Home > Marketing > Blogging isn’t Sexy but Done Well It Drives B2B Marketing Results [Study]

Blogging isn’t Sexy but Done Well It Drives B2B Marketing Results [Study]

The most effective blogs in B2B marketing tend to publish longer posts, more frequently, with visuals, paid distribution and analytical measurement

Blogging doesn’t have the appeal that voice search, personalization or influencer marketing do in B2B marketing, but when it’s done right, it’s surely effective, according to a new study.

Nearly 80% of the 1,279 bloggers in the 7th annual Orbit Media blogger survey say blogging drives some marketing results – and 25% say it draws “strong marketing results.”

I’ve written about it for the last five years, and like some of the other studies around content marketing, the questions change a little, but the findings are very consistent: those that say blogging drives marketing results – that 25% – do things differently.

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1. Effective blogs tend to publish longer posts

The average blog post has been getting longer and longer. According to the survey, the average blog post is 1,269 words.

But here’s the insight: bloggers who write longer posts are also more likely to report strong marketing results. Multiple surveys and data studies support this conclusion.

Now, every year when I write this, someone remarks that length isn’t the same thing as quality. That’s true of course, but the average word count is merely a byproduct of the effort that goes into effective blogs

The blog posts of that length take an average of four hours to write (or more). They are produced in collaboration with others, are carefully optimized for search, include visuals aids, and have a distribution plan and budget.

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2. Frequent publishing linked results from blogging

Blogs that publish more frequently produce better results, according to the survey:

“High-frequency bloggers are getting better results. In fact, more than any response to any question in the survey, daily bloggers are the most likely to report ‘strong results’. Conversely, inconsistent bloggers are the least likely to report ‘strong results’.”

There is no mystery here – where quality is a given – the correlation is easily explained. The more you publish:

  • the better you and your team get at the process
  • the greater the chances a post or two will take off
  • the more pages you have indexed in search; and
  • the more sensitive to readers you’ll become.

To be clear, consistency matters more than frequency, so pick a sustainable rhythm. Whether you publish daily, weekly or monthly – make a deadline and stick to it. You can always ramp up your volume once your organization gets a publishing process in place.

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3. High performing blogs include visual media

Visual elements such as images, graphics and videos are strongly correlated with blogs that produce marketing results. This makes sense, because finding, creating, and optimizing visual media that helps convey the message of a post takes time – and that speaks to the quality of the blog.

Visual media also expands your digital footprint. These are assets that can be crawled and indexed – and potentially contributed to the visibility of your blog in search.

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4. Successful blogs budget for distribution

One of the primary motivations for corporate blogging in B2B marketing is to build an audience. Search is a primary channel for growth – and most B2B websites get the majority of their visitors through search engines. But to accelerate growth, effective bloggers put effort into distribution too.

Here’s what those that reported strong results said were the most effective content distribution channels:

  • 39% said influencer outreach (e.g. traditional PR pitching)
  • 34% said paid services (e.g. paid social ads, sponsored content)
  • 32% said SEO (think both crawlability and on-page optimization)
  • 29% said email marketing
  • 25% said social media

Don’t overlook the paid options and use your analytics to drive decision making. The posts that perform well organically are often good candidates for paid media such as social media advertising, repurposing as sponsored content and paid email distribution.

In addition, a little paid social media budget can augment your efforts in influencer marketing, media relations and audience development.

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5. Analytics put the focus on the audience

Analytics tell you what your audience wants and needs. It’s not just the pieces that attract the most visitors that matter, but also those where readers are spending the most time. Look for content and posts that can be repurposed, updated, polished, extended, completely redone, and topics to that should be revisited.

The process of content marketing doesn’t end when the content is published – there has to be a feedback loop for performance. The survey shows that “bloggers who check results are more likely to report good results.”

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Blogs Are Purpose-Built for Content Marketing

One aspect of blogging that gets overlooked is the technology platforms. If you take a content management system like WordPress, for example, the templates for blogs are purpose-built to publish and grow subscribers. There is an ecosystem of plugins all aimed to help grow subscribers, promote your posts and analyze traffic.

When you look at the enduring characteristics of winning B2B content marketing programs, a blog platform puts many of these aspects with a click or two. Certainly, you still have to put the effort in to make it happen, but it’s a whole lot easier when the infrastructure your building your program on is made for publishing.

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Orbit Media conducted its survey in August and September of 2020. The survey “skews toward LinkedIn users, B2B marketers and people in the U.S.” The complete findings are freely available here.

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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
The Top Arguments For and Against Including Dates on Blogs and Content

Image credits: Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash and Orbit Media

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