Blogging Research 2021 shows that blogging continues to yield measure results.
For the 8th year, Andy Crestodina and the Orbit Media team have asked 1,000+ bloggers 20 questions about blogging for their Annual Blogging Survey.
Read this analysis to see how to get better results from your blog.
2021 Blogging Research: Do Bloggers Get Results from Blogs
Why should your business create a blog and invest in on-going blogging?
For 1 in 5 bloggers, a blog delivers strong marketing results. While the word, “strong” is subjective and may refer to a variety of different goals, the Pareto Principle supports this finding. According to Andy Crestodina, “This is our benchmark. We’ll use this number to find correlations between various tactics and success.”
As expected, 1 in 2 bloggers or the majority get some level of results. This makes sense since without results you can’t make the business case to continue to invest in your blog as a key element of your owned media at the heart of your content marketing.
More critical is why do 23% have disappointing or no idea of their results?
As always, author of Everybody Writes, Ann Handley infuses her astute analysis with her sense of humor and refers to this group as “Club 23%”. And she advises them (and others) to:
“Figure out a feedback loop. Let’s find out what’s working/what’s not. It’s critical to making more strategic decisions and getting the content the respect it richly deserves. And… if results are disappointing? Let’s fix that! This report literally can show you how.“
Actionable Blogging Research 2021 Tips:
- Determine the measurable goals for your blog aligned with your business and marketing objectives.
- Integrate related metrics into each blog post and element of your blog.
- Assess how to modify your blog to reflect the changing needs of your audience.
How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post in 2021?
Based on an average of the 1,000+ bloggers, it takes 4 hours and 1 minute to write a blog post. This amounts to a 67% increase in time per post from the 2 hours and 24 minutes in 2014.
Further, the biggest increase in time per post occurred in 2016 when the time to write a blog post increased 31 minutes in one year or 32% of the 97 net minute increase over time.
How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post in 2021?
According to Blogging Research 2021:
The average blog post is 1416 words, a 75% increase over the 808 average length blog post in 2014. Again, the biggest increase took place in 2016 when blog posts increased 167 words to 1,054 words.
Over time, bloggers have moved from writing short blog posts to longer blog posts.
BUT, length by itself doesn’t determine blog post success!
As Brian Dean points out:
“When it comes to Google rankings, social shares and backlinks, longer content tends to outperform short blog posts.
Long-form blog content was a “secret weapon” a few years ago. But word has spread. Which has led to more and more bloggers focusing on long-form content.”
So the bottom line is that your blog post must cover the essentials for your goals.
As Joe Pulizzi quipped back in 2011:
“A blog post is like a miniskirt … it needs to be long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to keep it interesting.”
How Frequently Do Bloggers Publish Posts in 2021?
Frequency combines the measures of time to create a blog post and its length.
Why does frequency matter?
Because time and other blogging resources are limited. So you can craft either fewer long, quality blog posts or more blog posts that are shorter.
Examine the results closer and you’ll see that consistency is the key to success.
- Specifically, 2 to 6 blog posts per week yield better results for 32% of the top 22% of bloggers who get strong results from their blogging activities.
- Yet, weekly blogging yields strong results for 27% of this strong results cohort.
What does frequency translate to in terms of results?
As Mark Schaefer says, “Consistency bears results.”
To break through increasing amounts of often untrustworthy information, put your blog at the heart of your marketing strategy and measure results. Support it with sufficient resources to create and distribute quality content on a regular schedule.
I call this consistent content since you publish blog posts at least weekly to build your readers’ habit for blog content consumption. And the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern has research to prove it.
What Did The Top Performing Blogs Do?
Content Marketing Institute and Social Media Examiner publish blog posts multiple times per week. Also both of these blogs have cut back from 6 days per week over time.
To underscore the need for consistent content delivered on a regular schedule, Content, Inc. author Joe Pulizzi started his new business endeavor, The Tilt, by publishing twice a week.
Further, while many content marketers don’t pay as much attention to voice and audio options, these content creators publish on regular schedules.
Both Mark Schaefer of Business Grow and Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks have consistently blogged for 10+ years and continue to get active comments on their blogs.
Further, both have grown their influence and businesses based on their blogs. As a result, they continue to write shorter blog posts relative to other newer blogs.
Each has established their foundational content over time through the use of shorter posts on related aspects of their topic.
Mark Schaefer established his reputation as a marketer around different topics over time and has solidified those ideas in best selling, traditionally published books. Further, Schaefer has added other formats, such as podcasting.
More recently, Schaefer has moved to self publishing and helping his audience to build their influence with his books, Known and Cumulative Advantage.
By contrast, Gini Dietrich built her Spin Sucks community by consistently publishing on the topic of communications broadly and showing how it doesn’t have to suck.
In addition to consistently spotlighting readers in her Follow Friday and Hot Seat columns, she introduced and evolved her thought leadership around the PESO Model. She explained it in her Spin Sucks book published by Pearson and has since copyrighted it.
Beyond her blog, Dietrich partnered with Syracuse University’s Newman School of Communications to deliver a course based on the PESO Model where students get certified. Further, she self-published The Communicator’s Playbook to coincide with the 30 Day Challenge held in January.
Actionable Blogging Research 2021 Tip:
- Publish blog content on a consistent schedule to attract and retain your audience.
How Do Bloggers Promote Their Content in 2021?
Content promotion depends on deeper analysis to understand what the best bloggers do to promote their content. As I point out in my article on Book Marketing, promotion must be integrated into blog creation. This includes:
- Data points,
- Case studies,
- Search rankings,
- Formatting and
Here’s a worksheet to help you write your blogs posts.In addition, blog post promotion extends beyond the initial promotion of the post in the early days following pre-publication and amplification. This includes transforming content across platforms and promoting each iteration, contributing to other larger pieces for your business, and engaging over time with influencers.
Further your biggest efforts require additional more defined promotion to get the maximum results.For content amplification and distribution, your end goal is measurable content marketing ROI!Click To Tweet
For example, with this Blogging Survey, Crestodina set out to find a key piece of data that had been often quoted but never verified. He has built a list of 1,000+ people to participate. Unlike the growing number of businesses that do research with poorly worded questions and low participation rates.
Actionable Blogging Research 2021 Tip:
- To create measurable results that contribute to profitable sales and build your addressable audience, your blog needs dedicated humans and financial resources. To compete today, your blog posts must:
- Be based on strong content and keyword research,
- Provide quality content with visuals, data and case studies,
- Be edited and optimized for humans and search engines, and
- Get promoted regularly across platforms and formats over time.
Blogging Research 2021 Conclusion
To maximize results from your blogging investment:
- Meet audience needs by answering their questions across the entire purchase process from needs awareness through end user onboarding and customer retention.
- Provide ungated quality information infused with your brand to build trust over time. For measurable results, use calls-to-action to allow visitors to subscribe to your content or contact your firm. Allow them to use chatbots, IVAs (aka: intelligent virtual assistants) or humans when, where and how they choose.
- Optimize blog content for findability across devices and platforms based on visitors’ timeframes. Also, build analytics and metrics into your blog content.
Before changing your blogging strategy, understand how your audience has changed post-pandemic due to a seismic shift in marketing. So they:
- Are digitally and voice savvy regardless of age. (Source: Capgemini May 2020)
- Have experienced changes in their lives and lifestyles, notably job loss and income changes; work-from-home (WFH); and/or lack of child and senior support; and
- Feel an extreme lack of trust in various media platforms and entities due to fake news, tribalism and other issues.
What does this mean for your blog?
Talk with members of your audience and listen to what they need from your blog content.
While there’s no “one-size-fits-all” blogging solution, provide quality information for your blog audience to their needs via the device and format of their choice on a regular schedule, ideally once a week.
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