The business blog has come a long way since its humble origins in the early 2000s. In the early days, a blog was little more than an online journal where businesses could share their thoughts on the industry and connect with customers.
Today, blogs are an essential part of any integrated marketing strategy. They are a great way to drive traffic to your website, build relationships with potential and current customers, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. But, the blogging landscape is changing, and it’s changing fast.
If you want to ensure your business blog is prepared for 2022 and beyond, however, you may need to shake up the status quo. In this article, we will dive into the three key things to keep in mind as you craft and execute your blogging strategy in 2022.
Do Blogs Still Matter in 2022?
This is a valid question to ask. After all, the landscape of content marketing has changed drastically in recent years. And with the rise of social media and other platforms, some may argue that blogs are no longer as relevant as they once were.
But, the data says otherwise. In fact, according to HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends report from 2022, marketers with blogs are 144% more likely to generate a positive ROI. Additionally, 48% view blogs to be their primary media format.
Clearly, then, blogs are still an essential part of any marketing strategy–regardless of what else is happening in the digital space. If you’re not already blogging regularly, now is the perfect time to start. Not only do blogs give you an ideal way to showcase your brand, your expertise, your products, and your services, but they can also serve as the foundation for your social media strategy, too.
And it’s never been more important to set aside part of your marketing budget for blogging. As social media platforms change rapidly in response to data privacy concerns, you never know how the algorithm will change from one day to the next. Having a healthy cache of content on a platform you own — your website, for example — is the perfect safeguard against another social media curveball.
1. Take a Data-First Approach to Blogging
In the past, businesses would often start blogging without any real strategy or direction. They would post haphazardly, without much thought given to who their target audience was or what kinds of topics would be most relevant to them.
But, if you want your blog to be successful in 2022, you need to take a data-first approach. This means understanding who your target audience is, what kinds of content they’re looking for, and how they want that content delivered.
Even more importantly these days, however, is understanding how your readers behave once they make it to your blog. As the Google algorithm continues to emphasize user engagement as a key ranking factor, keeping your readers scrolling and clicking is essential for those coveted first-page search rankings.
Fortunately, a number of tools available can help you track reader engagement and understand where people are dropping off. Google Analytics is a great place to start, but heat mapping tools like HotJar can give you a more granular look at what people are doing (and not doing) on your site.
To understand user engagement on your blogs, take a look at these metrics:
- Time on page: How long are people spending on your blog posts? The average time spent on a page is two minutes, but anything above one minute is considered good.
- Pages per session: How many pages are people looking at during their visit? The average is 2.96 pages per session.
- Bounce rate: What percentage of people are leaving your site after only viewing one page? The average bounce rate is between 40% and 60% for content pages. Don’t be surprised, however, if your bounce rate on blog pages is a bit higher than the rest of your site. Blogs average a 70% to 90% bounce rate. Sometimes a visitor lands on your blog after a search query and leaves once they’ve gotten their answer.
Once you understand how people are engaging with your content, you can start to make changes to improve the experience. Maybe that means adding more graphics or videos to break up the text, including more internal links to related blog posts, or even just making your headlines more clickable.
2. Consider the Visual Impact of Your Content
If you’re still creating blog posts that are nothing more than a wall of text, it’s time to make some changes. In today’s attention economy, people are bombarded with content from all sides. If you actually want them to read (and engage with) your blog post, you need to make it visually appealing.
Just like the rest of your website, design plays a critical role in how visitors perceive your brand and whether or not they continue further down the funnel and become customers.
That doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional photographer or graphic designer for every post, but it does mean being intentional about the images you use. In general, you should try to include at least one image with every blog post, and that image should help illustrate the point you’re trying to make.
If you don’t have access to high-quality images, there are a number of free stock photo websites you can use, like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Just be sure to read the rules for each site before using any of the images–some require attribution, while others do not.
You’ll also want to ensure that you include appropriate alt text to describe each image appropriately. Not only is it important to make your content as accessible as possible to the visually impaired population, but ADA compliance requirements also extend to your website.
In addition to traditional images, there are other things you can do to improve the visual impact of your blogs and keep readers engaged.
Try keeping your paragraphs on the shorter side — no more than 2-3 sentences each. Using bold text to emphasize the key concepts in each section is also a great way to ensure your readers get something out of your blog, even if they’re just skimming. In fact, ensuring that your titles and bolded text work together to tell a complete story can greatly improve the chances of a reader scrolling down the page and actually reading your content.
Making your content visually appealing and avoiding walls of text will not only encourage your readers to actually read, but it will also improve your engagement metrics and overall SEO.
3. Think Beyond Publication and Repurpose Your Content
It’s not enough to simply post your blog and hope for the best. Unless you’re promoting it somehow, all that time you spent writing is wasted. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you share your blog on social media and include it in your next email blast, but why not take it a step further by repurposing your content?
Here are a few ways to repurpose your content to increase its reach:
- Turn a blog post into a YouTube video.
- Create a graphic or infographic from your blog data.
- Record a podcast episode discussing the key points of your blog post.
- Turn a series of blog posts into a gated asset like an ebook to collect email addresses and grow your email list.
- Take an extra long blog and convert it into an educational email series.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with how you repurpose your content. The more places you put it, the more likely people are to see it and engage with it. And, as an added bonus, the more places your content appears, and the more your audience engages with it, the higher you’ll rank in Google searches.
If you want to write better blogs in 2022, focus on taking a data-first approach, making your content visually appealing, and thinking beyond publication. By following these three tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that both resonates with your audience and drives results for your business.
Do you have any other tips for writing great blog posts? Share them with us in the comments below, and here’s to writing better, more engaging blogs in 2022!