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Can you smell the fear? (It’s report card time for your content)

Posted by Dan Hatch on 23rd October , 2019 in The Write Fit
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Do report cards still smell how they used to smell? No other paper ever smelt like that. Did the Education Department dip them in fear or something?

I ask because it’s report card day for content marketing. In the past week, two big reports have been released and they offer fascinating and vitally important insights into how we are all doing.

How will your content measure up?

(There it is. Did you smell it: that report card smell?)

Let’s have a look at some of the key take-outs. Firstly, from Orbit Media’s 2019 Annual Blogging Survey.

Some new blogging benchmarks

The first thing to note is blog posts are getting longer (and it’s taking longer to write them).

  • The average blog post takes 3 hours and 57 minutes to write (up 65% from 2014)
  • The average blog post is 1,236 words long (56% longer than in 2014).

But it doesn’t stop there.

  • The bloggers who reported strong results on their blog posts are investing more than six hours in a post
  • Bloggers who reported strong results were typically writing blog posts longer than 2000 words
  • The bloggers with the strongest results are publishing daily.

(Presumably that leaves them with about two working hours to do everything else.)

So, what are they publishing?

Chart showing what kind of content people are publishing

What’s the take-out? The most successful bloggers are publishing long-form guides, ebooks and original research.

These are just a few of the findings from the Orbit Media report. If you’re using content marketing for your business, I highly recommend finding 20 minutes in your day to read it. It might be time to tinker with your strategy if you haven’t revisited it for a few years.

The grandpappy of all B2B content marketing reports

The other big report to come up this week is the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report (North America).

As the name implies, this is a survey of B2B content marketing activity in North America. Maybe that’s you; maybe it isn’t. Either way, the report provides some interesting insights we can all consider in the context of general trends and our own businesses.

For example, these are the highest-performing forms of content for each of these four business goals, according to respondents.

Chart showing the highest performing content for various business goals

The report is a whopper, so there’s far too much to go into here, but I had to share this tidbit.

The top three organic (read: free) distribution channels that respondents are using are:

  • Social media (91%)
  • Their own website/blog (89%)
  • Email (87%).

But do you want to know what the top-performing respondents are also doing?

  • Speaking and events (70%)
  • Guest posts and articles in third-party publications (63%)
  • Media and influencer relations (46%).

I thought that was fascinating because it demonstrates that success in content marketing is not just about your content. It’s also about how you leverage the reputation it gives you.

If you’ve got some time, have a dig around in those reports. There’s some fascinating data in there.

Sincerely yours,
Dan Hatch
23 October 2019


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