged, providing a foundation for ongoing learning and valuable insights. By focusing on creating classic content, B2B marketers can build trust, establish themselves as thought leaders, and create a loyal following that actively seeks out their expertise.

The Formula for Classic Content

While the strategies outlined can increase the chances of your content achieving classic status, it’s important to acknowledge the element of surprise involved. The content that resonates deeply with audiences and endures for generations can often be unpredictable. Sometimes, the most seemingly mundane or niche topic can become a cultural touchstone, while content creators with grand ambitions for their work might see it fade into obscurity.

Think of it like this: a classic painting isn’t necessarily the result of the artist consciously setting out to create a masterpiece. Their passion, skill, and unique perspective combine to create something that transcends time and connects with viewers on a deeper level. Similarly, classic content often emerges from a place of genuine curiosity, a desire to explore a topic with depth and insight, rather than a calculated attempt to achieve viral fame.

Focus on crafting high-quality content that offers genuine value to your audience. While there’s no guaranteed formula for creating a classic, by prioritizing originality, engaging storytelling, and timeless themes, you significantly increase the odds of your content leaving a lasting impression.

Strategies to Craft Enduring Content: Planting the Seeds of a Classic

While predicting a piece of content’s classic status is an inexact science, there are strategies you can employ to significantly increase its chances of standing the test of time. Here’s a breakdown of key ingredients:

1. Memorable Characters and Perspectives

Every classic story, even those in B2B marketing or thought leadership, thrives on a distinct point of view. Think of the iconic “4Ps of Marketing” framework from the classic marketing book “Basic Marketing.” This framework provides a memorable lens through which to understand marketing strategy, ensuring its lasting impact. Instead of dry, technical jargon, focus on creating characters (even if metaphorical) or perspectives that embody your core message in a way that sticks with the audience.

2. A Fully Realized Setting

Just like a great novel, classic content transports the audience to a rich and immersive world. In B2B marketing, this “world” might be the industry landscape you’re addressing. Use vivid details, real-world examples, and relatable scenarios to paint a clear picture for your audience. This creates a sense of familiarity and allows them to connect the content to their own experiences, fostering a deeper understanding and engagement.

3. Develop a Distinctive Style

Whether it’s your writing voice, visual approach, or storytelling techniques, cultivate a recognizable style that sets your content apart. Think of Malcolm Gladwell’s captivating storytelling or Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle framework. A consistent style builds trust and allows your audience to anticipate the value you’ll deliver.

4. Unveil Larger Truths

Every great story, even one focused on B2B strategy, should strive to illuminate a universal truth that resonates with the audience on a deeper level. This truth could be about human behavior, the nature of innovation, or the importance of adaptation. By connecting your content to a fundamental truth, you elevate its significance and ensure it remains relevant even as circumstances evolve.

5. Embrace and Subvert Tradition

Classic content doesn’t shy away from existing industry knowledge; it builds upon it. Reference established concepts or frameworks, but don’t be afraid to offer fresh perspectives or even challenge current thinking. Think of how “Crossing the Chasm” took the foundational ideas of “Diffusion of Innovations” and applied them specifically to navigating the adoption of new technology in B2B markets. This thoughtful engagement with tradition creates a richer and more impactful experience for your audience.

6. Structure with a Purpose

While understanding traditional content structures is essential, classic content often deviates from them strategically. Think about how “The Lego Movie” uses a seemingly childish premise to deliver a surprisingly profound message. By creatively bending or even breaking the mold, you can surprise and engage your audience in unexpected ways, leaving a more lasting impression.

7. Embrace Ambiguity and the Student Mindset

Classic content fosters ongoing learning and interpretation. Acknowledge the present context in your work, but avoid presenting all the answers definitively. Leave room for your audience to draw their own conclusions and find connections to their specific challenges. This “student mindset” encourages deeper engagement and ensures your content remains relevant as situations evolve.

By incorporating these strategies, you can significantly increase the chances of your B2B content achieving classic status, leaving a lasting impact on your audience and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Remember, there’s no guaranteed formula, but by prioritizing these elements, you’ll be well on your way to crafting content that resonates for years to come.

The Enduring Power of Classic Content: A Call to Action

As we’ve explored throughout this post, the distinction between evergreen and classic content is crucial for B2B marketers striving to make a lasting impact. While evergreen content aims for timeless relevance, classic content goes a step further, offering a unique blend of familiarity and discovery that keeps audiences coming back for more.

Key takeaways to remember:

  1. Classic content evolves with each encounter, providing fresh insights and sparking new conversations.
  2. It combines memorable perspectives, rich details, and larger truths to create a fully realized experience.
  3. Unlike purely evergreen content, classics embrace current context while leaving room for ongoing interpretation.
  4. The pursuit of classic content can elevate your brand’s thought leadership and foster deep audience connections.

As you craft your B2B marketing strategy, resist the temptation to simply create content that doesn’t expire. Instead, challenge yourself to develop pieces that offer lasting value and encourage repeated discovery. By focusing on the elements that make content truly classic – from distinctive voices to universal truths – you can create resources that your audience will actively seek out time and time again.

Remember, while there’s no guaranteed formula for creating a classic, the effort invested in crafting content of enduring significance will pay dividends in audience engagement, brand authority, and long-term marketing success. Strive to create not just content that lasts, but content that lives and grows alongside your audience, becoming an indispensable part of their professional journey.

Scott Davenport

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