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Does Blogging Still Work in 2021

Mar 22, 2021
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In the latest episode of Hack My Growth we're going take a look at blogging and what role it plays in marketing in the year 2021 and beyond. The phrase, "Content is king," has become a "commandment" in the world of digital marketing. But, with so many different sites and  people seemingly saying the same thing, why should any business spend time creating content if no one will see it?  Is it going to matter if I try to add value or add something to the conversation? We cover all that and more in the video below.

 

Video Transcript: 

As I said in the opener, we're going to be looking at blogging and what role it plays in marketing in the year 2021 and beyond.

Oftentimes we talk to businesses, they know that content is important, but they're really wondering is blogging still worth it? Should they still be doing this today? I get why there's a lot of confusion. I get why there's a lot of skepticism, because there's so many different things you can do to market your business online it's hard to see why investing so much time in creating new content is really worth it.

One of those reasons is because the internet is noisy. We look quickly at the whole term like content is king. This is something that we've heard. If you've been online at all anytime and tried to invest in your business you've seen this phrase at some point or another, where content is king. It comes from a blog that Bill Gates wrote a while back, and then people built on that and ran with that, and continued to nurture that phrase.

But as you can see here, there's so many different sites, there's so many people seemingly saying the same thing. Why should I add my voice? Is it really going to matter if I try to add value or add something to this conversation?

Now the reality is there's a ton of content online. There's a lot of pieces. In fact, there's 70 million new posts every single month on WordPress alone. That's wordpress.com. That's a lot of content. There's over 600 million blogs on the internet and there's 32 million bloggers in the United States alone.

So we look at these numbers, and as business owners, as entrepreneurs, as people who want to get their voice out, we can go what's the point? Maybe I should try social. Maybe I should try something else, because there's just too much noise.

But let me share some other positive statistics with you as well. 71% of B2B buyers consume blog content during their buyer's journey, so people are reading them when they're looking to buy, not just from a B2C standpoint, but also business to business.

Blogging influences 6% of eCommerce sales, and 12% if you blog regularly, so you can actually improve your conversions on eCommerce from blogging. 77% of internet users regularly read blogs. And the last benefit, there's a 434% increase in your chance in ranking, higher in search, if you are active with blogs, active with creating content. So as we can see here, blogs are still extremely important. They drive a lot of the visibility and a lot of what users are looking for online.

I'm not just saying this to say hey, get out and blog and you'll have magical results right away. I've lived this story. I looked at these things years ago and was wondering should I do it? Even a couple years ago we said should we keep blogging? Should we keep investing and creating content?

Let me share a little bit of my story. I've had my agency since 2009, but I didn't do a lot of active marketing. I wasn't actively blogging. I didn't take it as a part of something I needed to do all the time. I was busy working with clients. I was a one-man shop, so it was hard.

But in 2015 I decided to grow the agency and take it on full time. In 2015 I started to blog three times a week. Now, I'm not saying that everything I wrote was earth shattering. It wasn't the best content in the world, but it got the ball rolling.

As you can see here, I blogged three times a week up until 2020, so that's five years of consistently blogging. But as you can see, what's happened here is over time the content and the visibility has grown. Now this is organic search. If you look at our traffic as a whole it also has this very similar curve.

As you can see here, by the end of 2015 we saw a little bump in traffic, and for me I was stoked, but it was hard. It was really hard to stay committed to continually creating that content, especially early on when I was asking am I getting value out of this? I was seeing little wins and I had to continue to hold onto those.

By the end of 2016 we had more than tripled our traffic, and at that time it was a pretty big deal and it was a pretty intense spike for me. So I continued to do it, and as you can see we hit these little plateaus along the way, but we kept pushing.

As I added people to the team we started to invest in other people writing content, so it just wasn't on myself anymore, but we didn't stop. We kept pushing. We kept going.

Now we kind of hit a plateau in 2019 and we made a major shift in our blog strategy. It's not that we weren't creating good content, we were, but we weren't being super intentional with our content. In 2020 we decided to shift our strategy. Instead of publishing three times a week we pulled back and we got very, very specific and very, very intentional in the type of content that we created.

All of this work back here I believe was foundational to this massive spike that you saw through 2020. Also with people going online more there's a lot of other factors, so I'm not going to credit everything to blogging, but that content base that we created is what led to this consistent growth.

Back here in 2015 we had about 200 people visit our site that month, and that's from all channels, so not organic, everything. As you can see here, in a few years we were over 2,000 organic. This is 3,000 from organic, to today we're close to 15,000.

So all the work that we did had built on itself, and if we didn't have that blog content I guarantee you we wouldn't be in this position today, because most of our traffic comes from those long tailed search groups.

This is something that's extremely important. Blogging alone is not going to produce results. There's a lot of people that say get out there and create content and things are going to work for you. That's not true.

The second thing is that context and intent are the keys to success, so you need to make sure that you're creating the right content within the right context that it makes sense for the people you're talking to and that you're matching their intent, that you're actually helping them find things that they're looking for, they're intending to find.

Then the last thing is you need to choose the right medium for your audience. For us we do text blogging on our website, but we also do video content, which is what you're watching right now. Not only do we have it on YouTube, but we also have it on our blog, and there's ways to interact with us. We found that this was a really good medium for our audience and the people that we were talking to.

People also like to read our blog content, so we also have the physical blog there. But we need to have the right medium. This is something I see people do all the time, where they want to grow their business and the first thing they want to do is everything. They want to do video. They want to do a podcast. They want to do social. They want to do blogging. They want to do email. They want to have a better website.

That's too much to do at one time, and you end up not being able to do anything well because you've burdened yourself with too many things, so choose the right platform. That's the best place to start. Understand where people are. Slow yourself down so that you can actually build momentum.

Here's how you can blog for long term success. The first thing is don't worry about word count. Focus on solving problems. You'll see a lot of pieces of content out there that say you need to have word counts between X and X. Now we did a video a couple weeks back, a couple months back, specifically talking about blog word count. I highly suggest that you check that out, but the reality is it doesn't matter. What matters is solving problems based on people's intent.

There are some pieces of content that you need to go a little bit longer because they need more content and more context to describe them, and there's some that can be very short formed and do very well. That should not be your major concern.

The second thing you need to do is share your unique perspective on the topics you're covering, so add your own value. Add your own lens to a topic. Don't regurgitate something that you've already seen, but add something new to the conversation. If you say something that's already been said it probably isn't going to do very well because it doesn't have enough context.

It doesn't have enough uniqueness to that piece of content that Google is going to say yeah, this is worth showing into the mix, so share your unique perspective and why something works or is the way that it is based on what you have been through or experienced in your life.

Number three is kind of what I was talking about in the last slide, master one medium before moving to another. If you want to do everything, I would say pick one and get really good at it. Before I did a whole lot of videos I was focusing on blogging content. I was writing. Then I realized as I was writing I could turn a lot of these pieces of content I was writing into videos that might be more interactive, and it was also something I had background in, so I decided to shift into doing some more video content.

After we had the physical blog I went into video blogging, and then we started doing more things with social and other channels. So master one medium and then move to another, and then you can build on that and build some momentum.

The next thing you do is leverage feedback and pivot. This is something I've tried to do quite a bit over the last few years with our content. See what's working. See what resonates with people and then give them more of that.

A lot of the times the same problems and the same things that you're experiencing are things that other people are experiencing, but the only way you're going to know if something resonates with somebody is putting it out there. So put your content out there and track it. This is where analytics comes in.

It's very important to look at your analytics, and not how many views, but are people engaging with that content? Are they taking that next step? Are they taking action? You may have to pivot your strategy from time to time. I've done this a couple of times and found some really cool niches that I could get into and add a ton of value in that were super competitive at this time.

The final thing I could say, don't stop when it gets hard. You're going to come up to times, and it's probably going to happen more often than not, where you're going to feel like you're just banging your head against the wall and that the content you're producing isn't giving you the results you want. But you have to keep pushing through. You have to keep adding value.

Many people quit before they see the results, before they see the success. They just say, "Well, this didn't work. I've got to try something else." That will always end up in failure because you're always starting and you're never finishing. You're never seeing things through, so don't stop when things get hard.

You will hit walls. You need to look at the data, and sometimes you'll see those little indicators of success, and keep pushing through. Once you push through you'll start to see more and more success.

I always talk about marketing like compounding interest, so it really looks like this. You have time and then you have your return on your investment. People who are inconsistent see these little bumps, right? So you have some bump and you dip down, you have some bumps and you dip down, you have some bumps and you dip down.

It always feels like you get some momentum but you lose it, you get some momentum and then you lose it. That's because they're inconsistent. They start things but they don't finish things. They push through something but it's not giving them the results they want right away so they quite before they see the success.

Consistency builds results. Consistency produces ROI. When you are consistent and you have something that works, sometimes you just have to go to your gut and you say, "I know this is what's right. I know this is the content people need," and you consistently create it over time. You consistently build it out.

This is what we do with our blogging strategy. As we consistently built that blog and built our content and continued to answer questions, continued to add value, all of that hard work stacked on top of itself to where now we're starting to see massive ROI. We're seeing lots of people come to our site, engage with our content, engage with our business, and helping us really not just become thought leaders, but also able to meet with these businesses and help them achieve their goals.

If we didn't do the work back here and we didn't stay consistent we would have never had the results up here. This is a long game. You have to grind it out. You have to continually do the hard things, and that's what separates successful businesses from unsuccessful businesses. It's the people who are willing to keep pushing when things get hard.

Blogging is still extremely relevant in 2021. It's going to be relevant for a very long time because people like to communicate. People like to read and engage and to learn about things that are interesting to them. They like to have people help them solve their problems, and they like to do it sometimes alone. This is where a blog can come in and let people do it on their own terms, within their own time, when they're making a decision to either buy a product or engage in a service or learn something new.

So find out what those mediums are, find out what those intents are, and create content from your perspective. Add value to other people, and over time as you do that consistently you will see a massive return on your investment.

I hope you learned something new today. If you've got any questions about blogging, or maybe another perspective, please comment below. We'd love to continue a conversation with you, and until next time happy marketing.

Source of statistics: 

https://www.ryrob.com/blogging-statistics/

https://growthbadger.com/blog-stats/

Easy Guide to Content Marketing

 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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