I’ve contributed a number of times and have always keen to see the results as Andy’s report provides a solid ‘pulse’ of the blogging fraternity globally.
Okay. 2017, what say you? Here are the findings from Andy’s survey that caught my eye:
BLOGGERS SPEND MORE TIME WRITING ARTICLES
In 2014, bloggers on average spent two hours and 24 minutes to write a post; in 2017, that figure had jumped by nearly an hour, or close to 40 per cent more time spent on a typical blog post than three years previously.
According to Andy’s survey: “Three years ago, 1 in 20 bloggers spent 6+ hours on a typical blog post. Today that number is 1 in 8.”
INSIGHT: Quality beats quantity (especially today). Competition for people’s attention is fierce. Serious bloggers realise the bar has been raised in the quality stakes and, accordingly, are spending more time researching and/or crafting their articles.
BLOGGERS ARE POSTING LESS
As a consequence of spending more time writing articles, bloggers are posting less.
As you can see from the graph below, those posting 2-6 times a week has dropped from close to 30 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent now. This drop has corresponded with growth in the number of bloggers who are publishing monthly, or several times per month.
INSIGHT: The percentage of bloggers posting weekly has remained pretty static, with no appreciable difference between 2014 and 2017. Could this be the sweet spot?
FREQUENCY DETERMINES SUCCESS
There has always been a school of thought that the more you publish, the more successful you’ll be with your blog.
To a degree, this theory is a throwback from the earlier days of blogging when a small number of ‘power bloggers’ who published frequently built up sizeable profiles for themselves.
While today quality is more important than ever before, there’s no doubt, according to these figures, that frequency plays a key role in a blogger’s success.
INSIGHT: While it’s more anecdotal than hardcore fact, I would say those bloggers who publish frequently and report “strong results” – as per the graph below – are serious about their craft. They probably have a strong sense of purpose and potentially are guided by a content strategy of sorts. They would know their audience fairly well and the articles they produce are probably above-average because of sheer practice they’ve had writing. I would also hazard a guess and say they are quite good at amplifying their content through social media, influencer relations, search engine optimisation and the email subscriber list they’ve no doubt built up..
THERE’S MARKETING VALUE IN BLOGGING
How long should my blog post be?
This is a question I get asked a lot. My answer has always been: “Depends. Whatever the subject you’re writing on deserves.”
Some bloggers – Seth Godin, for example – write short and sharp posts that pack a punch.
Others, such as Neil Patel, write mammoth in-depth articles that provide huge value for the reader.
With that in mind, according to Andy’s survey, the trend towards writing longer-form blog posts is certainly a thing.
As you can see from the graph below, since 2014 there has been a big drop in bloggers posting 500-1000 word articles (this has typically been the ‘bullseye’ length for many a blogger). This drop has corresponded with increases in the 1000-1500, 1500-2000 and 2000+ word ranges. This trend certainly correlates with my blogging efforts.
INSIGHT: Again, this appears consistent with a couple of other themes uncovered by the survey: (a) bloggers are publishing less content, but (b) are spending more time on their posts. This says to me bloggers are going more in-depth in a bid to provide a quality experience for their readers.
Now, we know that longer doesn’t always mean better, but there’s no doubt in my mind that serious bloggers are reallocating their efforts in smarter and more strategic ways.
THERE’S MARKETING VALUE IN BLOGGING
Blogging delivers results, according to Andy’s survey, with some 84 per cent of respondents claiming their blog delivers ‘strong’ or ‘some’ results.
Of course, blogging is not just about blogging these days!
Producing a solid blog year in, year out requires commitment and the right mindset to dig in for the long term. Any savvy blogger who has built up a sizeable following will tell you the cornerstone of success is publishing quality content, for a defined audience, on a consistent basis.
But that’s only half the story.
The other half revolves around:
- connecting with audiences and building a community of fans and advocates around your blog
- becoming smarter and more proactive in promoting your work through influencers, SEO, guest posting and social media … plus …
- investing in paid promotion – this is an activity that jumped dramatically this year from 14.5 per cent to 20.6 per cent in 12 months, acknowledgement by the blogosphere that you need to spend cold hard cash to get ahead in this blogging caper.