It’s 2020. The coronavirus has changed everything. So is blogging still relevant?
Here’s another way to ask that question: Do you still want to drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, and then nurture them into customers?
If your answer is yes, then blogging is not only relevant in 2020 — it’s critical to business success in this ever-changing landscape. And there are some key trends that you definitely want to pay attention to.
Whether you don’t blog yet or you’re trying to figure out what takes a blog from a black hole with little or no traffic to a traffic-driving lead generator, here’s a look at the benefits of blogging, 2020 blogging trends, and the skills and tools necessary to create a top-performing blog post.
The Benefits of Blogging in 2020
Although COVID-19 certainly requires marketers to reassess their strategy, blogging remains one of the most powerful ways to boost brand awareness, build relationships with your audience, and convert readers into customers.
Blogging Boosts SEO
Think about the last time you wanted to learn more about a new business, product, or service. Where did you start your search? If you’re like most people, you turned to a search engine first.
If you want your business to be part of a user’s online research process, it needs to show up in search results for keywords and long-tail variations related to the products or services you offer. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to do that.
Every time you publish a blog post, it’s a cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be crawling your site for pieces of content (i.e., blogs) that will best answer a searcher’s query.
Here are four ways you can use your blog to maximize your SEO results and drive traffic to your website via organic search:
But blogging doesn’t just help drive traffic to your website. You can also use your blog to convert that traffic into leads.
Blogging Generates Leads
The key reason you need a blog is that you can use it to generate leads. Here’s how.
In every blog you publish, make sure you include a call to action (CTA). A call to action is either text, an image, or a button that instructs the user on what to do next. Depending on your business, you may want the reader to read another piece of related content, fill out a form to get a quote, or call you to set up a consultation. Whatever the offer is, it must be a valuable resource for the person reading your blog.
When the visitor clicks on the CTA, they’ll get taken to a landing page where they’ll submit a form with their information in exchange for the free offer — and that is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.
Here are three things to keep in mind when creating lead-generating calls to action:
- CTAs serve as transitions between the phases of the buyer’s journey. Visitors to your blog could be first-timers, sales-ready, or somewhere in between. The lead-generation offers on your blog need to vary so you nurture your visitors through the sales funnel.
- Be crystal clear about what offer is in your CTA. When it comes to CTAs, clarity trumps persuasion.
- Make them easy to find. A call to action is meant to stand out, so if your CTA blends in too much with your site design, no one will notice it. Use contrasting colors to make the CTA stand out, and place it at the bottom of a blog post.
Ultimately, blogging, creating great offers, and putting calls to action on every blog post can reduce your cost-per-lead while delivering higher quality prospects to your sales team. Companies that prioritized blogging in 2019 received 13 times more return on investment companies that did not.
But what does blogging look like in 2020?
2020 Blogging Trends to Watch Out For
There are blogging best practices, but attention spans and search engine algorithms are always changing. Here’s a look at five blog trends to consider when planning your blog content for the rest of 2020.
1. Video and Visuals
According to HubSpot’s 2020 State of Marketing report, video content marketing is the No. 1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics, so consider including videos and infographics on your blog posts.
Videos and visuals within blog posts are engaging emotionally and intellectually, and when paired with informative content, your blog post can bring you closer to your audience. Plus, placing videos and infographics in your blogs can help your site rank in image- and video-based search results.
Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a professional videographer to incorporate video content into your blogs. There are many apps you can use to create videos in-house.
2. Long-form Content
Content is king, and in 2020, long-form content is king. But what constitutes a long blogpost? It depends, of course.
According to new research by HubSpot, the ideal blog post length changes based on whether you’re blogging to generate traffic (2,100-2,400 words) or leads (2,500 words) and whether you’re writing a list blog post (2,300-2,600 words), a how-to blog post (1,700 and 2,100 words), or a what-is blog post (1,300 and 1,700 words).
Longer is better because it indicates to search engines — and readers — that you are an authority on a subject. But don’t write a 2,500-word blog post if the content isn’t going to be well-organized, relevant, and useful for the reader. Only a high-quality long-form blog post will keep readers on the page — and your website — and will help them think of your brand as a helpful source of information.
3. Interactive Content
Another 2020 blogging trend is more interactive content within a blog post.
Interactive content can include anything that can get the reader involved in the post, such as a quiz, survey, or slideshow. Because interactive content is immersive and engaging, it’s good at attracting and educating people who might become your future buyers.
Another great thing about quizzes, surveys, and polls is that they allow you to collect more information about your audience, and, based on the data you collect, you can create and deliver the right type of content later on the sales funnel.
4. Original Content
One of the best ways to make your blog stand out from the crowd is to publish original data, quotes, and expert advice. There are a few reasons why.
First, inbound marketing is all about educating and helping your customers. When your blog posts are full of fresh knowledge, expert insights, and relevant perspectives, then your content will be more interesting and useful to the reader.
Second, when you include original content in your blog posts, other bloggers or journali
sts might cite and link to your blog in their own post. Known as backlinks, these links not only boost brand awareness and credibility but also improve your authority in search engines.
5. Blog Promotion
Once you write a blog, you can’t just post it to social media a few times and move on to the next blog. Now you have to market your blog post.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do that:
- Feature the blog in an email campaign.
- Arrange a partnership with influencers to cross-promote your content.
- Boost posts on Facebook and promote posts on Twitter.
- Link to the blog from other posts on your blog.
- Repurpose a blog post into a slideshow, infographic, or video.
Setting up and running a blog requires a structured process, a strong understanding of your digital marketing strategy and target audience, and careful analysis — and the effort you need to invest in blogging is rising.
What — and Who — It Takes to Create a Top-performing Blog
Another trend in blogging is that bloggers are spending more time writing blog posts than they ever have before. In 2019, bloggers spent 65% more time writing blog posts, with the average post taking three hours and 57 minutes to write.
That’s because blogging isn’t just about writing. Successful bloggers do thorough research and reporting and work with buyer personas to personalize content so their blog reaches the right audience. Although it takes more time, it results in a longer, more informative blog post that provides real value, ranks highly in search engines, and draws the right readers to the company blog.
Your blog shouldn’t just have a blogger, either. There are lots of moving parts when it comes to your blog — from topic ideation and editorial calendar governance to graphic design and promotion. Every blogger should have:
- An editor who not only ensures there aren’t any typos but also edits the copy so it engages as many leads as possible
- An optimizer who ensures the blog organically ranks and is easily searchable
- A social media marketer who not only promotes the blog but also identifies which keywords, content, and posts resonate
- An analyst who measures blog effectiveness and uses indicators from the analytics to get actionable insights to improve blogging efforts
Depending on your resources and the size of your marketing team, you may find one person holds responsibility for multiple roles — or you might decide that it would save your company time and money to partner with a digital marketing agency to do keyword research, topic generation, content creation, and social media marketing.
At Elite, we work with businesses in a variety of industries — from health care and retail to tourism and software — to create content that attracts, engages, and converts potential customers. We also optimize content for organic search and use customer research and data to identify the right content and the right channel to reach target audiences.
Whether you need a full-service marketing agency partner or a strategic partner, we’ve got you covered. Schedule your free 30-minute assessment with Elite today!