The second installment of our inbound marketing video series, Inbound Answered, tackled four common blogging questions. Watch the video, see the evidence, improve your blog.

 

 

The Questions

From James: How Often Should I Blog?

We get this asked this question a lot - and we still wonder it ourselves. That's why we conducted our own experiment last year, where we blogged everyday for a month, and came up with a definitive answer.

It's best to blog as much as your resources will allow whilst still being able to keep the quality of content as high as you possibly can.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below to see the data and full explanation.

From Kerry: How Long Should My Blog Posts Be?

Another common question. Rikki looked into how long the average blog post is on the first page of Google. The top results are 2,500+ words long.

Our top ranking blog posts average 3,300 words in length. The longer the better - but quality is paramount. As is UX.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below to how to achieve this.

From Ellie: How Do I Drive Leads From My Blog Post?

Make sure you use well placed, well written and well designed CTAs on different areas of the blog.

We use a little pop up, sidebar CTAs, in-blog CTAs and bottom of the post CTAs.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below to see the results of these and how to make them work effectively.

From Luke: How Do I Get More Traffic To My Blog?

Use social media and SEO. Rich Snippets are a great way of getting more blog traffic. Read this for more advice on Rich Snippets.

We suggest using regular posting schedules and follow CoSchedule's advice when sharing them on social. We veered from this as an experiment and stripped it back - and saw both contacts and views fall as a result.

Watch the video above or read the transcript below to see more on this and get Rikki's full advice of when to share your blogs to get more traffic.

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Video Transcript:

Hey guys, welcome to Inbound Answered number two.

Today I've got four questions all about blogging. So let's jump into those and see if I can help you answer some of those blogging questions.

So, James asks, 'How often should I blog?'

This is a question that I get asked a lot. It's a question I asked a lot from my own agency in terms of how often should we be blogging to get maximum results.

Now, if you go online and look at all the studies that the big companies have published, people like Moz, HubSpot themselves. But I found they didn't really have a lot context for me because if you looked at HubSpot's study, for example, they increased posting by 50%, so up to 35 blogs a week.

Now that's nowhere near achievable for most companies. We did double our leads from that, but I still didn't feel like it helped me answer the question for how often should a real business blog.

So what I wanted to do was test it ourselves. So we set up a test in a month where we increased our blog frequency.

Generally we blog two to three times a week and our traffic's pretty steady. It's growing, but it's pretty steady. So we'd definitely be able to notice any changes in that. So instead of blogging two or three times a week, we decided to blog every day for a month. So 30 times in a month, which is a big jump up for us.

And to be honest, it worked really well.

We doubled the amount of customers we get from our website. Our website views overall were up 36%, and we gained nearly twice as many contacts as we normally gain from our blog posts. So in terms of our own research, our own experiences, I would definitely say the more the better in terms of blogging. The bigger studies support that and the small study we did supports that, as well.

Obviously the things to consider are resources.

Can you afford the time, resources, people needed to blog more frequently, and can you keep that quality standard high? If you can, then the more the  merrier in terms of blogging.

The second question I've got is from Kerry. Kerry asks, 'Kow long should my blog posts be?'

Again, a very common question. So, I did a little bit of digging.

You'll see a lot of this sort of research, in terms of how long the posts are that are found on page one of Google. Now the average is 1,500 words, which is probably more than most people blog. In the top spot, it's actually closer to 2 and 1/2 thousand words. So, most people blog about 800 words.

So, you're looking at about four times average there. Not to say that you need to make every blog that long, but again, it looks like length matters and the longer, the better.

What I did was pull some data on our top five blog posts. And, again, it supports this. Our average length of our top five blog posts is 3,300 words. Again, considerably longer than our standard blog posts.

Well, it shows that the longer your blogs can be, the better. Again, similar advice, it's got to be quality. You can't just waffle on for word's sake.

And also, a tip, try and make the UX of the page reasonable when you've got that many words. So have a menu at the top of the post where people can click to go to the relevant section. Allow people to jump back to the top of the blog very quickly.

When you're dealing with blog posts over 3,000 words, no one is realistically going to sit and actually read that. So you've got to make it easy for people to skim, people to jump around and find their information they want.

Question three, so Ellie asked, 'How do I drive leads from my posts?'

So most people drive leads from blog posts in a few ways. They either have a call to action on the side bar-- so normally down the right they'd have a call to action which pops up based on how far you've got through the post, or the amount time you have on the site-- or they have a CTA placed at the bottom of the blog.

And obviously they only come in once, they're just placing them through to blog themselves.

So again, went back and I look at our own research.

Let's look at our own blogs and see how they do.

What we found is, we use a pop-up form with that where it comes from the bottom left corner. It's a feature HubSpot. Coming up from the bottom left corner, just to drive general subscribers, gets us about 0.2% conversion rate.

The right sidebar gets us 0.9% conversion rate. So not too bad. In blog CTAs vary massively, depending on how relevant they are to the blog, how they're placed. We've seen anything, from kind of 0.0% to 20-30% of the CTA click-through rates based inside the blog themselves.

So those can really work. You just need to be smart about where you place them and not to overwhelm users with loads of CTAs.

And finally, the bottom CTA, again, varies fairly widely for us. As you'd expect, what we found is the more generic the CTA, the lower performing it is. So if you have a CTA that's really specific and really relevant for that blog, if you've wrote a piece of premium content, and then you've designed the blogs around that.

You can get submission rates up to 8-9% on your blog posts from those. So I guess the answer is, probably a combination of those. Make your CTAs as specific as possible, have them placed throughout the blog post, at the bottom of the blog post, and that's going to get you the best results in terms of driving leads from your blog traffic.

OK and final question. So Luke asked, 'How do I get more traffic to my blogs?'

Again we did some tests ourselves.

We follow a 'Co-Schedule' social scheduling timeline. So, this tells you how often you should be re-posting your blogs on things like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I'll link to the results below so you can see what that timeline looks like.

We've done that for a long time, say about a year, with very consistent results. We just wanted to check that our social media feeds weren't looking a little bit too automated. As in, these blogs are coming up,I can kind of see the timeline and frequency.

To be honest, I don't think anyone is going to figure that out, but we just wanted to test it.

So we took them off and did some kind of manual scheduling. And what we found is that our visits dropped by 1/3, our contacts dropped by 70% percent, and our clicks on our social two-hour blog dropped by 3%. So a really negative impact for us moving away from that standard blog scheduling system that we do.

So I definitely recommend finding the blog schedule that works for you. So you're obviously sharing your blogs on launch, but then re-sharing at regular intervals on each platform, depending how acceptable it is to do on each platform. So what I mean by that is, something like Twitter, which is very fast moving, you can afford to share multiple times. Whereas LinkedIn, it's not that fast moving. We actually only share once on LinkedIn usually.

So, you've just got to find a sharing schedule that works for you, implement it, and stick to it because we really found that got us results.

Second way to get a lot of traffic to your blog is to try and get into Rich Snippets on Google listings. So we've noticed a huge difference from just being on page one for your query to being in the Rich Snippet. I mean going from-- we have blogs that get about 2,000 views a month and when we got in those Rich Snippets, we got 15,000 views a month. So a huge difference and we find that not only for ourselves, but also our clients.

So, I wrote a blog actually about how to get in those Rich Snippets, which I'll link to below, but I'd definitely focus on those two tactics. Get a good social sharing system and try and get in those Rich Snippets on Google.

That said, obviously the basics work. Do one page SEO, make sure your quality's good, make sure the length's right, which we currently spoke about because all those things are going to help you drive more traffic.


OK, thanks guys. I hope you enjoyed Inbound Answered number two and I look forward to speaking to you next week.

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