From blogging effectiveness to ‘Kevin the Carrot’ – content marketing trends

Is blogging effectiveness increasing? Now we know for sure!

Blogging effectiveness continued to increase throughout 2017, according to new research from Orbit Media Studios.Blogging effectiveness

On release, Orbit co-founder Andy Crestodina proudly proclaimed:

“Bloggers are reporting stronger results from content marketing… The vast majority of bloggers are seeing rewards from their efforts and meeting their goals, whatever they might be.”

And, the stats back this up. 84% of the 1,000+ business bloggers agreed that their blogs delivered either ‘strong’, or at least ‘some’ results. This represents a 6% increase on 2016.

So, what’s been changing over the last few years to increase blogging effectiveness and make them such a potent promotional force? Let’s dig down a little deeper:

Bloggers are dedicating more time

Average blog writing time has gone up by almost one hour since 2014, reaching three hours and twenty minutes.

The proportion of bloggers spending less than two hours per post has fallen dramatically. Meanwhile, 49% of those investing six or more hours per post reported strong results.

Blog posts are getting longer

Six times more bloggers are writing 2,000+ word posts than in 2014, while just half as many are compiling pieces with 500 words or less. The average blog post length is now a hefty 1,142 words.

Companies who’ve been willing to take a punt on longer-form pieces have witnessed far more impressive results, demonstrating just how integral post length is to overall blogging effectiveness.

Bloggers are publishing more often

Of the increased share of bloggers who post at least once per day, 67% said they’d been getting strong results. This correlation between blog frequency and results was mirrored across the spectrum of options.

Despite this, most bloggers were found to post fewer than one blog post per week on average. So, if you’re looking to nudge ahead of the competition, here’s your opportunity!

Bloggers and editors have become BFFs (…finally)

Twice as many bloggers now work with editors, compared to 2014. And, according to the study, if you’ve got a strong editorial process in place, you’re 43% more likely to report strong results.

*Infographic courtesy of HubSpot

Now you know more about blogging effectiveness and the approach it takes to make your efforts work, you can go all-in on blogging in 2018 with absolute confidence in the potential payback.

The death of content marketing trends

No, we’re not cancelling our weekly blast of everything content marketing!

And we simply can’t agree with a number of the points raised in a recent post from Business2Community, which set out to list the content marketing trends that could die out in 2018.

Let’s be clear here; Business2Community is fantastic repository of content marketing insight and information. It’s just that the predictions in this particular post seem a little wide of the mark.

You can read the article for yourself and draw your own conclusions. But, we’ve decided to paraphrase the points we’d like to dispute and provide our feedback here:

1) White papers and eBooks will become shorter and less important

Most influential research from 2017 suggested the opposite, with white papers in particular enjoying something of a renaissance.

The Business2Community post argues that the succinct, instantaneous nature of social media will sound the death knell for these types of long-form content.

But, this ignores the many ways original data gathered for a white paper can be re-packaged and re-purposed, often to drive authority towards the main document as a central hub.

This argument also glosses over B2B buyers, who are typically averse to snap decisions. Instead, they’d rather immerse themselves in weighty, authoritative digi-tomes that understand their plight and explain how to solve it in detail.

2) Marketers should reduce automation to increase personalisation

How do you shun technology that’s yet to even really make its mark? Ludd’s famous followers might be the only folks who can answer that one for you.

Yes, we agree that all types of content should appeal to individual tastes as far as possible. We also agree that, for example, “Hey, [first name]” is a redundant approach to email marketing.

And, yes, we’ve read articles describing how AI could eventually take our jobs (though, thankfully, content marketers are quite far down on the list).

But, this post assumes that automation can only replace, and not inform personalisation.

Adding a personal touch requires data; reams and reams of data. Who’s going to process all that to draw actionable conclusions and customer persona insights?

This isn’t something the average content writer has time for. It’s something automated software is practically created for, however. So, rather than ignoring automation, you should be looking for ways to make it work for you.

3) Bloggers should post less often to increase visitor numbers

We’ll keep this one short and sweet.

If your blogs are genuinely informative, relevant and original, no one will be counting how many you publish and marking you down for sheer volume.

There is, however, a correlation (as alluded to in the headline story) between brands who blog regularly (multiple times each week – or, even each day) and those whose content strategy performs best.

We still love you, Business2Community. And, a difference of opinion is healthy. We just couldn’t resist setting the record straight on this one, though.

Spotted in the news…

Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ ad has pipped John Lewis’ ‘Moz the Monster’ to the title of most popular Christmas ad of the 2017 festive season.

The former told the hilarious story of Kevin – the erstwhile snowman’s nose who escapes on a midnight express train. The latter was a schmaltzy re-telling of the ‘monster under the bed’ trope, but *spoiler alert* this time they both become firm friends.

This shock result implies two things for content marketers. First, that combining emotions (in this case humour and sentimentality) is more potent than playing off one feeling alone. And, second, that finely attuned creative endeavour easily trumps available funds when it comes to marketing your brand.