November 17, 2022
Tips for Better Blog Articles in 2023
Well, here you are reading a blog article about blog articles. Welcome to brand inception! As an agency that focuses on building cult brands, we’ve been a strong advocate for the power of brand content strategies for decades. But is it even worth doing in 2023? Are blog articles still relevant? What are the best ways to develop and execute a brand-focused blog content strategy? For answers to the most common questions on the subject right now, there’s just one thing left to say before we get into it!
First, is a blog worth doing in 2023??
The short answer is yes, of course. If that’s all you need, then please feel free to move on to the next point. If you actually understand the work and investment that goes into building out a compelling and well-executed blog content program, then read on. The first question is, why? Why would a brand invest the resources, time, and focus on creating a unique and sustainable blog content program? Let’s look at a few value statistics that can help answer that question.
Earlier this year, SEMrush released their latest statistics on content marketing trends. In that article, they reported that 86% of content marketers have a blog content program as part of their overall marketing strategy. That’s by far the most dominant common program across all content strategists. The next closest program is email marketing, which comes in at 67%.
But why are so many content marketing agencies and professionals investing in blog articles as part of their strategies for themselves and their clients? Because it works, AND because it’s a much more cost-effective option that works.
Yes, video is still the best way to communicate branded content to a target audience. But, look at the report. It’s by a SINGLE PERCENT over blog posts. Now, think about the time, personnel, money, and work that goes into creating a really compelling video that works. Then you still have to host that video and distribute it in several ways to get eyes on it.
Blogs, on the other hand, are self-contained content systems that are much easier to execute and nearly as effective as video according to these findings! And we all know that it’s going to cost a heck of a lot less to produce amazing blog content compared to a video!
Also, note from the graph above how precipitously the success rates fall off beyond blog posts. It really is a two horse race when it comes to content marketing ROI—and one of those horses costs a fraction of the other.
So, now that we’ve gotten you up to speed on why you need to have a blog program as a central part of your content marketing plan, let’s get into some helpful tips on how to make it work for you!
How Long and How Often?
The very first question we always get asked when we are working with a client to create a branded blog content strategy is, “How long should the articles be?” Well, this depends on a few different factors, but the general rule for a long time was that you should keep articles concise and clear. The industry standard was to shoot for an article between 500 and 1,000 words.
However, as time has gone on this trend has changed. Now, a lot of content marketing professionals have realized they get better return on their investment by writing longer articles—even if it means they write fewer overall articles in a month. Here’s a graph on how article length trends have changed over the years.
In a report published this year by OrbitMedia, you can see that the trend to longer blogs has been on the rise since 2014. As a matter of fact, the most successful articles being published today are 70% longer than they were 8 years ago.
The main cause of this is because content marketers have recognized their brand audience values quality over quantity in their articles. It was only this year that articles began to go back down a bit, showing that content strategists are finally finding the most effective length of content.
So, in 2023, our advice would be to shoot for a word count in the 1,000 to 1,500 range—or 50% longer than used to be the standard.
When thinking about the frequency of articles, if you are going to be writing longer articles in general, it’s okay to produce them less often. However, there are still some important practices that need to be observed if you are going to reap the benefits of your blog content strategy. If you are not producing content on a regular and consistent basis, it’s not going to perform. We can actually forecast and observe the hit we’ll receive on the web traffic coming to the Creative Energy website directly from us not publishing an article in a given week. So, yes, having a content calendar for articles matters!
The best practice rule for blog articles for a long time was to try and publish 2 to 4 articles per week in order to see the best results. However, in the article published by OrbitMedia we referenced earlier, it now seems that it’s okay to publish less often as long as the content is still relevant and engaging. There is still a huge gap in return where the frequency falls below one article per week. So, that’s still the low end of what you should be aiming for. Here’s another graph from ConvertKit that reinforces this trend among both professional and non-professional blog content creators.
I know it sounds a bit daunting to come up with a great blog article concept every single week. That’s why so many content marketing plans seem to start strong and then fall apart after time. Yes, it can become tedious and mundane. That’s what separates the brand bosses from the herd. Stay focused, invest, and you’ll win more traffic than your competitors. Don’t have the internal resources, or expertise, to execute at this level? Well, there’s an agency full of content creators here at Creative Energy that just can’t wait to help you build a program that works!
What Kind of Articles?
The other big thing to consider is what kinds of content are going to be most effective for your brand? This will also impact the length and frequency of your content calendar, so spend some time with your content marketing partner mapping out what is going to be best for your brand.
The first thing to nail down is your writing style as a brand. What is the voice, personality, and worldview going to be? This is critical to making your content recognizable and more valuable in a sea of generally bland articles. Once your audience has read a few of your articles, they should be able to recognize your writing position/personality without logos or attributions. Be unique, and be on point!
Once you’ve given your blog content some personality, think about the kind of content and conversions you are going to be providing to your target audience. Then you can start structuring the kinds of articles you will produce. There are, however, some really useful trends to consider with what kinds of articles most people gravitate towards. Here’s a graph from the OrbitMedia report that shows what types of articles are trending among content marketers and their clients.
As you can see, by far the most popular kind of article is some sort of “How-to” information. This is great news, and another substantiating proof for the value of blog content overall. It shows that a great number of people still value and view good blog content as being authoritative. That means a brand that invests in this kind of content has a much easier time positioning themselves as a thought leader within their industry.
By the way, yes this is the style of article you are reading right now. So, cheers!
The research shown in the graph above reinforces that the best kinds of content to invest in are all informative first. People aren’t looking for another opinion or critique from a brand. They want a company they are going to support to be adding new and relevant information to the conversation.
If you’ve been on the fence about investing in a well-developed and executed brand blog content strategy you are late to the party. There’s no nice way to say that, and I don’t mean to throw stones. The fact remains that being intimidated by the work it will require is not a great reason to just not try. Your competitors would love for you to stand on the sideline and cheer them on as they build their authority position.
Will you fall short of your plans at some point?
Will some of your articles underperform?
Oh, hell yeah.
Does that mean it’s better to just not try and let someone else take your lunch money?
I don’t know. You tell me?
If you want/need some hired help to push you off the fence and get you headed in the right direction, we’re here. We Can’t wait to help you create what will likely be the most impactful brand development weapon you’ve ever devised.
That’s 1,567 words, by the way. I didn’t even get into the best practices for graphics or layout or how to distribute your great new blog content. Those will wait for your call or a future article–whichever comes first. You can do this!