5 blogging trends from 2015

Blogging is still big. A blog is a place to share your best practice advice and where you can keep in touch with your audience. Recent research from Hubspot said that marketers who blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t and that they are 13X more likely to benefit from positive ROI as a result of blogging. In the same research it said companies that have a blog receive 97% more links back to their main site than those who don’t.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 high profile bloggers in the States, conducted by Chicago’s Orbit Media Studios, found that bloggers are spending more time crafting content than ever before, with the average post taking between one and two hours to write. Although the bloggers admitted that writing was a huge time investment they believed that it was worth the effort. Andy Crestodina, strategic director of Orbit Media Studio, said: “Blogging is an enormous investment. But [if you don’t do it] someone’s going to do it, someone’s going to win, someone’s going to get that click, that subscriber, that follower and that lead tomorrow. The person who wins is likely to be the person who is the most helpful in making a buying decision. Blogging is a contest to see who can be the best teacher, who can give the most information.”

Length of time:

The average blogger spends between one and two hours crafting their blog posts but those that excel, put more time in. The Orbit Media Studios research found that the top 6% of bloggers invested twice as much time as the bottom 70%. Successful blogger Jay Baer from Convince and Convert puts this down to fierce competition he says: “There is no such thing as a ‘successful blog’ now. There are only ‘successful blog posts’. We are no longer in the albums era, where people will read everything you post, fed to them through RSS and email. Instead, we are in the singles era, where the key is to create the definitive post on a particular topic, enabling it to break out from your historical traffic and sharing norms.”

Blog styles:

Three quarters of bloggers write posts under 1000 words, many capping them at 900 words. The vast majority of bloggers use visual images with their posts as pictures keep readers engaged. The multiple-image format is gaining popularity as bloggers try to avoid sending readers down into a desert of text. Although video is visual it’s expensive to create and is on the decline. But audio is easier, and it’s becoming more common in posts, rising along with the trend in podcasting. Content marketing expert Ann Handley says: Listicle and click-bait articles are so 2014. What that means is that we’ll see more valuable, relevant, higher-quality, substantive material. To thrive in an over-saturated 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.”

Frequency of publishing:

More than half (53%) of the bloggers questioned post blogs once a week. Only 6% publish a daily blog. But there is a significant number that admit to publishing less than once a month or very irregularly. The Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi says: “The goal is to create the maximum amount of impact with the least amount of content. The goal is never “more content”, it’s always, “how much content do we need for a behaviour change?” Depending on the topic or platform, this sometimes means multiple times a day or week, fitting for news platforms. Some organizations publish less if that post is extremely valuable and compelling as well as consistently delivered.”

Promoting posts:

The majority of bloggers (93%) use social channels to promote their posts but they are also increasingly varying their approach using email, influencer marketing, search optimization and paid services too. The harder it has become to generate an organic reach on sites like Facebook the more brands are paying to boost their posts across a range of channels. Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative says: “When TV promoters want to capture a larger audience they use radio, print and outdoor advertising. When you realize your blog is a channel (or program), you do the same: you build interest and intrigue across a wide media spectrum.”

Analytics

Almost all bloggers (95%) have access to analytics and more than half (55%) check their analytics regularly. Many bloggers (54%) are measuring the performance of every piece of content and are becoming more rigorous in the way they work. Mike Allton, from The Social Media Hat says: “I check my overall blog traffic two to three times per day so that, on a particularly poor day, I can have the opportunity to do something to impact that. That might just be an extra share of an article to social media, or perhaps the creation of a new image for an old article. Or even writing and publishing a new blog post. On a weekly and monthly basis, I look at referral traffic and pages visited. Then I look for trends and opportunities for optimization (or issues to correct).”

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