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Successful bloggers follow certain proven practices, reveals new research from Orbit Media.

They tend to write longer posts, write multiple drafts of headlines, research keywords for all posts, and include multiple images in posts, according to Orbit Media’s survey of almost 1,300 bloggers. They also tend to use a team of editors, check analytics of all posts and add video to most articles. But fulfilling all those practices is impossible for most bloggers, admits Andy Crestodina, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Orbit Media.

“You’d need a team of 10+ marketers plus a network of freelancers and contributors to run this process,” Crestodina says. Still, PR and marketing pros managing corporate blogs can review the research for tactics they can apply to their own work. Some practices may require little or no additional resources.

Invest the time. Bloggers who spend more than six hours on each post report “strong results.” The time invested to produce an article has leveled off at about four hours after years of increasing. Bloggers now spend 63% more time on each post than they did six years ago.

Write longer articles. Most bloggers (54%) who write 3000+ word articles report “strong results.” Blog posts have consistently grown longer since 2014. The average post is now 1,269 words long on average. As article length has grown, publishing frequency has decreased over time. Fewer bloggers post multiple times a week; more publish several a month, monthly or even less than monthly.

“Makes sense. Who publishes a 2000+ word article every day? No one in this data set,” Crestodina says.

Post consistently. High frequency bloggers report strong results. Inconsistent bloggers are the least likely to report “strong results.” Fifty-seven percent of bloggers who post daily report strong results, more than others who post less frequently.

Consider contrarian content types. How-to articles, cited by 77% of survey participants, are the most popular format type, followed by lists, named by 57%. Roundups were the least popular content format, but had one of the strongest correlations to success. Other formats deemed as highly effective were gated content, interviews and guides and ebooks. Interestingly, those formats are generally the least common. The contrarian approach of zigging when others zag seems to pay off.

Many bloggers also credited contributed quotes for driving results. As Crestodina notes, adding quotes from experts in posts doesn’t cost money and takes little time.

Add visuals. Almost all (90%) of bloggers add images to posts. Only one in four incorporate videos, most likely because of the extra work involved, yet video is highly effective at driving strong results. Just 3% add more than 10 images to a typical post. They’re also most likely to report success.

Original research. More bloggers say they conduct original research and add findings to their content at least once a year. Bloggers who conduct and publish original research are 32% more likely to report “strong results” from their content than the benchmark.

Update old posts. Bloggers who update old content are more than twice as likely to report “strong results.” Seventy percent of bloggers update old posts, a figure that’s grown consistently every year.

“They may have come to the same realization we did: You don’t need 1,000 articles. You need 100 great articles,” Crestodina says.

Bottom Line: New research reveals the strategies of successful bloggers. While some practices of successful bloggers may overwhelm small PR and marketing teams, new research on blogging strategies reveals nuggets of information that business bloggers can use to improve results.

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