Modernising Blogging for 2020
Cast your mind back to a time when the hit show Friends was only on season 3 and the first book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling was published. Did you guess the year? It’s 1997 the year that the term “weblog” was coined. The word’s creation has been attributed to Jorn Barger and was created to reflect the process of “logging the web”. And so, the term blog was born. By 1999 there were 23 blogs on the internet. Today there are over 500 million blogs in existence around the world!
As you can see the blogging landscape is much changed in those 20 years. In this article, Moondust will look at how brands must modernise their approach to blogging in line with today’s demands. Let’s take a fresh look at modernising blogging for 2020.
Blogging – The Stats
Let’s first answer the question Is blogging still relevant? The short answer is yes. It’s still very relevant… when it’s done properly. Here are some 2019 blogging stats you need to see.
· Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website
· 57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through blogging
· Companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages
· 409 million readers view more than 22.2 billion blog posts overall each month.
· Blogs increase website traffic by up to 6x.
Blogging is undoubtedly effective, but times have changed and simply having a blog isn’t enough. Let’s look at some of the facelifts you can give your blog.
#1 Challenge – People in 2019 Don’t Have Time
We’re busier than ever before so the days of leisurely browsing a long blog are probably gone. Back in 1999 uploading a long blog to share your thoughts was commonplace. Today, our readers expect us to get to the point and fast. In fact, 55% of readers spend just 15 seconds going through an article. That doesn’t mean your readers don’t want to read your blog, it simply means you need to present it in a 2020 friendly way.
Presenting content with meaningful subheadings allows readers to jump to the parts that interest them quickly. You should also break up content with stats, bullet points and takeaways that jump out. Don’t try to force your readers to consume large blocks of content because they simply won’t. Add colourful images, screenshots and infographics to draw the eye. Additionally, large blogs or news centres should be structured in a UX friendly way with all content tagged, labelled and categorised neatly.
Check out Revolut’s blog. The modern finance brand adds emojis, gifs and memes to its blog to emphasise key points and make reading lighter. The brand also employs a light and sometimes humourous style to keep eyes on the page.
#2 Challenge – Readers Prefer Visuals and Video
70% of marketers report that content incorporating visual and video assets performed better than those without. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, our brains are programmed to understand information better when presented in picture or video format. This is especially true for more complex subjects. Secondly, readers are more likely to share content that has images and videos as opposed to content without. Does this mean you don’t need content? Nope. You still need great content, but you need to incorporate high quality visual elements. 81% of marketers claim video is still the hardest type of content to produce so how can you do it?
Many startups and smaller brands are intimidated when we mention graphics and video believing it to be complex and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Blog images can consist of company photos, simple infographics and embedded videos from your social media channels. Went live on Facebook? Embed it into your blog. Published an animated YouTube explainer? Incorporate it into your text. In fact, 2020 will see smart marketers repurposing content for multichannel marketing, including their blog.
The team at Moz publishes short informational videos in which they break down topics related to search marketing. These videos are a part of their “Whiteboard Friday” series and have become a staple of the brand. Every time they publish a new Whiteboard Friday video, they also put together a blog post, complete with video transcriptions, to give their audience another way to consume the content. This can be filmed on a good smartphone without the need for a professional video production crew.
#3 Challenge – Social Media Has More Power Than Blogging
Let’s tell it like it is. Social media has more users than your blog ever will, unless your website is in the top 10 around the world like Amazon, Netflix or Wikipedia. Eight to ten years ago, blogs were the primary point of communication between individuals and companies but now that’s not the case. If an internet user wants to contact you they will probably do so on social media where they can expect a fast response time (hopefully). With the advent of social media and social networking, blogs have become just one portion of an individual’s online persona.
This is where a good marketing strategy comes into play. Your blog can amplify your social media channels and vice versa. Firstly, you should ensure that you have social sharing buttons on your blog. Yes, it sounds basic but there are still hundreds of thousands of websites that haven’t activated them. And while we’re talking about social sharing. You should ensure that each blog is correctly uloaded with metatags and social sharing images. If this is incomplete, anyone sharing will simply see a link with no thumbnail or description. You can embed additional social sharing with tools like click to tweet. CTT will allow readers to easily share snippets of your blog to social media. And the best part is, they link back to your blog!
And it’s not all about Facebook anymore. Pinterest is a rampantly growing content marketing platform it can really help to maximise your blog traffic. In fact, each pin on Pinterest drives 2 site visits and 6 page view and is worth around 78 cents in sales.
Lastly, share your best blogs on social media more than once. Social media is fast moving so sharing a blog article once is not enough. In fact, there are 5787 tweets every single second! Aim to reshare the same piece numerous times using a different image and alternative snippets of text. This will maximise your web visitors. Use social media sites like Quora and Facebook polls to gain insights and sentiments from your readers which can then form future blog posts.
Buzzfeed nails the content/social media balance by providing interactive content in the form of quizzes. Not only do the quizzes engage their target audience keeping them onsite longer, they also share sweetly to social media. And thanks to social proof, you can be sure that this will create a ripple effect. After all, we all want to check which Disney Princess we are don’t we? And of course, we want everyone else to know too.
#4 Challenge – There’s So Much Competition
Yes, there is. Unless you’re in a super niche sector, you will know that competition is fierce. Brands are battling to get more blog clicks, social media likes and ultimately conversions, than ever before. But with 71% of buyers/readers saying they are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch how can you get those blog hits?
It’s essential to get back to basics and address the key demands of your target audience. What questions do your target audience have? What interests them? How can you solve their problems/ entertain them/ interest them? Only 39% of content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy and this is an epic fail for 2020. And here’s another one. When asked if they’re tracking their content marketing ROI, 51% of marketers either said “no” or “unsure.” So, your blog must be well researched, and you must be tracking your audience’s responses. Producing original content and addressing key consumer needs are crucial for beating off competition and winning business.
There are plenty of blogs stealing the show by offering useful content that helps their readers. Check out Pretty Handy Girl who provides a neatly organised blog answering reader questions and common FAQs. By answering questions and providing easy to follow instructions, the blog also endears itself to promoting products and enhancing its sales.
Not to mention the easy, user friendly structure of the blogs themselves which combine lists, videos, images and social media links: