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The Latest Blogging Trends: How To Create A Strong 2018 Strategy

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At BlogMutt, we're fortunate enough to help literally thousands of businesses create blog content that powers content marketing, SEO, and inbound marketing. And because of that, we have a unique opportunity to view a large data set about what blog trends exist in content marketing that powers results for businesses. In addition to this, to be good at what we do, we work hard to read everything we can get our hands on blogging trends.

So, with our data and hands on experience, plus reading from thought leaders, we'll answer the question, what are the upcoming blog trends that will drive results for businesses in 2018?

Blogging Trends In 2018

Blogging Trend #1: Word count is going up.

In 2016, Orbit Media noted that the length of an average blog post had risen to 1,054 words (up from 887 in 2015). Short blogs just don't get the results that most bloggers are hoping to meet. Longer blogs—those measuring 1,500+ words—tend to get more social media attention and lead visitors to spend more time on your site.

Of course, it's not just about word count. The point is to produce high-quality posts that people are genuinely interested in reading. Readers aren't looking for fluff content. They're looking for posts that will tell them more than what they can find in half a dozen different places across the internet. It's also more important than ever to include other media with blog posts: images, video, and audio help attract readers and genuinely interest them in the content.

Long-form content, like e-books and content at 4,000+ words, gives you something to promote, increases your search engine rankings, and helps further establish your authority in your field. Of course, in order to reap those benefits, you need a dedicated person producing that content for you. Who is writing your long-form content, and where does the time come from? Answering that question is a critical part of building your 2018 content-production strategy.

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We see this trend reflected in our own data—our customers are choosing longer blog post lengths to power their content marketing.

Blogging Trend #2: First, be useful to the reader.

Content marketing, done well, has always meant you need to give first and freely before you ask for something in return from your readers. This has never been more true as we head into 2018. Nearly all the leading thinkers in SEO and content marketing are now advocating for putting more out there on your public website, for free, than ever—that means less gated content (asking readers to give you their email address to read more). 

The reason for this is simple and two-fold: first, Google is getting better and better at delivering the "best" content to its users. That means if you're creating content that's not useful to the reader or is overly self-promotional, you're just not going to rank in search results. Second, as more companies embrace blogging and content marketing, search results get more competitive. Again, if you're delivering underwhelming or content that focuses on you, not the question your readers want answered, you're going to lose. This all comes down to, teach, be helpful, and educate first, then sell.

We see this one in our customer data too—our best customers are creating content along their whole sales funnel, including plenty of top-of-funnel content that seeks to be helpful, and may not even mention their business.

Our customers who ask us only to create content about themselves usually get frustrated with their results quickly and leave.

Blogging Trend #3: Optimizing blog posts after writing them matters.

We strongly believe that high-quality writing is an essential foundation for great blogging. But, it doesn't end there. To make your blog posts rank on Google, stand out on social media, and engage readers on your website, you need to optimize them.

I'll get to what that means in a second, but first a quick note for anyone who's hearing something like, "You don't need to do SEO anymore, just create great content and Google will reward you." Please, please, don't follow this advice if traffic from Google is important to you. How do we know this to be true? In 2017, we spent a large amount of time re-optimizing our older blog posts for SEO and saw monthly organic traffic to these posts go up 50-300%! You can also get some more expert opinions on that here.

At BlogMutt, we're addressing this blog trend with our +Optimize product, which has a skilled optimizer get blog posts ready for publishing by beautifying them in the customer's blog platform, and does SEO optimization around a keyword of the customer's choice. We're seeing more of our customers opt for this service as the importance of optimization only grows.

Blogging Trend #4: Promote your damn posts!

If I had a dollar for every time a client told me, "I published my blog post a week ago and I'm *still* not seeing any traffic from Google..." well, you know how that ends. Creating outstanding content is great, and a crucial piece of the puzzle, but it's not the whole puzzle.

You need to get your content out into the world to get it noticed, and kickstart your content marketing machine. If your goal is to drive traffic to your blog, you need to let people know about your content, and there are plenty of ways to do it.

  • Promoting on social media means more exposure. You want to create posts that other people are eager to share. Your own social media page is just the beginning of your platform! The more other people share your content, the more the word will get out.
  • Email marketing allows you to connect with people who have shown an interest in your content in the past. Solid email marketing allows you to bring in customers who may have lapsed or who haven't thought about your company in a while.
  • Linkbuilding can seem intimidating, but produces real results. After you write a piece of content (or even while you're thinking about what to write about), ask yourself, "who will promote this and why?" Do you know people with websites? Can you search and find websites in your industry with readerships who might find your content useful? Send them a quick, friendly email and ask if they'd consider sharing with their readers on their site if they thought your content would be useful for their audience.

Other strategies, including paid services and influencer outreach, are also on the rise. Keep in mind that the more you put your content out there, the more people will be able to find it!

Blogging Trend #5: Blogging takes more time & effort than ever.

According to Orbit Media's study of emerging blogger trends, the amount of time and effort most bloggers are spending on their posts is increasing. Between 2014 and 2015, the company didn't see much of a shift in the amount of time spent writing blog posts. Throughout 2016, however, it became obvious that writers were putting more time into their efforts: approximately two-thirds of the writers surveyed spent more than two hours on each post written, with writers spending an average of more than three hours on each post.

That time and effort is paying off: Orbit Media reported that 33 percent of the bloggers who spent six or more hours writing a blog post felt that they saw "strong results" based on their blogging efforts. 

Given the increased amount of time required to produce high-quality blog posts, the question of who is doing your content writing, is an important one. Delegating that task to someone in the office is a great solution, as long as you have a team member who can dedicate that time to your company's blogging efforts and understands how to write for content marketing. Seeking out freelance writers or working with an article service provider provider or agency is often a more efficient means of acquiring content that you're proud to promote on your blog each week—and often most cost-effective, as well. 

Over To You

Which of these trends will you be incorporating into your 2018 blogging strategy? What tweaks can you make to your current strategy to stay relevant and competitive in the current landscape? Keep in mind that when it comes to your blogging strategy, little changes can make a big difference. Small tweaks to your content, like creating longer posts and changing your posting frequency, can make a big difference to your audience.

Do your best to isolate variables to determine what matters most to your audience, then produce the content they're looking for. This could be your best blogging year yet! 

If you're looking for even more trends in content marketing, and some practical applications, I wrote more about that here.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I run marketing at BlogMutt, and am a huge digital marketing and SEO nerd. When I'm not helping people who need our services find us, I enjoy spending time with my wife and our two daughters. And my prerequisite I-live-in-Colorado activity is snowboarding. I also like writing quite a bit. In fact, I was going to be a writing major in college until I failed a required course in Latin and had to switch to economics. If you have questions about SEO and blogging, send me an email - paul[at]blogmutt.com.

Paul Zalewski

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