What are the newest 2021 blogging trends—and why you should care!
Update! If you’re researching 2021 blogging trends, you’ve come to the right place. Given the time and effort it takes to write and maintain your blog, it only makes sense to learn what works and what doesn’t. If you’re in a blogging rut, read on to spark new ideas and get better results—page rank, click-through, and more. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be in a better position to reexamine your current program, update your strategies, and fine-tune your blogging practices.
Find out about the topics you care about most.
I’ve chosen to focus these updated 2021 blogging trends on the copywriting aspects of blogging, including:
- Are blogs still relevant?
- Quality is the #1 blogging success factor?
- How long should a blog post be?
- How much time should I spend writing a blog article?
- How often should I publish?
- What type of content is most effective? [Updating and reuse, video, images, statistics]
- What does a good title include?
- How can I improve organic SEO?
I’ve done my absolute best to provide the most recent and accurate information, primarily based on studies from 2020 and early 2021. Plus Instead of just providing dry facts, I’ve categorized the data and provided analytical discussion for greater context and substance.
Read on — and get actionable data that will help you blog better.
Are Blogs Still Relevant for digital marketing in 2021?
Blogs are more than simply relevant—they are necessary for any digital marketing strategy. Blogging is a key element for branding, visibility, organic SEO, and driving traffic to your website. Still need convincing? Well, the numbers don’t lie:
- B2B marketers who have blogs get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
- 57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through blogging.
- Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t.
- There were over 600 million active blogs globally in 2020.
- There are 31.7 bloggers in the United States.
There’s no doubt that blogging works and competition is fierce! So, let’s talk about creating blogs and blog articles that will bring you traffic, leads, and customers.
Quality is the #1 Blogging Success Factor in 2021.
Publishing consistently High-quality content will help you tackle these challenges:
- The median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds. (NewsCred)
- 43% of people admitting to skimming blog posts. (Optinmonster)
While the amount of content is growing, there are still only 24 hours in a day. And our time is more precious than ever. It’s not easy to get your blog article seen, read, and clicked on. According to the data, publishing high-quality articles is the #1 factor for blogging success.
What BLOGGERS have to say about the importance of quality:
- More than one-third of high-earning bloggers (those who make over $50,000 annually) say the demand for high-quality content is higher than ever.
- Quality content is rated the No.1 most important factor among bloggers. (Growth Badger)
- Even though quality is paramount, 38% of bloggers say one of their biggest challenges is creating quality content consistently. (OrbitMedia).
What READERS have to say about the importance of quality:
- 32% of readers agree that accurate content is among the most crucial factors in quality content. (Slideshare)
- 24% of readers say bad content quality destroys a blog’s credibility. (Social Marketing Writing)
- 60 percent of consumers won’t purchase from a brand with poorly written content.
- Compelling copy draws 7.8 times more site traffic and produces brand recall which brings higher engagement rates.
RELATED READING: Quality Checklist: 38 Copywriting Best Practices for 2021
How long should a blog post be?
The debate about blog length continues:
This is an enormous section because it’s so important—and best practices are controversial. It’s also hard to get your arms around article length because the results of different studies vary greatly, depending on the composition of the respondents. The “best” length will differ based on industry and niche, b2b versus b2c, and more. No matter how you look at it though, long-form wins the game.
If you’re among the 55% of bloggers who write less than 1000 words per post, these figures may change your blog writing habits. That said, there’s no one size fits all, so it’s worth looking into statistics for your own niche and testing what works for your company.
TIP: Longer Blogs Provide Value and User Experience
- Monetization: If you’re looking to monetize your blog, note that bloggers earning over $50,000 per year say their most popular posts are 2,424 words long. This is 83% longer than those of low-income bloggers. (Growth Badger)
- What users prefer: 75% of people report that they prefer reading articles under 1,000 words (Contently), which is somewhat shorter than the average length blog of 1,151 words (Optinmonster). This is somewhat confusing since there is ample evidence that longer articles improve rankings and boost website visits.
TIP: Read Statistics Carefully!
Why this discrepancy about the best length for blog posts? Although I like to be definitive, I’ve included this conflicting information on purpose to demonstrate that results from different studies don’t always match up. Here are just three potential reasons why. First, what people “self-report” may not accurately reflect their behaviors. Second, study methodologies and analyses may differ or be flawed. Third, responses will vary based on the subject group.
The lesson is to read statistics carefully and not just swallow them whole. Consider the subject group, methodology, and the reliability of the source.
- Longer blogs perform: If you go by Optinmonster, the average blog post is 1151 words, a 42% increase over the past 5 years. On the other hand, OrbitMedia research shows average blog postis now1,236 words long, a 53% increase since 2014. In either case, the trend is toward longer blogs.
- The blog length that performs best: Studies vary, but no matter the specific numbers, every study I’ve seen shows that long-form content typically beats out short-form, especially in the 2,000-3,000 word range. Writers who create shorter posts—take note:
- The average word count of a top-ranked post in Google is 1,890 words. Backlinko
- Bloggers who write articles of 2,000+ words are far more likely to have strong results. (Optinmonster)
- A word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earned the most organic traffic (Hubspot).
Shift from short- to long-form:
The word count of the typical post is up 57% since 2014, and the trend is continuing. Posts over 2,000 words are steadily increasing, while blog posts under 500 words are declining. (Orbitmedia)
The graphs below show that higher page rank on the SERP goes to longer articles of around 2,000 words, with a steep decline down to around 1,500 words. Similarly, bloggers who write longer articles feel they get “strong results,” which drops steadily as article length gets shorter: 11% of bloggers with articles 500 words or less think they get “strong results,” versus the 54% of those with articles of 3,000+ words.
Blog length affects page rank.
What length do bloggers say gets the best results?
How much time should I spend writing a blog article?
TIP: Invest time in your posts.
With the trend toward long-form blogs, it’s no surprise that copywriters are spending an increasingly longer time writing their article—with better results.
- Average Time Per Post: In 2020, bloggers spent an average of around 4 hours per post, an increase of 65% from the average 2+ hours in 2014. (Orbitmedia)
- Strong Results: The highest level of “strong results” were reported by the 38% of bloggers who spend 6+ hours on a post. The second-highest level was from bloggers spending 4-6 hours. 1-2 hours received 23% (Orbitmedia)
How often should I publish?
TIP: Publish frequently, but don’t overdo it.
We know that it’s worthwhile to spend time on a high-quality, long-form post. Next comes the question of how frequently to post. Again, studies varied on the “ideal” publishing frequency. Frequent blogging, especially daily, has led bloggers to feel that have “stronger results” than those that blog less frequently.
I’ve used the Orbit Study for the data in this section:
- High-frequency bloggers are more satisfied: 67% of respondents who publish daily say they have strong results. From there it seems to reach a point of diminishing returns; of those who publish more than daily, only 44% say they get “strong results.” It drops way down to get 44% for the second-highest group—those that publish multiple times per week, showing a point of diminishing returns. The “strong results” rating continue to drop as frequency drop. The lowest figure, at 15%, are those that publish at irregular intervals—consistency is important. (Orbit)
- How often most bloggers post: The majority of bloggers, 61%, post several times per week to several times per month. Blogging several times per month and blogging weekly are tied at 22%. The fewest respondents report that they post daily or more than daily.
- Rate of frequency drops over time: Let’s just look at a few examples. From 2014 to 2020, the publishing rate of 2-6 times per week dropped from nearly 30% to 17%. At the same time, monthly blogging increased from less than 10% to 17%. There may be several reasons for this. First is the rise of longer, higher quality articles, which take longer to write. Second, some company are publishing less, but giving each article more promotion through social media.
What type of content is most effective?
TIP: Balance effectiveness of format with resources available.
So far, we know that publishing high-quality content of approximately 2,000-3000 works with a frequency of at least several times per month is effective. The next logical question is what type of content to publish—with the understanding that some formats are easier to produce than others. Here, decision-makers need to determine the best balance between the resources needed and the probable effectiveness of each format.
Interestingly, the graphs below show a difference between which formats had been published in the previous 12 months versus which formats marketers reported getting “strong results.” Why the difference? First, check out the charts:
Orbitmedia reports the following:
Implications of content format above for 2021 blogging predictions:
- How-To Articles: 77% of respondents created “how-to” blog articles in the past year. By far the top format, they are relatively easy to create, fairly short, easy to publish, and highly sharable. As the third-most preferred headline (17%), they have strong organic click-through for building traffic. The downside is that how-to blog articles attract fairly generic leads and not “strong results.”
- Guide Books / Ebooks: Even though guidebooks ranked third for publishing in the past year, they led in “strong results” (40%) for several reasons. First, they are generally the focus of a well-planned and promoted content marketing campaign. As gated assets, they attract motivated leads who are willing to provide personal information in exchange for the guide book.
READ MORE ABOUT EBOOKS: The Most Essential Tips for Planning an Ebook
- Original Research: Falling just behind guide books for “strong results, they only come in sixth in publishing over the past year. Why? Original research isn’t easy to conduct and analyze; research studies take significant time, effort, and expertise–and possibly a partner. However, original research differentiates a company and shows its expertise and authority. Companies recognize the power of original research, leading to a steady and significant rise in the past few years.
- Overall: Looking at the data overall, we see that each format is useful in different ways. In the end, each company has to test various formats and analyze the results—social media response, the number and quality of leads, conversion of those leads to customers, and more.
Updating and Reusing Blog Posts:
TIP: Update and reuse blog posts as part of your blogging strategy.
Updating blog posts can increase traffic by 106%. Further, 34% of bloggers say that updating content produces “strong result. (HubSpot).” This may be why a growing number of bloggers update content as part of their blogging strategy—from 53% in 2017 to 70% in 2020. It doesn’t take much to reuse blog content, so this technique is even more popular, with around 60% of marketers reusing posts 2-3 times. However, reuse has fewer “strong results” responses than updating–especially when “update” is in the title. (Source: Orbitmedia)
TIP: Stay organized! Create an editorial calendar to plan your articles and keep track of your results.
RELATED READING: How (and Why) to Create Your Blog Editorial Calendar
Video content is trending.
TIP: Include video in blogs to be more competitive.
The use of video in blog posts once again demonstrates the face-off between resources and effectiveness—and the importance of technology trends. 41% of respondents reported that video got the top rank for “strong results.” This perception reflects that video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search traffic than plain text.
At the same time, only 25% of bloggers included videos in their posts. This implies that bloggers either don’t understand how effective videos are in blog posts, they don’t have the resources to produce their own videos, they don’t want to include blogs from another source, or some combination.
The importance of images
TIP: Keep using images–consistently, in every post.
Images are necessary and impactful; they get 94% more views than blogs without images. It’s interesting that while 90% of bloggers use images, only 30% say they have “strong results.” Perhaps images are so common that they don’t stand out from the competition—but make for a more enjoyable experience. Plus, NOT having images is a negative factor.
Data and statistics for B2B
TIP: Include relevant, up-to-date statistics to increase authority, trustworthiness and page rank.
The effectiveness of including statistics within blogs varies widely by niche and type of audience. Statistical “evidence” is quite valuable for complex B2B companies, boosting the perception of trustworthiness, SEO, and user experience. Not so much for B2C. The charts above show that 54% of bloggers use statistics, but only 32% say they have “strong results.” This might be a similar situation to the use of images, where they are interesting and expected, but don’t necessarily cut through the clutter. In other cases, the value of including statistics may depend on the perceived relevancy, accuracy, timeliness, and choice of sources.
The charts above show other formats bloggers should experiment with, test, and analyze. These include lists, contributor quotes, and audio.
What does a good title include?
TIP: Explore many headings before selecting a final one.
I included some information about headlines in previous sections of this article, so I’ll just provide a simple list of additional points:
- Having a hyphen or colon in the headline increased click-through rates by 9%.
- Making your headline 6-8 words can increase your CTR by 21%.
- Blog posts with 6-13 word long headlines tend to drive more traffic.
- Odd-numbered listicle headlines outperform even ones by 20%.
- Positive headline changes have the power to provide a 10% increase in clicks.
- Predictive headlines (“The Future of…”) outperforming other B2B content.
- Emotional headlines get a higher number of shares than other headline types.
RELATED READING: Winning Headings for Blogposts: 7 Killer Tips
What are best blogging practices for improving organic SEO?
TIP: Spend time researching keywords to improve page rank and CTR
We’ve hit upon SEO in some previous sections, but it helps to look at them all together. Since this isn’t the primary focus of the article, I’ll just provide some helpful facts.
- SEO-Focused: Bloggers who focus on SEO report “strong results” at much higher than average rates.
- Keyword Research: The more keyword research bloggers do, the more likely they are to report “strong results.”
- Organic Traffic: Articles with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earn the most organic traffic.
- Top-Ranked Posts: The average word count of a top-ranked post in Google is 1,890 words.
- Shares: Long-format content gets more shares. Posts in the 3,000 to 10,000 words range perform best because they provide a better connection for long-tail keywords, which have less competition.
- Competition: Regular content could manage with around 1,000 words. For high competition keywords, the length should be between 2,200 and 2500 words per blog post. Some put this number even higher.
- Links: Longer blog posts attract more links, and those links are from a greater number of different sites, which helps increase search ranking.
- On average, long-form content generates eight times more page views, three times more social media shares, and nine times more leads than short-form content.
- 1,000 vs. 2,000+ Words: The ratio of blogs with 2,000+ words versus those with less than 1,000 words is 16:1.
- Quantity: According to Traffic Generation Cafe, once you publish 24-51 blog posts, blog traffic increases by up to 30%; once you go past 51 blog posts, you can expect a further traffic increase up to 77% (See chart below).
- Industry: Remember that the ideal word count varies by industry. For example, according to Snap Agency, When it comes to the largest volume of organic traffic in the finance industry, the ideal word count is 2,250 – 2,500, whereas home and garden’s sweet spot is 1,100-1,200 words—with a focus on images, rather than text. In addition, consider your goal—branding, social shares, lead quality, etc. You can find more industry-specific information in this blog by Neil Patel.
RELATED READING: 5 Great Articles on SEO Trends for 2021
Key Takeaways: Techniques you can use to increase your blogging success in 2021:
- Take the time to write high-quality articles.
- Write 2,000-3,000 word articles (but consider the “sweet spot” for your industry).
- Post daily, or at least several times a month.
- Offer premium content (often gated content) at least once a year.
- Always include images.
- Add video into the mix.
- Choose your headlines carefully.
- Research keywords for every post.
- Update and reuse blogposts.
Conclusion (and a few final statistics—especially for B2B marketers)
If you’re having a hard time keeping up with blogging and other content needs, you’re not alone:
Reliable research shows that success depends on publishing high-quality, long-form content on a frequent basis. It’s not easy to do—it takes time, staffing, and expertise. If your internal resources are short, maybe it’s time to turn to expert outside resources, such as Westebbe Marketing.