Is Blogging Still a Business Strategy Worth Investing In? 2017 Survey Data Says Yes

It‘s no secret that the world of digital marketing is always evolving. What worked last year may not work today, and what‘s effective today could be obsolete tomorrow. With that reality, many businesses find themselves wondering: is blogging still worth it as a marketing strategy?

To get to the bottom of this question, it helps to look at some cold, hard data. And one of the best sources of data on blogging trends and performance is Orbit Media Studios‘ annual survey of 1000+ bloggers about their efforts and results.

In this post, we‘ll dive deep into the findings of Orbit Media‘s 2017 survey to determine whether blogging is still delivering positive ROI for businesses, and what the data suggests about how to optimize your strategy. Let‘s dig in.

Key Findings: Blogging Continues to Yield Strong Results

First, let‘s look at the big picture. When asked to report on the overall effectiveness of their blogging efforts, here‘s how respondents broke down:

  • 29.5% are seeing "strong results"
  • 52.8% are seeing "some results"
  • 15.5% are seeing "few results"
  • 2.2% are seeing "no results"

In other words, over 80% of bloggers report their blog is delivering positive results for their business to some degree. The number of bloggers seeing strong results has steadily increased each year of the survey:

Year % Seeing Strong Results
2014 13.1%
2015 22.8%
2016 25.8%
2017 29.5%

So not only are the vast majority of bloggers getting good results, but those results seem to be improving each year as they refine their approach. This is a clear indication that blogging continues to be a highly effective marketing channel when done well.

When asked about the specific benefits they‘ve seen from blogging, respondents reported:

  • More traffic to their website (81%)
  • Increased brand awareness (73%)
  • More and better quality leads (64%)
  • Improved search engine rankings (60%)
  • Established thought leadership (47%)

Generating more site traffic is far and away the top benefit, but boosting SEO, brand awareness and lead generation are also common positive outcomes businesses are seeing from their blogs.

Bloggers Are Increasing Their Publishing Frequency

So what are bloggers doing to achieve these strong results? One clear trend is that they‘re publishing more frequently than ever.

In 2017, the average blogger published a new post every 7 days. As recently as 2014, it was every 15 days on average. Over a third of respondents now publish 2-6 posts per week:

Posting Frequency % of Bloggers
More than daily 3.3%
Daily 2.6%
2-6 posts/week 37.7%
Weekly 22.1%
Several/month 17.5%
Monthly 6.9%
Less than monthly 9.8%

There‘s a clear correlation in the survey data between posting frequency and results. 66.7% of bloggers who post more than daily reported strong results, compared to just 17.6% of those who post monthly or less.

The takeaway? If you want to maximize your blog‘s impact, publishing consistently and frequently (at least weekly) is key. Don‘t let your blog sit idle for long stretches.

Posts Are Getting Longer and More In-Depth

In addition to posting more often, bloggers are also going more in-depth with their content. In 2017, the average blog post was 1142 words long. That‘s up 41% from just 808 words in 2014.

What‘s driving this trend toward longer posts? A few factors:

  1. Search engines tend to reward comprehensive, authoritative content that fully answers the searcher‘s query. Longer posts often rank higher.

  2. Readers appreciate thorough, high-value content as opposed to short, superficial posts. Longer posts tend to get more engagement and shares.

  3. Longer posts give you more opportunities to target a variety of keywords and get found in search for a wider range of relevant topics.

  4. In-depth content helps to establish your brand as a knowledgeable thought leader in your industry. This builds trust and loyalty with your audience.

In the survey, 54% of bloggers who write 2000+ word posts reported strong results, compared to just 21% of those who write posts under 500 words. While not every post needs to be a novel, publishing meaty, comprehensive content should be a priority.

Bloggers Are Leveraging Multiple Promotion Channels

Creating great blog content is only half the battle – you also need to actively promote and distribute that content to get it in front of your target audience. The more places your blog is visible, the bigger its reach and impact will be.

According to the survey data, here are the most common blog promotion tactics in use:

  • Social media (94%)
  • SEO (61%)
  • Email marketing (59%)
  • Influencer outreach (27%)
  • Paid promotion/ads (20%)

Nearly all bloggers are sharing their posts on social media and optimizing them for search. Email outreach to subscribers and influencers in the industry is also popular.

Interestingly though, very few are utilizing paid promotion channels to expand their blog‘s reach. Only about 1 in 5 bloggers use methods like social media ads, native ads or paid search. This could represent an opportunity – the bloggers who do leverage paid channels reported much higher results on average.

Original Research Leads to Stronger Results

Finally, what about the content itself? Publishing frequency and format aside, are there certain types of blog content that perform better than others?

As content marketing has gotten more competitive, there‘s been a push toward creating more original, distinctive content rather than just echoing what everyone else is saying. Publishing your own original research and data is one powerful way to stand out.

In the survey, 49% of bloggers who publish original research reported strong results. This was notably higher than the overall average of 30%, indicating that investing in original studies and data-driven content can give your blog a major advantage.

Case studies, infographics and interviews were other high-performing content formats with over 35% reporting strong results. List posts (28%) and how-to guides (27%) also outperformed short-form opinion pieces and newsjacking posts.

If there‘s a theme here, it‘s that substantial, research-backed content consistently delivers better results for business blogs than quick-hit, surface-level posts. Prioritize original ideas and authoritative insights over rehashing common knowledge.

The Bottom Line

So what‘s the final verdict – is blogging still a worthwhile business strategy in 2017 and beyond? Based on this survey of over 1000 real-world bloggers, the answer appears to be a resounding "yes!"

Over 80% of bloggers saw positive results from their efforts this year, with nearly a third reporting "strong" ROI in terms of traffic, leads and brand equity. Blogging is far from dead – in fact, businesses seem to be generating better results from their blogs each successive year.

The data also reveals some clear best practices for business blogging success going forward:

  1. Publish new posts consistently and frequently (at least weekly)
  2. Go in-depth with longer, meatier posts (1500+ words on average)
  3. Promote posts across multiple channels, including social and email
  4. Prioritize original research and authoritative content formats

Is blogging more competitive than ever? Undoubtedly. But for businesses willing to invest real time and resources into creating a high-quality blog, the potential benefits are still massive. By focusing on informative, research-backed content promoted intelligently across channels, you can make your business blog a legitimate marketing force in 2017, 2018 and beyond.