Although business blogging is now widespread—66% of all marketers and 75% of B2B marketers use blogs in their social media content—not all business bloggers are getting the results they’d like to see. If you’d like to increase the impact of your company blog, these insights from recent research can help.
Andy Crestodina and his team at Orbit Media Studios recently completed Blogging Statistics and Trends, an extensive survey of more than 1,000 bloggers about their practices and results.
Even more helpfully, Andy’s group has been conducting this study annually since 2014, so the most recent edition shows five years of trend data.
The full report is exhaustive, wide-ranging, and loaded with insights. But to get you started on the road to better business blogging results, here are five key takeaways from the study.
Focus on Quantity AND Quality
Put very simply, in today’s content-saturated online environment, you need to up your game in order to stand out.
Business bloggers are spending more time per post, as this chart shows. Digging a level deeper, the percentage of blog posts written in two hours or less has fallen from more than 50% in 2014 to just 27% today, while the share that take two-to-four hours to write has increased from 30% to 45%.
That extra time is spent writing better, longer posts. Just 18% of blog posts were longer than 1,000 words in 2014; the figure is now 45%.
And the increased time spent and post length pays off: bloggers are four times as likely to report “strong results” from posts of 2,000 words or more than from posts of less than 500 words.
This echoes the findings of other recent research showing that longer content performs better in search rankings and that high-quality content is needed to break through the noise in a crowded marketplace.
The most successful business bloggers aren’t just writing longer posts, however. They are also publishing more frequently. Bloggers who post at least daily were roughly three times more likely to report strong results than those who posted new content on a less-than-weekly basis.
That’s a significant challenge. Although the report doesn’t say so explicitly, if a tradeoff is required, it’s probably best to focus on producing better content than simply posting more content.
But the ideal approach is for B2B marketers to develop a publisher’s mindset: produce high-quality content, frequently, by incorporating a variety of sources and voices, and using professional editing.
Recycle as Much as You Can
In blogging as in the real world, recycling is an excellent though underutilized practice.
As noted above, you need both more content and better content to stand out in today’s noisy content environment. Here are three ways to achieve that without simply doing more work:
- Design posts to be “evergreen,” to always offer the latest how-to advice on topics of ongoing interest. Then update and republish them regularly.
- Create blog posts based on other content you’ve already invested in producing, such as white papers, ebooks, infographics, and videos.
- Curate content from older posts to develop new ones. For example, enterprise event management software vendor G2Planet did a series of interviews with influential event industry experts. In addition to publishing those interviews, the company also curated answers from those interviews into new posts such as this one about the top challenges for event professionals.
As the Orbit Media report notes, “Two-thirds of bloggers don’t update old articles, but those that do are (more than twice as) likely to report strong results.”
Monitor Results and Act on Measurements
Being a curious lot, most business bloggers keep at least somewhat of an eye on their analytics (which makes it surprising that nearly one in five bloggers in the Orbit Media study said they either didn’t have access to their analytic or rarely/never checked).
And, as with writing longer posts, checking analytics pays off. Bloggers who say they “always” check their analytics are twice as likely to report strong results as those who check only occasionally.
Of course, just as you can’t lose weight simply by stepping on a scale, you won’t improve performance simply by checking your blog metrics. What matters is what you do with that information.
For example, examining your blog analytics may prompt you to:
- Write more posts on topics that are performing well.
- Spend effort shoring up an under-performing distribution channel.
- Update and republish a post that performed well initially but has fallen off in visits more recently.
Go Beyond Text
As the study notes, a growing share of bloggers are incorporating multiple images, lists, video, and audio content into their posts.
But while less than a quarter of bloggers incorporate audio and video on a regular basis, those who do are significantly more likely than business bloggers overall to report strong results from their blogging efforts.
Promote Outside the Lines
Finally, even the best content won’t produce results without strong promotion. Social media, SEO, and email are the most commonly used channels for content distribution and amplification.
Yet, while just 20% of bloggers say they use influencer marketing or paid services to help promote their posts, those who do are substantially more likely to report strong results.
There’s much more in the full report from Orbit Media Studios, but the five tactics above can help get you started on the road to better business blogging results.