Show Summary

Rob Cairns sits down with Andy Crestodina and talks about Orbit Media’s blogging statistics survey.

The entire survey can be found by clicking here.

Key Highlights:

  1. 1067 bloggers were surveyed.
  2. Bloggers report blogging drives results.
  3. Blogging takes time and effort.
  4. Frequency and consitancy matter.
  5. Visual Trends matter.
  6. Covid-19 has not changed blogging rrends.

Show Notes

 


00:00

From the center of the universe, Toronto, Ontario, Canada This is the SDM show with your host Rob Cairns. The SDM show focuses on business life productivity, digital marketing, WordPress and more. Sit back, relax, grab your favorite drink and enjoy the show. Here is Rob.

 

00:18

Hey, everybody, Rob Cairns here. I’m the founder, CEO and Chief Creative, amazing ideas that stunning digital marketing. In today’s podcast, I sit down with Andy Cestodina. And we talk about his agency’s survey, where they surveyed over 1000 bloggers and found out what people are doing during blogging. This was a really engaging conversation, grab a drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation.

 

00:57

Hey, oh, Rob Cairns here. I’m here with Andy Crestodina. And we’re gonna talk about this amazing report. Andy’s agency came out with on blogging, how are you today?

 

01:14

I’m good. Rob. Thanks for thanks for having me on.

 

01:17

No, you’re welcome. I’ve as you know, I’ve contributed to the survey multiple years. And when you reached out and said over doing a survey, again, I thought what a good topic that we should share. And what the topic is, is about blogging statistics. And your headline is surveyed 1067 borrowers showing which content strategies are working in 2021? How did How is your background in a digital space? So let’s talk about that a little bit as an intro, and how did you get into doing the survey?

 

01:52

Well, I realized in 2007, or there abouts that I needed a way to keep in touch with people over long periods of time, the service my company offers is web design and development, and one of the co founders of a 40 person web design company here in Chicago. And I knew that I needed a way to keep in touch that people, you know, I might meet some on great conversation, maybe we worked with them as a client, it’d be proposed, but didn’t get hired. How can I keep in touch with people over the four year interval between which, you know, people need websites, and in a three month buying cycle, which is the time it takes for people to decide who to hire for the website. So I thought I’m going to write a newsletter, that’s going to simply be an invitation to bring people back to the site, because that’s where I can generate a lead. And so I just started writing articles and setting them, you know, a call to action inside an email was about not enough 250 people in the beginning. And that was the beginning of our content strategy, which has since evolved into writing long form research driven search optimized articles, on practical topics related to content strategy, analytics, and web design. We added to that a few years later, a monthly event, open house teaching marketing in person, the high touch in person interactions are good for sales, of course and leads. And then added to that, shortly thereafter, an annual conference called content jam. I’ve been a speaker for years and had met lots of people who are great speakers and would invite them to speak. Added to that later, a book, which was a basically a repurposing of many of our most valuable posts. Added to that later, a series of videos which are more or less just using the presentations and the topics from the articles, kind of jumped starting a YouTube channel just by putting these videos on two pages that already rank well. So lots of leveraging cumulative advantages, trying to get the flywheel going. Today, we get around a million and a half visitors a year, we generated like 900 leads a year, we have, we’re a $6 million company that spends nothing on advertising. It’s 100%, inbound in organic content marketing lead gen program. And the survey was just one of the ideas we had like eight years ago to just go big into that research format.

 

04:08

You know, one of the things you talked about interesting enough is a book and you repurpose content in all that. And as a side point, one of the things, one of my latest projects is I’m actually repurposing pipe content from this podcast into a book, believe it or not, so I think a lot of people in the content space say I’m a blogger, what do I do with this? Or I’m a video creator, what do I do with this? Or I’m a podcast from what do I do with this? And one of the biggest things people need to learn is to repurpose and reuse that content. Oh, yeah.

 

04:44

Without question it is. So when you read the survey, you’d realize just how much people are investing their time into these formats and these in these topics. And the average blog post takes four hours to write. Yep, that’s a big investment, but on the Like advertising, which is temporary content lasts forever. So that’s an asset, it was an investment of time, how can you get more value from that same investment. There are a lot of little ways which we could discuss. But but one of the, one of the fun ones, especially if you have a b2b service, or a high value, kind of expensive high consideration, service, then thought leadership or, you know, big content can make a bigger difference. It’s a great leave behind in a sales conversation. So just start by writing an outline of everything, you know, that’s like, you know, the Wikipedia for your brain on a topic. And then blog, ask yourself, if you blogged on each of those topics yet, if not start filling in the blanks, that outline eventually becomes a table of contents, the blog posts, get adapted into the sections. Once it’s, you know, 70%, done, stop everything sit down, dedicated, you know, 100 hours into adapting and polishing and filling in blanks. And now you’re an author. That’s it. It wasn’t expensive or time consuming, it would just would took forethought. It was just a plan that took several years. And today, the book is called content chemistry. The Illustrated handbook for content marketing is in its fifth edition.

 

06:18

That’s amazing, actually, and a well done. You talked about a blog post takes about four hours to put together and that’s one of the statistics, the average that you came out with in this report. What should that four hours consist of, besides actually writing and doing the content,

 

06:40

I want to actually just kind of, for fun, turned on a screencast tool, like Camtasia, and then recorded myself going through the entire process, which for me, is more like seven hours. And then took that super long file and sped it up into about like 15 or 20 minutes, and then narrated myself going through every part of the process for writing a high ranking article. And then, at the very end of the post, when I described this and laid out that process, I made a pie chart that showed exactly where my time went. So it might surprise people but for SEO, a lot of my time goes into images, just creating images. Because images have such an outsized correlation with success. A small amount of the times smaller than I expected, went into outreach, to find contributors to add quotes to my articles, which I never read an article without adding at least one contributor quote. So here’s the breakdown, image preparation, 30% writing, 30% editing and publishing that was partly done by my editor like my coworker Amanda Gant, research and planning was only about 10%. And influencer collaboration was only 3% of the process.

 

07:59

That’s really interesting.

 

08:01

Lots of lots of facets on the image, right? The pictures, the diagrams, the charts, the they are a lot of the feedback on that article and video was like, why do you spend so much time on the pictures, I could give you a ton of reasons it is, the internet is visual, and you’re going to get better links, you’re going to get better social shares. It’s just it correlates with all good things. So I spend a lot of time in fact if you look at any of my content, you’ll find that there is no scroll depth on any of my articles, at which there isn’t at least one thing of visual interest, a video or an image the images are normally never stock I never use stock photos the images are always like charts and graphs or at the head about the face of a contributor super powerful

 

08:47

and and using charts and graphs actually give the articles more social proof and proof of concept and things like that. Then istockphoto which you can basically insert from anywhere so that that’s a big deal. You start off the one of the things you say in this article and I love the 77% of all bloggers report that blogging drives results. And would you agree with that or would you from your own experience or would you disagree? Is that just a number

 

09:23

I think the the trick with this survey is we just asked this big question do you know which describes your blog? You know, my blog gets strong results my blog gets some results my blog gets disappointing results or I don’t know. So the there’s a lot wrapped up in that answer because it doesn’t we’re not being specific about what the bloggers goals are. There are other surveys that go into your into a lot of depth about why people blog and now they’re blogging for personal reasons or for fame or fortune or whatever. So mostly when you just get the general answer 20% report strong results. You can correlate that With all of the past years and find that results are down slightly, this went from 25 to 22% of bloggers reporting that they get strong results from Digital. But that, that big number 70%, it’s working. Not surprising at all. It’s depending on what your goals are. A lot of people just prioritize sort of like some social visibility at which even a small effort can get results. So it’s no, I thought that was it basically looks like a healthy marketing tactic. But there’s some qualifiers that go with that statistic.

 

10:33

Yeah, I would agree. And the other thing that I found interesting, and which didn’t surprise me, knowing the way Google works, knowing the way search engine optimization works is, when you started to survey, the average blog post was 808 words. And now you’re almost double that you’re sitting at 1416 words. And I think Google is a big reason for that. And optimization is a big reason for that. gerrae thoughts on that?

 

11:04

Well, there’s a lot of studies that show a correlation between longer content and higher rankings. Yes, it’s one of the most famous correlations in digital, and I can’t really disagree with it. But it’s not a it’s a correlation. So it’s sad to me, we have to keep explaining that. There is no link, there’s not a search ranking factor. Now this is not it’s not just because longer posts rank high, does it mean that every page that ranks in Google is long, every page that you know, that is short, does not rank it. So I worry that people take that to be too prescriptive. But the fact that content has gotten much longer as an is is not even debatable. People are just really going deep into topics, which is mostly good. As long as they aren’t fluffing up. You know, we can boring articles and that, you know, so instead of writing a, you know, 1000 word article and trying to just add filler until it gets to 1400. Or, it’s far better to write a 2000 word article and trim it down to be as short and concise as possible. And in the end, for people that worry like, Oh, my audience has a short attention span, I should never write a long article. Just keep in mind that people in your audience binge watch TV for four hours at a time. The problem isn’t people’s attention spans. The problem is that the content is too dense or not consumable, or not accessible. So break up your content with lots of formatting, headers, subheads, bullet lists, bolding, internal links, tons of pictures if you can do it. The problem if I look at my analytics, I have posts with hundreds of 1000s of views, where the average time on that post is seven minutes. Yeah, that’s so every article should be as long as it needs to be to cover the topic completely. But I agree with you rob, there is no question that the SEO correlation studies are pushing up blog post length, it’s almost certain

 

13:01

Yeah, I should tell you too. I have a number of journalists and retired journalists like newspaper reporters in my circles. And we’re forever talking about page link even in a newspaper article or a magazine article sometimes it’s in regular journalism, sometimes it’s a space constraint. Sometimes it’s Oh, we only want an article the publisher wants of 2000 words sometimes it’s I want a quick comment of 500 words I mean it’s it all depends on what your audience is after I think that’s a big deciding factor as well.

 

13:38

Yeah, that’s the ultimate advice like what what is your content strategy? What are the information needs of your audience you know, what, what? What’s working for you based on your experience and your data and so it’s it’s a these things are not meant to be prescriptive. I know that people don’t like to hear the answer it depends. And so I try to never say those two words together it depends

 

14:02

but I do

 

14:06

want satisfying in my content I never write those words I just tell I just immediately jump into what it depends upon. But yeah, it is obviously you know the intersection between your audience where they are and their day in their life your content and what what problems it solves and utility it offers your value proposition and how qualified that visitor would be if they land on your content, the design in which the content lives now there’s all the all the you know, there’s intent and there’s topics and there’s depth all these things combined to equal results. So it I mean, if I did a study that said like, oh, New York Times bestsellers tend to have three words in their titles. Oh, writer, a writer, write a book with a three word title and therefore I’ll be a best seller like that’s obviously ridiculous. This correlation data in marketing Studies is no different.

 

15:01

No, I agree with you. So the third point and you and I were talking in a pre show a little bit about this, I really wanted to address this one trends and blogging frequency, how frequent to bloggers publish? And I had said to you earlier today, doesn’t consistency matter more. And I and I, and I, personally, I think it does, because if you’re gonna go dare, your readers, listeners, consumers that your content and say, I’m going to do something every week on a Thursday. As far as I’m concerned, you should make that happen every week on a Thursday, if you say you’re gonna do something every week on a Thursday, and you might once in a while, throw a special item in. That’s okay. But I think to me, frequency is a misnomer. And I think consistency matters. More thoughts on that one?

 

15:55

Well, there is a, there’s an answer to the frequency question. You know, I don’t publish it at regular intervals. And those bloggers do not report strong success, they’re there. But they’re less than half as likely as the rest of the respondents to report strong success from Digital. So that correlation is there, I intuitively or through experience have all have made the same conclusion that you have. Partly because if you’ve written a good call to action, to sign up for a newsletter, or to subscribe to anything, for example, ours is good practical tips for content analytics and web design every two weeks, you’re committing your calls to action are in fact, a promise. So you’re making a promise. So either, you know you’re breaking, you made a good promise, and you’re breaking it by not being consistent, or you’ve just committed to not being consistent, and you’re not even making good progress. So that’s what leads to problems. You know, either you’re not, you’re not doing what it is that you’re going to do, or you’re not actually even serious enough to tell people that they’re going to get something on a regular basis. Both of those would be negatives for for for results.

 

17:02

No, I would agree with you. And, you know, we were also talking about the whole frequency issue, how each one of us I don’t know if you’ve done but I certainly did back in the day, I did like the pro blogger Derrick Rose, write a blog every day for 30 days. And that that strategy, I think is so 10 years ago, at this point, I don’t think that strategy works as well as it does today, then just keep writing good content, content that your readers want to hear. And read, not content that you want to put out, which is an interesting concept.

 

17:48

Yeah, that sounds like a, like an assignment from a writing class or something. It’s like the advice to journal or do your morning pages, I’ve never tried that. It would never have aligned with my strategy. I’m trying to write the best page on the internet. And I’m not even that’s not hyperbole. I’m actually serious. If I’m writing an article, I am making my legit best effort to make that the the most comprehensive piece on that topic. Therefore, it might, I can’t afford to do that more than once every two weeks. That’s just that my frequency for 12 years, I’m never going to publish more often than that. But there’s so that I don’t even know what I would try to do on a daily post. I know, bloggers that have done it. Ollie Guard has done that, like 30 posts in 30 days. I, I suspect that the outcome would be maybe more of a personal one than than a professional one, it would uncertain that would be very good for my discipline for my morning routine for my writing, writing skills. But I don’t, I don’t know how that would really, I think I’d be exhausted and probably would not have done any better for generating leads. In fact, I might have actually might have been a negative because if I’m reducing my quality to hit a hit a frequency number, then I’ve kind of betrayed my main strategy anyway.

 

19:07

No, I would agree with it. I’m kind of jumping around a little bit on some of the highlights of this report. I’m gonna put a link to the report in the show notes. So if anybody would like to read it, or your blogging, I would suggest actually you go read it. I was sharing it with a couple colleagues this morning. And they found it really in depth. So if it sounds like we’re kind of jumping all over, there’s just a lot of content here. And one other thing I found interesting was the whole discussion about headlines. So and the reason I did was a you were talking about how many times to write a headline. But we also were talking about writing effective headlines and there’s a lot of bloggers and I hate to say it, old journalists in the newspaper wrote that like to write what I call clickbait. headlines. And that might seem like a good idea to get views on that post, but I actually think in the long term that hurts your credibility. So what’s your thought on that strategy?

 

20:13

Well, to me, clickbait is a polite way to say, lying. It’s just a clickbait headline is one that does everything possible to get the visitor to click, regardless of the quality on the other side of the click, or get them to click, and then had them go through this endless, you know, sequence of pages or galleries to try to find the one thing they thought they wanted, because the advertiser wants to do a lot, you know, sell out to display ad space, the click, if a clickbait headline, a headline is a promise, the page that they land on should live up to that promise, or you’ve hurt your brand’s reputation. They you’re going to hurt word of mouth, you’re going to hurt referrals, you’re the value goes down to zero if not less than zero. So I recommend using all of the psychological tactics you can to make your to make it a strong promise a compelling promise. Use numbers, use unexpected words, use some of those three word try grams really interesting buzzsumo found strong correlations between combinations of words and rankings. Basically, what a headline does is the visitor who sees it, whether they’re in a social stream, or an inbox or a search results page, they’re doing a split second cost benefit calculation and asking, did the benefits of clicking on this exceed the two seconds of my time they’re doing an ROI cut, we all do ROI calculations every time we see a headline. So your job as an author of a headline is to make the the return exceed the investment. But to do that, you need to be specific. But of course, be honest, because you’re not looking for one visitor, you’re looking for a new a new fan or follower or an advocate for your for your content or someone who might share. So it’s just short term thinking.

 

22:03

No, I would agree with you. And then you talk about let’s get back to SEO, Search Engine Optimization. And your headline reads are bloggers researching keywords. And the kind of the way the numbers hit out is only 27% of all bloggers, always research keywords. I think that is the biggest mistake that bloggers make. They want to get organic traffic. And they don’t bother to research keywords for their blogs. But more importantly, they don’t bother to research the keywords about what their competitors are writing about in their space. And that I think is so important when doing keyword research. What are your thoughts on that?

 

22:50

I mostly agree. In a way, I think that when I answered this question I myself I taking the survey on the last day I go in and fill in my answers read before we close. I do not say that I researched keywords 100% of the time. Yep. Because not every article that I publish is something that people search for. I’ll give you some examples. I once wrote a post that was about like, you know, productivity tips for marketers. It’s not really a topic, you know, marketer specific productivity, where I could find a good key phrase for it. Or another one I wrote was pictures of 27 marketers desks, Zoho, that most successful pieces I’ve run in the last year or so it just went. It was like a mini viral event. Every one of these influencers and top youtubers had shared pictures and lists of their gear and

 

23:43

how they you don’t want mine.

 

23:46

Actually, they’re funny, Rob, not all of them are. One of them has like his he was screaming baby toys in the background and his computer was held up by an old board game. Yeah, I laughed. They were they gave Yeah, like Nadia from from Ben gage had like, they’re not all beautiful. But that’s not something people search for. So every content needs to every piece of content should be created with a promotion plan. That one was built to be shared. Because they’re all it’s lots of contributors. It’s super visual. It’s kind of like unexpected. So everything needs to have some concept of how it’s going to get traction. If If it’s not search, it should be something else. Not every topic is being searched for. But whatever whatever you’re making, you know, don’t wait till it’s live before you start thinking about how to promote it. That’s too late.

 

24:36

No, I would agree. So true. Um, we go on to the topic of biggest challenges for bloggers. And I think you could take the numbers that came out of this section and dropped him into any content creation, whether it’s a podcast or whether it’s a video caster, because I looked at these numbers and we were talking in the pre show how I don’t do traditional blogging anymore. Everybody in my circle knows that my agency produces a weekly podcast and we produce the odd video tutorial. But frankly, I got burned out of writing. And I do so much writing for clients. The last person I want to write first myself, and I admit that, but interesting enough, 53% of people said it’s a time factor. Isn’t that so true?

 

25:28

Yeah, well, it doesn’t that align with all the previous answers are people spending more time people writing longer posts, people doing more. So what correlates with results? consistently researching keywords consistently working with professional editors consistently writing longer form content, consistently writing content more often, I mean, no one can do all of these, you can’t build blog every day and spend eight hours on a post. So that one, that’s a big number, it’s even bigger than I thought 53% that means most, that’s most of us. Yeah.

 

26:00

And I’m what I would, what I would add to that, too, is one of the ways you alleviate the time crunches. Keep a swipe file. So when you think of an idea or a point, you might not need it in today’s article, but you might use it down the road, write notes, Oh, I thought of a good idea of an image for something, but I don’t need it today, make yourself a note, like, do things to try and streamline that process. Right?

 

26:28

I love that I do that l the best bloggers have some mechanism for quickly capturing new ideas, or quickly collecting information about an idea they’ve already been kind of marinating over. It’s, that is a critically important. There are at the very end of the survey, I tried to list three tips for addressing each of those top concerns. And that was one I put on there. You and I both? I think we’ve Oh, well, no, that actually addresses several of these concerns, because one of them was coming up with relevant topics. So without, without a, you know, some kind of Evernote or moleskin notebook or some tool, you’re going to be at a big disadvantage, because these ideas will kind of float right past you and you’ll you’ll lose them. But Rob, you and I think are both big fans of that. Both the capture the forethought, the planning the repurposing, this is really the strategic bloggers approach. These are the these are the things that separate the early career from the Later career content creators.

 

27:30

No, no question. I mean, I, one of the things I do is I sleep with a notebook on my nightstand. Believe it or not, I’ve been known to get up at two o’clock in the morning, go to the bathroom and take the notebook with me that’s, you know, as gross as it sounds, I’ve done that many more times. I’ll be out, I go walking every day for an hour. And it’s not uncommon for me to grab my smartphone and hit the dictation button and say, oh, I’ve got an idea and dictate it into my phone. So I don’t forget about it. You know, things like that, and then you transcribe it, you transpose it and put it into where you need it. And there’s your ideas, right? I mean, because there’s creatives, one of the things people don’t realize is when you’re forced to write, and I go back to the, the journalist who’s got to write a byline every day at five o’clock, and it has to be in for tomorrow’s paper. That’s a challenge because he’s under the gun. And he’s got some days, we both know, the creative juices just don’t flow well. And I’ve put stuff down, I’ve put web work down for clients, and said, You know what, today’s a bad day, I’m not even gonna go there. I’ll go back at it tomorrow. And I’ll do something else with my time because you got to be in position to do that, because it’s a lot easier to come up with ideas when you can when you’re in the mood than when you’re not in the mood. Right. So,

 

28:57

yeah, it’s, it’s, um, there’s different psychologies, I think I’ve never written about this. But there, there’s an inspiration phase in the lives in the, in the lifecycle of a new piece of content. And then there’s the the collection, kind of pondering keep in the back of your mind phase, and which may take which may last for months. And then there’s the I think I’ve got sufficient, you know, I’ve got an outline here, that it’s the endurance to sit down the focus, turn off all distractions, try harder to stay in front of that tab in the browser and just keep going. And then at the end, you know, it’s the 24 hour rule, you got to let it sit for a little bit and come back and look at it. So I tried to have a very low barrier to entry to quickly starting things because that’s going to give me more ideas to potentially you know, sprout and grow later. And then the next is I want to have a very long attention span to to just persist and stay focused like that book. Deep work suggests to stay focused on that one topic stay at maximum cognitive intensity for the long for the longest, for the greatest number of minutes. So there is I find myself trying to switching switching between mental modes to try to both, you know, have quickly start things and then endure during the creation process. And then polish and cut ruthlessly editing at the at the last stage. It’s sort of like being in in, you know, in different types of meetings, it’s like being in different mental modes. And it’s helpful to me.

 

30:27

Yeah, I would agree. And the second point on now is slowest is how to get traffic and attract visitors to your blog. And one of the the first one, you say improve your email, signups and CTS. Folks, it’s about time, a lot of people think email marketing, an email automation marketing is dead I, I would be the first to disagree. I run an email list that has ad 100 people in it right now. And that’s been curated over eight or nine years I segmented off, I’ve worked my list hard. But email signups to me is one of the best ways to promote your blog, and to also get people into your business funnel. Would you agree with that?

 

31:17

Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. It Yeah, what are we doing here? If not that we’re in trouble. So it is a I tell people that email is disintermediation, it’s your only chance to connect with your audience without a big tech company in the middle. I don’t mean someone you don’t own your search rankings or your social followers. But you own your email list. you own your content, you own your domain, you own your website, these are the only things you actually own in this game. So it I’d rather have one good email subscriber than 100 Twitter followers, it’s there is no question the value is is something like 10 or 100x. So it is every serious marketer I know is very, is actively aggressively attempting to grow their email list. Because without that, I mean, you you have all of your traffic sources are dependent upon some intermediary, some big tech company that can change the rules any day they want. So yeah, well now

 

32:19

or go down in the case of at the time of this recording that Facebook did last week. And we all know what a kerfuffle that caused. And there’s a tech company that I believe because of what’s going on, is going to undergo some sanctions in the US, I would suspect they’re at the time of this recording. They’re in front of Congress, the whistleblower has testified in front of Congress has been on 60 minutes. There’s all kinds of stuff going on there. And I think I think we’re in for some disruption, whether people like it or not, and

 

32:52

I welcome that, what’s it called? That’s a creepy business. I’m not a fan. And it’s sad to see so many people were so dependent on them, Facebook, going down hurts so many businesses who are 100% reliant upon some Facebook market, e commerce presence, like that’s your whole business is just living on the back of this is this big tech beast? I don’t think that’s a great plan.

 

33:15

I know of a client who created a micro business and by micro businesses, we mean, you know, the ones that depend on Facebook and Instagram marketplaces. He on paper lost $200,000. Today, Facebook like that, wow, he is now spending money with me to build an e commerce store. I wonder why

 

33:41

your destiny is risky.

 

33:46

Yeah. And it seems to go on and on. And just to kind of summarize the third part. The third point in this, this was greater quality, content consistency, and we already kind of talked about consistency. And I think a lot of people just, especially if they’re solo entrepreneurs, or small shop, they don’t spend time marketing their own businesses very well. They’re out there doing everything for their clients, and they forget that part of running a business is building time into your schedule to market around business. And running a blog is a very good way to do that. Thoughts on

 

34:31

I think it’s a it’s an excellent thing. It’s a durable thing. Kinda marketing is slow, but the durable, as we say, advertising is maybe fast but only temporary. If you’re not continually investing to build up your body of work. And if you’re worried about if you own results from it sooner you for any b2b company, especially or anyone that has like a, you know, blog or sales process, just go ahead and create bottom of funnel content. content that helps sales content you can talk about during a sales sales meeting or on a sales call. And you’ll get value from that the day after it goes live. So it is, it’s a risky thing to not be continuously putting, you know, pennies in that content piggy bank, I’d be very nervous, not for this year. But if I didn’t, you know, do this event I’m doing tonight or write that article that I have due Monday, all these things I need to do, I would be very nervous for what how I’m going to keep these 44 people employed a year from now and two years from now. So

 

35:34

I would agree, I would agree. And then, just to kind of wrap it up, you put a bonus point in, he talked about COVID, affecting boggers. And COVID really hasn’t affected the bargaining sphere. What I would say it’s probably affected is people are reading more blogs and more content, because they’re at home more, but I don’t think it’s affected the production side.

 

36:02

It was really interesting to see the mix in that answer. I was sort of surprised to see that there’s just as many who are blogging more frequently as less frequently. Yeah. So but but yeah, content marketing, digital marketing is having a moment. And there are there’s more demand for people like there’s a big shortage of talent and experience in the digital marketing world. So yeah, people have people are reading more. I think I think bloggers are are adapting their content a little bit, you see that finding time is still a problem. But I think that that was that was interesting, and kind of a surprise that 41% of bloggers reported that nothing in their strategies had changed due to COVID. Did you did yours at all change,

 

36:52

Rob, in terms of podcasting? No. I didn’t change much how I was doing it, except I used to the only change I really made was, I used to drop new podcasts on a Tuesday. Now I do on a Thursday. But that was a mechanic’s change that I made. But in terms of frequency, not at all, what I will say is, as somebody who reads a lot of content, and listens to a lot of content, I’m not a big TV watchers. So my content consumption has not changed. Really. I listen to other content, while I’m working on one of these who cannot do silence unless I’m actually audio editing, I just I can’t work in silence. So I’ve always got something on. I know at night, I tried to read an hour a night pretty well or a half hour a night of, you know, important content in my space. So I don’t think my consumption has changed. I think what’s changed is, I just have less tolerance for the garbage that’s on the, what I call the idiot box. If it’s if it’s not a sporting event, I’m probably not watching it. So. So there’s some of that, but now, our consumption hasn’t changed at all, to be honest.

 

38:16

Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s a, it’s interesting to see, you know, if people have pivoted, or how people change have changed. But, you know, I think part of what this shows is that when the people who were active in their content programs prior to COVID, in the years prior to COVID, came out quite strong. Yeah, if you didn’t, if you were, if COVID was a trigger for you to start content marketing, you’re not yet feeling the result, maybe only now starting to get some traction from it. What I did, so I have to speak at conferences a lot. So I was, you know, two, three times a month getting on a plane or flying around or go driving to events, to give to do presentations. I no longer had that, that that time required. So I had 15% more time or something like that. So I immediately turned around and started building out that YouTube channel. I’ve had less time for it lately, because we’re just so busy. But it was interesting and fun. And I’ll continue to do it. But to add a format. I thought this is great. I’m in the office, there’s I’m the only person 44 people working remotely. I’m just going to work here alone. Turn on the camera, give my best advice, record upload, and it worked beautifully.

 

39:30

Yeah, showing your real self does work. I mean, one one of the things I do do is I do like podcast interviews in that space. But I also like to do you know, if I’ve got a topic that comes to mind, I’ll throw out a 10 minute like advice podcast, which is, you know, and people love to hear the real use. So there’s a lot of value in that. But I think the way that we’re you know consuming content is changing. In a little bit, because people are still reading a lot. But when it comes to audio and video content, it’s coming at you from 50 ways. You know, somebody said to me, oh, well, you don’t have a cable TV subscription. I don’t. But I probably spend more money on content consumption avenues today than I ever did before. Hmm. That’s interesting. That’s the case, you’re, you’re just choosing what you want, instead of what you’re forced fit. Yeah. So that’s really that’s really

 

40:32

cool. Yeah, I find that interesting. So

 

40:35

one of the things you didn’t talk about in the survey was blogging platforms, which would be an it is an interesting discussion. I would suspect that most of the serious bloggers are probably using WordPress, I would think these things as you know, any statistics around that right power?

 

40:55

Well, it is the majority of blogs, I think, or according to WordPress itself. It’s it’s publicly available knowledge or, or there are sites that track how many posts are published per day, what percentage of blogs use which platform? I try to, even though we’re in the business of web development, I try to stay mostly agnostic on the on the technology questions. And people say what’s the best tool for this? Or what what should I be using? Which of these SEO packages, I’ve used all the SEO tools forever?

 

41:27

The one that we’re the one that works well for you and your business? That’s my answer, like yeah, is

 

41:33

it back to that strategic questions? It’s like, I think what I worry about in terms of the mark, the mark tech stack, as people call it now, is that people overbuy marketing technology. Yep. For example, there’s a lot of people who are paying $100 a month for HubSpot, and using it just like MailChimp, you can save yourself $750 a month by canceling HubSpot, and just switching to MailChimp. So it’s not it’s Jay Baer says, it’s not the wind, it’s the wizard. So what tools you use, use whatever to reach for whatever tool helps you solve that problem. Personally, I like I don’t need to find, you know, you heard my rant against big tech and, you know, face I did Google. Similarly, why are we looking for a single tool to do all the things we need, instead of just reaching for the tool you need at the time? You know, that’s like, people have this sort of predisposition to helping big tech get bigger by this obsession with integration and single platform and automation? If I could, I’d buy my marketing technology at the farmers market. Buy from the little company, the startup that did a good job. I love market Muse for on page SEO. You know, I’ll use, you know, hot jar to support to support analytics. No, I like to find the tool that that works for my even a narrow use case. That’s the big deal. Grab the tool you need, if you don’t need it, you know, cancel it. But it’s, I think that obsession with single platform and no, it has done wonders for HubSpot, but it has not done great things for entrepreneurs and startups and small business. And it also is frequently low ROI because people buy that tool before they even have content to publish.

 

43:21

No, I agree with that mean. And I think people get hung up, frankly, on that shiny new object. It looks really nice. It’s we’ve seen a lot of it, you know, out of the blogging space and project management tools in the last two years. I mean, if there’s been one, there’s been another Oh, why did you use that tool? Because personaje said to be a good tool, and is it working for you? Like honestly, like I, I and I come from a project management background before I got into marketing. And let me tell you, I’ve never found a project management tool that does exactly what I want. So you know, it’s sad, and then people get into this, oh, I’m gonna start a podcast. So where do I start my podcast and they jump around tools, like they’re nothing like take the time, establish your business, then make a decision. And one one spot I’ve done that twice recently is once in a podcasting forum, I after I hit 150 episodes, I made the decision a to switch podcast platforms, and that wasn’t something I did lightly. And, and then after years of running my email marketing software within where within WordPress, I made the decision that I needed to do some more automation so that obviously changed the tool that I was going to use button beyond that. I haven’t really changed my tool stack and my software stack in probably eight or nine years. So Like, honestly,

 

45:01

yeah, I think people seem to people ask me that question as if I’m going to tell them which tool is necessary to drive big results? Yeah, when that when that kind of shrug, they’re sort of surprised. Like, Oh, come on, just tell me, give me the thing I need, I’m sure you know, it, just tell me which one’s the best. You know, I could take any go give me give me a content management system, in email service provider, a customer relationship management tool, right, a good database. You know, as long as I can, can publish, and, and capture subscribers and send them an auto response welcome series, and, you know, my form submissions go into my database, I could get the same results, I get down with any of those tools. I don’t think that there’s any correlation. I don’t care which one. So why not use the less you know, why don’t use Zoho instead of Salesforce, and use Active Campaign instead of HubSpot? These are the choices I’ve made, and I’m very happy with them.

 

45:58

Yeah, my mailing tool these days is ConvertKit. But and I and nothing wrong with Active Campaign. I know like the back of my hand, I’ve just made a choice and that that’s okay. Right? Yeah.

 

46:12

That’s make it make a decision and then get to work, and then get to work. Yeah, what’s the best car to drive? Should I Ford or Chevy or Audi or Beemer? You know, you’re trying to get the point be, mostly it’s about taking the right road, driving in the right, it’s driving under the limit, you know, sir, to turning right, turning left, I can go to point B in any car, I will get results in any platform. These are not things that drive did it’s not a factor in success.

 

46:38

It’s SEO I see old in the technology game, the Old mac versus PC argument, right? that’s been going on for years. And my answer data argument is none of them. Because I don’t use either. So

 

46:54

does that affect your outcomes? Yeah. If people look at me, and they say, oh, wow, you’ve got a, you’re using a Pixel phone. That’s so weird. Andy, why aren’t you using an iPhone? I wasn’t. Yeah, it’s like, what I have better phone calls with an iPhone. Is there some difference? Would it really matter? Mac versus so I’m using a I happen to have an apple laptop, I have a Google phone. Now. So what these Yeah, it’s, I think it’s if you’re at a conference, people are just making conversation. And it’s it’s a fun conversation, what’s in your Mar tech stack? But but it’s not a strategic question. No one should pretend that it is.

 

47:29

No. So let’s take a moment before we close and sort of look into the crystal ball. Something I like to do. Where do you see blogging going in the next year? Seeing the trends? seeing what’s been going on with your agency and the report that you produced?

 

47:48

Thanks for that. Great question. I think that the the trend, both in the big picture, and in the marketing world, the rich tend to get richer, the people who are good at content will pull away from the read from the pack farther and farther. So it will get more competitive. There are certain spaces in certain SEO, let’s just take like certain key phrase categories where it will be almost too late. for newer, right, new entries to compete. Yes, it’s like being, you know, publishing on actually, it’s actually it’s actually a counter example. Health line has grown dramatically in in search and visibility on all kinds of health care topics. Contrary to conventional wisdom, beating out Mayo Clinic and Web MD, and the Cleveland Clinic in the US at least. So there is there is still opportunity, it will take a bigger investment than before to get into that competitive category. But I project just a continuation of these trends. I think that there will be LinkedIn will likely grow in importance to lots of bloggers, Facebook may decline and importance to lots of bloggers, click through rate from Google will continue to decline. We’ll have to, you know, the big platforms sort of set the rules and we’ll have to live within them. But people who have a loyal audience get word of mouth. referrals are a source of leads and they got an email list. For if that’s you, congratulations. You are building long term security. I commend you. Keep going. And just keep in mind that most of the competition out there is really doing a terrible job. So don’t worry about the no 7 million blog posts published per day. It’s mostly garbage. So this is a benefit the rest of us.

 

49:44

No, I would agree with it. As somebody wants to read the report, where can they get it and where can they get ahold of you and your agency.

 

49:54

The report is at orbit media calm, just click over to the blog, and you’ll find it at the Top, we’ll leave it there as one of the featured posts for several months. So if you’re listening to this anytime, probably anytime in 2022 like well, it’s easy to promote, I’ll probably pin it to the top of my Twitter, Twitter feed. LinkedIn is my best social network. My last name sounds like it’s spelled, or spelled like it sounds. It’s Crestodina. look me up, reach out, send me a message. I’ll help anyone however I can. It’s the best part

 

50:26

of my day. Thanks, Andy. Have a wonderful day.

 

50:30

Thank you, Rob. This was fantastic. Talk to you soon.

 

50:34

A very special thank you to Andy for joining me on this week’s podcast in sharing his insights about blogging. If he thought blogging was dead, you should go listen to this episode again. Thank you for listening to this edition of the SDM show. This podcast is brought to you by Stunning Digital Marketing. For links to Stunning Digital Marketing and Rob Cairns please go to stunningdigitalmarketing.info . This podcast is dedicated to Rob’s father Bruce Cairns. Keep your feet underground and keep reaching for the stars make your business succeed. Bye for now.


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