Thursday, September 13

Evergreen Content About Jacksonville

january in jacksonville
My yard started turning various shades of yellow, brown, and purple in the past month, and I'm trying to figure out which bug, mold, or weed killer went and started killing my lawn. I'm new to this St. Augustinegrass thing, but I know I don't want to have to re-sod like 10% of the poor folks in my neighborhood seem to do, so I'm going to try to make it green again. My HOA wants me to have a green lawn, and I do, too. A green lawn is a good metaphor for evergreen content on a website. It's content you want to look good whenever someone comes to visit, which means people will keep coming back.

My top articles on other websites are evergreen AND important to lots of people. That's more difficult when it comes to a small, local blog, but I still try to write that way if I can. While an article might be about a specific crime, it can be evergreen if it's also about crime in general. That way, people looking for crime statistics in Jacksonville might stumble across an article inspired by one particular incident. Generally speaking, bloggers have more of an opportunity to write content that can last for years, whereas real newspapers are supposed to write articles about the specific incident.

That doesn't mean that newspapers won't add context, and context is what will keep their articles up there in search engines. However, a blogger doesn't have the time to investigate and interview, so it's got to be more about analysis for the article to work for the long term.

I also try to write about ideas rather than just re-reporting what I see on TV news. How does that story fit into my own life? What would I do if I had a say? Who might also be affected by it? Basically, it's the difference between making others aware that something happened and being able to tell others how that something happening might make a difference in other ways.

I won't always be right, but when no one else is saying anything, anything someone says is valid. I think a lot of people in Jacksonville accept the way things are, without questioning why or how. Especially out in the suburban-like areas of town. As long as we're doing OK, we'll just keep plugging along. However, I think we can do a little more. The news will report all the negatives that are going on (bad), along with some positive puff pieces (good), but both the bad and good happen for a reason. We're all looking for black-and-white reporting in a very gray world, but we should really be demanding better news and doing more of our own research. Bloggers can serve this purpose, at least to some degree.

I encourage you to move beyond the news stations and your personalized news feed on your phone. Explore, learn, and maybe even write about it yourself. No, not as a Facebook post. That's a waste of time. Try a neighbor forum, local news blog, or even your own website. Write something that will be important for more than just yourself and more than just right now. You won't get rich or become famous, but you can add to the conversation without having to run for office or get arrested first.

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