It’s a reality in today’s digital marketing environment: You must blog.
We’re called on to be prolific content creators. We’re called on to consistently produce and publish. What we aren’t called on to do? Create noise.
Still, there’s a lot of noise out there. So much so that it’s harder than ever to rise above it all and attract the people you need in your business.
But, there’s another angle to content marketing that’s not looked at as often: Sharing.
It’s commonly taught that word-of-mouth marketing is the cheapest form of marketing. In today’s social media dominant world, that word-of-mouth marketing is even more readily available.
Combine the two (content creation and word-of-mouth marketing) and you have a match made in heaven. You create. Your audience shares. It seems simple enough, but in today’s environment, you have to be extraordinary to get any shares. How do you do that? How do you blog better so you can get more people chatting about your business? Let’s dig in.
How Engaged is Your Audience?
Consider this: Access to the Internet is more prolific than ever before. With that increased access comes an influx of marketers trying to reach people who are logging in. That means more noise and more competition. And with all of that excess chatter online, your audience is underwhelmed with what’s online these days.
Need proof? Take a look at how much content brands are producing compared to how much people are sharing.
In this data from TrackMaven, you can see the steep decline in how often people are sharing information compared to how much is being created.
Although this data isn’t exactly encouraging, there is a glimmer of hope. People are still sharing content, and more importantly, consuming content. That means there’s an opportunity for you to blog well and earn more respect among your audience.
But what does blogging well look like?
What do you need to do to attract an audience?
TrackMaven recently asked these same questions and turned to data to find out. After analyzing 65,000 blog posts from a wide variety of industries and businesses, they came to a few conclusions. Here’s what they found and how it can help you be more successful in your 2017 content marketing.
The Sweet Spot for Word Counts
One of the biggest points of confusion in blogging is length. How long is too long? How long is long enough?
First, it’s important to note that there really is no rule in blogging. For example, two of the most successful bloggers have very different approaches to their blog lengths. Seth Godin is notoriously resourceful with his words while Neil Patel is notoriously long-winded with his blog posts. Both see tremendous engagement.
Still, there are some general rules to consider when it comes to getting people to share.
In the TrackMaven report, they found that blog posts with 1,200 to 1,400 words saw significantly more shares. The second most shared posts were longer than 1,400 words.
There are likely a few reasons for this.
- The more you write, the more value you tend to offer. There are more takeaways, which helps cast a wider net in terms of value. You can dig in deep on a specific subject, making it more worthwhile to share.
- The longer the post, the more engaged the reader has to be to get through it all. The more the reader spends time on your page, the more likely she is to find your information useful and thus, shareable.
- The more words you have, the easier it is to incorporate a few elements of optimization. That means you’re naturally able to inch your way up the search engine results positioning your business and blog posts in front of a hot audience.
Takeaway: Spend a little more time crafting your blog posts and you’ll see a bigger payoff in terms of shareability.
Fluff Doesn’t Lead to Followers
Okay, longer is better. You got that. But there’s another important consideration here: Longer, fluffier blog posts aren’t intriguing. Longer, valuable blog posts are.
The more fluff you add to your blog posts, the harder they are to read. Your audience can see right through your tricks and will lose interest before you get to the meat of the post.
Enter: The Flesch formula.
This is the formula that gauges readability. It’s also the formula that TrackMaven used to analyze those 65,000 blog posts to determine how readability impacted shareability. The answer lies high on a bell curve.
Readers want something valuable, which means they want something that’s well thought out. Oversimplifying your blog posts with fluff doesn’t deliver that value.
On the other hand, if you try to write a term paper on a subject, you’ll lose readers too. The more difficult it is to read your writing, the less likely it is that people will want to share it with their friends and followers.
Takeaway: Don’t fluff up your posts just to get to the sweet spot in the word counts. Add enough value to make your posts a worthwhile read, but focus more on how well you’re writing. The quality of the post matters more than the word counts.
How to Blog Better
Blogging better starts with awareness.
You have to be aware of the reality of the blogosphere today. The more brands are publishing, the less often consumers are sharing.
You have to be aware of the sweet spots. Word counts usually matter when it comes to getting your work shared.
But you also have to be aware of your writing abilities. If your blog posts aren’t readable (or if they’re excessively simplified), chances are you won’t get the type of shares you’re after.
To blog better, find your sweet spot. Focus on value over fluff. In the end, you’ll likely have 1,000+ word blog posts that are intrinsically worthwhile to read and share. That’s how you get engagement and that’s how you attract more people to your business through content marketing.