The launch date of the “first blog” depends on how you define it, but 1998 marked the first known instance of a blog on a traditional news site. The original term “weblog” was shortened to just “blog” a year later, and that term was named Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2004.
Business blogging is now commonplace. Three-quarters of B2B marketers and 61% of their B2C counterparts use blogs as part of their social media content. Blogging varies by company size as well: while 66% of companies overall have blogs, less than half (42%) of Fortune 500 maintain one.
It’s an evolving , dynamic medium. Early blog posts were often either long blocks of text or annotated lists of resources available on other websites. Today this channel includes multi-author blogs and different formats like podcasting and video blogs (vlogs).
More broadly, the line between “traditional” media and blogs is blurring. Mashable is technically a media site though commonly viewed as a blog. The Huffington Post is a hybrid blog site often lumped in with the media. Forbes is a traditional publisher increasingly reliant on bloggers for content. Even a publication as old-school as the New York Times now maintains a blog (actually, a collection of them).
Yet while the popularity of and options for blog continue to expand, many businesses are still struggling to find blogging success. The ever-expanding number of blogs makes it harder to stand out; it’s projected there will be 31.7 million bloggers in the U.S. alone by 2020.
But the potential payback makes the effort of chasing excellence worthwhile. Here are a dozen stats that show the value of blogging and provide guidance for achieving real results.
Seven Stats About the Benefits of Business Blogging
1. Featuring a blog as a key part of your website will give you a 434% better chance of being ranked highly on search engines. (Express Writers)
2. Regularly blogging B2B companies generate 97% more inbound links to their websites, leading to higher search engine ranking and a higher probability of being found. (Business2Community)
3. B2B companies that regularly blog generate 67% more sales leads than non-blogging companies. (TechClient)
4. 94% of blog readers are willing to share blog posts if they think the information in the posts can be useful and valuable to their peers, friends and other connections. (Express Writers)
5. Though marketers plan to invest more in video on YouTube and Facebook this year, 53% say blog content creation remains one of their top inbound marketing priorities. (Digitant)
6. 37% of marketers agree that their blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing. 45% of marketers regard blogging as their most important activity in their content strategy. (Riverbed Marketing)
7. Nearly one-third (32%) of marketers call paid advertising “the most over-rated marketing tactic.” Just 5% say the same about blogging. (Digitant)
How to Improve Your Business Blogging Results
8. When combined with other SEO techniques, blogging 2-3 times a week can lead to a 177% traffic increase. (Riverbed Marketing)
9. For companies of almost any size, increasing average post frequency from weekly to twice weekly produces a modest gain (<20%) in website visits. But increasing frequency to three posts per week (11 or more per month) leads to 3X increase in visits. (HubSpot)
10. Make your content “skimmable” using section heads, short paragraphs, and bullet points. 29% of blog readers say they generally read posts thoroughly, while 43% of users admit to skimming posts. (Bluleadz)
11. The ideal word count for blog posts is between 1,140 and 1,285 words. Blog titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (Riverbed Marketing)
12. Over 35% of bloggers are pitched every day or even more often by PR specialists—and the frequency is increasing. However, most of these influencers state that only one pitch a week results in a content on their blog. (Buzzweb Community)
Based on the business blogging stats and facts above, here are six actionable takeaways for B2B marketing professionals:
- Experiment with frequency. If you’re producing new posts weekly (or less frequently), stepping up the tempo may increase traffic and help with SEO. The figures above are only averages, of course; your mileage may vary.
- Focus on quality. Don’t let the goal of increasing post frequency lead to relaxing quality standards. Better to produce a few impactful posts each month that will really resonate with your target audience than three-or-more “throwaway” posts each week.
- Make posts skimmable. In today’s information-rich, attention-starved world, half of your blog visitors will spend 15 seconds or less determining whether your post is worth actually reading, and many of those who stay longer will skim it rather than reading the post word for word. To help readers get the maximum benefit from your posts in minimal time, use short sentences and paragraphs, add descriptive subheads, incorporate bullet points and numbered lists, and include informative graphics.
- Mix up media formats. Don’t limit your blog to text posts. Incorporate infographics, original photography, video, and Slideshare content. Different people absorb information in different ways, so over time, repurpose your best content in other formats. This will enable to emphasize key messages without seeming repetitive.
- Encourage sharing. Make it easy to share your post by adding social sharing buttons; there are several excellent WordPress plugins as well as multi-platform tools like AddThis and ShareThis which make this easy. Also make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your posts by email, and encourage subscribers to share your emails.
- Include calls to action (CTAs). As noted above, most visitors won’t make it to the end of your blog posts. But those who do are gold. Don’t just leave them with your closing sentence—give them relevant, compelling things to do next, like downloading a related ebook or whitepaper, registering for a related webinar, or grabbing some type of content upgrade.
This was the 12th post of the Spectacular Springtime of (Digital Marketing) Stats series on Webbiquity and elsewhere.