In the grand scheme of the internet, blogging and inbound marketing are relatively young. Despite this, blogging strategies have changed quickly, every year brings new trends that marketers must pay attention to while creating their content strategy.
Perhaps you’re familiar with personal blogs for fashion, cooking recipes, and politics, but now blogging is a cornerstone of marketing and business brand development. Even with the introduction of new and exciting types of content, like virtual reality, written articles are still imperative to do inbound right. Instead of doing the same-old-thing you've always done for blogging, keep reading for a few elements you should re-evaluate for effectiveness today.
Cut the Fluff
In the early years of blogs it may have been okay to add personal flair like your family drama, Monday mood, or pet’s shenanigans, but business blog consumers don’t care how your day is going. They care about data-backed evidence and easy to skim facts that help them answer their questions fast. Like this:
- The first blogs appeared in the late 1990s [Doz]
- By 2016, Orbit Media noted that the length of an average blog post had risen to 1054 words (up from 887 in 2015) [BlogMutt]
- 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts [HubSpot, 2016]
Trimming extra details is not the same thing as writing blogs that are void of personality and juicy words. There's a fine line between redundancy and interesting details that help enforce what you're saying. If you want to notify your audience of something exciting happening in your business that won't quite fit the bill of a long-form blog, try other forms of content like videos. Gaining a new employee or moving to a new office lend well to formats like online video and social media stories.
Make it More Accessible
Some of your readers might land on a blog that's packed with in depth-information and a word count of over 500 and think, “Whoa, no thanks. I don't have time for that,” because it looks like information overload. Make your content more accessible to all of the different types of learners by reformatting your best performing posts into webinars, podcasts, videos, etc. Everyone processes information differently, so don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
ManoByte has found great success in pairing our most visited blogs with a video [Vlog] highlighting the key points, in case people don’t want to read the entire post. Not only does it help keep viewers engaged on the page longer, but it also gives your content more avenues to nurture your leads.
Accessibility on sites other than your own is also crucial. Do you find yourself publishing an awesome blog and then only sharing it once or twice on social media? If you're not re-sharing old content you're missing out on leads! In fact, 75% of HubSpot's blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts. (HubSpot, 2014) Re-evaluating how you share content is useful to improve your blog's key performance metrics. Using an automation platform like HubSpot is crucial to ensure you're sharing your posts enough and to track their metrics. If you're a busy professional in the technology or medical field, leveraging HubSpot with your blogging strategy can be a huge timesaver.
Write Longer Blogs
"To thrive in an oversaturated content world, you’ll need to constantly write or produce (and syndicate) content with depth. Longer posts, more substantive content that people find useful and inspired.” Ann Handley
Some bloggers say short and sweet is better, but industry experts are now saying something quite the opposite. It’s no secret that online marketing is cluttered with competitors, to pierce through the noise and deliver the goods it takes a blog with seriously helpful information and sources that are easy to follow. Your blogs need to have more useful information than all of the other sources your prospects could have clicked on. Longer, higher-quality blogs can lead to more attention and visitors spending more time your site.
If your content plan is to write five 200-word blogs, this should all be music to your ears, because you can publish less and still see marketing results. If you’re writing just to fulfill a quota, chances are you’re not publishing your best work. If you don’t like reading your own blogs posts, neither will your target persona - meaning less engagement and conversions.
As a marketer, blogging can be a full-time job if you let it. If you’re determined to post new blogs daily, how are you going to keep up on everything else you need to do? Luckily, data suggests you will get better traction focusing on longer, more thoughtfully written blogs over writing just for writing’s sake. Try re-working your content plan, so you're not driving yourself crazy with deadlines for short articles.
Blogs aren't going anywhere soon and they'll continue to change as digital marketing tactics transform. Staying on top of industry changes and re-evaluating your blog’s effectiveness will help keep you on your buyer's radar. By making your longer blogs accessible and useful to your buyers, you'll ensure your company's content doesn't get left behind. Stop scrambling to find a new blog topic everyday and focus on the meat of your buyer's problems instead.