Are you looking for the most current blogging tips, tactics and strategies?
Do you want to know what the pros are doing when it comes to content marketing and blogging?
Keeping up with the latest trends and tactics on blogging can be daunting, however our friends over at Orbit Media Studios recently shared the results of a survey, which included over 1000+ bloggers and their take on creating blog content for your business.
This is especially timely - with 2017 fast approaching, many businesses are beginning to plan their content strategies for the upcoming year.
These results will show you what's working successfully for the top bloggers right now in terms of time, length, frequency, promotion and measurement.
And while I'm not suggesting that what works for the majority will necessarily work for your content efforts, these results can be a good place to begin, especially if you're just starting out or are not seeing the kinds of results from your content that you want.
I encourage you to experiment with your approach, to find what will work best for your industry, business and community, and to remember that quality is more important that quantity.
Here are the results from 3rd Annual Survey of 1000+ Bloggers from Orbit Media Studios, with my own insights included.
Five Successful Blogging Tips and Practices
1. Blog Post Length & Content
There has definitely been a trend in the increasing length of blog posts over the last couple of years.
In fact, blogs have increased in length by an average of 19% - they've gone from an average of 808 words in length in 2014 to 887 words in 2015 and are now about 1054 words in 2016.
The amount of short posts under 500 words is on a huge decline while the number of the lengthy 2000+ words is on the rise (doubling every year).
What's even more interesting is that the blog posts that are over 1000 words created stronger results in the opinions of the bloggers than those which were less than a 1000. The strongest results were seen by those with posts over 2000 words.
For your own blog, you'll likely need to do a bit of experimenting. For myself, the majority of my posts are 1200-1500+ words, with some in the 2000+ range, depending on the topic.
There's been an increase in the use of visuals over the last two years, while audio inclusion, on the other hand, has decreased since last report.
Images make an excellent inclusion in a post as they help catch a reader's intention and can break up your text to make it easier to read. Using more than one image is ideal, especially if you're creating longer blog posts.
The use of video is rising too, with about 15% of bloggers now using it. Those who are using video report it generating stronger results than other media forms.
With the proper strategy, if video appeals your community and your own personal style, now is the time to consider incorporating it into your blog.
And although audio may have decreased from last year, those that are using it still report it producing very strong results. If adding audio to your blog - like a podcast - works for you and your community, don't be deterred from using it.
There's also been a significant increase in the number of blog using lists, with almost half of bloggers now using them.
Lists can be exceptionally handy for readers, but with such of an abundance of them, it would be wise to not over use them or you risk becoming just another list among many. While the occasional list can be an excellent inclusion to your blog, variety is ultimately the key.
2. Blog Post Frequency
So just how often should you be publishing new posts your blog?
Frequency can range greatly from more than once a day to irregular intervals over the course of a year, with the average falling around once a week.
How often you choose to publish will most likely be dictated by your own resources - posting once a day requires a lot more resources than publishing once per week, especially if you're creating quality blog posts.
It's important to note that the bloggers who blogged the most frequently found the strongest results.
What this means for you is that the more often you can manage to post a quality blog post, the better results you are likely to see.
3. Writing & Editing Blog Posts
How long a blog post takes to write will vary greatly depending on your topic, how in-depth you're going, your familiarity with the topic and your skill researching and writing in general.
To give you an idea of what other businesses are investing in each article, the average blog post takes 3 hours and 16 minutes to write. This is up 26% from last year.
But if you're writing longer, more detailed posts, you can expect it will generally take longer than this to write - in fact, twice as many bloggers are now spending 6+ hours on an average post.
Stronger results were reported by more bloggers that invested 6+ hours per post than those who invested less than 6 hours.
I would NOT use these hours for planning purposes, but rather as a general guide.
The survey also discovered that now 1 in 4 bloggers are using a formal editing process.
Over half of bloggers now at least have a second set of eyes review their posts, which is important.
The reason that this is so important is that it's hard, even for skilled writers, to edit their own work. A second set of eyes helps ensure that most errors are caught.
Ensure that you're only posting professional looking blog posts by hiring one or more experienced editors. Remember, the quality of your posts (or lack thereof) will leave an impression with the people reading them and can affect the level of trust you create with your posts.
It's worth noting that more of the bloggers who had a formal editing process reported seeing strong results than those who did not.
4. Blog Promotion
While it's important to create great content, there isn't much point in any of these blogging tips if no one reads it. That's why promoting your blog is so important.
So how are most businesses promoting their blog content?
Over 95% of bloggers are promoting their blog posts on social media.
The number of businesses using email to promote their content has had a fairly significantly increase over the last two years to 55% of businesses.
Influencer outreach has also seen a continued increase to almost 25% of bloggers incorporating it into their promotion.
Over 14% are also now including paid promotion of their content into their strategy.
Businesses using paid services and influencer outreach have seen the strongest results compared to social media which was least effective.
The most important step in creating content is promoting and sharing it, otherwise it won't be seen. A successful strategy that we use with paid promotion is the posts that do well organically are the ones we are most likely to dedicate a budget to with paid social ads.
5. Blog Measurement
The final topic covered in the survey was measurement, with bloggers asked how often they check their analytics.
Over 50% check their analytics on a regular basis.
But just under 20% rarely or never check. This number is staggering because if you don't know how your posts are doing, how will you know what worked and what didn't.
If you don't know the topics or types of posts that your community loves or ignores then you'll waste a lot of effort in the future.
Those who checked their analytics the most often saw the strongest results.
Moral of the story - you'll be more successful with your content in the future if you know how past content has performed. What isn't measured, can't improve.
Creating Your 2017 Content Marketing Plan
There is no 'one size fits all' solution when it comes to blogging - what works for one business won't necessarily work for another.
But although this may be the case, there are certainly some practices which generally produce better results for the majority.
Glean what possibilities exist from this information to create your content marketing plan and improve your blogging practices. Ultimately, you need to test some of these blogging tips and practices to determine what works for your business and your community.
Did any of the stats surprise you? What is working well for your blog? Share in the comments below.