Almost every accounting firm has a blog, but how often do they post? How long are the articles, and how long does it take to write them? Do you find yourself wondering if your blogging practices are the norm? Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios has conducted two annual surveys to ferret out some of this elusive missing data. His research makes it possible to assess emerging trends (while reassuring yourself that you’re normal…or not). Here are some of the key findings from the most recent survey of 1074 business bloggers, along with facts from its 2014 predecessor for comparison.
- Spending more time. In general, bloggers are putting in more time this year than last. Fewer than 15% can churn out a post in an hour or less, with most spending between one and three hours. An increasing minority are devoting several hours to their products, with around 10% spending 4-6 hours per post and about 6% giving over six hours to each article. On average, a single post takes a bit over 2.5 hours to craft.
- Writing during business hours. The 2015 survey saw a big jump in the number of bloggers working on posts during business hours, to about 57%. Even so, plenty of posts still come to light at night, on the weekends and in the early morning and evening hours.
- Posting weekly. The most common frequency for posting is still 2-6 times per week, but weekly ranked second in both surveys, slightly increasing to around 20%. All told, 53% publish a post once a week or more. It’s unusual to post less frequently than once a month or more than once a day, but 15% opt for an irregular posting schedule. (We’d suggest posting regularly, at least twice a month or more.) One interesting correlation between time and frequency: those who post daily tend to complete their articles an hour faster than less prolific writers – it takes about an hour and a half per post for daily bloggers.
- Self-editing. More than half of those who write blog posts report editing their own work. The rest have their work reviewed by an official editor or two, or just run it by another person or two. The trend, however, is toward review. That’s a good thing because while your content is important, typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes distract powerfully from the impression of professionalism and expertise you want to achieve for your blog to be its most effective. And as every writer knows, it’s almost impossible to catch your own mistakes, no matter how glaring.
- Guest blogging. In 2015 there was a sharp drop in the number of respondents who reported no guest posts. Sharing audiences and ideas through guest posting is an effective way to expand your reach, so it’s not surprising to see that guest blogging is on the increase.
- Promotion through social media. Social media is by far the most popular vehicle used to promote blog posts in both surveys, with 93% of bloggers sharing content on their networks. The question is, why aren’t the other 7% doing so? Another notable result was the big jump in paid promotion in 2015, which more than doubled since 2014. Paid promotion services are still used only by a small minority, however, at around 14%.
- Longer posts. The typical blog post comes in at about 900 words, which is about 100 words more than last year. In fact, posts are getting longer in every category, with a few bloggers posting in-depth articles of over 2000 words.
The upshot? Blogging is maturing as a communication and marketing tool, with a growing emphasis on quality, frequency and depth of content. This is a good thing, whether you choose to write your own posts or hire a ghostwriter. Either way, you’re part of a movement that’s bringing added power and professionalism to one of the most effective tactics available for sharing your message and building your accounting firm’s reputation for thought leadership.