Hello and welcome back to another episode of The Defiant Business Podcast. We’re in season 3, in which we’re talking about the future of marketing. And today is episode 10: Should You Still be Blogging in 2020? My name is Ruthie, and I’m your host. I’m also the owner of the Defy The Status Quo content marketing agency. We work with B2B consulting firms and professional service companies.
People are typing some of the following search phrases into Google lately:
- Is blogging dead?
- Is it worth it to start blogging now?
- Did video kill blogging?
- Is blogging still relevant in 2020?
- Should I still blog in 2020?
Considering my company is pretty much built around content, I have to say “Yes, you should still be blogging!” But if you listen to any of my other episodes, you know that I can back it up with a good reason, some stats, my personal experience implementing these same strategies for my clients, as well as the success they’re seeing.
Here’s the episode:
Blogging Is Alive and Well
One of the numbers that really stands out is that, according to HubSpot, internet users spend 3 times more time on blogs than they do on email. When you go to your email, you’re not going to your email to do some leisurely reading, you’re going to check it.
The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more index pages. Those are all also from HubSpot.
When you go beyond the About page, your Services page, and any other pages that you might have as the basis for your company, there’s only so many of those you can make. The blog gives you an opportunity to talk about more things that your ideal customer wants to hear about. This is why you need to build out your B2B buyer personas. When you go through that market research tactic, you learn a lot about your audience.
Need help with your blogging strategy? Check out our Blogging for Business Toolkit and get all of the templates and checklists we use for clients.
Part of Inbound Marketing
Blogging is part of inbound marketing. Inbound leads from search engines cost 62% less per lead than outbound marketing.
When you think about it, if you write your own blog posts, then your cost-per-lead would be more measured in time. How long did you take on that blog post? How many leads were you able to generate?
Identify Your Short Term Goals
If you aren’t seeing these results from your content, hold on before you go rake your freelance/content writer on your team over the coals. It can take a 1-2 years to really start gaining steam with content marketing. In the meantime, you can use content marketing to achieve your short term goals.
But you’re not going to be able to meet the long term goals, like generating search engine traffic, for a while. So don’t go firing anybody just yet!
The Lowest-Cost Way to Create Content
So, is blogging dead? No, definitely not. Blogging is still the lowest cost way that companies have of creating content. When you compare it to creating video or making a podcast, these things cost more money and more time.
Test Your Content Ideas Before Investing
A nice social media post is really the perfect way to test your content ideas before investing in those more costly forms of content.
One of the ways I test content ideas, I will write a LinkedIn post about it. LinkedIn gives you 1300 characters, which is more than enough for me to talk.
If I start trending on some of my target hashtags on LinkedIn, then I’m like, “Hey, I should probably do a blog post about this!” And I’m connected with my ideal audience on LinkedIn. Because they appreciate my social media posts, I should turn it into a blog post.
I can’t tell you how many blog posts I have on my Trello board that link to a past LinkedIn post. That way I know what to reference. Then, if I do the blog post and it does really well, then I may take it to the next step and repurpose it as a video. Because I know it performed well as a social media post and it performed well as a blog post, it’s also going to perform well as a video.
Be Reluctant to Lock Yourself in
The average writer says they take about 3 and a half hours to write a blog post, but I think that really depends on what you’re writing about, how much knowledge you have on it, and how long your post is.
It might take 4-5 hours to write a 2000-word blog post. And yes, some blog posts need to be 2000 words. That’s why I struggle when I see other freelance writers say, “Oh yeah, I write blog posts that are 900 words.” But what if the client needs more than that? It’s harder to write a 2000-word blog post than it is to write a 900-word blog post.
So I’m reluctant to lock myself in, and I think other writers should be reluctant to lock themselves in, in terms of saying, “Oh, my fee for blog posts is $XXX.” Prospects like to reverse-engineer that, and think that they’ve come up with your per-word rate.
Start Doing SEO Research
So it’s not that blogging is dead, it’s just that the easy blogging period is over. The era of easily ranking for important keywords has been dead for a long time.
We are into the era of sophisticated blogging and honestly, you shouldn’t blog without doing SEO research, unless you’re doing a brand-type focus post, a company culture post, or something like that.
This is because you have to remember that Google cares about its users. It doesn’t care about you, except when you’re a user. SEO is how you communicate to Google, and any other search engine, that you are what their audience is looking for.
And thankfully SEO has become more advanced. Even though it makes it technically harder, it also means that it’s harder for the people who are just doing black hat SEO, keyword stuffing, and low-quality posts. Google is evolving the search engine optimization algorithm, so great writers, great content creators, and knowledgeable people actually rank.
Yes, you have to try harder. But the harder we have to try, the less people are going to actually try more. People are going to fall off the train of actually trying, and that means there’s more room for the people who keep going to succeed.
If You’re Not on the First Page…
SEO research and competitive analysis will actually tell you certain things about how your future blog posts should look for a decent measure of success. And if you’re not on the first search page, then you’re rarely getting clicks.
Think about how often you click to the second page of the search results. Almost never, right? Unless you’re that one unique person who is just waiting to hear that, so you can message me and be like, “I look at the second page all the time!” Which is fine, but the vast majority of people do not. That’s just a statistical fact.
So you need to understand that more isn’t better. You have to get specific with your blog and search engine optimization. SEO research and your competitive analysis will help you do that. You need to get specific with your audience.
Think About Your Target Audience
You don’t want to get 1,000,000 monthly site views if the value of those site views is low. There are people who are never going to buy from you. You’re attracting the wrong types of people.
Let’s say your goal is to attract professional people who work in consulting firms, they’re somewhere between 30-50 years old, and they’re the type of person who wears a suit whenever they go meet their clients. But a lot of women in their 20s-30s who stay at home are the ones who are coming to your website… You’re obviously writing in such a way that it’s targeting the complete wrong audience.
There’s nothing wrong with 20-30 year old women who stay at home with their kids, but if they’re not your target audience, then there’s something wrong with that. Be sure you write your content for your buyer personas.
Get Info From Your Prospects
So it’s also becoming more important to understand what metrics are required to prove blogging success. If you have a sales team, it can help to have your sales reps ask your prospects where they heard about your company. If you’re the one and only star of your show, then you should ask that when you talk to prospects.
Repurposing Your Blog Posts
Blogging for search traffic isn’t the only way to use blog content; you can also repurpose your content into other forms. Go from blog post to a video, or from a blog post to social media.
If this is a blog post, SEO research has shown you that this is a topic you should write about. You could take a blog post and turn it into 3-5 social media posts. Now you’ve got content that you can post for the next week or so.
You can also use it for your email marketing!
Address Your Most Common Questions
You can ask your sales team about the most common questions they receive, and write blog posts about those, which also helps your sales team. They can contribute to it. You help bring in your sales team, and give them a stake in the marketing, and it also shows that you’re listening.
That alone could improve the relationship between your marketing and sales team. In a lot of companies, marketing and sales don’t always get along.
Metrics Tell a Story
Try not to focus on any one metric in isolation. People like to say that page views are a vanity metric. It isn’t when it’s viewed in context with other metrics. Metrics tell a story.
This is why you need to think like a content analyst; you need to be able to understand what the metrics are telling you. What is the story? For example, maybe you get a ton of page views, but no one signs up for the downloadable/gated content piece you have.
Let’s say you wrote a blog post titled “How to Write a Blog Post.” You get a ton of traffic on it, but your gated piece is “How to Hire Freelance Writers.” Well, if nobody’s downloading that, it doesn’t mean that the page views are a vanity metric. It doesn’t mean that they’re worthless. It means that you’re ignoring their message. It means that your gated content isn’t converting, for one reason or another.
It could be that the image doesn’t look right, or the title that you chose isn’t compelling. It doesn’t make people click on it. It could be that there’s something wrong with your blog, so they’re not interested in your gated content. Maybe you’ve got some typos, or maybe your blog posts sounds like everybody else’s blog posts. It could also be that you’re attracting the wrong type of views. You see, page views aren’t a vanity metric.
There isn’t any one metric that you should necessarily ignore. You need to collect that data. You need to understand that the metrics tell you a story. There are no vanity metrics. There may be metrics that aren’t useful for your purpose, but they all contribute to the story.
All right. So I could probably go on forever about blogging and metrics because that’s what I love. I’m sure my clients probably hear a little bit too much, but I’m also sure they appreciate it. I hope they appreciate it.
Get our Blogging for Business Toolkit and take the mystery out of your blogging approach.
Is blogging dead in 2020? No!
This has been another episode of The Defiant Business Podcast. Remember, we are right in the middle of season 3: The Future of Marketing. I’m just trying to cover everything that I could think of, and that is how I plotted out the topics for this season.
So if you’ve enjoyed this episode, and you haven’t listened to the previous ones, go ahead and click play! They’re all short. If you’re ready for the next episode, it’ll be out tomorrow or the next business day. Have a wonderful day and make awesome, great content.