Bloggers, are you riding these prevailing trends?

Many writers and marketers have pivoted to a ‘less is more’ approach, focusing on quality over quantity, a survey finds. Paid promotion, strong visuals and professional editing are crucial, too.

Blogging has long been the crown jewel of content marketing.

According to new research from Orbit Media, blogs still boost website traffic, SEO, public relations­ and marketing, but blog strategy is evolving.

Nearly 1,400 bloggers filled out the survey, which asked the 11 questions below:

  • How long does it take to write a blog post?

Today, the average post takes three hours and 20 minutes to craft, a 39 percent increase since Orbit’s first blogging survey in 2014. Those who reported spending more than six hours on a typical post said they enjoyed “strong results.” To wit, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs said:

The bigger themes here are two. One: Quality matters. And two: We don’t need more content. We need more relevant content. Good writing takes time. Crafting relevance for your audience takes time. Inspired content takes time.

  • How frequently do bloggers publish?

Daily blogging is down, with most writers now shooting for “several posts per month.” Those who do publish frequently, however, report “strong results.”

  • Are bloggers using editors?

About half of all bloggers edit their own work, which is risky. According to the survey, “Bloggers who use editors are 43 percent more likely to report ‘strong results.'”

As Copyblogger chief Brian Clark states in the report:

In short, it’s in the editing that good content becomes excellent. It can be tough to objectively edit your own writing, plus an outside perspective can help your work go to the next level. If you’re serious about making a living with your content, you should aim to work with an editor as soon as it’s feasible.

  • Where and when do bloggers write?

“Everywhere and all the time,” as the report says.

  • How long is your typical blog post?

The average post is now 1,142 words. Bloggers are shooting for denser, more fleshed-out pieces packed with data and helpful hints.

Longer is not better per se, and flabby writing is always a liability, but beefier posts tend to show better ROI.

  • What do bloggers include in their content?

Visuals, of course. Audio content seems to be surging as well. Lists are still content catnip, too.

  • Is guest posting still a popular practice?

Yes, but is it an effective strategy? That depends on your goals. According to Aaron Orendorff:

Guest posting has never helped drive traffic to my site, build my email list, or sell products. However, guest posting did help build my career as a freelance writer. This happens in two ways. First, authority. Few things engender social proof—and thereby open the door to new clients at higher rates—[better] than a big, beautiful logo bar. Second, SEO.

  • Are bloggers updating older articles?

The survey found that 55 percent of bloggers repurpose and resurrect old content—and with impressive results. The report states: “Bloggers who update older content are 74 percent more likely to report strong results.”

  • How is your content typically promoted?

Orbit Media notes a dramatic spike in “paid promotion” tactics to complement social media efforts, email marketing and partnering with influencers.

  • How often do bloggers check analytics?

Forty-two percent of bloggers rarely or never check analytics.

  • Are bloggers driving results?

The bloggers surveyed sure seem to think so. More than 30 percent of respondents said their blog is delivering “strong marketing results.”

There’s a lot to chew on here. Blogging can bear much marketing fruit, but it requires serious investment, commitment and strategy. Read more about Orbit Media’s research here to see how your blog measures up.

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