Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Insights on Making Blog Posts More Effective

Blogs have been around since 1994, and over the past decade, they've become a core content marketing channel for many B2B companies. While there are plenty of newer channels through which B2B marketers can publish and share marketing content, a blog still provides several important benefits. For example:

  • It's an ideal vehicle for providing your potential buyers with bite-sized pieces of your marketing content.
  • It can be used to point prospects to your more "substantial" content resources (white papers, research reports, videos, etc.).
  • It's a good tool for improving your company's position in organic search.
When blogs began to become a popular marketing channel, several firms published research regarding the optimal length of blog posts, the most effective publishing frequency, the best day of the week to publish a post, and similar issues. Over the past couple of years, I've seen less of this type of research, but a few days ago, I discovered a research report by TrackMaven that provides some interesting statistics on these kinds of topics.

TrackMaven is a provider of content analytics software. For this report, TrackMaven analyzed 1.2 million posts published at 4,618 blogs and captured the number of social shares for each blog post, which amounted to a total of almost 2 billion social shares for the data set. I encourage you to read the full research report, but here are a few of the major findings:
  • 87% of the blog posts in the study were published during the workweek, with Tuesday and Wednesday being the most popular days. However, blog posts published on the weekend did better in terms of social shares. For example, only 6.3% of the posts in the study were published on Saturday, but those posts received 18% of the total social shares.
  • Most of the blog posts in the study were published during normal working hours, which TrackMaven defined as roughly 9 am to 6 pm EST. However, blog posts published between 9 pm and midnight had the most social shares.
  • Most of the blog posts analyzed had titles containing about 40 characters, but posts with longer titles (up to about 60 characters) received the most social shares.
My major concern with the TrackMaven study is that it essentially equates the effectiveness of blog posts with the number of social shares they generate. In many B2B companies, the  target audience for a blog is relatively senior executives and managers, and many of those individuals are not particularly likely to engage in social sharing. Therefore, social shares don't necessarily provide an accurate measure of the reach and impact of blog posts. Nevertheless, the TrackMaven report is a worthwhile read.

Note:  Earlier this year, TrackMaven published the results of a broader study that included social media content as well as blog posts. I discussed that study in an earlier post and made a similar point about its methodology.

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