When it comes to reaching, converting, and retaining your potential customers, there’s nothing that compares to blogging. Generating unique, valuable content is a surefire way to bolster your audience on email or social media, foster engagement with your brand, and appeal to curious searchers – often all at once!
Whether you’re just launching your business or trying to expand your digital presence, there’s never been a better time to get started with content marketing. One big reason? We’ve never known more about what works and what doesn’t!
How often do the most successful blogs post new content? Do they share on social media? What do their articles and images look like? These are all valuable questions, and a recent report from our neighbor, our favorite guy to wave to on Ravenswood, and marketing guru Andy Crestodina and Orbit Media Studios should help shed some light on them all.
Based on Orbit’s “3rd Annual Survey of 1000+ Bloggers,” here are the five habits of the web’s most highly successful blogs and bloggers:
1.) They Invest Plenty of Time
Inbound marketing is all about generating high quality content. Unlike content farms, which just churn out cookie cutter or computer generated content, a great, effective content marketing copywriter thinks about her audience, tells stories, does research, creates value, and writes with a clear vision and voice.
All of these things take time to do well, but they’re worth it in the end – which is why so many top copywriters average multiple hours for every post. In 2016 – the most recent data available – 60% of copywriters spent about three hours on each article or post, up from an average of 2.5 hours in 2015.
What’s more, a full 12% of writers spend six hours or more on creating individual content, and report getting the strongest results for their efforts.
As for the posts themselves? The study found that the average blog post length is now around 1,050 words, up 19% over 2015, and there are more blogs regularly producing work of 2000+ words than ever before.
The lesson for your blog? Be ready to invest plenty of time for best results; even if it’s not six hours a pop, be ready to spend some serious time brainstorming topics, fleshing out ideas, doing research, writing, and revising. Always remember that the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
2.) They Include Multimedia Elements
As we mentioned earlier, the average blog post in 2016 totaled over 1000 words. More than that, however, 2016 saw the most successful corporate blogs feature more diverse multimedia content than ever before.
In our short attention span, multi-screen world, words just aren’t enough to capture audiences any more. Marketers are finding new ways to engage, including videos (used by 15% of corporate blogs), images (with most bloggers reporting using more than one visual per post), and even audio elements, such as podcasts (though these run a distant third to still images and video).
There’s never been a better time to really start playing with and implementing new visual and multimedia strategies for your marketing content. To get started, why not check out a few of our guides:
- 5 Ways to Start Using Streaming Video for Your Marketing
- Turns Out, GIFs and Content Marketing are a Match Made in Heaven
- What Type of Chart Should Go With Your Content?
- 4 Reasons to Consider the Podcast
3.) They Update Regularly
In the peak of the content boom, some enterprising bloggers favored a daily posting system. In many cases, however, this led to burnout; most are now walking back from that schedule, in favor of a more manageable publishing timetable.
The Orbit Media report tells us that daily blogging is down 53%, while weekly and monthly blogging are both up (7% and 38%, respectively). However, the group’s findings – and we can corroborate this with our own analytics reports – show that monthly blogging simply isn’t going to yield the same results as a more frequent schedule.
Orbit suggests that blogs that post daily or 2-6 times per week are more likely to report “strong” results than those with less regular schedules. In general, it’s important to find the publishing schedule that works for your brand - every site’s team, resources, and audience are different, and your results are going to reflect this.
4.) They Use Multiple Channels for Promotion
It has never been enough to just publish content and call it a day; instead, it’s vital for your brand to take a comprehensive approach to marketing, one that makes use of various channels to promote your message to as many audience members as possible. Where do the most successful blogs go to reach and retain customers?
In many ways, this is one of the most compelling findings from the study, as, in many cases, the most popular promotional activities did not necessarily yield the strongest reported results. For instance, 96% of respondents use social media platforms, but it ranked fifth for results; in contrast, paid media was used by only about 15% of bloggers, but it was ranked number one for results and growth rate. Other channels? SEO and email marketing continue to be reliable workhorses for delivering content, while influencer outreach has gained in popularity over the past two years.
The biggest takeaway? Don’t shut out any options when it comes to sharing and promoting your original content. There are many effective channels out there, and a holistic strategy that encompasses a few relevant options may well yield the best results for your brand.
5.) They Track and Monitor Results
Why are you generating content at all if you’re not keeping tabs on what effect that content is having? Measuring and monitoring your analytics results will allow you to improve your writing, target your ideal audience, and optimize your content for social sharing or SEO.
And you don’t have to take our word for it! 30% of bloggers who regularly check their analytics results report strong results, compared to 18% who don’t. Over the past three years, the number of bloggers who “always” check the analytics for their blog posts has increased by 18%; this is going to lead to more effective content marketing across the board – and hopefully lead to a drop among the stunning 12.3% of bloggers who don’t know if their blog delivers value
Want to see some more numbers? Curious about how generating content has benefited businesses in your field? For more results, we encourage you to check out our SlideShare, “How Creating Content Drives Customers to Your Website."
To get started or talk shop, be sure to drop us a line! The Geek team has a proven track record of creating and implementing successful blogging and content marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes, and we're ready to get to work for you!