THE LATEST BLOGGING TRENDS: HOW TO CREATE A STRONG 2019 STRATEGY

This blog post was originally published on January 9, 2018, and has been updated to reflect current statistics, trends, and information for 2019.

At Verblio, we’re fortunate enough to help thousands of businesses and the agencies that serve them create content of all types to power their content marketing, SEO, and inbound marketing.

And because of that, we have a unique opportunity as content marketing enthusiasts and nerds to view a large data set about what content marketing and blogging trends in 2019 are taking center stage.

To be good at what we do, we work hard to read everything we can get our hands on any blogging trend.

We also feel these blogging and content marketing trends based on our customers’ buying behaviors, and especially agencies who are leading the charge on keeping marketing fresh for the small business clients.

So with our data and hands-on experience, plus reading from thought leaders, let’s answer the question: “What are the upcoming content marketing and blogging trends that will drive results for businesses in 2019?”

DIGITAL WRITING TRENDS IN 2019

First off, if you’d rather get the video cliff-notes version of this post, check out the video for this content piece our team made using Verblio’s Engagement video service.

This tool is designed to help you take your content and make easily digestible videos for social media that drive more eyeballs to the content on your website.

And now for all you old-fashioned people who prefer to read, let’s dig in!

BLOGGING TREND #1: WORD COUNT IS STILL GOING UP

How long should a blog post be in 2019?

In 2016, Orbit Media noted that the length of an average blog post had risen to 1,054 words (up from 887 in 2015). You shouldn’t be surprised that in the three years since then, word count has risen even more.

A current study from SearchMetrics shared that 2019’s average word count is now around 1,692 words—although there’s still some variance from industry to industry. 

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Whichever way you lean, the message is the same: You better get started writing!

Short blogs just don’t get the results that most bloggers are hoping to meet. Longer blogs—those measuring 1,500+ words—tend to get more social media attention and lead visitors to spend more time on your site.

Of course, it’s not just about word count. The point is to produce high-quality posts that people are genuinely interested in reading. 

Readers aren’t looking for fluff content, and if you give them that you’ll see your bounce rate increase and your content conversions decrease

Instead, they’re looking for posts that will tell them more than what they can find in half a dozen different places across the internet. Google themselves are putting more weight on content comprehensiveness to determine search rankings, so remember to be helpful more than wordy. 

Long-form content like e-books or posts with 2,000+ words gives you something to promote, increases your search engine rankings, and helps further establish your authority in your field. 

And you don’t just have to create this in a vacuum—you easily can revamp old blog posts to get to a higher word count (and we’ll share more tips on this in trend #3).

Of course, to reap those benefits you need a dedicated person producing that content for you. Who is writing your long-form content, and where does the time come from? Answering that question is a critical part of building your 2019 content-production strategy.

We see this trend reflected in our data, too—our customers are choosing longer blog post lengths to power their content marketing.

BLOGGING TREND #2: BE USEFUL TO THE READER

Content marketing has required brands to give freely first—before they ask for something in return from their readers. 

Blogging in 2019 will emphasize this even more.

More than ever, businesses that want to do SEO and content marketing need to publish and promote valuable content. What exactly does that look like? 

It’s a little simpler than you may think. All you need to do is find out where the intersection of “value” lies between what your customer wants and is profitable for your business:

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Putting more long-form, comprehensive content—often called pillar pages—out there on your public website, for free (i.e., less gated content) will allow you to build a tribe around your content and serve your customers even better in 2019. 

The reason for this is simple and two-fold: 

First, Google is getting better and better at delivering the “best” content to its users. That means if you’re creating content that’s not useful to the reader or is overly self-promotional, it may work for a little while, but your returns will diminish quicker than you might expect. 

Second, search results are more competitive than ever, and digital brands have a much more mature approach to content in 2019 than ever before. So if you’re delivering underwhelming content that focuses on you and not your readers, you’re going to lose. And lose, and continue to lose.

This all comes down to teach, be helpful, and educate first. Then, and only then, can you sell!

It’s also more important than ever to include other media with blog posts: images, video, and audio help attract readers and genuinely interest them in the content.

And even that isn’t as simple as it sounds. Writing helpful, high-value, media-laden content is a process, and you won’t get it right on your first try.

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But we see this trend in our customer data too—our best customers are creating content along their whole sales funnel. That includes plenty of top-of-funnel content that seeks to be helpful, and may not even mention their business at all. 

While this takes more time to work, the long-term success of this tactic is phenomenal. 

On the other hand, customers who ask us only to create content about themselves usually get frustrated with their results quickly and leave. That leaves two clear takeaways: 1) write about what your customers want, and 2) give it time to work!

BLOGGING TREND #3: OPTIMIZATION AFTER WRITING MATTERS

High-quality writing is an essential foundation for great content. 

But, it doesn’t end there. To make your content rank on Google, stand out on social media, and engage readers on your website, you need to optimize them.

I’ll get to what that means in a second, but first a quick note for anyone who’s heard something like, “You don’t need to do SEO anymore, just create great content and Google will reward you.” 

Please, please, don’t follow this advice if traffic from Google is important to you. 

In 2017, we spent a large amount of time re-optimizing our older blog posts for SEO and saw monthly organic traffic to these posts go up 50-300%! And guess what? We’re doing it again in 2019!

HubSpot even did a huge case study on this where they found that updating their content with conversion optimization best-practices, higher word counts, and keyword-based revisions made their organic traffic skyrocket:

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Taking the time to update your old content is a no-brainer, but many brands have let it slide for years. If that describes you, 2019 is the year it should change. 

But let’s be clear, the words of MobileMonkey CEO Larry Kim still ring true: 

“The biggest mistake people make with repurposing is to repurpose content that is garbage in the first place. A post that went nowhere on your own blog six months ago isn’t likely to have any other outcome when repurposed.”

That means you need to give some thought to which posts you repost before you get to work. Don’t guess—be purposeful, consult Google Analytics, and remember that you need to add value!

But before we move on, what constitutes a good article to look for?

While every business will make this choice differently, there are a few quick indicators you can look for in your Google Analytics dashboard. 

Start by opening the Acquisition tag, then Click All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search

From there, select the Landing Page option:

You’ll now see a list of pages on your site with a performance breakdown for each. Using the metrics shown — Pageviews, Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and any Conversion goals you may have set — you can comb through this list and see which pages will stand to benefit from optimization.

We even did this on this very blog post, as you can see here:

If we get it right, those numbers can stay consistent in 2019 and beyond — and the same can be said for your content!

At Verblio, we’re looking to help brands addressing this blog trend with our +Optimize product

Our customers work with a skilled optimizer to get blog posts ready for publishing, essentially just ensuring that your content is sending all the right signs to search engines. It’s also helpful to ensure you content is on-point topically, too. 

And the results are astounding—we’re seeing more of our customers opt for this service as the importance of optimization only grows.

BLOGGING TREND #4: PROMOTE YOUR DAMN CONTENT!

If I had a dollar for every time a client told me something along the lines of:

“I published my blog post a week ago and I’m *still* not seeing any traffic from Google…”

I could probably buy a really nice house in California.

Okay, maybe an okay house in California

Regardless, the point stays the same. You probably won’t see amazing results right out of the gate with your content. 

Creating outstanding content is great, and a crucial piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the whole puzzle.

You need to get your content out into the world to get it noticed and kickstart your content marketing machine. If your goal is to drive traffic to your blog, you need to let people know about your content, and there are plenty of ways to do it.

  • Promoting on social media means more exposure. You want to create posts that other people are eager to share, but social media posts on one platform is just the beginning. Be sure to share on a wide variety of platforms, plus get into Facebook groups, forums, and potentially even Reddit. The more other people share your content, the more the word will get out and the better you can signal your influence to search engines. 
  • Email marketing allows you to connect with people who have shown an interest in your content in the past. Solid email marketing drip campaigns and newsletters allow you to bring in customers who may have lapsed or who haven’t thought about your company in a while.
  • Linkbuilding, the practice of enticing other websites to link to your site, can seem intimidating but produces real results. After you write a piece of content (or even while you’re thinking about what to write about), ask yourself, “who will promote this and why?” Do you know people with websites? Can you search and find websites in your industry with readerships who might find your content useful? Send them a quick, friendly email and ask if they’d consider sharing with their readers on their site if they thought your content would be useful for their audience.

That means promotion is more than blasting it out there willy-nilly. It’s consistently blasting it out there

The more you put your content out, the more people will be able to find it. This will be true 100% of the time, even if, at worst, only one more person sees your content than before you promoted. One reader is all it takes sometimes to win more business!

BLOGGING TREND #5: CONTENT TAKES MORE TIME & EFFORT THAN EVER

You already learned that blog posts are getting longer, and brands are more focused on value than ever. Those two content marketing trends make this trend make that much more sense.

According to one study of emerging blogger trends, the amount of time and effort most bloggers are spending on their posts is increasing. Between 2015 and 2016, something clicked in the minds of content marketers everywhere, and we’re still feeling the effects:

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According to that same study, the extra effort is paying off. Orbit Media reported that 38.9 percent of the bloggers who spent six or more hours writing a blog post felt that they saw “strong results” based on their blogging efforts.

And that raises one essential questions for businesses that want to get their content noticed this year:

Who is doing your content writing?

Delegating that task to someone in-house is a great solution, as long as you have a team member who has time for your company’s 2019 blogging efforts and understands content marketing.

Seeking out freelance writers or working with an article writing service or agency is often a more efficient means of collaborating on content without writing it yourself that you’re still proud to promote. It’s often the most cost-effective, too (if that matters to you!).

BLOGGING TREND #6: GOOGLE MY BUSINESS POSTS

Somehow, someway, Google manages to surprise us every year. 

At this point, it’s old news that Google likes to change up their algorithm, throw the SEO world into chaos, and nearly tank businesses they think are “cheating” the SEO game. 

But now and then, they provide a way for businesses to continue to express themselves through high-quality content, and 2019 is one of those years. 

Google now allows businesses to create short, copy- and image-oriented posts on their Google My Business page.

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You can think of it like Instagram on Google, but with a bit more of a content-marketing twist. These posts will show up in in your Google My Business listing at the right of Search Engines, like this example from DILAN Consulting in California:

These help you create and then “tease” your latest content directly on the front-page of Google, effectively cutting into the time it might originally take to get your content in front of a potential reader. 

And for many small businesses, this is a content marketing and SEO game-changer. 

Why is that?

Because it’s another place where someone can find your latest and greatest content. If you’re already doing well in your local listings, creating content for this space is a no-brainer and can win you even more traffic. 

If you’re not really invested in the local content marketing game yet, 2019 is clearly a good year to get started. The right team of talented writers and a simple strategy is all it takes to get started.  

And if you’re not already getting great traffic through Google My Business? These posts can help you increase your ranking. Expect to see a huge surge of these in 2019!

OVER TO YOU

Which of these writing trends in 2019 will you be incorporating into your blog strategy? 

What tweaks can you make to your current strategy to stay relevant and competitive in the current landscape? 

Keep in mind that when it comes to your blogging strategy, little changes can make a big difference. Small tweaks to your content, like creating longer posts, changing your posting frequency, and mixing up your media can make a big difference to your audience.

Do your best to isolate variables to determine what matters most to your audience. This may mean diversifying your pool of writers, or even outsourcing your content if you haven’t before so that you can produce what your customers are looking for. 

With the right moves, this could be your best blogging year yet!

And if you’re looking for even more trends in content marketing, and some practical applications, read more about that here.

Paul Zalewski

Paul runs marketing at Verblio and is a self-proclaimed digital marketing and SEO nerd. When he's not helping sad, empty blogs find Verblio content, he enjoys writing and spending time with his wife and two daughters. His prerequisite I-live-in-Colorado activity is snowboarding.

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