The face of marketing is always changing. Looking all the way back to the creation of the printing press around 1450, we can see how marketers have been putting their information into print in order to attract interested customers and share information with them.
While marketing has taken on new facets since then, it wasn't until the rise of the internet and the importance of search engines, beginning around 1995, that the landscape of marketing was drastically changed. Since then, inbound marketing and other tactics have been developing steadily. Blogging trends are always under development, and knowing which ones to follow and which ones need your attention will help you develop a streamlined and effective blogging strategy in 2017.
"Content is king" isn't necessarily true anymore. Modern customers are looking for content delivered in a format that is useful to them, offering them the information they need to make informed decisions about your products. For most modern marketers, that means maintaining a professional blog. Whether this means taking the time to write it themselves, or hiring bloggers using crowdsourced writing to keep up with content demands.
Time & Effort
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. 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. Professional content writers might not be experts in your field, but they are experts at producing the thing you need most: high-quality content geared toward a specific audience.
One of the reasons for increased time and effort on blog posts is obvious: word count is also going up. By 2016, Orbit Media noted that the length of an average blog post had risen to 1054 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 1500+ 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 ebooks 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 2017 content-production strategy.
In order to produce longer, higher-quality posts, many bloggers are reducing their posting schedule. Posting once a day is the stuff of the past. While building a content library is critical (HubSpot, for example, notes that 75 percent of their post views in a month came from old posts) taking the time to produce useful content is more important for many bloggers than tossing out content as fast as they can.
Orbit Media notes that daily blogging is down 50 percent, while weekly and monthly blogging is on the rise. Consistency is more important than frequency: search engines and followers would both rather see you produce content on a regular schedule than see a post every day for several weeks, followed by a period where you produce little or nothing.
Ultimately, how often you publish content is up to you. Choose a blogging schedule that works well for your organization, then stick with it! The more reliable you are, the more followers you'll bring to your doors.
Promoting Your Content
Creating content is great. Once you've written it, however, you can't just let it sit there. You have to do something with it! 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.
- Strong SEO makes sure that your page is at the top of the results page when customers come looking for relevant information. Today, strong SEO includes mobile optimization, clear keywords, and attention to long-tail keywords as well as short ones.
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!
Over To You
What will you be incorporating into your 2017 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 you 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!