Information is a valuable commodity, and in this day and age, it comes in different forms of website content. People seek them with virtually every decision they make, from choosing which products to purchase to determine which companies to hire.
For this reason, the internet is filled with all types of content, that it has become very easy to disappear into obscurity. So, if you want your pages to stand out, using unique and updated content like time-sensitive images can be very helpful.
However, as most digital marketers and website managers know, content creation is a time-consuming process. Therefore, you have to carefully weigh the benefits of investing your marketing resources in something that will last for a few days to a few months only.
There are times when they are not worth it, but before we get to this, let us take a closer look at what time-sensitive images are.
Time-Sensitive vs. Evergreen Content
A website’s content can be classified into two broad categories in terms of longevity: evergreen content and time-sensitive content.
Evergreen content provides information that will be useful for many years. As it offers long-term value, other webmasters are more likely to link to it, which means that it has a higher chance of getting a high search engine ranking.
Another good thing about evergreen content is that you can easily repurpose it. For instance, if you have a long-form article, you can convert it into an infographic, which many people find useful. You can also convert it into video format. In other words, when properly executed, you can get much in return for your evergreen content.
Some of the most effective forms of evergreen content are listicles, product reviews, and how-to videos or articles. While these formats do not automatically make your content perpetually fresh, they do make evergreen content creation easier for you. They can answer questions that your target audience often asks, offer helpful advice, or explain complex topics.
Time-sensitive content, on the other hand, has a much shorter life span. It typically remains relevant for a few months or a few days. Some may even be useful for up to 24 hours only. With a shelf life this short, you must be more mindful when it comes to using it.
Nevertheless, this type of content comes with its own set of advantages. It shows that you are on top of the latest developments in your industry and that you are willing to clue your target audience in. It also offers very specific information that people would find very interesting. These will lead to more clicks and give you more opportunities to generate leads, at least for a given time frame.
Another way that using time-sensitive images can be beneficial is that fewer businesses do it. The competition is less intense than evergreen content, which means it will be easier for you to rank highly and be more visible to search engines.
Both types of content are important and must be included in your website. However, you must be extra careful when it comes to time-sensitive images and content. You would not want to devote your time, energy, and a chunk of your marketing budget and have nothing to show for it.
A 50-50 ratio is generally not a good rule to follow on your website. A good mixture is creating four pieces of evergreen content for every piece of time-sensitive content that you post. This combination drives the highest traffic and delivers the most results.
With little room for time-sensitive images and content, you must be discerning when it comes to choosing which ones to use. Below are the instances when this type of content won’t be good for your website.
If the Return on Investment is Minimal
Before you swap out the existing images in your website in favor of time-sensitive ones, there are a few things that you need to consider first. Doing this will give you valuable insight that can make your decision-making process easier.
Is the traffic to that specific page high enough, and will it be seen by most of your target audience? Will that specific event drive more leads that you can convert later into sales? Will it make your website look more dynamic and inspire loyalty from your customers?
If the answer to these questions is no, it might not be good to invest in time-sensitive images.
Remember that while events like an industry conference or a sale are fleeting and would probably only last a few days, you need to increase awareness long before launch. It means that you would need to put together a campaign and implement it weeks or even months in advance, which is not cheap.
If the potential payoff for the event is high, then it might be worth your effort. You can allocate prime real estate on your page or pages as you will be rewarded in the end. However, if the return on investment is minimal, you should forget about using time-sensitive images.
If it is Useful to a Very Small Section of Your Target Audience
While your goal is to connect with a certain group of people who are more likely to purchase your products or hire your services, catering to a very specific audience might be harmful to your efforts. So if a time-limited image resonates with only a small section of your target audience, it might be better to keep it out of your website.
It is especially true if you are managing a business and a website that serves customers across countries. For instance, will all your site visitors appreciate messages related to Christmas, or will you be better off jumping on the Halloween bandwagon? Should you post a banner supporting an Olympic gymnast who is otherwise known only to a local community?
Some time-sensitive images and content might be too demographic-specific and would fail to generate enough interest to generate of a significant amount of leads. To be safe, stick to neutral themes that most of your visitors can relate to. A good example is posting COVID-19 policies and updates, which will help viewers stay safe within their communities.
If the Selection of Images is Limited
Many website managers and some digital marketers use stock images that are readily available online for public use in exchange for a fee. It is a common practice that is perfectly acceptable when it comes to web design.
The problem with time-sensitive content is that the subject is a bit specific, so if you depend on stock photos, there is a good chance that the available selection is limited.
In this situation, you run the risk of using the same images that everyone else in your industry is using, which might have a negative impact on your website’s credibility. Your other option is to use an image that is loosely connected to the message you are trying to deliver, which might diminish its effectiveness. Either way, you won’t generate the optimum results, which defeating the purpose of investing in time-sensitive content.
If you feel like an event is compelling enough for time-sensitive content but don’t have access to the appropriate stock photos, your best option is to create them yourself.
If It Has Nothing to Do with Your Brand
Creating a strong brand image is a long process that requires time, energy, money, and other resources. In some cases, it might even involve a little bit of luck. So once you have built a name for your business, it is normal for you to do everything to protect it.
That is why you should be careful when it comes to using time-sensitive images and content. While many of them may be interesting to the general population, some are completely disconnected from your brand. And depending on what industry you are in, other time-sensitive content might conflict with your brand story.
If you allot a prominent part of your page to a time-sensitive image and it does not align with your business goals, it might confuse your target audience. In this case, it is safer to stick to evergreen content.
If the Theme is Too Contentious
It is important for a brand to connect to its customers at an emotional level, and few things are better than images in stimulating feelings and reactions. In addition, the human brain processes information much faster when it is in image form, making it a more effective mode of communication.
However, you must be careful in using thought-provoking time-sensitive images copiously as they have a potential for backlash. If they are too divisive or controversial, try to stay away from them.
The Best of Both Worlds
While we have discussed extensively what situations would make time-sensitive images disadvantageous, you should not avoid them entirely. The key is knowing when to use them and when not to when designing a website. Remember that an effective content optimization strategy involves implementing the right amounts of both types of content.