At the beginning of the year we did some research on the predicted blogging trends for 2017. Now that we’re halfway through the year, we’re curious as to whether those predictions have come to pass. Moreover, we want to be sure the tips we offered are still accurate and effective for making your blog stand out. Are you ready to do a quality check on your blog to make sure it’s up to speed? Roll up your sleeves and get out the magnifying glass. Let’s take a look at the blogging world mid-2017.
There were four things we said you’d need to make a splash in this year’s blogging community: engagement, live streaming, videos and images, and great content.
Engagement is a top trend because, more and more, readers are looking for a more personal connection with those—writers, producers, company owners, business people—behind the screen. Even though we’re separated by pixels, keyboards, and distances, readers want to know their questions and comments are getting to someone and not just floating in cyberspace. Additionally, companies and businesses want to reach real people too, not bots or fake accounts. Technology is a fantastic medium for connecting, but the human still needs to be there.
Live streaming has exploded this year. From live streaming the fireworks you watched on the Fourth of July to interviewing company leaders, if you’re not live streaming, you’re not fully living in the 2017 blogging world. Live streaming allows readers and viewers to experience your life (or the business’s or company’s life) in the moment, assuring them you’re real.
Videos and images capture a reader’s attention more effectively than a block of text and are better retained in memory. And in today’s fast-paced world, you need to catch attention and hold it to convey your message.
Great content is one trend that’s here to stay. We may be going out on a limb with that bold statement, but, really, who’s going to read a blog that’s all fluff? Great content also equals content that’s relevant—relevant to industry, time, and place. One quality post—longer, more detailed—will be read more than a dozen short, uninformative, uncreative posts.
Is It Still Applicable?
Our question for the four blogging trends listed above: Are they still applicable, relevant, and recommended for the rest of the 2017?
Our previous prediction for engagement:
“Followers want to experience real engagement with you before they reciprocate. And while comments on posts are decreasing and are predicted to continue to fall, engagement such as shares, likes, and follows will increase.”
A resounding yes! Engagement is key for a successful blog. What you're aiming for is for your audience to like and share your posts, and that begins with great content. You also want to attract new followers based on those shares and likes. And while comments are decreasing, they still exist, so if you receive comments, be sure to respond to them. Comments lead to discussions, and discussions lead to a community built on shared interests and respect. But be sure to have some sort of gatekeeping and approval process for allowing comments on your blog because you don’t want spammers or trolls clogging your discussions. Engagement also means liking and sharing others’ posts that are helpful and applicable to your industry. You don’t want to always be pushing your own content.
Our previous prediction for live streaming:
“Going live is all the rage on social media, and it’ll be the same for blogs. . . . It’s more personal and, well, real, as opposed to a recorded or written post, because it’s happening now, giving viewers a vicarious experience.”
Um . . . yesssss. Not only is it booming, live streaming is almost necessary! Perhaps live streaming is a bit like reality TV (although it’s . . . actually real), as there is something intriguing about watching what’s happening now. One of the (many) benefits of live streaming is if you go live and share it to your social media accounts, your followers get a notification that you are live. Any other type of content you upload will not always automatically notify followers—you just have to hope they see it in their newsfeed. And with live streams, you’re able to see who is watching you and engage with them in real time, giving you live data as to your marketing efforts. If you’re camera shy and hoping the trend goes away soon, sorry. The evidence says it’s here to stay. The good news is that we’ll be giving you some live-streaming tips in an upcoming article, so stay tuned!
Our previous prediction for videos and images:
“Videos grab a visitor’s attention like nothing else, so be sure to include plenty of them on your blog. . . . any image—photos, charts, graphics—will still catch someone’s eye better than a big block of text. Your posts will be more attractive if you use compelling images to capture the essence of a post.”
According to research, 65 percent of online users are visual learners. While prerecorded videos don’t have a live-streaming sense of urgency, they still help you better connect with audiences—especially those who don’t have time to read long posts.
Check out this infographic from HubSpot, which shows statistics for video-content marketing. While the research was conducted in 2016, the trend continues into 2017, with current results showing that not only is it still relevant, it’s one of the dominating content types for blogs and social media. (Fun fact: Did you know that more video content is currently uploaded within thirty days than the major US television networks have created in thirty years? Source: Word Stream)
Our previous prediction for great content:
“We can’t overemphasize this one because it’s ultimately what will keep your readers reading a post and returning for more. Ten subpar posts won’t get read, but one fantastic post will, and it’ll get shared.”
You already know the answer to this one. Great content—sharing information with clients, customers, and like-minded individuals, whether for knowledge or for entertainment—is what a blog is all about. In fact, “great content” and “blog” are almost synonymous. One thing we mentioned in our prediction was that longer posts would be better read. Okay, we realize that above we said video content was great for people who don’t have time to read long posts. But when people do take the time to read content, it’s been shown that longer, more-detailed posts boast higher consumption statistics because they are more thought-out and, overall, better quality. Your written content must be engaging, creative, and informative enough to keep even the busiest people glued to the screen. You need to tell a story about your product or company. Compelling content resonates with readers. So think outside the box, discover your voice and style, and get noticed! This may mean that you post less often, but when you do it’ll be worth reading.
What Else Should I Do in 2017?
- Have a subscriber list if you don’t already. A few benefits: content delivered straight to the inbox is a convenient way for followers to read your updates, you can release exclusive content or deals to your most loyal customers, and you can easily read the data on who’s opening your newsletters. Tip: always have a clear call-to-action to subscribers not only to read but to engage with you.
- Promote your content across your social media platforms so that your followers—and those you’re trying to reach via hashtags—will see your post. You can also increase your reach by having guest posts on your blog and by guest authoring on another company’s blog.
- Not only should you promote your content, you should advertise it, if and when your budget allows. Smart advertising increases your reach, your followers, and ultimately your business.
What have you done in 2017 to make your blog stand out? Is there a trend or best practice we’ve forgotten to mention? Let us know in the comments below.