Updated: Jan 31
The Year of Blogging Responsibly
It’s a new decade – and, thanks to changes in technology (plus recent worldwide developments like COVID-19) 2020 is shaping up to be drastically different from any year before. However, here on the internet one thing hasn’t changed: blogging is still essential to marketing.
Each month, about 70 million new blogs are published on WordPress-based sites alone. And these posts aren’t going unread; according to WordPress, over 409 million people read over 20 billion pages each month! There are also great financial benefits to using blogs in your content marketing. According to Demand Metric, content marketing like blogs and social media posts are 62% cheaper than traditional marketing methods. The vast number of eyeballs surfing the web (which is even greater, now that we’re all in quarantine) gives you ample opportunity to promote your company through blogging – if you blog responsibly.
Focus on Topic Clusters
Much like content marketing in 2019, bloggers in 2020 should focus on connecting readers with bloggers more intimately than in previous years. This year, you should continue working on the voice and tone of your material, but you should also strive to provide more substance to your readers overall.
What’s the easiest way to do this? Topic clusters. This is a collection of interlinked articles all focused around one subject (ideally, a subject in your industry or niche). If you arrange these links on one “pillar page,” your readers will be able to find all the info they need on one specific subject – and they won’t ever have to leave your website! This content strategy is a great way to provide your readers with the most useful information in a quick and easy fashion.
Blog (and Link) Responsibly
While topic clusters allow you to create more original content on a subject, it’s also important for your business (and your blog) to cultivate relationships with other brands. One great way to do this is through links. Directing traffic to brands you like and support can help your audience get a better feeling for your company values, and you might just get some new viewers when partner brands link to you!
However, it’s important to choose the brands you link with carefully. Social responsibility remains as present in blogging as it is anywhere else in business, and it’s vital for any blogs future. The companies you choose to endorse reflect your own corporate culture, and they can have a positive or negative effect on your brand identity.
Social responsibility must go above and beyond one blog post. Your brand should radiate an element of social responsibility that resonates with your audience, from the copy you write to the brands you recommend.
Longform Content Reigns Supreme
If you’ve spent any time blogging for your business over the years, you’ve probably heard lots of differing views on how long your content should be. Some say that longform pieces (anything over 1,000 words) are more valuable to a reader than short, snappy posts. Others say that the average human doesn’t have time for long, wordy blogs – and the fact that the average reader spends only 37 seconds reading blog content seems to back that up.
So, should you slave away on a perfectly-written long blog, just to have your readers skim it and move on? Actually, yes! Research suggests that the ideal length for a blog post is between 2,250 and 2,500 words. This gives you plenty of time to deliver valuable information or content and connect with your audience in an authentic way.
Even if you don’t have time to write a 2,500-word screed, do your best to incorporate longer pieces into your blog. If you need a little more incentive, just remember this: the top ranking content on Google is typically AT LEAST 1,140 words!
Mix Up Your Medium
Bloggers already know that they must actively self-promote across all forms of social media. This is because different social media platforms deliver different things: Instagram is for people who want beautiful photo content; Tik Tok is for short form, amateur-style video content; podcasts are for unfiltered conversational content; and so on.
But social media isn’t the only place where you can mix things up. Don’t restrict your storytelling to text! 2020 is the perfect year to incorporate different media into your blogging and find new ways to interact with your audience.
Today’s audiences want video content, photos, GIFs, and much more from the brands they use. According to Hubspot, blog posts who include photos every 75-100 words get twice as many shares as those that don’t. If you mix up your blogs with these other forms of content, you improve your changes to connect with your readers AND increase your potential for virality!
Consistency is Key
Bloggers begin with a firm conviction about the material that they want to deliver and often can work closely with that vision for a few months or even a year. They deliver posts on a regular schedule, consistently develop unique and engaging content, and generally create a fun, relatable brand identity that their audience enjoys.
Unfortunately, as bloggers (and other creators, for that matter) get a larger audience over time, burnout tends to loom large over their heads. When you’re managing a business, maintaining a blog, and simply living your daily life, you’re bound to tire out eventually. What happens when you do?
Often, the first thing to go is the schedule. This CANNOT HAPPEN if you want your blog to be successful! Unlike vloggers and social media personalities, bloggers rely on long-term growth for a consistent revenue. The best way to keep growing is to keep posting. Does this mean you need to be uploading content every single day? No – in fact, that’s a great way to burn out even faster. Instead, create a schedule that’s frequent yet manageable; for example, about 44% of bloggers post three to six times a month. If you dedicate your valuable time to creating consistent, quality content, your audience will appreciate the effort and are more likely to stick around.
Bloggers in 2020 have more opportunities than ever before to reach a wide audience of interested readers. Your blog is a fantastic conduit for touching the lives of many – but once you earn that trust from your audience, acting in a responsible way is the only way to keep it.