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Best practices for blog publishing in 2017

Blog publishing

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge advocate for content marketing. I write a lot, and I publish in a lot of different places – all of which have been critical to the growth of my businesses over the last few years.

But even though I’m pretty active as a content creator, I still love to check in with others in the space to see how their experiences compare with my own. That’s why I was so happy to be a part of Quuu’s recent #Qchat on “Where and how to publish your blog.” I’ve put together some of the best answers below, organized by the questions asked in our chat.

I hope you find it useful as you put together your own strategy for blog publishing in 2017.

Why should you use blogging in your marketing strategy?

I love this response from Ashley Faulkes, because I totally agree. Blogging has so many advantages that it deserves a place in every marketer’s toolbox.

Other participants included compelling benefits, such as:

 

These are all great responses, but I wanted to put some numbers behind them. Consider that:

  • Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages.
  • B2B marketers who publish blogs get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

Yes, blogging is more competitive than it’s ever been before. However, the numbers are still on your side – and the advantages described by #Qchat participants above are as powerful as they’ve ever been.

Is it better to blog natively on your website, or to use platforms like Medium for blog publishing?

I was actually really interested to hear the participants’ responses to this question, as it’s one that’s come up a lot in my conversations about content marketing strategy.

Clearly, I’m in favor of using both – of creating content for your own web properties, and publishing on external sites that can build your audience and expand your reach. That said, I’ve been doing this a long time, and I have the benefit of extensive content collections and established relationships to facilitate the process.

Would marketers who come from different backgrounds – either because they’re newer or have taken different approaches than me – share my opinions? It turns out, for the most part, yes.

Brittany Berger described this approach as a “hub and spoke” model, while David Hartshorne saw sites like Medium as potential boosters for these kinds of content hubs:

Others, like Sam Cambridge and LJ Sedgwick, saw value in a balanced approach to blog publishing:

One situation where it may make sense to prioritize one platform or another is in the case of multi-contributor blogs, according to Kayne McGladrey:

Ashley Faulkes also recommended differentiating by content goal:

Finally, John Walsh preferred a blog-centric approach, thanks to your website’s ability to drive engagement and conversions:

 What do you find the most difficult about SEO?

If you feel like SEO has been getting more difficult, you aren’t alone – and you aren’t wrong. 2016 data from Search Engine Watch and Merkle found that:

“Total Organic search visits fell 7% Y/Y in Q2, down from 11% Y/Y growth a year earlier, as organic listings face increased competition from paid search ads, particularly on mobile.”

There are some suggestions that content – especially high-value content, deployed strategically – may improve SEO performance. Brian Dean of Backlinko found that “the average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words,” while Moz and Buzzfeed “analyzed the shares and links of over 1 million articles and found that long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content.”

In light of these challenging circumstances, I was curious to hear what #Qchat participants thought about SEO and blog publishing in 2017.

Rolton Edwards echoed a sentiment I hear all the time:

Participant Ashley Faulkes had noticed this disconnect as well:

As a suggestion, he offers advice that works doubly well for SEO and for engaging website visitors by creating the kind of content they actually want to read:

Ludo De Angelis gave another tip for common-sense content marketing:

 What are your top tips for the design and layout of a blog?

This is a subject that I feel doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. And I get it. Content creators like me spend so much time talking about the “hows” and “whys” of writing great content that we don’t always emphasize how important it is for that content to look good.

You can probably recall seeing both good and bad content. But there are solid statistics backing up the fact that good design isn’t just visually appealing – it has powerful blog publishing benefits.

  • Studies show that new visitors develop an opinion of your website within 50 milliseconds.
  • Blog articles with images get 94% more views.
  • According to studies cited by usability.gov, having a credible-looking website scored a 4 out of 5 on the relative importance scale.

Good design matters. But what does it look like in a practical context? #Qchat participants gave their best suggestions on blog design and layout:

While I disagree with Kayne’s recommended word count (my posts are often 2,000-3,000 words or more, and I’m seeing great results from them), the rest of his advice – and the advice of the others included above – is spot-on.

Ultimately, when it comes to blog publishing – whether that’s the way your blog looks, where you should publish or what kind of content you should create – focus on the needs of your users. Think about what they need to know and what kind of content will delight them.

That’s the recipe for blog publishing success in 2017 and beyond.

How would you answer the questions above? Leave me your responses in the comments.

Sujan Patel

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