Short-form video is on fire right now. From TikTok to Instagram Reels to YouTube Shorts, everyone is trying their hand at mastering split-second content.
When done right, those little videos can pack a big punch and, more importantly, make creators some real money.
Creators like Jade Beason are paving the way to success on YouTube with short- and long-form videos alike. Beason is one of many amazing creators in the HubSpot YouTube Network, the video destination for business builders.
Check out her video for a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can make money with YouTube Shorts today — and also look over the key takeaways below:
1. Choose Your Content Strategy
Before we dive into how to monetize your shorts, you’ll need to first choose a content strategy for the videos themselves.
There are three main strategies to choose from:
Repurposing viral content
The lowest-lift content strategy is to repurpose other creators’ content from platforms like TikTok or Instagram. While many YouTubers do build their channels this way, use this strategy cautiously if your ultimate goal is to build a personal brand.
Repurposing your existing content
For a more original tactic that still will save you time, you can repurpose your own content from other platforms. If you regularly post videos to TikTok or Instagram, you can recycle that content as shorts on your YouTube channel.
Tip: Make sure your repurposed content doesn’t have watermarks on it from other social platforms. You can use an app like SnapTik to remove watermarks.
Creating new content
The highest-effort — but possibly highest-reward — content strategy is to create YouTube-native content from scratch.
This will of course take more time than repurposing existing videos, but it will also increase the odds that the content performs well since it will be specifically designed for YouTube.
Regardless of which strategy you choose, monitor your channel’s analytics carefully to understand which type of content is performing well, and which is not.
2. Join the YouTube Shorts Partner Program
Once you’ve created your channel and established which content strategy is right for you, you can start exploring monetization options.
The YouTube Shorts Partner Program is a good option for any creator who meets the eligibility requirements of 1k subscribers and either 4k watch hours OR 10m views from the last 90 days.
Since brands pay YouTube to advertise in the space between shorts — the ads that play as a user scrolls through shorts — the platform makes money directly from those advertisements.
The Shorts Program pools all of that revenue and then divides among all its Partner Program members each month, allocating money based on the percentage of views each creator received. Creators then take home 45% of their allocated amount — YouTube takes 55%.
(If the total monthly ad revenue was $1k, and you earned 10% of all views in a given month, you would be allocated $100 and take home a total of $45.)
Joining the program is a good idea for any creator as there’s no downside: It doesn’t impact your performance or the audience experience — it just opens a new door for monetization.
3. Establish Brand Partnerships
When most creators think of making money on YouTube, they’re thinking about brand partnerships, also known as sponsorships.
This is when a brand pays creators for them to mention their product or service in their video content. Where things get tricky: Shorts are only 60 seconds long, and fitting sponsored-brand content can be challenging, especially when trying to make it natural.
Creators should aim at making these placements feel as organic as possible, as engaging your audience is always the No. 1 priority. It can help to look for brands who work with other short-form content creators because they’ll likely understand the challenges and restrictions more.
A way to make more money: Bundle your Short with another deliverable to make sure you earn a decent income from your partnership.
For example, you could offer YouTube community posts (which are essentially Facebook posts on YouTube) as another type of post to get more from a partnership once it’s in motion.
4. Use Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a brand, product, or service in your videos and earn a commission on those sales.
For example, if you film every YouTube Short from a desk chair, and then link that desk chair on your channel, each time a viewer clicks on that link and buys the chair, you get a commission.
This is a great tactic for creators who are just starting out with short-form video as you don’t need any subscribers to use affiliate links — or to make money from them.
It’s also a win-win-win: The brand you’ve partnered with sells a product, you make a commission, and your viewer gets both a product recommendation, and, hopefully, a new item they’re happy with.
Whichever strategy you choose (or you can use them all) to make money from Shorts, it always comes back to the content. Focus on making content your viewers will want to watch, and the rest will fall into place.
Only about 30% of marketers use original research in content marketing strategies, despite numerous benefits. Why?
When data is the story. Executed effectively, original research as content can put your content marketing on steroids, bringing in outsize ROI and sustaining your content calendar for months.
So, why aren’t 70% of marketers telling the story? Although it’s the most trusted source for B2B buyers, fewer than 30% of content marketers generate their own original research, while nearly all writers incorporate others’ statistics in their content.
Because not all research is created equal. High-performing original research combines credible data, an engaging story and a solid plan for distribution and amplification through various content formats. Getting it wrong can cost your brand its credibility.
B2B content writing 101 emphasizes the importance of incorporating “evidence” — that is, trustworthy quantitative or qualitative data to substantiate our claims. By doing so, we enhance the credibility of our content, increasing the likelihood that the article will be referenced by others.
And that makes perfect sense. Even in a world where disinformation and propaganda often come cloaked in smart-looking pie charts, almost half of B2B buying committees trust research reports as their most preferred source of product research.
In fact, this 2021 report found that buying committees look for “research-backed content experiences that tell a valuable story.” That’s almost a textbook definition of original research reports.
That is why it is almost unbelievable that while 100% of content marketers use someone else’s original research stats in their content, only about 30% challenged themselves to create their own original research as a key component of their content marketing strategy.
Why? Because creating credible research is a challenging process, costs time and money, and demands an authentic and original approach. Even though the payoff is huge and the resulting content has a longer shelf life than average, the risks can be equally dramatic.
Imagine being trolled on social media by users who find chinks in your research methodology, share data that directly contradicts what your report finds, or worse, question your credibility by questioning the numbers themselves.
But first, the good stuff. Data analytics platform Databox, which has produced more than 1,300 reports over the last six years, swears by original research surveys as a key content marketing pillar. “As a result of all of the content we’ve produced on a wide range of topics, we generate nearly 300k sessions to our website every month, mostly from organic search and word of mouth. This traffic turns into 6k+ signups for our free product every month. We get all of our customers from these signups,” said Peter Caputa, CEO at Databox. That’s pretty straightforward ROI math.
So tip No. 1: Approach original research as a long-term, high-value content initiative. And if you really want people to trust the research coming out of your content marketing stable, pick a niche or a topic, and own it.
Consistently bringing out an annual survey report or update about the same topic positions you as the go-to expert in that topic, said Sarah Kimmel, vice president of research at Simpler Media Group (which owns CMSWire). The Content Marketing Institute, for example, has put out the annual B2B content marketing survey for 13 years now, and it is the first stop for anyone wanting to know the latest trends, patterns and insights about the state of content marketing.
Original research done right can supersize your content marketing ROI by sustaining the content calendar for months, building unmatched visibility, credibility, and thought leadership, and even generating leads.
The experts boil down the secret of high-ROI original research to five elements.
1. Why Original Research? The Right Purpose
“Original research” in the content marketing context is a high-value piece of content for your external audiences (not to be confused with “market research,” which is conducted to better inform internal product or strategy design).
Think of it as another arrow in the content marketing quiver, albeit the “meta arrow” with the power to turbocharge all your other arrows — blogs, articles, social media posts, event and podcast appearances, and even sales pitches.
But designing, executing, and amplifying original research is not as easy as hitting publish on a Survey Monkey form. Too many companies, said Michele Linn, co-founder of Mantis Research, end up executing without properly thinking through the purpose. When you approach it as a “content” project, you will naturally start with clarity on:
Who is our primary (content) audience?
What do we want to tell them?
How will original research help us get there? Why is an original survey report the right content format to help us get there?
What do we want them to do/feel after consuming this content?
How will we leverage and amplify this content to make that happen?
These questions may sometimes reveal that original research is not even the best bet for your purpose. For instance, said Linn, if you want to showcase product benefits, use case studies instead. If you want to understand consumer behaviour instead of consumer beliefs, rely on user data instead because surveys tell us what people think, not what they actually do. Beliefs and attitudes are not the same as actions and behaviour.
Key takeaway: Approach original research as a high-value content project. Start by asking the same questions you would ask before embarking on any new long-form piece of anchor content.
2. Who Will Run the Project? The Right Team
While original research will no doubt be helmed by the content marketing team, Linn suggested the project team should consist of roles such as:
A content strategist who will define the audience, the purpose and the narrative and help create a compelling story around the findings in a way the audience finds interesting.
A data analysis expert who can help ensure rigor in the research execution, data tabulation and interpretation for statistical significance and accuracy.
An amplification expert who can create and execute the promotion, distribution and content repurposing plan for the research to derive the maximum reach and visibility.
These resources can be expensive and hard to come by, especially for smaller teams. Teams seeking to establish credibility in new markets where they are relatively unknown may also need additional support. In these cases, third parties such as research agencies, consulting firms or industry publications can help design and execute the project, said Kimmel. People trust the editorial quality and integrity that comes from credible media companies, she added, and the brand benefits from the halo effect.
Key takeaway: Choose to commission, sponsor or co-publish research with a third-party partner, or do it in-house based on available resources and your goal, be it lead generation, building brand credibility, entering a new market or thought leadership.
3. What Story Do You Want to Tell? The Right Narrative
For original research to succeed as compelling content, you need both — the data and the story — to come together in a concrete and cohesive way. But at its core, the content you generate with original research is really a compelling story validated with data.
When asked what made content memorable enough to warrant a sales call, respondents in the 2021 B2B content preferences study noted they want content that:
Tells a strong story that resonates with buying committees (55%)
Uses data and research to support claims (52%)
Is research-based (40%)
Is packed with shareable stats and quick-hitting insights (40%)
Is personalized/tailored to their needs (32%)
The best approach is to start with what your customers want or need to know. What data-backed insights about their industry would really help them? Try to find angles or topics that have not been covered before.
Obviously, the topic should also be as close as possible to your own brand story, said Kimmel, which may be better served by a narrow research focus. For instance, a data analytics vendor whose brand narrative is “ease-of-use” may choose to focus research on the “data team composition.” The angle of the research could be to study how business teams use analytics software, why they don’t or can’t use them to their full potential, or what under-use of fully-loaded analytics software may actually cost the business. Adding actionable insights to fix the gaps is a bonus that the brand can add at the end of the research.
The goal, added Linn, is to study some aspect of the industry with genuine curiosity instead of trying to prove something or contriving the research to support your brand story.
So tip No. 2 is to use the research to test your hypothesis, not validate it. For that, start with a few different hypotheses about your audience and the problems they may be facing. For instance, in the above example, the hypothesis could be that marketing teams don’t fully use the analytics software they buy. The research could reveal why. Or that companies are spending more on data analytics teams despite investing in “DIY” data analytics software.
Manipulating data to suit your pre-decided narrative is obviously not useful, agrees Kimmel, so while you think of a theme and angle, don’t assume what the findings will show. “We once had a client that assumed their audience would cut benefits due to the economic slowdown. But the research found that only 1 in 6 respondents planned to cut benefits,” she said. “The best surveys can roll with such surprise findings and still tell a compelling story, warts and all.”
Key takeaway: With original research, the data is the story, but how you tell it is what really counts. Finding a unique angle to hold up the research and weave the story around is where your expertise about your industry and the audience comes in. No matter what findings emerge, find an angle to create an interesting and educative story for your audience.
4. Executing the Survey: The Right Process
Execution is made up of several moving parts. The process could take months, but the results can also sustain your editorial calendar and drive organic traffic for months, if not years.
The survey questions can make or break the research outcomes. Asking the wrong questions or the right questions in the wrong way can seriously impact data quality and credibility. The Databox team often “pre-qualify” their survey questions on social media to crowd-source feedback before actually creating the formal survey questionnaire.
The hardest part of original research surveys in the B2B context is getting enough of the right respondents. “Aside from a list of respondents we’ve built over several years, and one-on-one interviews, we’ve recently started partnering with other organizations to run joint surveys, which is a win-win in terms of reach,” said Caputa.
Smart survey tools like Survey Monkey and Alchemer help design better questions, translate and administer surveys at scale, distribute them across multiple platforms, etc. Survey analysis tools such as ResearchStory help with cleaning the data and the technical and statistical analysis needed to find meaning in the numbers. Conversational AI and AI for text or speech analysis help mine deeper insights at scale. AI also aids processes like survey scripting, content development and data visualization to tell the story better.
Turning the insights into a compelling narrative — and if possible, actionable insights is where the real magic happens. The most important thing, said Matt Powell, VP & executive director of of B2B International, a Merkle North America company, is to deliver something that customers actually need and value including useful, practical insights. A report that’s full of stats and data without context, interpretation or a unique point of view is just not useful, no matter how thorough the research process was.
So tip No. 3 is that original research needs to tell a great story and tell it well.
Key takeaway: Primary research surveys may be the last bastion for marketers seeking to say something new and original, but AI-powered tools can help make the execution more efficient, accurate and scalable.
5. Being Seen and Heard: The Right Amplification
The wonderful thing about original research is its sheer versatility. Depending on your purpose, you can do quantitative research with an online survey tool, dipstick surveys via smaller and snappier social media polls, in-depth qualitative research to a highly representative sample population, etc. And you can turn those results into a wide range of content. This annual research report by MOPros, for example, uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative research to bring readers both — the stats and the unique individual perspectives that enrich and support the data. Linn also highlights this ‘State of Workflow Automation’ report that was repurposed into a report, webinars, a podcast, an assessment tool, sales enable materials, blog content and a conference presentation among other formats.
Research content can also be used at all stages of the marketing funnel, said Powell. Recently, for instance, his team helped a B2B brand use research-based thought leadership to reposition their brand from being a provider of legacy, commoditized products, to being a solutions provider in an adjacent category, and marketing at the top of the funnel to a whole new decision-making unit. At the bottom of the funnel, the content can add to lead-gen activity and bring customers through nurture pathways.
Too many clients invest in a research project but don’t do enough with it because they did not factor that in at the start of the project, says Kimmel.
Tip No. 4: Know when you begin what you plan to do with the research. The report is just one piece of content — but the findings and the narrative should be credible and engaging enough to support a full suite of content — conference presentations, webinars, infographics, blogs, white papers, podcasts, sound bytes, social posts, etc., to amplify and deliver optimal ROI.
Key takeaway: The shelf life of original research data can often be years, not days or weeks. The more you amplify, the more backlinks you get, the higher your search engine authority and the more organic traffic you generate. An added bonus would be ChatGPT amplifying your research findings by citing them in its responses!
Done right, original research is a gift that keeps on giving. But success depends on approaching it as a high-value content project designed to serve your audience, not your agenda.
Chitra is a seasoned freelance B2B content writer with over 10 years of enterprise marketing experience. Having spent the first half of her career in senior corporate marketing roles for companies such as Timken Steel, Tata Sky Satellite TV, and Procter & Gamble, Chitra brings that experience to her writing. She has authored over 500 articles, white papers, eBooks, guides, and research reports on customer experience, martech, salestech, adtech, retailtech, and customer data and privacy. She holds a Masters in global media & communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MBA in marketing
Strategies for small-business owners to stay ahead of the curve.
As we move into 2023, here are a few key tips for small-business owners to master social- media marketing:
Know your audience
It’s crucial to research and understand your audience to create a social-media strategy that is tailored to its interests and needs. This will not only help you reach more potential customers but also increase engagement with your current ones. One way to do this is by conducting market research. Reach out to your current customers and ask for feedback, conduct surveys, and analyse the data. This will give you insights into their demographics, interests, and what they’re looking for in a brand. Additionally, use social-media analytics tools to track engagement, reach, and conversions. This will give you a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
Have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives for using social media. Whether you aim to improve customer service, promote your brand in your local community, or drive sales, it’s essential to start with a specific goal in mind. It’s equally important to be strategic in your approach and not waste time on platforms that don’t align with your target audience or objectives. As an example, if your target audience is a younger generation, investing more time on TikTok than a platform like Facebook could be beneficial.
Create a content strategy.
This strategy should be tailored to align with your overall business goals and should include a mix of content types, including text posts, images, videos, and live streams. Have a content calendar in place that outlines when and what types of content you’ll be sharing on your social-media channels. This will help ensure that you’re consistently creating and sharing content, which is crucial for building a following and engaging with your target audience. It’s also important to understand the importance of creating visually appealing and engaging content, as it has been proven that images and videos have greater engagement rates than text-only posts. You can leverage tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to create visually appealing designs and infographics that can help increase engagement and make your posts stand out.
Utilize automation tools
Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social allow you to schedule your posts in advance, track analytics, and monitor mentions and engagement all in one place. This means you can focus on the more important tasks of running your business, while still maintaining a consistent presence on social media. Not only do these tools save time, but they also provide valuable insights into your audience engagement and performance, helping you to make more informed decisions about your social-media strategy.
Engage with your audience
Responding to comments and messages promptly not only shows that you value their input and feedback, it also helps to increase brand loyalty and trust. Using tools like polls and surveys can help you gain valuable insights about your audience’s preferences and needs, which can inform your content strategy and product offerings. In addition to responding to comments and messages, consider hosting Q&A sessions, live streams, and other interactive content to foster engagement and build a sense of community among your followers. By engaging with your audience, you’ll be able to create a loyal customer base that will help drive success for your small business.
Use influencer marketing
By partnering with industry influencers, small businesses can tap into their existing audience and gain access to a new group of potential customers. However, it’s important to choose influencers who align with your brand values and message, and be transparent with them about your expectations. For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, utilizing your own customers or clients as influencers can be a cost-effective way to make influencer marketing work for your business. For example, at our brick-and-mortar sneaker boutique, The Hype Section, we take advantage of customer reviews and social media tags to turn our customers into influencers.
Invest in paid advertising
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer highly targeted advertising options that allow you to reach specific demographics and interests, such as age, gender, location, and interests. Additionally, these platforms offer a variety of ad formats, such as photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more, that can be customized to suit your business needs. With the right targeting and creative, paid advertising can be a powerful tool for driving website traffic, increasing brand awareness, and generating leads and sales. It’s important to track your results and optimize your campaigns for the best ROI.
Measure your results
Utilizing built-in analytics tools like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and Instagram Insights can provide valuable data on engagement, reach, and conversions. This information can help you identify the best times to post, the types of content that resonate with your audience, and the campaigns that drive the most conversions. Regularly monitoring your metrics will allow you to make data-driven decisions that improve your social-media strategy and ultimately drive success for your small business. Additionally, consider using third-party analytics tools that can give you an even more in-depth look at your social-media performance, such as Google Analytics, which can track website traffic from social-media channels. By utilizing these tools, you can create more effective campaigns and stay on top of the latest trends and strategies for mastering social-media marketing in 2023.
In a recent study, we found that our pillar pages are magnets for links, organic traffic, and newsletter subscribers — especially compared to regular blog posts. Here are the results that both types of SEO content generated over the course of a year:
Do these results mean you should ditch your blog strategy in favour of pillar pages? Not exactly.
Here’s the catch: You really can’t have one without the other, and it all comes down to content mapping. I’ll explain exactly what I mean in this article.
What is a pillar page?
A pillar page is a piece of content that comprehensively covers a broad topic. Pillar page — also sometimes referred to as hub and spoke — content weaves together a wide range of relevant subtopics (spokes), organizes them all in one place (hub), and effectively showcases your subject matter expertise for the broad topic.
Pillar page content should be easy to navigate for readers looking to learn — at a high level — about a particular topic, but should also offer relevant resources for them to dive deeper.
It’s kind of like the choose-your-own-adventure of content marketing.
Topical authority: why it’s important
When it comes to content creation for SEO and digital marketing, you don’t want to create content around any old topic. Instead, you want to reinforce your brand’s topical authority with every new piece of content you create (be it a blog, a pillar page, an eBook, etc.).
Let’s put it this way: If you’re in the business of selling mechanical keyboards, it doesn’t make sense to publish a blog article about the best recipes for a summer BBQ. Unless you’re recommending that your customers grill and eat their mechanical keyboards, which is (highly) unlikely.
Instead, it’s more helpful to your brand — and your audience — if you cover topics related to mechanical keyboards, like:
What is a mechanical keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards vs. regular keyboards.
Custom mechanical keyboards.
How to transition to a mechanical keyboard.
Pros and cons of a mechanical keyboard.
By covering as many topics related to mechanical keyboards as possible, you’re building a foundation of informational content that tells search engines: “Hey, I know a lot about mechanical keyboards!”
And the more content you have that starts to rank for important search terms related to mechanical keyboards, the more likely searchers will see you as an authority on the subject. Ideally, they will start coming back to your content when they need to learn more about this specific topic.
Pillar pages + blogs = a match made in content marketing heaven
A well-executed and organized pillar page is one of the best ways to showcase to your audience (and search engines) that you have topical authority in a specific area. Blog posts help you achieve topical authority by allowing you to cover a wide range of relevant subtopics in great detail, and pillar pages organize all of that content into a nice, user-friendly package.
Let’s take a look at this tactic in action.
We built our content marketing guide as a pillar page, which allowed us to cover a slew of subtopics related to the broader topic of content marketing, all in one piece of collateral.
All of these subtopics are organized into sections on the page, with a hyperlinked table of contents at the top to allow readers to pick and choose exactly what they’d like to learn about:
Then, throughout the page, we offer readers the opportunity to go deeper and learn more about each subtopic by linking to relevant blog content:
What is content mapping?
A pillar page is a great tactic if you’ve got a lot of existing blog content all focused on a particular parent topic. It’s one of our favourite ways at Brafton to repurpose and repromote our blogs.
But you can also create a pillar page with all brand-new content — it’ll just take more research, planning, and production time to complete.
Enter: content mapping.
Content mapping is the process of assessing your target audience, understanding what they are trying to achieve, and helping them along that journey with branded educational and commercial content. Its scope can span the entirety of your content marketing strategy or a single piece of pillar page content.
Why content mapping matters in content marketing
The planning (or content mapping) of a pillar page is just as important as the research done to choose the correct keyword to target for your business.
Pillar pages are kind of like the books of the marketing world. If you were an expert birder, for example, you wouldn’t set out to write a book about bird-watching without doing any research. Especially if you’ve spent a lot of time writing and publishing articles about bird-watching on your blog. You’d want to understand a few things before starting that book, like:
Which of my blog posts generated the most interest from new and returning readers? (i.e. pages with the most new and returning visitors, as seen in your web analytics tool).
Which blogs kept readers coming back for more? (i.e. pages with the most newsletter subscriptions, or the best newsletter subscription rates).
Which blogs did my industry peers find most useful? (i.e. pages with the greatest number of high-quality referring domains and backlinks).
These questions can be answered by looking through your web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Moz Pro.
What do my competitors’ books on bird-watching look like? (i.e. the types of bird-watching subtopics the page 1 results cover).
What does Google think searchers want to see when they search for bird-watching? (i.e. the types of content that are found on page 1 for your target keyword — and surprise! it might not be books).
How long and detailed are my competitors’ books? (i.e. the level of complexity and comprehensiveness of the content ranking on page 1).
These questions can be answered by manually reviewing relevant SERPs and utilizing TF-IDF tools like Clearscope or MarketMuse to understand the breadth of subtopics and types of content ranking on the first page.
Once you understand which of your content performs best and which content Google and other search engines prefer to rank highly for your target keyword, you can start piecing together a plan for your pillar page.
A note about internal linking
Before we dive into the how-to portion of this piece, we should also acknowledge the importance of internal linking to this whole process.
And I’m not just talking about throwing in a link to a related product/service at the end of the page and calling it a day. The internal linking structure of your pillar page is literally the glue that holds the whole thing together. It helps readers easily navigate to related resources to continue learning from your brand. And it helps search engines understand the relationship between your pillar page content and the additional content you’re highlighting on the page.
But when it comes to internal linking, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Including too many internal links throughout your content can cause a frustrating user experience or look spammy, so use caution and make sure the only internal linking you do on the page is extremely relevant to the parent topic.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve got too many internal links on the page, you can run it through Moz’s On-Page Grader tool, which automatically counts the number of links on your page and flags if you’ve got too many.
Tip: Keep in mind that this tool will count ALL links found on the page, including those in your main navigation and footer, so the “Too Many Links” warning could be a false positive.
As Moz explains: Google recommends you don’t go over 100 internal links per page, because it can dilute the SEO value sent from the pillar page to the linked pages, and it can also make it more challenging for users and crawlers to navigate all of the content.
Two data-led ways to map out content for a pillar page
There are a couple of different ways to approach the construction of this type of content, but they each rely on organic search data to lead the way.
1. Planning a pillar page and related resources (all from scratch)
Let’s pretend you don’t have any prior content created about a particular topic. You’re basically starting from scratch. Let’s also assume the topic you’ve selected is both core and commercially valuable to your business, and that your domain realistically has a chance of ranking on page 1 for that keyword.
Let’s say you’re a pet food company and one of your main products is cat dental treats. Once you’ve determined that this is the exact keyword you want to target (“cat dental treats”), it’s time to start your research.
Step 1: Manually inspect SERP to understand searcher intent
First, we’ll start by manually inspecting the first SERP for this keyword, and answering the following questions:
What types of content are on the first page of results?
Why are people searching for “cat dental treats”?
By answering these two questions in our SERP analysis, we’ll make sure that our plan for creating a pillar page to rank actually makes sense and it’s what searchers want to see on the SERP. We’ll also better understand all the reasons behind why someone might search this keyword (and we can then address those reasons in the content we create).
So let’s answer these questions:
Question 1: What types of content are on the first page of results?
Answer 1: The first SERP includes a variety of product ads, a People Also Ask section, and a selection of organic blogs and product pages.
Question 2: Why are people searching for “cat dental treats”?
Answer 2: From a quick analysis of the SERP, we can deduce that people want to know why and how cat dental treats are important to a cat’s health, and they also want to know which cat dental treats work best. Perhaps most importantly, it’s highly likely that they plan to purchase cat dental treats for their furry companion(s) in the near future.
Step 2: Select related keyword ideas for blog content
Since you don’t just want to create a pillar page for just the primary keyword, you also want to pinpoint a selection of related subtopics to be written as blog content.
For this part of the process, head over to your keyword research tool, plug in your target keyword and (with an eye for topics that you’re well-suited to cover), jot down a list of keywords and phrases.
Here’s our list of potential blog topics:
Best cat dental treats.
How do cat dental treats work?
What to look for in cat dental treats.
Do cat dental treats work?
Can cat dental treats replace brushing?
Vet recommended cat dental treats.
Grain-free cat dental treats.
Step 3: Choose subtopics to cover in your pillar page content
Next, you’ll want to review the subtopics mentioned in the top ranking results. While this process can be done manually (by clicking into each result on the SERP and jotting down the topics mentioned), a TF-IDF tool like MarketMuse makes this part of the process much quicker:
These TF-IDF tools analyse the top 10-20 results for your target keyword and automatically present the common subtopics mentioned in each piece. This gives you a very good understanding of what you’ll also need to cover in your piece to compete for a top-ranking spot.
Here’s the list of subtopics we’ll want to cover in this pillar page, based on our MarketMuse data:
Cat dental treats.
Veterinary oral health council.
Best cat dental treats.
Cats dental health.
Step 4: Create your outline and plan content
Now it’s time to connect the dots from your research. The best way to do this is to start by structuring your pillar page outline, and then going back in and filling in the areas where you want to create supporting blog content.
Here’s an example of what the end result might look like:
H1: The Complete Guide to Cat Dental Treats: For a Fresh-Breath Feline Friend
H2: What are cat dental treats and how do they work?
Topics to cover: Cat dental treats
Blog post to support section:
Title: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Needs Them) Keyword: how do cat dental treats work
H2: What are the benefits of cat dental treats?
Topics to cover: Clean teeth, fresh breath
Blog post to support section:
Title: Do Cat Dental Treats Really Work? (Here’s What The Experts Say) Keyword: do cat dental treats work
H2: Are cat dental treats an acceptable alternative to brushing?
Topics to cover: Cats dental health
Blog post to support section:
Title: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: Everything You Need To Know Keyword: can cat dental treats replace brushing
H2: Do vets recommend using cat dental treats?
Topics to cover: Veterinary oral health council
Blog post to support section:
Title: Vets Recommend Using Cat Dental Treats — Here’s Why Keyword: vet recommended cat dental treats
Blog post to support section:
Title: 5 Of The Best Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them Keyword: best cat dental treats
Blog post #2 to support section:
Title: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats Keyword: what to look for in cat dental treats
Creating an outline for a pillar page isn’t easy, but once laid out, it helps us understand the content that needs to be produced to bring the whole thing to life.
Here is our list of content to create (based on our outline):
Pillar page: The Complete Guide to Cat Dental Treats: For a Fresh-Breath Feline Friend
Blog #1: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Needs Them)
Blog #2: Do Cat Dental Treats Really Work? (Here’s What The Experts Say)
Blog #3: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: Everything You Need To Know
Blog #4: Vets Recommend Using Cat Dental Treats — Here’s Why
Blog #5: 5 Of The Best Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them
Blog #6: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats
The best way to tackle this list of content is to create and publish the six blog posts first, then once they are live, you can write the pillar page content, placing hyperlinks to the supporting blog posts directly in the copy.
2. Planning a pillar page from top performing content
For this next method, let’s say you already have a ton of published content about a particular topic, and you’d like to reuse and repromote that content within a pillar page dedicated to that topic.
All of the steps in the previous process apply, but for Step 2 (Select Related Keyword Ideas for Blog Content), do the following:
First, you’ll want to understand which of your existing pieces generates the most interest from your audience. Let’s use our web analytics data for this. In this example, we’ll look at Google Search Console data because it shows the actual search performance of our website content.
Let’s use the topic of “content creation” as our desired pillar page keyword. Search for the query in Google Search Console (choose the “Queries containing” option):
Pull all of the pages currently generating impressions and clicks from terms containing your topic, placing those with the highest clicks and impressions at the top of your list. Here’s what this might look like:
As you can see, most of the content we’ve created that also ranks for keywords containing “content creation” is blog content. These will be highly useful as related resources on our pillar page.
Now, go back to your TF-IDF tool and select the subtopics related to “content creation” that you want to cover in your pillar page. Example:
Social media content
Content creation tool
Content creation process
Finally, map your existing blog content to those “content creation” subtopics. The initial mapping may look something like this:
You may not be able to map each blog perfectly to the subtopic you’re covering in your pillar page, but that’s OK. What’s important is that you’re providing readers with relevant content (where applicable) and that content, as you’ve seen in your Search Console data, is already proven to perform well with your organic search audience.
Pillar page planning templates and resources
Pillar pages take an incredible amount of time and planning to execute, but they are worth every penny.
Here’s an example of the success we saw after producing one of our more recent pillar pages, “How to Rank on Google:”
Here’s a template of the outline used to bring the page to life (and you can use it for your own pillar page). Just make a copy and off you go. Good luck!
Lauren Fox is the Director of Marketing at Brafton. She has grown the Brafton blog from 30K to 230K monthly visitors and tripled its newsletter subscriber base over the course of three years. Her expertise ranges from content research and planning to performance analysis, with a focus on content strategy.
(NewsUSA) – It wasn’t that long ago that Infographics were the “It” tool for public relations and marketing – until they weren’t.
To understand why infographics should still be a viable campaign strategy for clients, we need to understand the history behind them.
In 2012, everyone was producing infographics — usually of low-quality design, although as agencies became more versed in how effective these could be as a sales to market a client’s product, more high-design infographics began emerging. In fact, according to one experienced UK-based SEO and content provider says he was creating 200 to 300 infographics per year in 2014.
In 2016, the industry became flooded, and journalists began rejecting pitches that included, to date, these time-tested marketing strategies.
Fast forward four years, and there remains an argument for keeping infographics as a viable marketing tool in your stable of resources that you pitch to clients. Here’s why:
They have a visual appeal. It’s no surprise that visually presented information is more appealing to the eye than a mountain of text, which means that a graphically-told story will usually pique a reader’s interest before any information is processed.
They are easy to comprehend. The brain is wired in such a way that visual are able to be processed much faster than language. In fact, according to studies, people can follow visual instructions more than 323 percent better than written instructions.
They are easily recalled. If you’re trying to make an impression on a would-be customer, know this: according to studies people can recall only about 10 percent of written content three days after reading it versus 65 percent of information presented in visual form.
They are shareable. Infographics can break down potentially complex information into the bite-size pieces that we have become accustomed to in a visually-appealing format that has the ability to be recalled. In this way, people are more likely to share the content of the infographic.
They can help to increase sales. Go back to the bullet point on recall because it’s worth repeating: the human brain is better at retaining visuals more than text. This means that if you have a complex product or service (think an IT company such as Oracle), it would stand to reason that presenting processes and benefits of using a company’s product might be better presented visually in an infographic, rather than a block of text. This in turn, will help you to stand out from your competition.
They aren’t being promoted as heavily today. There’s no better time than today to start using a tool that has, for many been shelved at worst, and been put on the back burner at best. Think of it this way: if your competitors aren’t using this sales tool, why wouldn’t you? As long as you use a format that is visually appealing to tell your client’s story or present a product or service, it remains a great way to not only attract attention, but for potential customers to remember you.
The bottom line is that infographics continue to be a solid tool when used correctly and can potentially add fantastic benefits as part of a wider content marketing strategy.
Good SEO and content strategy can help ecommerce store owners be less reliant on paid traffic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a buzz word over the last few years. Many areas of online business have been implementing solid SEO strategies for a while, but ecommerce is still slow to join the rest. Ecommerce stores have been trained to use paid methods, like Google Shopping Ads, Facebook Ads and other social media ads to get people to click through to their store. However, with the ever-increasing cost it takes to acquire new customers, ecommerce store owners should get on board with SEO and develop a solid content strategy for long-term growth and reduce their cost to acquire new potential customers.
The one-legged stool
As I mentioned earlier, the cost of bringing new customers to your ecommerce store is going to keep increasing. If your store is solely reliant on paid traffic, let’s say from Google Shopping, and Google decides you violated one of the many advertising policies, all your traffic dries up and you’re out of business. No traffic means no sales and no sales means you’re out of business by the end of the month.
Relying solely on paid traffic channels is like having a one-legged stool. It’s a lot more secure for the health and longevity of your business to have more legs under the stool, in case one leg gets taken away from you. SEO is one of those legs you need to apply. Not only is it free traffic, but as long as you provide valuable information for the readers, there’s no risk of being removed in the same way paid channels can shut you out.
The results of a well-executed SEO and content strategy take time. Often, an ecommerce store won’t see significant organic traffic for 6 to 12 months after publishing those first pieces of content. But if you keep implementing and producing solid, helpful content, the effects compound over time.
I got banned from Google and Facebook
I share all this from my own experience as an ecommerce store owner. I relied solely on Google and Facebook ads to get traffic and for some unknown reason back in early 2019 both platforms decided I had violated a policy. After that point, I couldn’t get back in their good books.
I went down the SEO rabbit hole out of desperation to get some traffic and started producing content that shoppers in the research phase would find helpful. I put out other content about the best products by category to help customers choose wisely, and when those pieces of content started ranking, I was getting more traffic than ever. To give you an idea of the timeline, I started publishing content in February 2019, and by June I was already getting traffic and sales. Over time, the traffic kept growing and I kept producing helpful content. In 2020, I generated over $2 million in sales from that organic strategy from only one ecommerce store.
If I hadn’t gotten started with SEO I’d be out of business today.
Get started before you need to
Don’t do what I did and wait for the wheels to fall off after one or more paid channels drop the ban hammer. Start by writing a couple of pieces of content to get started. You don’t need a five-year content strategy on day one.
For ideas on what to write, you can write a guide to your niche and what to look out for when choosing the right product. You can answer the most frequently asked questions you receive. When people type that question into the search engine and your post helps them out, you will be recognized over time as the go-to place for research and answers. Then people will grow to trust your store and will prefer to purchase from you.
There are literally thousands of blog topics that you can produce to get more traffic, but the important thing is to get started. Over time, you will learn some more advanced content strategies that you can apply to create a better ranking chance. If you can implement some semblance of a content plan into your ecommerce store and stick to it, you’ll look back in a year and wonder why you paid so much for visitors in the first place.
Ever wonder what people are saying about your brand? Not only is this information interesting, but it’s also incredibly useful and important in developing your marketing strategy.
But how can you gather social data outside of direct customer interaction? Social media monitoring is the answer, and luckily, there are plenty of free social listening tools out there you can use.
What Is Social Media Monitoring?
Social media monitoring, or social media listening, is the identification and extraction of online conversations that contain mentions of your brand. For example, if someone posts something about your company on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or another social platform, you can learn a lot about how your brand is perceived through that social media post as well as the comments or replies.
But how can you possibly monitor all of the online conversations out there? If you wanted to comb through all of the online conversations on every social channel available, you would need a team of hundreds of people consistently scrolling through social media accounts, and you still wouldn’t even scratch the surface. Luckily, there’s such a thing as a social media listening tool — or a social media monitoring tool — that does that work for you.
What’s a Social Listening Tool?
If you’re familiar with how search engines work, you already have a basic idea of how a social media monitoring tool works. Search engines send crawlers to scan through the internet and find content that matches search queries. Similarly, a social media monitoring tool spreads out across social channels to identify every brand mention it can. The data is then collected and stored so that a social media marketing team can respond to questions, concerns and feedback as well as conduct social analytics.
Why Is Social Listening Important?
Social media monitoring and social listening are essential for any brand. Customer reviews and data will reveal important information about your target audience, but it leaves out an important part of the story.
Social media listening is important because it:
Improves Customer Service
Often, if a customer is unhappy with a product or service or if they have a question, they may try to reach the brand on social media instead of emailing them or going straight to their website. When this happens, it’s essential that your brand notices and responds. Ignoring this type of outreach — whether accidental or on purpose — is sure to make a potential customer feel neglected. But responding will make them feel heard. In fact, 21%of consumers are more likely to purchase something from a brand that is accessible via social media, according to Sprout Social.
Assesses Brand Awareness
You can’t improve your brand awareness without first gaining an understanding of how it’s already performing. Social listening helps with brand monitoring because it gives your company data on where the most conversations about your brand are taking place, and where there needs to be more awareness. Let’s say consumers are raving about your company all over Instagram, but they’re quiet on Twitter. That may mean that you need to increase your Twitter engagements to reach a larger audience.
Keeps Tabs on Brand Reputation
Not only will social media monitoring help you find out where and how much consumers are talking about your brand, but it will also give you valuable information about the general sentiment towards your company. People turn to online conversation for many reasons — whether they are happy, angry, confused or curious about your company, they may convey their feelings through a social media channel.
Sprout Social found that 59% of consumers reached out to a brand on social media as a result of a great experience, while 40% of consumers will reach out due to a bad experience and 47% will contact a company through a social channel seeking an answer for a question.
So now that we’ve established how useful and important social media monitoring is, let’s talk about how to do it affordably. Luckily, there are a number of free social listening tools on the market that your brand can start using today.
14 Free Social Listening Tools To Try
Brandwatch is a social listening tool that works across multiple channels, plus it is a direct partner of Twitter. This tool’s bread and butter is consumer intelligence and trendspotting. When you use Brandwatch, the tool uses an algorithm to find and analyse brand mentions and discover common trends across social networks.
2. Brand Mentions
Brand Mentions is exactly what its name implies, and more. This free social listening tool searches the internet for your brand name in online conversations. Once the mentions are located, they are collected and organized into categories that coincide with trends. Therefore, the result you get when you use Brand Mentions is a convenient, streamlined report on all of the conversations in which your brand appeared across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more.
BuzzSumo is a content analysis tool with an impressive amount of social listening capabilities. This tool allows you to search the internet for content that includes mentions of your brand. Once the examples are found, BuzzSumo will compile engagement metrics for each social media post — like views, likes, clicks, shares and more. This way, you can find out not only which channels contain the most conversations about your brand, but also where the lengthiest and most interesting conversations are taking place.
Followerwonk is a social listening tool specifically designed for Twitter. It allows your company to search through Twitter bios to find and connect with relevant users, and it also allows you to compare Twitter accounts with one another. You can also analyze your followers, gaining valuable information on their demographics, locations and other valuable customer data. Furthermore, Followerwonk provides insights on possible relationships between your activity on Twitter and the gain or loss of followers.
5. Google Alerts
If you aren’t already using Google alerts, you should be. They couldn’t be easier to set up, and they inform you of when your brand is mentioned in news story titles. If someone posts a blog or article about your company on a social media channel, magazine or other online platform, you’ll get an email notification. This will help you keep tabs on the bigger topics of discussion related to your brand.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform with a subsection for social listening called Hootsuite Insights. This tool provides a convenient platform when you can view and respond to social media posts that mention your brand. Surfing Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and every other social media channel for brand mentions would take far too much time and effort. Hootsuite, luckily, compiles all the posts and lets you engage with them in one easy-to-use tool.
Lithium recently acquired Klout, a social media management tool that allows you to more easily interact with your followers. Through this tool, you can respond to direct outreach from your followers, including direct messages, Tweets, Facebook posts and more. As your brand awareness increases, it becomes more overwhelming to respond to all the outreach you get. Lithium makes this process much easier by providing a simple and convenient platform.
Mentionmapp is another social monitoring tool that connects to your Twitter account. It shows metrics like who mentions your brand the most, as well as who most often retweets or replies to your tweets. Since the tool is interactive, you can do quite a bit of investigation into these metrics. For example, you can look at each tweet to see how they are related to one another.
When you use Socialmention, you type a term into the search bar — likely your brand name or a term very closely related to your company — and the tool scours the internet and fetches all mentions of that term it can find. These might be in the form of social media posts, blogs, news articles, images or video content. It gathers this information and presents it in one convenient platform.
SumAll functions as the name implies. It gathers information from all of your social media accounts — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more — and presents it in one easy-to-read summary. Using this tool, you don’t need to check the insights of each social media channel individually. Information about engagements is all right there in front of you.
Tweetdeck is a tool provided by Twitter itself, and it helps you view and assess Twitter engagements in real time. You do this by monitoring live feeds across Twitter, so if someone Tweets something, adds to their story or starts a live video, you’ll know as soon as it happens.
TweetPsych is a social listening tool that helps you find out about your brand’s reputation. If you give this tool your brand’s Twitter handle, it will compile a series of Tweets that unveils the general sentiment toward your brand among Twitter users.
TweetReach helps you navigate the wonderful world of hashtags. If someone is to discuss your brand on Twitter, there are a number of terms they might use for the associated hashtag. TweetReach makes it easy to search through Twitter for mentions of various hashtags.
If you want to investigate a specific Twitter user or hashtag, Twitonomy is a useful social listening tool for that. Just type the hashtag or user handle into the tool, and it will find and extract metrics like mentions, followers, retweets, replies and more for that particular search criteria. This is useful for if you need information on one influencer or a trend that’s circulating around social media.
By Rachael Johnson
Rachael is a content writer located in Chicago. When she’s not typing away, you can find her running the pool table at her local dive, crocheting her own clothes or reading under a blanket and working her way through the 20 different types of loose leaf tea she bought in bulk on an impulse.
“Blogging is dead”. They said that back in 2007. And again in 2008… and 2009… and 2010.
Yet here we are, a decade later, and blogging is still a powerful inbound marketing medium and source of revenue for many.
Maybe the truth is this: blogging isn’t going anywhere – it’s just evolving.
To shed some light on the current state of blogging, we’ve compiled a list of the most important blogging statistics, trends, and facts.
These blogging stats will show you exactly what blogging looks like this year and provide useful insights you can use to inform your blogging strategy.
Key blogging statistics
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most important blogging statistics.
1. There are at least half a billion blogs on the internet
500 million is a conservative ballpark estimate, given that there were 496 million blogs on Tumblr alone as of April last year. And that’s not even counting all the Wix, WordPress, and Blogger blogs on the internet.
The takeaway: Yes, the blogging space is definitely saturated at this point, but there’s always room for more. It’s still possible to carve out your own space in the market if you find the right niche and consistently create high-quality content.
2. 77% of all internet users still read blogs
“Who even reads blogs anymore, am I right?” Nope. As it turns out, you’re very wrong.
77% of all internet users regularly read blogs – and some of them probably don’t even know it. A huge chunk of the informational content we consume while looking for information are blog posts, even if they don’t look like it. How-to posts, listicles, and buying guides are just some of the many different formats that blog posts can take.
3. The top blogs make over $1m+ per year
If you were wondering if you can still make money blogging, here’s your answer. The top 0.6% of blogs generate 7 figures a year in revenue.
Don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking: what about the other 99.4%? Well, it’s not just the elite that makes money. The top 10% of bloggers also make over $10,000 per year. That might not be quite a full-time income, but it sure is a nice side-hustle. (Source: Hosting Tribunal)
4. 86% of content marketers use blog posts as part of their strategy
This makes blog posts the most popular content format amongst marketers. Perhaps surprisingly, email comes in at a distant second place at just 67%. (Source: SEMrush)
5. Blogs are the #2 form of media used in content strategy
Blogs lost out on the top spot this year to video, but they’re still a very popular form of media amongst content marketers – and it’s no surprise why. Blog content is a powerful, cost-effective way to generate traffic and leads. (Source: HubSpot, 2020)
Blogging marketing statistics
Wondering how blogging fits into your marketing strategy? Take a look at the marketing-related blogging stats below.
6. Businesses that blog generate twice the email traffic…
According to a HubSpot study of over 6,000 companies, those that blog get x2 the email traffic compared to those that don’t. Why? Simple: because blog emails contain content that customers want to read, and traditional emails don’t. (Source: HubSpot)
7 … And 67% more monthly leads
Yup, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads each month than those without them. I think that statistic speaks for itself and proves if more proof be needed just how effective blogging is for lead generation. (Source: Demand Metric)
8. 97% of bloggers promote their blog posts on social media
Distribution is an important part of blog content success – and social media is the go-to distribution channel for bloggers. (Source: Statista)
9. 61% of US consumers spend 3x as long consuming blog content than email content
Consumers still spend a lot more time reading blog content than they do emails – but that doesn’t mean you should neglect email marketing either. There’s room for both in your strategy. (Source: Social Media Today)
10. Businesses with blogs get 97% more inbound links
And as we know, more inbound links means more ranking power. That’s why so many marketers create blog posts as part of their outreach strategy. (Source: HubSpot)
11. 1-2% is the average blog visit-to-lead conversion rate
In a survey by Databox, almost 25% of marketers said they had a lead-to-visit conversion rate somewhere between 1-2%. This is a good benchmark to compare your own blog conversion rates against.
General blogging statistics
Here are some general blogging statistics that shed light on important questions about blogging monetization, growth, frequency, and more.
12. Only 1 in 3 bloggers monetize their blogs
That means the vast majority (2/3rds) of all blogs out there don’t generate any revenue. These not-for-profit blogs are likely mostly personal blogs run by hobbyists, rather than business blogs. (Source: Hosting Tribunal)
13. Affiliate marketing is the top blog monetization strategy
Amongst bloggers that do monetize, affiliate marketing is the most popular way of making money. The Amazon affiliate program is particularly popular and allows bloggers to earn affiliate revenue when readers click through their links before purchasing items on Amazon. (Source: First Site Guide)
14. WordPress is the fastest growing blogging platform
Tumblr technically is the most popular blogging platform, given that there are over 470 million blog accounts registered on their platform, but as Tumblr is technically a microblogging platform and more akin to a social media platform than a website builder, it’s better suited to hobbyists than serious bloggers. Amongst business blogs, WordPress remains the gold-standard. (Source: W3techs)
15. There are roughly 70 million new WordPress blog posts published each month
…and 77 million new comments. And that’s just on WordPress. The total number of blogs across platforms is anyone’s guess, but Worldometers provides a running live estimate based on a formula that factors in WordPress market share and historical trends. As of the time of writing, there have already been 6.4 million blog posts published today.
16. Content quality is the most important blog success-factor
Making sure you’re writing top-notch content is the number one most important thing you can do to make sure your blog is a success. (Source: GrowthBadger)
17. 22% of bloggers post 2-3 times per week
If you’re wondering how often you should be publishing new blog posts, 2-3 times a week might be a good place to start. More bloggers post 2-3 times per week than any other frequency. (Source: First Site Guide)
Blogging ranking & SEO statistics
For many bloggers, the goal of each post is to rank at the top of the search results pages for their target keywords. But to do that, you need to nail your on-page SEO. Here are some blogging ranking/SEO stats that’ll help you to do that.
18. 95% of all blog traffic goes to page-1 results
If your post isn’t landing on page 1 for your target keyword, it might as well not exist as far as organic search traffic is concerned. The vast majority of searchers won’t go past the first page to find the content they’re looking for. (Source: Brafton)
19. The ideal blog post length (for SEO) is 2,100 – 2,400 words
According to data gathered by HubSpot. In other words, blog posts that are in this word count range stand the best chance of ranking well on the SERPs. Earlier data from Backlinko found that the average length of a page-1 blog post was 1890 words.
20. 83% of bloggers still do keyword research
If you thought keywords were no longer relevant, think again. While optimizing your blog posts around a specific keyword might be less important as Google’s algorithm has got better at assessing search intent, it’s still important. And that’s why the vast majority of bloggers still do keyword research to come up with topic ideas for their posts. (Source: Orbitmedia.com)
21. Most experts think marketers should target 2-5 keywords in each blog post
Don’t just optimize your posts around one keyword. Think about variations of your keyword that your readers are likely to search for and include a handful of them throughout your content. The more keywords you rank for, the more opportunities for traffic your post will get. (Source: Databox)
22. Most blogs ranking on page-1 of Google include the target keyword in their title tag
The title tag has long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements, and that still holds true today, as proven by this stat from Backlinko.
If you want to learn more, be sure to check out our dedicated article on SEO statistics.
Blog content statistics
The blog content statistics below provide useful insight that’ll help you to create high-quality posts that get more clicks, shares, and engagement.
23. The average blog post length is 1269 words
2,100+ words might be best for SEO purposes, but the majority of blog posts out there are still shorter than that. The average length was 1269 words as of 2020, which is still more than 50% higher than it was 6 years ago.
Why the increase? Well, one clear trend over the last few years has been a shift towards long-form content. Google seems to like content that covers a given topic in-depth over thin content. (Source: Orbit Media)
24. It takes 2-3 hours, on average, to write a blog post
This is how long most respondents in a survey by Databox said they spent creating blog posts. The same respondents said it takes over 8 hours to produce video content. This makes blogging significantly less time consuming than other inbound marketing content creation.
25. Blog posts that include an image every 75-100 words generate twice the shares
Nobody likes boring walls of text. Visual elements like images and videos enrich your blog posts, help to keep your audience’s attention and make your content much more shareable. Make sure you’re using them in your posts. (Source: HubSpot)
26. Blog post headlines that are 6-13 words long drive the most traffic
Aim to keep the word count of your headlines somewhere in this range to maximize your traffic potential. (Source: OptinMonster)
27. Consumers spend 88% more time on pages that include video content
Dwell time is one of the most important metrics you can use to measure the success of a blog. The longer your readers hang around on your post, the greater chance you have of ranking in the search engine results pages for your target keywords.
And one way you can boost your blog post dwell time is to add in video or audio content. 88% of consumers will spend more time on your page if it includes video content, and 45% of bloggers who include audio in their posts achieve better results.
28. “How-to” posts are the most popular blog content format
77% of respondents in an Orbit Media survey said they’d published how-to articles in the last 12 months. This makes it by far the most popular type of content amongst bloggers. (Source: Orbit Media)
Blogging traffic statistics
Wondering how to drive more traffic to your blog? Check out these blogging traffic statistics.
29. Businesses that publish 16+ posts/month generate 3.5x more traffic
The upshot of this is clear: more posts means more traffic. Aim to publish at least 3 posts per week if your content calendar allows and watch as your traffic goes through the roof. (Source: HubSpot)
30. Compounding blog posts generate 38% of all blog traffic
This is despite the fact that only 10% of all blog posts are compounding blog posts. What are compounding posts, you ask?
Well, in a nutshell, they’re posts that generate traffic that grows over time. They’re the opposite of ‘decaying posts’, which are posts that generate traffic that peaks when first published but then declines over time (like news stories and posts about passing trends).
Aim to create content around ‘evergreen topics’ that are likely to appeal to your audience and for years to come and you should see more traffic over the long term. (Source: HubSpot)
31. The use of promotional techniques to drive blog traffic is up 93% over the past year
It’s getting harder and harder to generate organic traffic, and bloggers/marketers are increasingly reliant on paid ads to drive traffic to their content. (Source: OptinMonster)
Blogging challenges statistics
While blogging might not be dead yet, the industry is nonetheless facing challenges. Here are some statistics that show the main hurdles brands, marketers, and independent bloggers face in getting their posts off the ground this year.
32. The average reader spends just 37 seconds reading a blog post
What does this mean? It means you need to work harder at grabbing your reader’s attention right off the bat. The average blog reader has a short attention span. Make sure you’re hooking them in in your introduction and keep them engaged with great content so that they stick around. (Source: NewsCred)
33. Around 27% of US internet users use ad blocking software
That number’s been growing steadily year on year. What does it mean for bloggers? Well, if you generate an income from traditional ad networks, you might want to start looking for new revenue streams. More future-proof monetization strategies include affiliate revenue and sponsored content. (Source: Statista)
34. 92.42% of keywords get less than ten monthly searches
Finding low-competition, high search-volume keywords is getting harder and harder as the blogging space becomes increasingly saturated. (Source: Ahrefs)
35. The average top-ranking blog post is 2+ years old
Blogging (and content marketing more generally) has always been a long-term game. It takes a while for your posts to gain traction and start ranking, as this stat proves. The average blog post ranking in the top 10 results is 2+ years old. If you’re looking for fast results and want to drive website traffic quickly, blogging might not be the right way to go. (Source: Ahrefs)
36. Around 74% of marketers think videos are better than blog posts for lead generation
One trend we’ve seen over the last few years is a ‘pivot to video’. Marketers are increasingly prioritizing video content to generate leads over blog posts – but that doesn’t mean blogs don’t have a place in your strategy.
While video content is great, it typically costs more and takes longer to make than blog content. Plus, it’s not ideal longer in every situation. Some readers (think busy commuters or people in the workplace) are more likely to want to skim a blog post than watch a video.
There you have it – 36 enlightening blogging statistics, facts, and trends. We hope you were able to draw some useful insights from them!
If you take away just one thing from this article, let it be this: blogging is still a viable marketing method and way to make money as long as you put in the effort.
Focus on creating high-quality content that your readers will love and the traffic will take care of itself.
To make your content king on social media, you need a strategy. These are the steps required to create it.
Content is at the heart of social media. “Content is king,” they say, and it takes many forms: text, images, photos, videos, and emojis 😉💪🔥🙏🥇. But it’s not the individual components that give content a royal stance, it’s the story it tells and the emotions it generates in its audience.
That’s why you need a content strategy to define your brand’s storyline and ensure you fully reap the benefits of social media.
When building your social content strategy, remember that engagement is an integral part of how social media platforms work: The more your content resonates with your audience, the further it will be distributed on the social platform to be seen by more people — and if you’re lucky, it might even go viral.
There’s never a guarantee your content will go viral, but a structured approach to building your strategy will increase your chances.
Let’s look at the steps for defining a social media content strategy.
Here are 7 steps to develop a social media content strategy:
Define your audience
Audit your content
Define your themes and topics
Map out your hashtags
Create the story and the content mix
Set publication frequencies and goals
Build your social media content calendar
How to create a social media content strategy for your small business
To make your strategy successful, you should tell a story with your social media content, be ambitious, use automation as your invisible friend and creativity as your magic wand. And above all, maintain your rhythm and consistency throughout the entire process.
Step 1: Define your audience
Before we look at the content itself, we need to consider who it’s for. Your social media audience should correspond to your target market, but it doesn’t have to be limited to just individuals in that market.
Adjacent audiences, or those who can exert an influence on your target market, can serve as an entry point to your audience and shouldn’t be overlooked.
A great way to define your target audience for social media is by using personas. Personas are a simplified representation of your target audience with a name as well as geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics.
A persona is like a sketch of a segment of your audience that you can improve over time.
Make sure to include motivations, interests, fears, and pain points in your persona definitions, and keep your persona(s) in mind every time you shape new content.
By formalizing your personas into easily understandable formats that can be put on posters on the wall and summarized with memorable names, you can keep them in mind during the entire content creation process.
Tips for defining your audience:
Use Facebook Audience Insights: Via your Facebook business page, you’ll have access to free audience insights from Facebook. This tool can help you further define and quantity your target audience.
Try Sparktoro: By querying Sparktoro with some of the key elements from your persona overview, the tool will identify audience characteristics such as what sites they visit or what influencers they follow.
Step 2: Audit your existing content
Keeping your audience in mind, it’s time to look at your existing content. This can be quite a challenging and time-consuming process as it involves identifying all of the articles on your blog, any historical publications on social media, and even content you’ve created for using offline.
If you plan to reuse some of this content, it would be a great idea to organize the content in a repository or a digital asset management tool.
Here are some ways to find your content:
Find popular content on your blog with Google Analytics: In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > All pages and select a long time frame (for example, one year back) to see the most popular pages on your website. Ignore the homepage and all the static pages on your site, and copy the list of all the popular articles on your website.
Find popular posts on your Facebook page: Go to Facebook Insights and select Posts to see a list of your posts organized chronologically. You can scroll to see pieces of historical content and extract the most successful posts if you haven’t already identified them elsewhere. (An easier way to do this is by using a social media management tool to extract and organize your posts on various social networks. We’ll look at those options in more detail below.)
Crawl your website from the outside: Content audits are often performed in relation with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and there are a number of tools available to help you with this. For a small website, the Screaming Frog site crawler is free to use (up to 500 URLs). It will allow you to extract all of the URLs your content represents so you can add the list to your content repository. Perhaps you’ve already done an SEO audit to gather some recommendations about your content that you can use as well.
Now you should be able to start identifying your highest-quality content, as the most popular content will be prioritized in the searches you do. However, you shouldn’t assume that your most popular content is also the best representation of your brand.
Keep in mind your audience personas as well as the values of your brand. Perhaps you’ve performed a brand audit or detailed the values of your brand in your social media marketing plan or your business plan. Look them up, and qualify your best-performing content against those criteria.
There’s also a fun way to audit your existing content: Let artificial intelligence (AI) have a look at your existing articles: “What does Walt think?” Analyzing your content with AI can help you understand how credible it is.
The artificial intelligence (named “Walt”) from Fakerfact will analyze any article you submit via its URL and score it according to various content dimensions. Source: Fakerfact.org.
The ideal outcome of your content audit should be a complete overview of your existing usable content, which we will categorize in the next step.
Step 3: Define your content themes, topics, and channels
While auditing your content, you may have realized that most of it fell into natural categories corresponding to the themes you most often communicate about. In this step, take the time to define the full range of themes you want to cover.
Keep an open mind; you may discover content gaps between what you have and what you need, which will help you in the process of developing content.
You also need to define what social media channels you want to use in your content strategy and what their function will be. Define your primary social media channel as well as a few secondary channels, too, that can piggyback on your primary channel to increase the reach of your communications.
Don’t forget to define the role of your website in your social media content strategy, and create an overview of the themes and topics your content needs to address.
Step 4: Map out your hashtags
With your themes in mind, do some hashtags research. Hashtags are an essential component of social media navigation on Twitter and Instagram, and they have a secondary role on most other social media networks, too.
The four roles of hashtags:
Drive discovery. When hashtags are used to drive discovery, as it is the case on Instagram, Twitter, and increasingly, LinkedIn, it’s important to choose related hashtags that are already being used by other social media profiles, as these hashtags can start to trend. If your post has used a trending hashtag, it can appear when new users are looking for content by navigating via that hashtag.
Give context to a message. Hashtags are also used more generally to provide context for a message and thereby use fewer words. The hashtag gives context to the other words in the post: “How are we all doing today? #coronavirus” means something totally different than “How are we all doing today? #brexit.”
Create an anchor. Hashtags can also be used for creating an anchor. If, for example, you’ve created a report about marketing on Amazon, and you post extracts and content from the report to drive awareness about it, you could use the hashtag #AmazonMarketingReport in all of your posts to create a way to anchor the different posts together as well as create a concept that spans multiple social media platforms.
Reference events. Finally, don’t forget events hashtags. These can be used for yearly recurring events, such as #MayThe4thBeWithYou and #BlackFriday, or they can be associated with specific events such as a conference, like #sxsw2019.
If your post is visible on a trending events hashtag, you will have created significant visibility for your brand.
The next step is to associate various hashtags to each of the themes you identified in the last step. Focus on the ones that can drive discovery, and analyze the reach and consistency of each of them. You should end up with a prioritized list of hashtags you should be using for new posts on each topic.
To check the consistency of a hashtag, simply search for it and look at the results. Would a post from your brand belong in the search results? To check the volume of searches for various hashtags, here are a couple of free tools that can help analyze the amount of traffic on hashtags:
The social media management tool you’re using might be also able to provide this functionality. Keep a number of hashtags on your list so you can vary the audiences you target from time to time.
Use restraint with hashtags, though: A good limit to respect is 3-5 hashtags per post, allowing you to use events or discovery, context, and an anchor.
Step 5: Create the story and the content mix
Now that you know your personas, have identified your existing content, and have defined the themes that should be present in your social media marketing strategy, it’s time to take a step back and look at the big picture.
What’s the story for your brand in that context?
Perhaps you need some inspiration for outstanding content?
Use your newly defined content themes and hashtags to look at content that has stood out for the theme in the past using BuzzSumo, which is a database of articles that appear on blogs and social media sorted by popularity. What outstanding creative content do you need your story to wind itself around?
Next, consider content types. YouTube put the Hero, Hub, Hygiene framework forward in 2014, which defines three functions for the pieces in your content strategy.
Hero: The main piece is the “hero” content that’s the driving element of your storyline.
Hub: Around the storyline, you build “hub” content that can be curated from other sources and keeps your audience engaged with your main themes.
Hygiene: Finally, the “hygiene” content — renamed to “help” by Google — consists of more practical information about your products, services, or offerings.
The creativity of your hero content can strongly influence the success of your content strategy. It is the “Don Draper” of your content strategy: Don Draper is the main character of the Mad Men TV series, depicting the advertising industry in the 1960s.
He spends his time looking for outstanding yet simple concepts that will connect end users with brands.
Take some time to build the concept for your hero content, and consider it the most important content element in your mix. Next, consider all the elements that can support the main hero content and how they can prepare and expand the main story element.
The building bricks for a content strategy can be outlined as themes, hashtags, and content that apply to your personas via your main social channels.
Step 6: Define publication frequencies and goals
To make it all come together, you need to define a more detailed plan. Identify a top storyline and a list of themes to cover in your communications. Also, be sure to insert the calls-to-actions and promotional elements required for this strategy to serve your marketing plan as well.
The next step will be to define your publication frequencies.
What will your personas expect of you?
What is the natural frequency of news related to your hero content?
How can you fill the gap in a natural way?
A good way to define publication frequencies is to look at the strategy from the viewpoint of social media metrics: Calculate your reach on social networks, and compare this to your communication goals.
Your ideal publication frequency will derive from this comparison as you will need to reach your entire audience many times per month — and maybe several times per day — to meet your goals.
Step 7: Outline your social media content calendar
You’ve now put all of the components of your content strategy together. In order to further materialize it, consider building a detailed content calendar of individual posts, themes, hashtags, and publication dates.
A content calendar helps you organize when and where each of your posts will publish, allowing you to optimize your content as well as each social media platform you use.
A content calendar is one of the best social media content strategy tools you have at your disposal, and one way to organize it is by using a social media management tool.
The best social media management tools to execute your content strategy
Your new social media content strategy is ready, and you may feel a little overwhelmed with the objectives you’ve set for yourself and your team. If not, go back and revise your objectives upwards: Social media objectives should be daring!
Beyond the strategy, you now need to address the execution of your strategy, and for this, a number of tools in the market can help you automate a wide range of the activities you need to undertake, including automatic scheduling, competitive analysis, and reporting.
We’ve looked at some of the best tools for social media management below.
If your primary social media channel is Instagram, then Later might be your preferred tool. Its strongest functionality is the preparation of a social media calendar from an image repository and the automatic publication of posts.
In addition to Instagram, the tool also allows you to manage your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest activity.
The visual content calendar and its drag-and-drop functionality from an image repository is one of the strengths of Later.
Hootsuite is a longstanding leader in the area of social media management. With Hootsuite, you can cover four key aspects of your social media management: post scheduling, social listening, content curation, and analytics.
There is a further integration of direct management of advertising in Facebook and LinkedIn as well as project management for your social media team.
The basic Hootsuite plan is free for a limited number of social networks and posts per month.
Beyond the basic functionalities of social media management, Hootsuite also allows you to manage your team and integrate with a number of apps and external solutions.
3. Sprout Social
At the high end of the social media management tools spectrum, we find Sprout Social. The basic functionalities covered include social listening, post scheduling via a content calendar, centralized engagement management across various social networks, and analytics.
Sprout claims additional access to consumer research and influencer identification as some of its strengths. These more advanced features can be helpful in some of the stages of the content strategy process.
Sprout Social has a great user interface with clear illustrations of the performance of your social media channels.
Content does not become king all by itself
The myth of viral content that suddenly becomes a worldwide phenomenon simply because it was outstanding has endured for many years. In reality, though, it is preparation that allows for great social media success.
Social media teams who have their finger on the pulse, who abound with creativity, who detect every competitor move, and who constantly optimize their presence on the various platforms are the most likely to generate success.
And at the very foundation of a social media presence lies a well-researched and documented content strategy, which will guarantee that your content resonates with its target audience so you can meet your business objectives.
Facebook is a powerful tool, but only if used correctly. Two out of three businesses on Facebook, however, do not work with a proper Facebook marketing strategy. Instead, they muddle through, trying to learn as they go along. If your business isn’t truly expert at Facebook, however, you don’t get the mileage out of this platform that you can. Here are mistakes that you should look out for and avoid.
1. You Forget about Facebook’s Rules
It’s possible to break the rules when you post on Facebook. For instance, if you publish a photo hyperlinked to a website, it goes against Facebook’s preferences for what posts should be like. The way Facebook sees it, photos should have dead-end links — they should be clicked to expand, not to lead to websites. It’s important to keep such Facebook rules in mind in order to not be penalized.
2. You Post Just Links
Many companies publish posts that consist of links to their website, and nothing else. Facebook users, however, tend to stay within Facebook, and wish to not to be taken outside. Going outside tends to result in less engagement and, curiously enough, fewer clicks. Facebook advertising, on the other hand, results in more website clicks. Proper advertising, not links, attracts people and makes them click.
3. Poor Content Targeting
Many companies use the spray-and-pray approach: They publish all the news and content they can get their hands on, let all their followers see it, and hope that something sticks. Precise content targeting, however, is Facebook’s strength. To ignore it makes little sense, because irrelevant content tends to annoy readers. A basic rule of Facebook use is to only publish content that can be targeted.
4. Neglecting to Advertise on Facebook
About five percent of your audience is the best you can hope for when you take the organic route. For longer than a year, however, Facebook’s organic reach hasn’t been very good for businesses. Facebook expects businesses to reach their audiences through its advertising products instead. It’s important to post high-quality content on a regular basis, and to then promote through advertising.
5. Neglecting to Use a Consistent Tone of Voice
Not many businesses decide on the tone of voice to use. They tend to let different employees take charge of their Facebook presence at different times, resulting in a company tone that changes from formal to fun at different times of the month. Such inconsistent tone is likely to disengage viewers, however. It’s important to get the marketing team on board, create a tone that works with the company’s general brand image, and to go with it at all times.
6. Ignoring a Problem When it Comes Up
People don’t just go to company pages on Facebook to follow fun posts — they also go to complain about problems. Many businesses aren’t sure how to handle negativity, however, and simply choose to ignore it. This tends to look bad to other Facebook users who see the company as disengaged.
It’s important to thoroughly deal with negativity as soon as it turns up. The idea should be to respond within minutes. Facebook Insights allows businesses to monitor response times. If it’s hard to respond in a prompt fashion, it would be a good idea to hire someone who is able to do it.
7. Finding a Content Strategy
Content pasted from the company blog, for instance, simply doesn’t work. Facebook content needs to be specifically created for the platform, and it needs to be emotive. Businesses need a content strategy, a copywriter, and designer to be able to look professional on Facebook.
It is common for businesses to make mistakes on Facebook. These mistakes can take a toll on your success. It’s important to pay close attention to Facebook’s changes and preferences. It’s the only way to use Facebook to its full potential.