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3 Trends in Blogging That You Need to Know About

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It seems the only problem with content is the ample competition, which can make it difficult for new bloggers to become established in their niche markets. Online readers have been jaded by reams of SEO-laden and generally crummy content. Consequently, viewers will approach your website with one eyebrow raised, skeptically assessing the quality of your content.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that content, as a digital marketing technique, has moved past its adolescence. If you’re worried that content is going out-of-style like a pair of skinny jeans, consider what the latest Content Marketing Institute article has to say:

  • 80 percent of B2B and 75 percent of B2C marketers are using blogging in 2017
  • More than 50 percent agree that blogging will be their top tactic for driving success this year.

So yes, content has certainly passed adolescence—and entered cynical adulthood. For your content to be successful, you need to write high-quality posts on smart topics that appeal to the right audience.

Using a snarky tone has become a favorite for digital content writers, but while a popular style, it may not be right for your readers. This is why it’s imperative to make sure your content is written to fit your audience. As a general rule of thumb, think young, fresh and independent for millennials, and mature and thoughtful for the c-suite.

So, as we go deeper into 2017, what can we expect for the future of blogging and content marketing? Below, we outline some of our own predictions. You can also read our related article on the importance of a blog in your B2B strategy

Content, Where Art Thou?

1. In 2017, thicker content is better content

Every year Orbit Media releases an annual blogger survey of around 1,000 prolific content producers.  The latest survey shows that blogging is increasingly time-consuming. On average, it takes three hours and 16 minutes to write a blog post. That’s 26 percent longer than last year. 

What can we extrapolate from this data? While more research needs to occur, we can guestimate that this uptick in the amount of time it takes to produce a blog means:

  • The content is longer. 500-word posts, while suitable for today’s short attention spans, seem to be less prevalent than they used to be. This is partially due to SEO, but really it’s more about content versus good content. We’re dealing with a more educated audience than ever before, so articles that go into more depth may mean more readers. In any case, the Orbit poll shows that content is increasing in length and bloggers who write more seem to get a better response.
  • No matter what topic or industry you’re writing in, the content market is pretty saturated. This means established bloggers are at higher risk of repeating themselves. Staying fresh after you’ve been doing the same thing for awhile can take longer—perhaps that’s why it’s taking more time for these bloggers to come up with content ideas.

According to Search Engine Land, in 2016, the blog posts that performed the best were around 2,000 words long. For the remainder of the year, keep your eyes peeled for more in-depth research and an increase in magazine-sized posts as bloggers shift from older shorter content models to 1,000 words and up.

2. Mixing it up means keeping readers interested

Bloggers are mixing visual content into their text to break up their longer posts. The Orbit Media survey showed that 15% of the bloggers surveyed are now including video and report positive results.
But that’s a pretty low usage number. In the remainder of 2017, watch these figures climb. Bloggers have started paying attention to the stats that marketers recognized last year—video content is attractive, digestible, and memorable.

Just check out these stats from HubSpot:

  • 87 percent of online marketers use video for a very effective impact
  • 92 percent of mobile users share video content
  • Adding video to a full-page ad boosts engagement by 22 percent

Bloggers will continue to learn from these traditions. Creating a longer, multi-media content site will engage readers in entirely new ways. It’s not just video, either. Infographics, photographs, podcasts—the sky is the limit when it comes to which graphics you can add to increase the emotional punch:

  • Charts and graphs or other data visualization tools
  • Pictures that illustrate comparisons (before/after – good/not so good)
  • Motivational quotes and “Tweetables”
  • Photographs
  • Podcasts
  • Memes
  • Maps
  • Infographics
  • How to’s
  • Screenshots
  • Stock photos
  • Icons or emojis
  • Change font size and colors to make it interesting

Four things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t forget to name your graphics file with the keyword you’re targeting.
  • Add your logo to original images and tag them. That way, if the graphics are shared, it points back to your good work.
  • Also, don’t forget to tag social media influencers as part of your post.
  • When you’re guest posting, make sure the graphics not only fit the content but the publisher’s site as well.

Now that your interest is piqued, here’s what you can expect by adding video, podcast, or another graphical element to your blog this year:

  • Text becomes more readable and suitable for today’s shorter attention spans.
  • A video or graphic can add an emotional impact to your words.
  • A video will increase your site engagement time, which doesn’t hurt SEO rankings a bit.
  • Graphical content is, of course, visually appealing.
  • It’s less expensive to create video now. Tools like Facebook Live have
    further opened up the medium

But… 

There’s always a “but,” right? Do not just start dropping in pretty graphics to break up your content. In the same way that you target your written topic, make sure your graphical content is geared toward your target audience. For example, consider:

  • How will the content enhance my article?
  • Does the graphical element stay true to my brand?
  • How will I measure before and after success after adding graphical elements to my blog?
  • What keywords will my graphic try to enforce?

So, while visuals should be used when possible, they must align with the story you are trying to tell. It’s no longer enough to just craft compelling content; you must also know the rules of good design. Fonts, colors, and the visual hierarchy are all important to the blog posts of the future.

3. To be successful, bloggers are going to have to rely more on predictive analytics

Traditional SEO is so 2008. When it comes to modern content, SEO is reactive. You must create content based on user search and Google trends.

Predictive analytics uses past data to predict future behaviors. In SEO, you can predict future keywords by analyzing past trends. For example, there’s a bump in searches just prior to and directly after an iPhone launch. You can use Google Trends to predict the next rise in search queries and then craft content that capitalizes on it.
The problem with dictating “quality” under search engine optimization rankings is that quality is too subjective for an algorithm-driven numbers game. So marketers are going to continue to focus less on keywords and click-through rates as a measure of good content. They’ll need to concentrate on engaging their audience, and that means understanding and staying one step ahead of them.

This makes total sense for bloggers who are struggling to engage readers with the right content. If bloggers follow this methodology they would:

  • Create an ideal customer profile or user persona.
  • Map predictable landmarks. For example, if you’re blogging about sports, you can create a pretty clear-cut content map based on playoffs. Same thing with politics.
  • Define who is converting and what content is driving their loyalty.
  • Target those customers by creating content and blog user experiences tailored to those customers.

An example of a buyer or reader persona

Bloggers should watch finish rates and time on site to track how users are engaging with the content. The cool content technique for 2017 should mimic the Netflix or Facebook feed by offering smart recommendations for content based on user preferences. If you have a library of content, imagine a website experience personalized to user preferences by topics.

Marketing firms have been using a whole slew of predictive analytics tools to drive sales. SEO Land says 82 percent of B2B companies use them and that number is increasing. As content fatigue continues to make audiences fickler than ever before, optimizing content will become increasingly important in 2017.

Final Thoughts on Keeping Your Blog Fresh in 2017

We’re not saying you have to jump through a bunch of crazy hula-hoops to keep your blog fresh over the next few years. What will keep (and grow) your audience is producing an interesting and active blog that’s relevant to the audience you’re targeting. While viewers have developed a level of sophistication with all the content in the digital ether these days, it doesn’t mean they’ve grown less hungry for information that they deem important. Finding the right market niche for a great blog will solve the fickle audience problem, create relationships with your readers that inspire their loyalty, and keep them coming back for more.

To manage your blog easily, utilize a quality content management software solution. Read our expert reviews to select a suitable system for your needs.

Category: B2B News

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