As we move through the final quarter of 2016, it’s time to look at what 2017 will bring to the blogosphere. On WordPress alone, members publish around 63.4 million new posts and 42.9 million new comments each month.
This stat doesn’t say anything about what Tumblr, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, or other bloggers are producing. As the trends show, these numbers will perpetually increase. And the fierceness competition will continue to rise with the data.
What this situation means for you, as a content creator, might seem unclear. While writing, editing, and search engine optimization (SEO) will remain on your priority list, other factors will become more critical. So let’s review the pillars of blogging, as well as trends that will impact your blog in 2017 and beyond.
This Is How to Reshape Your Content Strategy
While keywords and basic SEO are still essential to your strategy, alone they will fall short. Across the globe, 72% of digital marketers say that relevant content creation is their most effective SEO tactic. Why is this?
Bringing immediately helpful topics and information to your readers is the best way to get your target audience to engage. Relevant, valuable content is the most likely to be shared on social media and cited by other bloggers across the web.
Activity now plays a major role in how search engines perceive your pages. According to Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s web spam team, social media shares should not be seen as short term payouts, but long term investments. To encourage sharing, the most important strategy you can now employ is relevance.
What is the Status of User-Generated Content?
Until now, we’ve read about how to create a blog and how to choose a website builder. It is rather easy to build a commercial website with ecommerce themes for any need. This year, blogging via Medium, LinkedIn, and other user-generated platforms is becoming more popular.
User-generated videos get 10 times more engagement on YouTube than videos that are updated by major brands. What can you gain from this knowledge?
You are in competition with titans. Where blogging is concerned, it’s time to start thinking about which influencers you can reach out to for additional traffic generation. In 2017, partnerships and networking will be more advantageous than ever.
User-generated contests are another great way to enlist others for content creation. For example, hold a giveaway on Instagram and ask users to share their own images for a chance to win an exciting prize.
The #CastMeMarc campaign by Marc by Marc Jacobs generated over 12,000 new posts in the first hour and now has over 102,000 user-generated posts that help promote the brand. Share the results of your contest on your blog, and notify those that you feature. They will definitely want to share their proud moment with their own networks.
Should You Focus on Promotions or Relationship Building?
Your blog is a great promotional tool. However, you need to ask if you’re looking at it from the right perspective. In the past, it was easy to focus on why people might need your products or services. Now, this strategy might not be the best one.
Blogging is part of an inbound marketing approach that appeals to buyers before the sales stage of their buying journey. When readers land on your site, they don’t know if they want to develop a relationship yet, let alone make a purchase.
Your job is to use valuable content to cultivate the introduction and relationship with that future client or customer. For example, in the United States, 81% of female consumers trust information and advice from blogs. Trust is the foundation of every great relationship. So on top of relevance, share honest and respectful information that truly nurtures a long-term commitment with your reader.
When you go on a first date, do you spend the entire evening talking about yourself, or do you ask questions about the other person? Blogging etiquette isn’t all that different. Treat your blog readers with a similar etiquette: speak to them and help them solve their problems.
When you want to help readers with problems, you need to understand their pain points. Do your homework and conduct research. Ask readers what their struggles are. Whether humorous, educational, or otherwise entertaining, your blog should have a clear position of being selfless and helpful.
To make the most of future blogging efforts, you will have to transform your current approach. Though you will still give attention to keywords and SEO, new elements need to come into play.
Make relevance your number one priority. Encourage user-generated content, and treat your blog like a relationship building tool rather than a company brochure.
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